5 Reward Programs Worthy of Your Loyalty:
TWX Magazine, Ebates, My Coke Rewards, Amazon.com Shop, and MyPoints.com
Did you know the average American household participates in 18 consumer rewards programs? Once the purview of airline companies, these rewards programs are now being offered by major brands, department stores, and even banks. With so many options to choose from, how can you be sure you’re getting the most points, miles, and/or cash-back rewards for your consumer dollar?
Well, what follows is an admittedly subjective list of the rewards programs that I have found to be the most… well… rewarding.
TWX Magazine Discount Offer
The Pitch: “Whatever you’re into, we have a magazine that’s right for you. You’ll be delighted by the prices and selection of titles we offer. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for a gift, you’ll find it on magazineoutlet.com. Customer service is a top priority, and since we have a relationship with every major publisher, we guarantee your satisfaction.”
The Verdict: These guys got their start providing discount magazine subscriptions to loyal customers through banks, airline companies, and retail outlets. However, now they appear to be selling directly to the masses. Still, you’re talking about discounts ranging from 40 to 90 percent off the newsstand cover price. TWX Magazine/Magazine Outlet provides automatic renewals, which makes subscribing a “set it and forget it” proposition. And heck, they even have some titles you can subscribe to for free! What’s not to like?
The Pitch: “You get cash back at any of 1,500 stores any time you start your shopping trip at Ebates.com. There are no points to redeem, no forms to mail in, and no fees. Stores pay Ebates a sales commission for sending shoppers their way, and Ebates uses the commission to pay you cash back.”
The Verdict: With no membership fees to pay, you frankly have nothing to lose by giving Ebates a try. As they explain on their website, Ebates rewards its customers by paying back a portion of their commissions, so it really does appear to be a win-win-win for you, for Ebates, and for the retailers.
My Coke Rewards
The Pitch: “My Coke Rewards is a loyalty program sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company where you can collect points by purchasing and entering codes from packages marked with ‘My Coke Rewards’ on caps, labeling or other packaging of selected Coca-Cola brands available while supplies last, or through other methods as may be added from time to time.”
The Verdict: Okay, so the pitch is a bit awkward. But the program itself is easy and definitely worth your time. You can get codes from the caps or the tear-off flaps of just about any Coca-Cola product (including Dasani bottled water, Powerade sports drink, and even Seagram’s ginger ale). Once you’ve amassed enough points, you can redeem them for rewards from the catalog or use them to enter sweepstakes to win $500 gift cards, household appliances, electronics, or trips. Or, if you’re feeling magnanimous, you can donate your points to schools, to charities, or even to our troops overseas.
Amazon.com Shop with Points
The Pitch: “Shop with Points offers customers the ability to pay for purchases at Amazon.com using credit card rewards points. You can use points to pay for an order at Amazon.com in the same way you would with any other payment method.”
The Verdict: So it’s not so much a rewards program as it is a way to spend points you’ve accumulated through other rewards programs. But no point in being pedantic. Shop with Points lets you take the points you’ve earned through Visa, American Express, Chase, Discover, or Citi and spend them on millions of products on Amazon.com. Unfortunately, some items (especially digital goods and Kindle downloads) can’t be purchased with points. I can only hope Amazon will remedy this soon.
The Pitch: “Since when does shopping pay you back? MyPoints members earn points every time they shop from our network of top retailers. Join MyPoints to receive personalized deals every day, and reward yourself with gift cards, cash back, or travel miles.”
The Verdict: Whereas Ebates simply pays you cash for each purchase you make through them, MyPoints lets you accumulate points (or “Points”) and ultimately redeem them for gift cards, cash, or free airline miles. In addition to earning points for your purchases, you can also buff up your count by filling out surveys, playing games, reading emails, or even searching the web through MyPoints. The website offers daily deals, coupons, and free trials. And it costs nothing to join!