There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so it comes as no surprise that companies want a little something in return when they reward customers for staying loyal. Thus, the tradeoff at the center of Verizon Wireless’ new Verizon Smart Rewards system: Customers opt in to the company’s location-tracking/marketing program, Verizon Selects, and then earn points toward discounts on “brand-name” merchandise and deals at local restaurants, stores and offers on travel. [More]
Being In New Verizon Wireless Rewards Program Means Giving It Your Phone’s Location, Web Browsing Info
One might think that the more loyal a customer is, the more likely it’d be for a company to roll out the red carpet treatment. But that’s the exact opposite of how it works, claim two New Jersey residents in a lawsuit against the parent company of United Airlines. The plaintiffs allege that United actually sets a higher redemption rate for the more frequent fliers. [More]
If you spend a lot of money at Toys ‘R’ Us, the chain’s rewards program may appeal to you. You earn rewards vouchers through in-store or online purchases, which you can exchange for even more toys after the holiday season. Why would anyone have a problem with that? Well, because you can only use them in-store. Employees recruited customers for the program in the chain’s holiday season pop-up stores, in areas that don’t have a year-round Toys R Us store. Now that the pop-up stores are gone, they just have some useless pieces of paper. [More]
No one would be upset at being called loyal. It’s a good thing — it means you value a relationship enough to stick by it. And all the better if that relationship you’re devoted to provides you with discounts at a store where you just so happen to love. So what’s the harm in a little bonus bucks program? Well, there is such a thing as spending money when you wouldn’t otherwise do so just because you got a discount. For being loyal.
Whenever you get an email from your credit card company notifying you of changes in your rewards program, odds are you’re not about to read some great news about fantastic benefits awaiting you. American Express told customers its Continental/United rewards program, which allows access to lounges, is flying away this week.
A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston says that credit card reward programs have a sneaky hidden cost that the card holder doesn’t have to bear. This occurs because the fee that a retailer pays to run a credit card varies with every card, and reward cards cost more to process–in other words, the card issuer passes the cost of the rewards program on to the retailer. The retailer adapts by raising prices across the board, which distributes the cost of the reward program among all shoppers.
Over on his travel blog, Christopher Elliott writes that if you want to ensure you’ll get the reward program miles you deserve, you should hold on to your boarding pass. In his example, a frequent flyer with Air France couldn’t get his Delta miles credited even though the airlines codeshare, because Air France demanded the original Delta boarding pass, which the customer had thrown away. Elliot managed to get the airline to cave on this instance, but he points out that it’s easier (and better in case of an IRS audit) to hold on to them “just in case.”
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.