Category Archives: Rewards programs

Get paid for taking surveys with Valued Opinions

Forget the old saying “a penny for your thoughts”—you can earn a lot more money than that by sharing your opinions with an online survey program called Valued Opinions. The concept is simple: take surveys, earn money.

To get started, you create an account at Valued Opinions and answer a series of profile questions. These questions help the company know which target groups you fit into. When it receives a survey from one of its clients that matches your profile, you’ll receive an email inviting you to take the survey. You can earn $1 to $5 for each survey you complete, and credits for each survey you take are deposited into your Valued Opinions account. When you reach an account balance of at least $20, you can redeem your earnings for gift cards. Reward options include online and offline cards from Visa, Macy’s, Marriott and other companies.

Each survey invitation you receive tells you how much you can earn for that particular survey and how long it will take you to complete the questionnaire. Surveys often contain some initial screening questions to verify that you match the profile the company conducting the survey is looking for. If you don’t, your survey will end early and you won’t earn any credit for the few minutes you spent answering those first few questions.

One downside of Valued Opinions for me is many surveys include income information as a mandatory question, and “prefer not to answer” is not an option in those surveys. I refuse to provide surveyors with my household income. I understand they want it for demographic research, but I feel it is private and will not share it. In these cases, I abandon the survey, knowing that I won’t earn any credit for the work I’ve put in answering all the questions preceding the financial one. This can be frustrating when surveys save the financial question until the end. I also declined to enter financial information into the profile for my Valued Opinions account.

Despite the frustrations of financial questions, if you have some time to spare and could use a few extra bucks, Valued Opinions offers a simple way to earn money online.

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Earn frequent flyer miles for movie rentals, insurance quotes and more

Today, I’m continuing my series of posts on how you can earn frequent flyer miles with both feet on the ground. Previous posts focused on earning miles for reading product ads and for doing your shopping through a portal website. You can also earn miles for signing up for home and financial services.

Like to watch movies? Both Delta Airlines and American Airlines reward you with 1,500 miles when you sign up for a new account with Netflix.

If you’re planning to buy a new home, check out the United Mileage Plus offerings available through Chase bank. You can earn 12,500 to 50,000 miles, depending on the value of your new mortgage.

Have some money to invest? You can receive 5,000 to 25,000 miles on US Airways, Delta, American or United for opening and funding a new account with TD Ameritrade.

Satellite television customers can earn frequent flyer miles, too. American offers 7,500 miles to those enrolling in new DirectTV service.

Those looking for homeowner’s or auto insurance can earn miles, too. Delta and US Airways frequent flyers earn 200 to 300 miles for getting a quote from 21st Century Auto Insurance and additional miles if they purchase a policy. Receive 500 miles in your American Airlines or Delta Account for getting a home or auto insurance quote from Liberty Mutual. Get a quote from Sentry Insurance, and you’ll earn 1,500 miles on Delta or US Airways.

If you’re starting your own blog or website, you can earn 1,000 miles when purchasing a domain name through Network Solutions. This offer is available to those enrolled in American, United and Delta frequent flyer programs.

Be sure to use the special link provided on your frequent flyer program’s webpage when taking advantages of these offers, and follow any instructions provided by the company. If you don’t, you may not be eligible to receive your bonus miles.

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Coke Rewards offers free merchandise, magazines and more for soda fans

In the world of soda, most consumers fall on one side of the fence or the other: Coke or Pepsi. Count me among those who prefer Coke products. My current favorite is Diet Cherry Coke, which to me is one of the least “diet-tasting” sodas out there.

As a true bargain hunter, I typically wait for sales to stock up on my soda of choice, but for a while, I didn’t realize I was missing out on another form of savings—the My Coke Rewards program. Although the Coke Rewards logo appears on my Diet Cherry Coke boxes, I didn’t pay much attention to it. One day, curiosity led me to check it out online, and I’ve been a loyal participant ever since.

