…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
“The word sceptic comes from a Greek word meaning ‘I look about’, and a sceptic is one who looks about him before he comes to a decision…” – Arthur Mee, Children’s Encyclopedia
I mentioned the above quote in my previous post but it’s perfectly relevant here too, on a topic about Reward Points. Do you collect them yourselves with the various shops and services you use regularly? Often I think the pickings are too slim to bother, but I have found some schemes worthwhile signing up to if I use them regularly, with some schemes I find myself subscribed to them automatically. Today I’ve had three reward point schemes show their faces to me:
Lets begin with the first: Mobile Phone. I’ve only ever used Vodafone as my mobile phone service provider so I don’t know how they compare to others. I’m not a heavy user and being a PayAsYouGo customer works fine for me; sometimes sales people phone me up and try and offer me a “better deal” but they’re really wasting their time.
Vodafone had a rewards points scheme for a while, or rather “rewardz” points and at first collected those towards a shopping voucher for groceries. Then they changed the scheme and that shop was no longer part of it and at first all the points could only be spent on what I called “tat”; pointless gadgetry that wasn’t worth a dime (money or points, to me), I actually pointed this out along with other issues I was having with my account at that time (I’ve had a few over recent years), but then they started including credit packs in their points scheme and that has worked out well; over the past couple of years, by using credit packs and spending my points on credit too I’ve halved the cost of my already small phone bill.
Then today I get a text message from Vodafone saying I can get 30 minutes worth of calling credit for free just by texting HAPPY to them.
It sounds like a good deal huh? The thing is, those minutes only last for 7 days, I have until midnight to apply for them, and I’m already in the middle of a credit pack, meaning I’ll have about 1 day to use those minutes; I don’t make casual phone calls so in all it’s a pretty pointless offering.
EDIT!! I left it until the last minute to apply for the free minutes, thinking that they would last me 7 days from that point and not overlap my existing minutes too much (which also have an expiry date)… but no. After applying I received a text message confirming the date they would expire: 7 days from the point of the offer (not me applying)! Thwarted – I’ll have about half a day to use them by my reckoning! A pointless offer, and it says: “no catch” – I might contact them about this; they often give me free minutes when I raise an issue with them 😉
Next, Grocery Shopping. I was at my usual local Co-Op store, and as always the checkout staff ask if I have a “Co-Op Card”, for which I don’t, but I had thought about it; typically my weekly or bi-weekly receipt informs me I could have earned 30-40p on their points system to spend in store, and a few pence for local causes, which on the face of it sounds pointless, but over the course of the year that would amount to around £15; or a week’s free shopping for me. So I signed up today, cautiously.
The first thing one is notified of when signing up to the Co-Op points scheme is that it costs you £1, so that’s already £1 off the £15 I was hoping to gain. Then I turned to the terms and conditions where some other points to consider were lurking:
7.2 “We can change the percentage you get back (your 5% and 1%) at any time.”
8.2 You can spend some or all of your 5% in any of these Co-op businesses …
8.1.1 Co-op Food [where I’ll be spending my saving] … We may change participating Co-op businesses from time to time.
8.3 For as long as you remain a Member your 5% never expires. [which kind of contradicts 7.2, read on…]
10.5 At the end of each Financial Year your points go back to zero and you start building up points for the next Financial Year. Our Financial Year ends on the first Saturday in January each year.
That final point I think should be made upfront, not only in the Ts&Cs. Points don’t last indefinitely and you need to be aware of the expiry date; I’ve made a note of it to ensure I cash in on time.
And finally, Utility Services, namely my electricity supplier, actually my previous one, E-on, as I recently switched, but they wrote to me today informing me that their Reward Points scheme will be ending in a couple of months. I logged in to discovered I’d accumulated £25’s worth of points.
The ‘catch’ here was that me points could be transferred to either a Tesco Clubcard (I don’t shop at Tesco), or “Bonusbond” highstreet voucher scheme. The latter seemed reasonable except the only store I could see that I use enough to warrant have £25 spending money at was Argos. My other option is to give my mum the Tesco points and her give me the money for them. I’m still deciding.
So there we are, my day of Reward Point Procrastination.