maximizing your mypoints rewards

January 23rd, 2008

Maximizing Your MyPoints Rewards

A while back, I wrote a post about the different paid survey sites I use and why. I have tried a large number of sites and I have kept the ones that for me, give the most reward for the amount of effort. One of the sites I wrote about I noted wasn’t a survey site at all, but instead a reward program called MyPoints. It is one of the very few sites I use that does not pay cash rewards, instead they pay in gift cards. However, there is a huge selection of gift cards you can choose from and a number of stores I use regularly are among them, which to me, makes it similar to getting cash.

The program is pretty simple. there are a few ways to earn “points” – one, you can click through the emails they send you (the emails all come from MyPoints, but the clickthroughs are to third-party sites, usually nationally-recognized chains) and you get 5 points per email clickthrough. You can buy merchandise through their portal, and you get points for that as well. They also occasionally have surveys you can take for points. Generally, I set up my email program to automatically filter their emails to a folder, and every few days I go through a clickthrough frenzy and catch up completely. I have earned the majority of my points with simply email clickthroughs, and have already earned a $10 Target gift card and have enough points now for another $25 gift card.

I realized when deciding what to redeem my points for this time that I wasn’t really maximizing the usefulness of the points I was using. There is a huge list of vendors you can get gift cards for, and different vendors have cards for varying amounts of points – it isn’t a flat point rate across the board. So I developed a few guidelines I am going to use in the future to maximize the effectiveness of my points and get the most value for them.

1. List what you currently use as far as stores, not what you “want” to use.

As I stated earlier, there are a ton of different vendors, from amazon.com to Target to Walmart to specialty stores like Bath and Body Works and The Gap… way too many to list here. Go through the entire list, and make your own list of what you actually currently use. These are the stores that have the most value to you – getting MyPoints to pay for expenses you already have is much better than adding “prizes” to your life with the points. I have this problem myself – I found myself getting a Target gift card even though I don’t need to shop at Target, I just want to. The first time, I actually had something I needed to get there, but with my current redemption, I was just getting it because I like Target. This made me re-examine my thinking on that and I generated a list of stores that I actually shop at even if I don’t have “free money” there.

2. Do you typically give gift cards as gifts or shop for holidays at stores outside your normal routine?

If you generally give gift cards as gifts, this can be an excellent way to get those gift cards. Alternatively, if you shop at different stores for the holidays than you usually shop at, add those to your list if they appear here. A complete list of what is useful to you is needed before we can compare point values. For example, I shop at LL Bean only at Christmas for my father-in-law. My Points has LL Bean gift cards, which I could use to get his gifts, so I added that to the list for comparison.

3. Compare different redemption amounts within a single vendor.

Now that you have a comprehensive list of what you use, look at each vendor and figure out which point redemption amount is the best value. To do this, look at the lowest redemption amount, usually $10, and compare it to the higher dollar redemptions to see what the value of each point is. I am going to use two examples, Target and CVS. Target costs 1500 points for $10, 3750 points for $25, and 7500 points for $50. If we take $10.00 and divide by 1500 points, we get a value approximately $0.00667 per point. The HIGHER that number is, the better the deal, because the higher that number is, the more each individual point is worth. I’d rather my points be worth half a cent each rather than a tenth of a cent. Doing that same math for the $25 and $50 values, you get the same value per point of $0.00667. So, in Target’s case, the $10 card, $25 card and $50 card have the same value per point, and there’s no reason to wait to earn enough for the $50 card, unless you want to.

Now let’s look at CVS. CVS has 1450 for $10, 3500 for $25, and 6750 for $50. If we do the same math (divide the dollar amount by number of points it costs) we find that the approximate value of each point is $0.00690 for the $10 card, $0.00714 for the $25 card, and $0.00741 for the $50 card. In this case, the points are not equal and there is clear value in waiting until you have enough points for the $50 card. If you want to get really math-geeky, you can take the value per point of the $50 card and subtract the value per point of the $10 card to get the difference between them, or in other words, how much more in fractions of a penny the points are worth in the $50 card vs the $10 (about $0.000511) and multiply that by the number of points you use to redeem a $50 card (6750) and get a total “bonus” for waiting until the $50 card of $3.44. Basically, you got $3.44 more by getting a $50 card for the number of points you have to use to get it than you would have by redeeming points for $10 cards all along.

Take home lesson – find the best value for each of the vendors you are interested in. If you need more help with the math, I am more than happy to assist. :) Oh and take home lesson #2 – small savings add up! We’re talking fractions of pennies adding up to dollars! I love it.

