In a move that’s sure to upset a lot of folks, Best Buy’s RewardZone sent out an email this morning announcing that it is changing a few key details of its program, as of October 31, 2009:
First, RewardZone certificates will no longer be available by mail; members will have to access their account online and print certificates from there. They say this is to save paper — isn’t it sweet of them to be so environmentally conscious? But let’s be honest — whether they print it or you print it, all it’s saving is an envelope and a stamp — I’m sure reducing their mailing expense is really behind this change.
Second, RewardZone certificates are no longer transferable. You can’t give them as a gift to someone else. (I honestly didn’t know you could do that in the first place.)
Third, you must make at least one RewardZone purchase a year to remain in the program. (Not sure why this should matter to Best Buy; the program is free — the member can just sign up again!)
But the most controversial change is this: points now have an expiration date — at the end of the year, certificates will be awarded automatically if you earned them (if your balance exceeds 250), but any points remaining in your account under 250 will be zeroed out.
This is going to eliminate a nice chunk of debt for Best Buy, as points earned but not yet redeemed are a form of accounts payable. If a million members had just 25 points left in their account at year end, this change allows Best Buy to write off $100,000 in debt.
This illustrates one of the reasons why I hate points programs. A point is worth 2 cents with RewardZone’s current redemption rate. If Best Buy decided to just KEEP 50 cents they owed a million people, there would be a big outcry…but by using points, they can pull something like this and get away with it.
Sad…but yet another sign of the times.
Click Continue to read the text of the email if you missed it; go to RewardZone’s website if you want to read the new member agreement.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
Your Reward Zone® program is changing on October 31, 2009
* Get reward certificates faster online
* Receive benefits more safely and securely
* Be more environmentally friendly
Visit MyRZ.com for the full rules before the following changes take effect:
* Reward certificates will only be available at MyRZ.com
To help reduce the amount of paper we use, certificates will no longer be delivered via mail.
* Reward certificates will no longer be transferable
This safety measure helps prevent others from redeeming your reward certificates without your knowledge.
* Lastly, for the following two conditions, points will be cashed out, available certificates will be sent, and any remaining points under 250 will be forfeited:
- You will need to use your points in the year they are earned. Reward Zone is becoming an annual program, which means that points no longer roll over from year-to-year.
- You will need to make one purchase every 12 months to remain in the program.
We appreciate your membership, and we want to help you take full advantage of the Reward Zone program.
Please visit MyRZ.com.
Thank you from the Best Buy® Reward Zone program.