Best Buy Shrinks Reward Zone Program

Reader IfThenElvis forwarded us the following email he received alerting him to changes in the Reward Zone program from Best Buy. He adds, “I can’t tell if this is good new or not. I suspect not.” It’s not the end of the world or anything, but it definitely marks a slight constriction in the program.

This seems to be the evolutionary path of every reward program: gradually shave off benefits, tighten redemption windows, and create small leaks intended to void some of the perks. You just have to evaluate the overall benefits each time the terms are changed and ask yourself whether it’s still worth participating in.

Here’s an edited version of the email, with some of the marketing spin taken out (emphasis ours):

Your Reward Zone® program is changing on October 31, 2009

Reward certificates will only be available at MyRZ.com

Reward certificates will no longer be transferable

Lastly, for the following two conditions, points will be cashed out, available certificates will be sent, and any remaining points under 250 will be forfeited:

You will need to use your points in the year they are earned. Reward Zone is becoming an annual program, which means that points no longer roll over from year-to-year.

You will need to make one purchase every 12 months to remain in the program.

Thank you from the Best Buy® Reward Zone program.

Update: Reader C.W. wrote in to say his notice only mentioned the new non-transferable policy, and said nothing about the move to an annual program or forfeiting unused points under 250.

I have not seen the drastic restrictions in my notification rec’d: 06/29/09. I wonder if the restrictions are based on RewardZone Members’ status (i.e. “Regular” and “Premier”, etc.)? I’m in the Premier status. If a newer one has been, or is being, sent out, I’ve not gotten it as of today (07/05/09). Just wanted to help contribute to the whole picture. Keep in mind, that Premier users get to “bank” their points for larger prizes in the RZ online catalog.

The Reward Zone® program is changing

We’re making a change to your program rules. Reward certificates will no longer be transferable. This safety measure helps prevent others from redeeming your reward certificates without your knowledge.

For an even better membership experience, we’re asking members to change their certificate preferences in their profile, so we can:

* Issue rewards more quickly and conveniently
* Deliver benefits more safely and securely
* Be more environmentally friendly by reducing the amount of paper we use

We appreciate your membership, and we want to help you take full advantage of the Reward Zone program. To receive the benefits of faster, more secure reward delivery, visit MyRZ.com to update your certificate preference.

Thank you from the Best Buy® Reward Zone program.

(Photo: Robert Scoble)