4. Look for “point bargains” by comparing the point redemption value across vendors.

As the last example illustrated, not all vendors “sell” their cards for the same amount of points. So now that you know which point value for each vendor is the best value, you need to compare your chosen vendors to get the ultimate deal. There are some hugely discounted items in the list, but do not fall for them unless they are part of your normal spending! But if they are – great! Snap them up. :)

In my above example, if Target and CVS are both on my list, CVS is the better deal as far as value per point, and the CVS $50 card is the best deal within that. You can compare your list in pairs – if you have 4 vendors, compare #1 and #2. Say #2 is the best value. then compare #2 to #3. Say here, again, #2 is the best value. Compare #2 to #4. Here. we’ll say #4 is the best value. You now know #4 is the best value overall, because #2 was better than #1 and #3 so if #4 is better than #2, it has to be better than #1 and #3 too.

If that makes no sense you can compare each individually as well. It just takes a little longer. :)

For me, once I did all the calculations, it ended up that an LL Bean gift card was the best value for my points. You can actually get a $100 gift card that each point is worth $0.00833. But I don’t spend $100 at LL Bean a year, I generally spend ~$50. the $50 card is still a great value at $0.008 per point, though, better than the rest of my list (Amazon, Walmart, and CVS). I am trying to decide if it is worth the $3.99 extra I would make for my points (compared to the $50 card) to redeem for a $100 gift card and use it for Christmas presents two years in a row. It’ll be a while until I earn that many points though, so I have time to consider it.

It is a little math-intensive but really, not that bad! The magic formula is $$ of card divided by # of points card costs – and you want that result to be as LARGE as possible. But remember – pick things you actually use! Sure a $5 NetZero card is a GREAT deal with a point value of $0.01 per point, but I do not useNetZero, so what is that doing for me?

Good luck and post your favorite deals in the comments! I’ve included a table of common card costs and what that translates into for value per point.

$10 gift cards: (cost of card in points: $ value of each point, the higher the better!)

  • 1400 points: $0.00714
  • 1450 points: $0.00690
  • 1500 points: $0.00667

$25 gift cards:

  • 3250 points: $0.00769
  • 3500 points: $0.00714
  • 3750 points: $0.00667

$50 gift cards:

  • 6250 points: $0.008
  • 6750 points: $0.00741
  • 7250 points: $0.00690
  • 7500 points: $0.00667

$100 gift cards:

  • 12000 points: $0.00833
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41 Responses to “Maximizing Your MyPoints Rewards”

  1. I have been wanting to try this one out for a while. The only thing holding me back was that I use Upromise for most of my shopping, because it is linked to the kids’ 529 accounts. With Mypoints can you earn points in other ways than shopping?

  2. Yes you can! I’ve earned about 5000 points over the course of the past 6 months and the vast majority has been just doing email clickthroughs or taking surveys. And a few random downloands of free software I wanted anyway (like a weather channel widget on my desktop).

  3. MyPoints is a good rewards program. Sometimes I even get extra points by signing up for a newsletter but I send it to my “spam” email account instead of my primary. I use the rewards points for “Shell” gift cards because … hey … who isn’t spending a fortune on gasoline??

  4. wow, I always thought it was just for shopping! That is great! I will be signing up through your link RIGHT NOW! Thanks so much!

    Take Care

    LJ

  5. I love MyPoints. Have made quite a bit so far.

  6. I, too, use MyPoints. I just claimed my first reward, a $25 Panera gift card (I

  7. I can see really maximizing your frugalness by using the Mypoints credits to get a CVS card, then using it for OOP amounts when working the Exta Care program. By golly, I think I am getting the hang of things now.

  8. I have been using MyPoints for years now and get most of my points in the email clickthroughs. I use my points for WalMart cards because that is where I do most of my shopping and also for Red Lobster cards for my annual birthday dinner.

    I was looking at your point calculation and the decimals might be a bit confusing. I calculate my points the other way around, by dividing the total points by the cash value so that gives you the number of points you need to spend per dollar.

    Using your examples:
    Target costs 1500 points for $10, 3750 points for $25, and 7500 points for $50

    1500/10= 150 points per dollar
    3750 points/$25 = 150 points per dollar etc….so they are all the same value.

    THEN:
    CVS has 1450 for $10, 3500 for $25, and 6750 for $50
    1450 points/$10 = 145 points per dollar
    3500 points/$25 = 140 points
    and 6750/50= 135 points per dollar so it is best to wait for the $50 card.

    This is an easier calculation than using the decimals and I just wanted to share another way of looking at it with you.

  9. I up to 2,000 points. My wife and I both do it to double the points. We’ve even discussed letting our kids :-)

    GREAT tips, thank you!

  10. @ lulu – Thanks! That is a good way of looking at it! I am sure people who hate the fact I did all this math will love you for commenting :) . Thanks!

