Full disclosure, I live within 5 minutes of Ace Hardware located in Libertyville, Illinois. When the weather cooperates and I need nails or bolts, I'll often walk over to the store and often appreciates the helpful service typically provided by Ace. Besides, it is conveniently located, our local Ace supports local youth activities, and that commitment to our local community is certainly noticed and appreciated.
I don't completely avoid the big-box hardware stores, from a cost perspective of owning a home, the big-box retailers provide much more competitive pricing, pricing that smaller hardware retailers like Ace struggle with competing on price. Perhaps service can help make a big difference with smaller retailers such as Ace. I typically visit the Libertyville Ace if my hardware or home needs are small in size or less noteworthy in price. A local trip to Ace means I don't have to drive to a mall area and frequent the large, sometimes vacant of service, big-box retailers.
About 18 months ago, Ace Rewards was offering $5 off of your next purchase of $20 or more. I must be clear that this does not apply to sale items, just to regular-priced merchandise. (When I originally read that, I was a little disappointed that the offer wasn't more attractive.) This offer in '20 applied to the 10/15 - 10/31/20 period (item #1). Moving on to less than 2 months later, as shown in item 2, the reward had changed to $5 off on your next purchase of $25. A significant change in the reward in a very short time period. I found another Ace Rewards card, 6 months later (item #3) with another update to the promotion. You'd still get $5 off, but you'd have to spend at least $30 on non-sale items.
I don't want to do too much math but it just appears the rewards were quickly changed in the amount necessary to purchase. It wasn't something that occurred over 5 to 8 years. Technically, it took merely 7 months to switch from a total of $20 in regular merchandise to the current amount of 30. The initial percentage was 25% of the total cost of regularly priced merchandise which dipped to 20% months later and then only a few months later to 16.6%. (For those attempting to track the increases, the initial $20 limit moved from $25 to the now $30)
I know that inflation is at 7 or 8% at the moment, but nothing compared to the inflation by Ace's most recent offer. Again, it went from $20 to $25 and now $30. In that short period of time, the initial regular merchandise percentage increased by 25 and then the latest increase was by 20%. That increase in less than a year meant this offer required 50% more regular merchandise to qualify for this reward.
I will say that so far for 2022, there haven't been any changes on the amount but one never knows, that's subject to change.