BondRewards Program Review

June 2, 2006 · 7 comments

BondRewards ReviewUpdated, 10/07

Please click here to join.
Date Launched: Offline in 2000, private label program in 2002, relaunched as a consumer rewards program in March 2006
Reward Per Dollar Spent: Varies
Minimum to Cash Out: 50 Bond Dollars (equivalent to $25)
Cash Out For: US Savings Bonds
Earn For: Shopping, signups, referrals, reading emails
Limit One Account Per: US resident age 18 or older
Notes: This site began primarily as a private-label rewards program for some large unions in 2000. They hired MyPoints’ former COO, Charles Berman, in mid-2004. His vision was to make it less of a business-to-business program (running private label programs for the unions) and more of a business-to-consumer program (dealing directly with consumers). In March 2006, they relaunched the site as a consumer rewards program, increasing some of their rebate rates along the way.
This is the tricky part about the program: the only redemption option is the $50 US Savings Bond. These cost $25 to buy and aren’t guaranteed to reach the $50 face value for 20 years. They could reach it faster, depending on the current interest rate, but it won’t take more than 20 years, because the government promises to pay you $50 in 20 years. The bond can continue to accrue interest for an additional 10 years after that.
Now, if you buy something for $100 and BondDollars’ given rebate is 20%, you’ll earn $20 toward the FUTURE value of the savings bond ($50). Because the savings bond is purchased now for half of its face value, you’re only REALLY earning $10…half of what was stated on BondRewards’ site. You could, after all, earn $25 on another site and use it to buy your own Savings Bond. So, to me, what it’s worth in 20 years is really irrelevant; what matters is how much you’re earning NOW.
The only way to compare BondRewards’ rebates to other programs’ is to divide BR’s rates by 2. And this, I guess, is my only real qualm with the program.
BondRewards does have some advantages — if you’d like to earn US Savings Bonds, this is the only rewards program to my knowledge that will pay them. It’s a good way to be sure you build up your savings, and it’s got a guaranteed minimum earning rate, though you may earn more. Savings Bonds make great gifts, too. Just be sure that you remember that 50 Bond Dollars is really equal to $25 US dollars in the present…so half their stated rebate rates. Even halved, their rates are very competitive, and this is the program’s other advantage.
Examples:
eBags 15.3% — 7.65% halved, vs. 6% at Ebates or Fatwallet
Magazines.com 59.5% — 29.75% halved, vs. 25% at Fatwallet or 22% at Ebates
OldNavy 6.8% — 3.4% halved, vs. 3.3% at Fatwallet or 3% at Ebates
SmartBargains 11.9% — 5.95%, vs. 5% at Fatwallet or 3% at Ebates
I know this program is a little confusing; if you have questions I’ll try to clarify this post (just email me).
Also, note that you get 5 Bond Dollars ($2.50) just for signing up.
Like BondRewards? You may also like Upromise, BabyMint, or Ebates.
Related articles: 2007 Shopping Rebates Comparison Chart, BondRewards Doubles Rebates Today for Current Members, Rewards Program Membership Numbers, Busiest Rewards Programs, Disney Rewards and Rebates, Earn Rewards for Ebay, 2006 Year in Review, BondRewards Comments on Best Rebates Award, 2006 Shopping Rebates Comparison Chart, BondRewards Begins Paid Emails, What’s the Best Rewards Program?, Earn For Joining Blockbuster or Netflix
Updated, 10/07

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris July 26, 2006 at 1:48 pm

This program makes sense, so they value the reward at the bonds mature value… I noticed bonds earn over 5% interest right now and that they can actually mature witin 8-12 years. Considering I have a discipline problem when it comes to savings this is a great way to force me to save rather if you gave me money I would spend it.

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Frank September 13, 2006 at 3:53 pm

The current interest rate for Patriot/EE Bonds till Oct 2006 is 3.7%. The rate changes in May/November but once you buy an EE bond then the rate is fixed at the current rate at the time of purchase.

