Sunday, January 6, 2008

Watch Your Point Values When You Redeem

Do you have a rewards points program with your credit card, maybe something like WorldPoints?

Well, here's a couple of hints to help you burn off all those points you accumulated while burning up your credit lines.

  1. Check your points online periodically.  Check your paper statement against the point totals online.  You want to make sure you've been credited properly for all the points you've earned.  You also want to make sure you don't have any points that are going to expire shortly--it'd be a shame to let all that hard work spending to earn the points go to waste!
  2. Check the rewards periodically.  The assortment and point totals necessary to redeem for a certain gift might change from time to time.  You might suddenly see a new reward show up, perhaps something you've been considering buying with cash, that you may want to jump on.  You might also see a "good deal" for the points appear.
  3. Consider your points from a POV of personal value.  Let's face it, the redemption prices of the products you have access to are going to be lousy.  (After all, the credit card companies have to minimize the costs associated with the points programs!)  So don't worry too much about what's the best dollar value "deal."  Rather, look for items that provide you with a surprise or delight.  Something that feels like a splurge or luxury, yet has a high level of utility to you.
I recently decided to cash in about 36,000 points from BofA's WorldPoints program, as I'd stopped using the card and figured I'd better use the points before I forgot about them.  I found a great "surprise and delight" product on the site in the form of a Phillips surround sound system with DVD player.  It probably doesn't have a huge price tag associated with it.  But it actually works just fine for my bedroom TV, was something that I've avoided paying $200 for over the last 9 years and--this is the key--made me feel great when I was watching the most recent Die Hard DVD the other night.  I loved the feeling of having surround sound while sitting in my bed! 

Now, do I normally advocate points programs?  Nope.  All my new cards provide benefits back to me in the form of cold, hard cash.  But, if you've got a product rewards program, take a few minutes to get the best of those points.  (Before you convert to a cash rewards program!)

Anybody else out there get a cool product from their rewards program?

1 comment:

Craig Mirabella said...
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