    I like to calculate the total money I “make” from the saving of points, which is why I look at it as a “my points are worth how much in fractions of a cent” but your way is much more straightforward. I get a little excitable sometimes.

    LL Bean: $100 card is 120 points per dollar. Great value! ;)

  11. D’oh! I was wondering about MyPoints, wrote a blog post about it, then found your wonderful post today. Wish I read it here first!

    I’m glad that it’s legit.

    For people who are just signing up with MyPoints–if they have an Entertainment Book, they can use a coupon code inside it to get 750 bonus points.

  12. @Kacie – if you don’t have an entertainment book and buy it through MyPoints, you get 750 bonus points too. I think. At least, that is what I remember from the email :)

  13. I should really get into that. I can probably find a few minutes here and there to do it.

  14. Just came to your site from MyDollarPlan. I signed up for MyPoints this month from either reading it here, or somewhere else, I can’t remember.

    Wanted to note I did analysis on the points as well and broke them down by retailer and a dollar per point ratio. I included the Excel on my site. Feel free to look at the post at: http://www.nodebtplan.net/2008/02/26/an-introduction-to-my-points/

    I just thought it was funny that another person had done analysis, too. I have a thing for spreadsheets…

    Thanks!

  15. Rhonda Meyers Says:

    March 25th, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    MyPoints is a scam. You try to collect points and when you get to any level where you can get something, they freeze your account. They are not in the least way rewarding. Don’t use them, don’t refer your friends, just don’t put yourself through the pain. It takes about 4 months to get to a reward, only for them to cancel your account. When you address them concerning this, they convieniently don’t have your information on record. It is a fraud, a SCAM, you will be wasting your time. Get a real job. It takes about an hour to earn 100 points if you wait and let the emails build up. So you are earning less than one dollar an hour. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time elsewhere?

    Rhonda

  16. Rhonda, that’s too bad you had a bad experience. I’ve earned (and received) several rewards so it isn’t a scam, at least not to me.

    I can click through emails at a much faster rate than 20 an hour, and I do it when i am waiting for my son’s bus or nursing my daughter and can’t do much else, so for me it is earning money when i wouldn’t be – not replacing money I could be earning. I would never consider something like MyPoints to be a “job”. For me it has worked really well.

  17. MyPoints has the strong smell of a scam. Many of the above comments sound like they’ve been submitted by employees, affiliates or other shills of MyPoints–a common practice for vendors who want to deceive others into getting involved, providing credit/debit card information, etc.

  18. I’m not sure what program you signed up for, but I have not given any financial information of any kind to MyPoints. No debit card, credit card, or anything else.

  19. I have been a member of mypoints since they started and I have gotten a gift card about every year since then. I don’t do much other than the emails or I would get more than 1 year. I know Mypoints isn’t a scam.

  20. I’ve been using MyPoints for years also. I’m in no way affiliated with them. I did only email clickthroughs at first. A couple years ago I signed up for the MyPoints credit card. I’m a truck driver. I use this credit card all over the country while I’m on the road and also buy my gas and cigarettes with it. Each month I pay it off in full. I get an extra 600-800 points per month by using their credit card for all my road expenses. Plus it’s much easier than using my debit card and keeping track of all those transactions to put in my bankbook. MyPoints is by no means a scam. I’ve gotten a lot of gift cards thru them. I rarely do the MyPoints emails anymore. But I think I’m going to start doing them again. I’ll get rewards really fast then. I love MyPoints!

  21. I believe MyPoints must be having some financial problems lately…MyPoints has turned into more of a SCAM. I have found out that recently many people after spending hours on surveys and clicking on sites that led to tons of spam and just earning enough points for a decent reward have their account closed without any explanation and no replies back. Dont waste your time!

  22. MyPoints used to be good. Now they closed my account just when I gathered enough points for a gift card. They are definitely turning into a scam. Spend your time doing something else if you don’t want to be tricked.

  23. I find it it takes a long time to get the gift cards as i don’t do any shopping via mypoints or any of the paid offers.

  24. I just found this website today, and wanted to look at the math. I’ve been a member of mypoints for about 2 years now, and have received a total of 3 reward cards. Even got 2 at in last Dec to help with some of my gift giving. I’ve had issues with mypoints and have contacted them and they took care of the problem right away. I’m sorry some of the above people have had such hard times with mypoints, but it simply is not a scam. I earn most of my points through the emails, and s a member of BzzAgents who rewards us through mypoints. I don’t think a company like BzzAgents would pick a company to affiliate with if they knew they were a scam.

  25. I was removed off my points for some reason. I didn’t do anything to violate terms of service.

    I got an email like normal and clicked on the link.

    I referred a lot of friends to it because they were real good about sending gift cards. I was saving the points up and I think someone assumed with the amount of points I must have been cheating which was untrue.

