Food & Drink

Saving Centsably: Accrue Verizon Rewards points

Have you noticed during the last few months that your Verizon Wireless bill is showing that you are accruing rewards points? Recently, Verizon Wireless began rewarding loyal consumers by accruing points.

For those who have just joined Verizon Wireless, you will find that you have at least 10,000 points. Each month that Verizon customers pay their bills, the points increase in the rewards account.

So how can these rewards points be used? First, Verizon Rewards offers auctions and sweepstakes. These are probably two ways in which I would not use our rewards. Another way the Verizon Rewards can be used is through Daily Deal purchases. Simply enter your zip code in the search function on the Verizon Rewards Deal site and local deals will be offered. A third way to use the points would be to purchase gift cards or merchandise on the Verizon Rewards website.

I have to say that I have been disappointed in the value of the rewards points. I have been a Verizon customer since 2008, and while I am sure the rewards program has not been going on for a long time, we do pay a large bill each month. The points have really added up -- we have more than 110,000.

Unfortunately, when I attempt to use my points, I find that they are only worth approximately 1 cent. For example, if I want to purchase a gift card for $50, I may save $5 by spending 500 of my Verizon Reward points.

The second problem I see with the Verizon Rewards program is that the gift card purchases are so large. If I want to buy a gift card for a restaurant or a retail store, most of the gift cards available for purchase are in the $50 range. With savings, most of them still cost $45 out of pocket.

Because I so often purchase items with coupons and inexpensive gift cards, forking over such a large chunk of change just to receive a 10-percent savings does not seem worth it. Studies also show that Americans have millions of dollars tied up in gift cards that either never get spent because the balance remaining on the card is small or because the gift cards get lost.

I did receive an email offering 1GB of data if I chose to spend my points on it. On one hand, that seemed like a nice offer -- something I could really use. On the other hand, we try to be very guarded about our data. There have been times that careless usage has resulted in penalties and fees. I chose not to spend my points on a one-month data increase, as we have found that the more we use the phones and data, the more we are likely to continue using the phones and data.

While the overage might be covered by my rewards points this month, what will happen next month when our “accustomed usage” continues to increase? To avoid fees, I would increase my data plan, and so on. In the long run, I can see this offer creating more problems than savings.

For now, I plant to continue accumulating my points. I am hoping that soon I will be able to score a gift card with at least a 50-percent savings. As the rewards program begins to get some attention, greater savings opportunities might come along. Perhaps as the rewards program continues a time will come that I will find a good bit of savings.

Have you used your Verizon Rewards points? How did you spend yours?