The idea behind the Coke Rewards program is simple: Coca-Cola products you purchase contain a rewards code. You enter these codes into your online account, and the program keeps a running total of your accumulated rewards points. You can redeem these points for merchandise, magazines, free soda, discount coupons, gift cards or entries into contests. You can also donate points to support charities.

On Coca-Cola 12-packs, you’ll find the code under the flap you remove to convert the box into a “fridge pack.” On single and two-liter bottles of Coca-Cola products, the code is under the cap. In shrink-wrapped cases, it’s inside the shrink wrap. Any product bearing the Coke Rewards logo will have a rewards code. Participating brands include Sprite, Minute Maid, Powerade, Mello Yellow, Nestea and Barq’s.

Like most rewards programs, there are rules. For example, your points expire if your account does not have any activity for a 90-day period. You can only earn 120 points per week, but that would be a lot of soda! To learn more about program rules, bonuses for referring friends and more, check out the Coke Rewards frequently asked questions page.

Learn about special promotions and program updates by monitoring the Coke Rewards Facebook page.

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Earn free frequent flyer miles by reading product ads

In a previous post, I explained how you can earn frequent flyer miles on major airlines by using designated websites to complete your online shopping. I promised future tips on other methods for earning miles. Today, I’ll share a way you can earn miles without spending a dime.

e-Miles rewards you with frequent flyer miles for the time you spend reviewing advertisements and special offers on its website. You can also get bonus miles for purchasing the products advertised on e-Miles. Once you’ve accumulated 500 miles, you can deposit these into your account with Delta Air Lines, US Airways, Continental Airlines, Alaska Airlines or Air Tran Airways.

To sign up for e-Miles, you’ll need to complete a short online form. Be sure to have your frequent flyer account number handy for the airline on which you want to earn miles. Choose carefully, because it can be difficult to change to another designated airline later.

You can earn 275 miles just for completing the enrollment process. After that, e-Miles will send you emails to let you know when it has new ads for you to view. You go to the e-Miles website to see the ads and earn your miles. You will typically be asked two to three questions after viewing the ads.

While many ads are static web pages, some are video ads. Those you receive are based on the information you provide about your interests when creating your profile. When setting up your account, you can choose the frequency of e-Miles email notifications.

I’ve been an e-Miles user for a few years, and I’ve never had any trouble getting the miles I earn deposited into my frequent flyer account. I’ve earned thousands of miles without buying anything, and I cannot recall receiving any ads that I found offensive. For those who like to travel, e-Miles offers an easy way to get frequent flyer miles for free.

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Earn frequent flyer miles on everyday purchases

If you only travel by air once or twice a year, it can take a long time to accumulate enough frequent flyer miles to earn a free ticket. It’s easy to boost your mileage balance from the comfort of your home, however, through a few different methods. I will address these programs in this and future blog postings. Today, let’s focus on earning miles while shopping.

Major airlines offer you miles for purchases made with companies participating in their bonus miles programs. Typically, you go to the airline’s shopping website, and click a link to access the site where you wish to shop. This launches a tracking mechanism that records the amount of your purchase and credits you with bonus miles based on that amount.

For example, Delta’s Skymiles Shopping site is currently offering deals like these:

United Mileage Plus deals include:

The American Airlines AAdvantage E-Shopping Mall has:

Mileage amounts offered at specific retailers change periodically. To earn miles, you will need to create an account at the shopping sites and provide your frequent flyer number. There is no charge for using the sites and no fee to get the bonus miles.

If you return an item for which you received bonus miles, the corresponding amount may be deducted from your frequent flyer account.

If you have a credit card which earns frequent flyer miles, you may be able to get two sets of bonus miles for a single transaction. For example, a Gold Delta Skymiles cardholder would get 30 miles for a $30 purchase made on the Home Depot website (1 mile per dollar on all card purchases), plus 120 bonus miles for using the airline’s shopping portal.

