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.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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