Upromise’s New McDonald’s Offer — Too Much Hype

September 4, 2007 · 0 comments

When I read the news release last week about Upromise’s new offer to rebate members 1% on the purchase or reloading of McDonald’s Arch Cards (that’s the relatively-new McD’s reloadable plastic GCs), I deleted it with no intention to bother posting about it here. I’ve seen others blogging about it like it’s really something super-awesome and special, and I’m sorry, but I’m not on the bandwagon.
I guess what the hoopla is about, is that you get the 1% to your Upromise account when your Arch Card is reloaded, which doesn’t have to be done at Upromise’s website. Once you buy the card at a McDonald’s restaurant, you go home, log onto Upromise, and register the card number. They’ll give you 1% back on the original amount you put on the card plus any reloads (you have 30 days to register the card number after you buy the Arch Card, and the original buy and any reloads are retroactive). Once they have your card number, they use it to track any future reloads in order to credit your Upromise account the 1%.
First of all, we’re talking earning ONE percent when you buy a gift card to McDonald’s. So? Upromise already offers a 3% rebate on restaurant gift certificates through GiftCertificates.com! GiftCertificates.com doesn’t sell McDonald’s gift cards, but they do sell Sonic, Jack-in-the-Box, and Domino’s Pizza, among others. (And, I might note, you could actually do better at Ebates, earning 4% on GiftCertificates.com purchases!) Or, you could register a credit or debit card at Upromise and eat out at one of the restaurants that participate in their Upromise Dining program — you’d earn 8%, and (at least in my area) this includes Pizza Hut!
Second point I want to make: How much McDonald’s food would you have to eat to make this really add up toward your child’s education? Okay, I have a family of four, it runs us about $15 every time we eat at McDonald’s, and we do that once a week. Let’s just be generous and say we go twice a week. That’s $30 a week, $120 a month, and at 1% using the Arch Card, I’ve earned…$1.20 that month toward my children’s college education. If I con the kids into holding the cheese on the Happy Meals, I’d save that much in a month…plus I could just use my debit card and avoid the hassle of having to keep my Arch Card sufficiently loaded/reloaded!
And, I’m just thinking, eating McD’s twice a week, my kids would probably die of heart disease from all the cholesterol before they even hit college age!
Now here’s an idea: Don’t go to McDonald’s at all — eat a sandwich at home or at the office and put THAT savings into your kids’ college savings account!
Don’t get me wrong — I think Upromise is a good rewards program with an admirable intent. I just think this particular “innovative new program” doesn’t live up to the hype.
Join Upromise here, or join Ebates here.

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