Freeride has been the subject of a lot of member complaints in the past year from members waiting months for redemptions (some recent forum posters have complained that they’re still waiting on prizes from April and May), and with no response from Freeride’s customer service. Finally, about two weeks ago, Freeride began emailing back some of the more vocal complainers with the explanation that there had been some sort of system glitch that delayed their prizes, giving them the option to continue waiting or to opt instead for 500 points to their account “as a token of their appreciation” plus a Virtual Visa, which was promised within a week.
In the last few days, however, members with long outstanding redemptions have been sent an email saying they were getting the Virtual Visa instead — without making it an option…plus 250 points (not 500).
Meanwhile, the redemption costs for their GCs that have to be sent by postal mail have gone up. A $10 GC that used to cost 12,000 points is now 13,000. Obviously Freeride is trying to provide an incentive to members to cash out for emailable GCs, which don’t incur a shipping cost on their end.
At the current redemption rates, Freeride’s Virtual Visas are cheaper than snail-mailable GCs by 500 points for $10 GCs or 1,000 points for $25 or $50 ones. It seems to me that the bonus should be at LEAST the difference between the requested redemption and the VV cost.
The buzz on Freeride from the message forums is overwhelmingly negative, and it has been for months. Freeride is showing many of the classic signs of a rewards program in trouble: longer waits for redemptions, poor communication with members, and now, increased redemption costs. Until we get word that Freeride is making good on these old redemptions, and is sending out redemptions in a timely manner going forward, I’d suggest you do any shopping or spending offers on another rewards program.
FWIW, you can click Continue Reading to read the full text of the Freeride redemption substitution emails.
VERSION 1 (Where you can choose to substitute your prize)
Dear Valued FreeRider,
We thank you sincerely for your patience in the wait for your redemption. We are in the process of overhauling the technical side of the redemptions effort and we want to make sure that you are properly rewarded for all your efforts in the Freeride community.
That said, we would like to know if you are interested in receiving a Freeride Virtual Visa gift card, in lieu of your requested store gift card. Virtual Visas can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, unlike brand-specific gift cards, which can only be used with the store card