I’m always interested in rewards programs. I’ve been doing them for years and have made a decent chunk of change doing so. Nothing amazing, but a few hundred bucks without a lot of effort. Recently I stumbled upon Plink – which is an interesting variation on traditional rewards program – and one which I think has a lot of potential.
Essentially, one signs up for a free account and links one’s credit card/debit card to the account. You are then able to select from a number of businesses you’d like to earn “points” from. You receive points as you make purchases from these businesses.
Right now the businesses available to me include Dollar General, Kmart, Sears, Old Navy, Gap, Burger King, Outback Steakhouse, Arby’s, 1-800-Flowers, Taco Bell, Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres, 7-Eleven, Red Robin, Quiznos, and Dunkin Donuts.
Honestly, I don’t really use any of those – so for me it isn’t that effective at the moment, but if they add say Chick-fil-a, Target, and BP – I’d be all over it.
The one annoying thing is that there is a cap to the amount of points one can receive from each business. In other words, spend too much money and you’ll stop earning additional points. I understand why Plink does it this way – it is better for the businesses – they only have to “pay out” for customers for a short time and hopefully get the long-term benefits of customers who stick around.
Plink also offers the ability to earn points through gift cards and travel. Some of the businesses here include Red Robin, REI, Lowe’s, CVS, and Regal Cinemas. Now, I’d consider buying my gift cards for Lowes through here – not b/c I give away gift cards but b/c I could buy them for myself, use them, and earn points at the same time.
Finally, Plink allows one to earn points through travel related purchases – and this would be a nifty way for anyone who travels frequently to earn points. Some of the partner businesses include Holiday Inn (including Express), Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, American Airlines, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Alamo Rent a Car.
But, lets say I do use Plink. How easy is it to actually rack up rewards? Well, it appears that a plink point roughly translates into $.01. So, 2,500 plink points will get you a $25 gift card, 1,000 plink points a $10 gift card.
I’d estimate for someone who frequents the available businesses and/or travels you could easily earn $25-$100/yr. in gift cards without expending significant effort.
After looking further at the points awarded for purchasing gift cards, I don’t think I’d utilize it – the hassle of purchasing gift cards to make purchases is too high and the number of points received (15 per $10) is too low to make it worthwhile (unless you are a business).