To give you an idea of just how much people hate Verizon Rewards, I wrote a post about it last year that consistently gets angry comments — many of them calling me out because I found some measly shred of value in getting a 10% discount on gift cards. Now, even Verizon seems to agree.
A new program, VerizonUp, is replacing Verizon Rewards. It’s actually pretty good. The marketing copy explicitly talks about doing away with points and all the other crap that made Verizon Rewards so awful. (In that first post, I suggested that they were the least valuable rewards currency I ever saw, worth only 0.014 cents per point.)
VerizonUp is much simpler and bears a slight resemblance to T-Mobile’s much better T-Mobile Tuesdays. For every $300 you spend on your bill, you get a “credit.” I guess that’s like earning points. But you only need one credit to earn a free reward. These credits are actually worth something. Some examples include:
- 20% off 10 Uber rides in a month
- 1 GB of bonus data
- $10 credit when you buy a new device from Verizon
- $5 Starbucks gift card
- 3 months free trial to HBO NOW
- $25 off $75 purchase from Boxed
The Uber discount is probably the most valuable depending on how you use it. I just spent the last weekend traveling around San Francisco with Uber while some relatives are in town, and I’ve used three extra gigabytes of data since I’m living away from home and not always connected to WiFi.
In addition, your first reward is free — though I have yet to see it materialize in my account. My usual bill is $120 a month for two iPhones and one iPad, so I expect to earn one reward every 2-3 months.
Some of these deals seem to be ongoing promotional offers that have been re-packaged under the branding of a new partnership. (The exact same discount from Boxed is available through Amex Offers.) Verizon probably pays very little out of pocket. Look to the Starbucks gift cad for evidence of this. Everyone drinks coffee, right? Starbucks has no incentive to give away free gift cards, and predictably this is also the least valuable offer at only $5.
Still, you gotta hand it to them. A free latte every other month is better than I’ve managed to do so far under Verizon Rewards. All it takes is signing up now and letting the credits accumulate. About the only weakness I can spot is requiring people to download the My Verizon mobile app to earn and redeem these rewards. It pesters you to let it track your location even when the app is off and send push notifications. No, thank you.
As for the hundreds of thousands of points you already accumulated under the old system? Verizon is running a bunch of promotions and sweepstakes to help you drain your account, including new rewards you might actually want. Too bad they came so late.
I just redeemed 200,000 points last week for a chance at an all-inclusive trip to the Galapagos! But if you have a couple million points, maybe you can get this $600 espresso maker. Lol.