With more than 60 percent of customers participating in payments rewards programs, nobody was really surprised when Verizon rolled their own in 2014. The premise of Verizon’s program is simple: register and immediately receive points that you can spend on gift cards, discounts, travel, merchandise, auctions, car rentals, and other rewards. Sounds quite attractive, doesn’t it? Why did then Time decide to feature the program in their article titled “Dumb Rewards Programs You Should Skip?” That’s what we are going to talk about in this article, along with a handful of clever ways how you can spend your Verizon Smart Rewards points.
Verizon Smart Rewards Points
According to Verizon, “Verizon Smart Rewards is a rewards program through which you can earn points that can be redeemed for savings on merchandise, gift cards, travel, daily deals, and entering auctions and sweepstakes.”
To enroll in the program, you must have a Verizon account in good standing, have access to My Verizon, not be under a business contract with Verizon Wireless, and be a resident of the United States. If you meet these conditions, Verizon will automatically reward you with 10,000 points upon registration. You can check your current points balance at any time in My Verizon.
There are many different ways how you can earn extra points, including upgrading your dumb phone to a smartphone, keeping a connected tablet on your existing plan, receiving your bill electronically with paper-free billing, or attending a wireless workshop in person, among many others. Visit this page to read a complete table containing all existing ways to earn points.
How to Opt out of Verizon Selects
At the bottom of the long list of ways how to earn points is Verizon Selects, a targeted advertising program that “helps make marketing you see more personalized and useful to you across the devices and services you use,” describes the program Verizon on their FAQ page. By enrolling in this advertising program, you instantly get 2500 points at sing up and 500 points every month after that.
In turn, Verizon will collect information about your wireless device, including websites you visit, apps and features you use, and device and advertising identifiers; information about your device location; your postal and email addresses; information about your Verizon products and services and how you use them; and information they get from other companies, such as gender, age range, interests, shopping preferences, and ad responses. They then have your permission to share all of this information with AOL’s Advertising Network.
In a Los Angeles Times article, Patrick Connolly, a senior analyst with ABI Research, is quoted saying that programs such as Verizon Smart Rewards represent a location gold mine for big data analytics and advertising. They also represent a serious privacy threat, and you should think hard whether the extra points are worth giving up your privacy to advertisers.
If not, here’s how you can opt out of Verizon Selects:
- Log into your Verizon Wireless account
- Go to this link
- (OR) Go to My Verizon > My Profile > Verizon Selects Preferences
- There, check “Reset Verizon Selects web browsing and location history” and also check “Withdraw Content.” This step is very important, as both are unchecked by default.
Clever Ways How to Spend Your Verizon Smart Rewards Points
Verizon’s loyalty program is infamous for offering atrociously bad rewards. A single $25 Verizon gift card is often auctioned for nearly 200,000 points, which makes the whole deal laughable. Still, there’s a way clever ways how you can spend your Verizon Smart Rewards points and actually get something half-useful in return.
Verizon has a reasonably large network of partners that accept their points in exchange for discounts on gift cards. You can usually get 10 percent discount on a $100 gift card for 10,000 points. Notable chains include Sephora, Office Depot, and Royal Caribbean, an American global cruise company. Getting a 10 percent discount on a $500 Royal Caribbean gift card isn’t bad at all.
If you are a new member of the Verizon Smart Reward program, you can get a one-year subscription to the Wall Street Journal for 9,600 points. This is by far the most attractive magazine subscription Verizon offers. They also have Afar, Allure, Better Homes & Gardens, Cosmopolitan, ESPN Magazine, FamilyFun, Oprah, Rachel Ray Everyday, Redbook, Self, and Seventeen.
Many people who don’t care about gift cards and magazine subscriptions simply exchange their points for extra data. Verizon offers 1 GB of promotional data for 5,000 points, making it a great way how to get through a month of higher internet usage without paying even a single extra dollar. But this deal is limited and generally available.
How to Get a Verizon Wireless Gift Card for a Fraction of the Cost
From time to time, Verizon will offer Verizon Wireless Gift Cards for a fraction of their original cost. Those who are enrolled in Verizon Wireless Selects/Smart Rewards program can get a $5 Verizon Gift Card for just 500 Smart Rewards points or a $10 Verizon Gift Card for 1,000 Smart Rewards points. The only problem is that the deal is usually over in a matter of minutes, due to the extremely high demand.