New Plenti Rewards Card Not As Rewarding As It Looks

plentibarI carry a lot of store loyalty cards around. I have a separate wallet for them. I have five different cards just for different pet stores. “Another loyalty card” is not something that America seems to need. Yet last month, American Express introduced a loyalty program called Plenti, which promises to let you accumulate points on purchases at different retailers and other businesses. The problem is that the rewards aren’t as flexible as the card’s ad campaigns imply.

AmEx announced that Plenti was coming earlier this year. Right now, there’s a small selection of companies that let you accumulate points for the Plenti program. In theory, they could cover a lot of an average family’s spending. There’s Exxon/Mobil gas stations, AT&T, Macy’s, Nationwide Insurance, Rite Aid, Direct Energy, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Hulu. The program launched at the beginning of May, and launched ad campaigns full of singing groceries in the last few weeks.

The idea behind the program is to earn points at one place that you can spent at another: cool! Except, as Mouse Print’s Edwin Dworsky points out, it’s not as simple as that, because not all of the merchants in the program let you use points as currency or for discounts.

Specifically, you can use the points at some Exxon and Mobil stations, but you’ll have to check for a Plenti logo on the door. You can also use them at Macy’s, and Rite Aid has replaced their Wellness+ program with Plenti, and you can cash in points earned elsewhere. That’s it.

Maybe this will change if more retailers sign on. Before signing up for programs like this, though, make sure that the points would actually be useful to you.

Get Rewards with Plenti (of Strings Attached) [Mouse Print]