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Rice October 5, 2007 at 10:35 pm

I do not trust this site though they claim high payout. I shopped several times through them and they always claim you did not. Pretty bad site. Better off go with ebates or fatwallet. They are more reliable.

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Lisa November 7, 2007 at 12:44 pm

I’m fairly new to the whole online rewards shopping experience, and BondRewards is the only actual service like this I belong to (all my others are credit card based). I’ve been a member for a little over a year. So far I have earned one $50 savings bond, and I have another 111.85 points in my account right now that I could cash out for a $100 bond (trying to hold out for a larger denomination savings bond right now, we’ll see how far I get with that). I have had a couple of problems with credits not posting and have had to go through customer service to get my points, but I *DID* get them in the end.
The only thing I don’t care for about the service is the way stores open in a new frame under their banner which can cause real problems with your security settings. I think this is a great service, but maybe not the best one for people who don’t really understand how browsers, cookies, and security settings work. It would be a lot nicer if you had a membership number you could give to stores, or maybe if you could register your credit cards for rewards with them, since that would make getting your points a lot more of a sure thing.
Overall though, great service, a lot of top brand stores, plenty of chances to get additional free points for surveys and accepting their promotional emails. They also send out nice specials like double points day, or free shipping at certain stores during a specific time frame, and more. I’d give them 2.5 out of three stars, since I do think they could stand to use a bit more reliable tracking method.

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mig January 2, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Thanks for explaining. It seemed too good to be true. This site’s offer is misleading at first. It took some research to figure out how they did this. They get an A for designing a revenue model for their own company, but I hate the way they worked their economics. If I really wanted an ee savings bond, I would go out and buy my own. I also feel like I want cash back NOW.

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April November 16, 2008 at 5:18 pm

It is too good to be true if you ask me. I guess if you do a lot of shiopping online But than they never state that is Mandatory to get your rewards.
I worked to gather said amount to cash in for a Savings bond
i go to do so and am now imformed that Oh wait you also have to earn not JUST by emails and surveys but shopping as well or else none of the points count.
NOTHING was ever said when I signed up about this.
Not to mention it is not in the FAQ’s but than nothing else is there either it says email them and gives NO email address.
I will stick with My Points I just got 3 $50.00 Gift cards in the mail one from Walmart one from Game Stop and one from Staples. I redeemed 3 weeks ago got cards this week. I have NEVER shopped online i have only answered surveys and clicked on emails.
They have not tossed any new Unheard of rules either when I went to shop
I am so mad that I wasted my time with this fake Bond rewards all in hopes of getting a Savings bond for my son. What a waste.

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Adam November 2, 2013 at 10:17 pm

In case anyone is reading these reviews anymore, I regret relying on the more favorable ones above in choosing Bond Rewards as my primary “cash back” resource. I now agree with “mig” and “April” who seemed to see long before I did that Bond Rewards is at the bottom of the cash-back trash barrel.

Not only do they “pay” their members 1/2 the rate that the site reports (on the pretext that US bonds initially cost 1/2 their face value), but they don’t truly pay you even that pittance. Members can only collect “earnings” in increments of 50 bond dollars ($25 “regular” dollars). With the “cash back” rate on BR averaging around 2% (reported as 4%), members must spend $1,250 (x 2%=$25) before collecting a PENNY from Bond Rewards! Even with tiny amounts credited for opening the site’s spam and completing its voluminous surveys, Bond Rewards compels a $1,000 shopping commitment from members before we can get anything. Rip. Off.

Stupid as I was to fall for the BR scam, with Bond Rewards (unlike this site it seems) still up and running all these years, I imagine others like me get nose deep Bond Rewards…mess…to the benefit of the site’s dishonest owners finally surrendering to the thieves and moving on.

That means the Bond Rewards scam artists continue to freely walk off with earnings their members brought in, without ever paying most of us at all. Like “mig” said in 2008–great earnings model for those running Bond Rewards. Theft is easy when victims let the thieves get away with it.

The totally unrewarding “Bond Rewards” should be shut down. From a consumer’s perspective, it has gotta be about the worst “cash back” site on the web.

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