    It stated your account has been canceled, I emailed and they claimed I had more than one email account.

    Which wasn’t true, so I told them that and i doubt I will get any email back from them, but at one time it was a good site.

  26. I just found this today and wanted to address the people claiming MyPoints is a scam. I just celebrated my TENTH anniversary with MyPoints. I earn, on average, $100 in gift cards a year. I do most of this through click thru emails. I have never had anything but the best service from MyPoints. I have always gotten my gift cards quickly after I order them and have never had my account closed for any reason.

    I wonder if those people are confusing MyPoints with another, less reputable service. Especially since one commenter referred to getting 100 emails an hour. I usually received 3 or 4 emails a day and those are worth 5 points each, not a penny. I also notice that people referred to being sent to SPAM sites through MyPoints. My emails take me to sites like Old Navy, Avon or Omaha Steaks. I don’t know what sites they’re talking about.

  27. What a great post. I knew that not all gc’s were the same but I love that you went the extra to figure out whether it was worth holding out for the $25 vs $50 gc! Brilliant!
    Thanks for posting!

  28. Janice Phillips Says:

    December 18th, 2010 at 10:44 am

    On Oct 10, 2010, I redeemed some point for a $50 VISA Prepaid Card. A week later, I had to unexpectedly move. I spent at least a week communicating with the customer service department to find out how the reward was shipped — USPS, UPS or FedEx. As it turned out it was being shipped via USPS. The second part of my question — the important part — was if it was forwardable … never got answered. They just repeated that it would be sent via USPS. Having worked for the US Postal Service for over 15 years I made it simple for them to answer the question. I still got the “canned” email, repeating yet again that it would be sent via USPS.
    In Dec 2, I initiated another customer service request. I bet the same thing happens.
    Any suggestions from those who have received their cards?
    Dec 17-Con’t from previous post…
    Response: We are in touch with the Rewards department on your behalf and are awaiting a response. Due to the fact that the research process can be an intensive one, please allow 3-4 weeks for this issue to be resolved. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your continued patience.
    My Reply: Can you tell me why I could not get a satisfactory response when I originally inquired about the situation?
    Response:We are currently investigating this issue and assure you it will be resolved within 2-3 weeks. We will notify you of the resolution once we hear back from our Redemption Fulfillment department. We thank you for your understanding and continued patience.We appreciate your participation in the MyPoints program. Please let us know if you have any more questions!
    I have asked the question 3 more times, and responses have been the same.

  29. If you are still using MyPoints, the CVS cards may not be your best bet. You can earn 25000 miles on United with 50000 points. That may only equal a $300 flight, which would be about the same points per $, but it could also equal a last minute $1000 flight, which would be (obviously) considerably better from a points per dollar standpoint.

  30. MyPoint is indeed a big SCAM!

    I’m another person who’s gotten ‘screwed over’ royally by MyPoints. I’d actually been a member since late 1998 and had never even redeemed my points once, as I wanted to accumulate a large amount and get something really nice with them.

    Well, having accumulated a huge number of points through them (over a faithful 12+ years!!!), I just today got an email saying that my MyPoints account was canceled. They said I’d violated their ‘Terms of Service’ somehow, though no definite reason was given. All my points were canceled.

    I’d advise everyone: Don’t waste your time with MyPoints. You’ll be clicking your brains out – for absolutely nothing!

    I’m going to talk to the BBB about them.
    You’ve been warned – so beware MyPoints!!

  31. Total Scam, I used them for 10 years, even in the beginning I earned a car rental. Lo and behold out of nowhere my account was closed. I asked why and they mysteriously cant find my account. I had earned a ton of points and wanted to cash out. Shame on them for the scam, they were such a good company.

  32. I’ve been a Mypoints member for over a year and have earned a sler of gift cards, e.g. Shell Oil, Amazon.com, Walmart, etc. I not only earn points with the “click-thru” opportunities but also taking the surveys. It doesn’t stop there! I do shopping online not only for myself but for family and friends as well. I take advantage of Mypoints special offers. Purchases at Walmart.com usually earn 2 points per dollar spent but an email informed me that for a limited time points were increased to 8 per dollar spent! I knew a friend was in the market for a Dyson vacuum so she agreed to let me order it for her. I had it shipped to her local Walmart in North Carolina (at no additional charge). I was awarded 4,000 points AND I charged it to my credit card and earned Cash Reward points as well. I always check the Mypoints site before I order anything and 9 times out of 10 the vendor is listed. I LOVE MYPOINTS!

  33. I just, two days ago received a 25 dollar gift card for Wal-Mart from My Points. My boyfriend and I have been members for years. No it’s not a job or a scam. It’s extra money in my pocket just for opening emails. I LOVBE IT!!

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