You’re not a big fan of rewards programs, but what’s wrong with free goods and services?
Hey, I’m like everyone else—I like free, which is why rewards programs are everywhere now. You get rewards for buying coffee and clothing and credit card use…Why does every company have a rewards program? It’s not because they’re being nice and rewarding loyal customers; it’s because companies know that consumers love the idea of getting free stuff, and the rewards programs keep you coming back and entice you to spend more.
The value of the frequent-flier miles, hotel rewards, credit card points and other loyalty program currency that Americans earned in 2010 was about $48 billion. And that doesn’t include cash discounts that grocers and other retailers often offer.
The average household has 18 loyalty program memberships. How can we keep them straight?
The answer is that we don’t, Nearly one-third of loyalty program points go unredeemed. The average household earns $622 a year in miles and points and such, so missing out on a third of that means that over $200 has gone to waste.
Any tips you can give about making the most of rewards?
First, leave the diversification to your stock portfolio. Consolidate your spending in one or two programs that deliver the biggest return. Look at your spending habits to figure out where you’re spending the most money to help you get the most bang for your buck.
When it comes to airline rewards, the actual average monetary value placed on a mile is roughly 1.5 to 2 cents each. When redeeming them, be sure the price of the trip would generally cost more than the amount of miles you’re cashing in.
As for other cards, be sure you’re going to actually use those rewards, because you frequently pay a fee to get the card or with the case of credit, a higher rate. At the end of January 2012, the average credit card without a rewards program had an interest rate of 14.72 percent. The average interest rate for cards with rewards, however, was 17.63 percent. That’s a spread of 2.91%–nearly 3%.
Now that might not seem like a lot, but it can be depending on how much money you let carry over from one month to the next. If you pay off your balance each month or use your rewards to your full advantage, you might save more than you’re charged in extra interest, but be sure to do the math.
Finally, use ‘em or lose ‘em. Many points expire after a certain period of time. Credit card points can be held hostage due to a late payment, barring you from earning points or spending them until you’re paid up. If you're sitting on a cache of miles or points that are about to expire, check if you can transfer them to friends or family. You can also frequently donate reward points or miles to charity. The options vary: American Express lets cardholders pick from a database of 1 million non-profit groups, while Bank of America cardholders can pick from about a dozen charities, such as the Humane Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Keep in mind that donated credit-card points and miles generally aren't tax deductible because they're considered rebates on previously purchased goods, according to the Tax Institute at H&R Block.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25