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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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