To get the most out of these shopping programs, bookmark the portal site for your favorite airline’s shopping program and make a habit of going there each time you make an online purchase. If you forget to go through the virtual mall to get to your shopping site, you can’t earn miles.

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American Express offers prompt, flexible service and valuable rewards

This is not a column encouraging you to get a credit card. In fact, unless you can pay your balance off in full each month, I’d recommend avoiding credit cards, as they can tempt you to purchase things you don’t have the cash to cover. But if you’re a disciplined person who uses credit cards for rewards like frequent flyer miles or cash back, I’d recommend including an American Express product in your wallet. Here’s how the company shows it cares about its customers.

Timely service: I have contacted American Express by e-mail several times in recent months and been stunned by how quickly they respond to my messages. While some businesses with an online presence take days to get back to me or never acknowledge my question at all, American Express typically sends me a reply within 10 hours.

Transfers: American Express offers a variety of different credit cards. The company has allowed me to transfer between cards without filling out a new application or incurring any transfer charges. They simply switched me from one card to another and mailed me new cards to reflect the new rewards program I’d chosen.

Rewards: Whether you want to earn airline miles, free hotel stays or cash back, you can find a lot of different rewards options in the American Express lineup of credit cards. The Everyday Blue Cash Card has no annual fee and earns 3 percent cash back at supermarkets, 2 percent back at gas stations and department stores and 1 percent cash everywhere else. The Gold Delta SkyMiles Card earns you one airline mile for every dollar spent. While it does have a $95 annual fee, it allows you to check your first bag free on every Delta flight. You also get a bag free for up to nine people in your reservation. So, if you and a spouse or friend take one roundtrip a year on Delta and check one bag each, the card has paid for itself, and you’ve gotten the benefit of extra miles.

While there are several benefits to having an American Express card, one downside is that they are not accepted everywhere. You will need to carry a Visa or MasterCard in your wallet as well if you want guaranteed access to credit when shopping.

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Filed under Customer service, Rewards programs, Saving money, Uncategorized

Walgreens’ Register Rewards program not worth the effort

I recently highlighted how you can use the CVS Extra Bucks program to get cheap and free items without spending a lot of time clipping coupons. Walgreens has a similar program called Register Rewards. Unlike the CVS program, you don’t have to register to participate in Register Rewards. While this is an admirable feature of the program, it fails to deliver a good overall experience.

With Register Rewards, Walgreens offers select items at a sale price each week, then gives you extra savings in the form of a coupon you can use on most merchandise during a future shopping trip. Here’s why I think the program isn’t as good as the CVS Extra Bucks promotions:

Prices: Walgreens generally charges more than CVS for similar products. This week, Walgreens had Softsoap body wash for 2 for $4 with Register Rewards; the CVS price with Extra Bucks was 2 for $2. Even when items are on sale at Walgreens, you can often get them cheaper at a discount retailer like Walmart.

Expiration dates: CVS usually gives you a month to redeem the Extra Bucks coupons you receive. Walgreens only gives you two weeks. Sometimes, Walgreens doesn’t have anything on sale I want within two weeks, and I have to use the coupons on something else.

Bonuses: CVS gives you bonus Extra Bucks on a seasonal basis, based on how much you’ve spent in the store in the preceding months. Walgreens can’t offer this feature since you don’t register to use the Register Rewards program.

Signage: I have lived in two different states this year and shopped at Walgreens stores in both locations. I consistently find the stores do a poor job of putting up signs to help you identify which specific products are included in the Register Rewards program that week. For example, there may be 15 types of Colgate toothpaste on the shelf, but only one specific type and size qualifies for the reward.

In-store coupons: To get sale prices on many of its items, Walgreens requires you to redeem coupons you must clip out of its weekly ads. This is just silly. If it’s on sale, just give me the sales price without the hassle.

The disadvantages of shopping at Walgreens and using its rewards program far outweigh the benefits. I recommend spending your time targeting savings at other stores.

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