Rewarding Rewards

It seems like everybody who sends me an e-mail or wants my money has a “rewards” program.  Sign up for this thing, spend a certain amount of money, and accrue “points” towards some sort of specious goal. Except, the advertised goal actually requires so many points that you never really achieve it, or the other options are hardly worth the bother.

I have an account with the hotel chain that I used to work for, because they rewarded their employees for good customer service with “points” towards free hotel rooms and various other things. I have, like, 2600 points in that account… Which sounds great, but the cheapest thing you can actually redeem for is, like, 90,000 points. If I was someone who stayed in hotels frequently, that might sort of make sense. For now, it’s just annoying because I get e-mails encouraging me to spend my reward points, but there’s nothing I can actually spend them on and no reason or way to accrue more.

A few of the clothing retailers I get e-mails from advertise “rewards” programs where you get an additional 5% off the total cost of a purchase, but you have to use their proprietary credit card, which of course has silly rates that easily exceed in fees the percentage that you “save” by using it as payment.

One of the few rewards programs that I have encountered that is actually, consistently rewarding is the Huggies diapers points program. They have some lottery-style rewards where each point is basically an entry in a sweepstakes, but if you collect points for awhile, you can get actual items.

I have been using Huggies diapers pretty much non-stop for the last six years, so I’ve had the chance to accrue quite a few points. When I started collecting the points on the website, the rewards were mostly little toys and subscriptions to magazines that I would never actually read.  I found a few things that I liked, but they were silly expensive, so I just saved up the points for that much longer. Diapers are one of the things that we consistently purchase in relatively large quanities, so as long as I remembered to save the codes, points actually accrued. I have gotten a couple of really nice toys for the kids this way. They were real, brand-name toys that came nicely packaged and they didn’t even charge a shipping fee.

Lately, they’ve started adding some more grown-up themed items to the rewards catalog, and I managed to get a $25 Amazon gift certificate. So cool! Real money for anything I want to get for me. What did I end up getting?

A magnifying lamp/holder thingie, some itty bitty tweezers and a needle file set for my ridiculous, fiddly hobby with its fussy tasks and microscopic parts.

But still…. I got it with diaper points!

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