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The Latest In The World Of Rewards, Discount, and Cash Back Programs

Over the years, my opinion of rewards programs has been all over the map.  There were times when I was very excited and involved with certain programs and other times I had absolutely no interest.  My view has always been if can I get cash back or rewards on purchases that also make good financial sense, why not?  As an example, I would never pass up the best airfare deal simply to keep building points with a certain airline.  I do know people that are rewards fanatics that live and die by the programs that they participate in.  I have never been in that category of rewards member.  In this article, I want to address the issue of ‘rewards programs’ in general and address some specific programs of interest.  The key to rewards programs is to take advantage of them while at the same time making wise consumer choices.  This is why it makes a lot of sense to start by asking about rewards programs at the places you are already spending money.  Many businesses have these programs but only promote them outside their store.  The thrust of these programs is to draw in new customers. As an existing customer, they may make little effort to alert you to their program.

Rewards and discount programs I currently participate in: Holiday Inn Priority Club, Blastoff Internet Cash Back, A local sandwich shop (buy 10 lunches get one free), Winn Dixie Rewards (grocery chain), Go Daddy Internet, Marriot Rewards, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million. 

Blastoff Network
Blastoff is a very unique program and one that probably everyone should take a look at.  First, it is 100% free to join.  Once you are a member, you have access to more than 300 stores that pay you cash back monthly.  These are well-known brands such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, Priceline, Barnes & Noble, etc…  After you join, it is suggested that you make Blastoff your browser home page.  You can customize your page to choose your own news feeds, videos, etc…  Everything that you purchase through your Blastoff page pays you cash back monthly (up to 6%).  Additionally, if you get others to join Blastoff (so they can get cash back like you), you earn additional cash back rewards on their purchases (100% free for all to join).  This is an ideal rewards program since you don’t really have to change your purchase habits to cash in.  With over 300 brand name stores, it is likely that you are already purchasing from these online stores already.  Why not buy through your own Blastoff page and get the cash back?  A really fantastic program (see video below). 

Kmart 20% Discount For The Unemployed
Kmart will give unemployed workers a 20 percent discount off more than 1,500 of its regularly priced private-label grocery and drugstore products for up to six months.  Details and requirements for this program.

MyPoints Network
Earn points in the MyPoints Network not just by spending money, but you can also earn money by playing games, completing surveys, and Internet searching as well.  I much prefer the cash rewards offered by a program like Blastoff rather than points, but this program allows you to earn points for spending money as well as other non-spending activities.  I am not a member of this network, but they seem to have a good reputation online.  I would be interested in your feedback if you are.  Just like Blastoff, this one is also free to join.

Gas Reward Cards
Gas reward programs are very enticing, who doesn’t want free gas?  The downside is significant, since most gas credit cards charge 20 percent or more on any unpaid balance.  As a result, I would have to recommend great caution on programs like this. If you are not 100% disciplined and able to pay off your full balance each month, I would not keep a gas credit card in your wallet at all.  Additionally, I would always go for the lowest price per gallon rather than staying loyal to a particular brand simply due to a rewards program.  Best Gas Card Reward Programs

Best Websites For Comparing Credit Card Rewards Programs
Money Blue Book
More Rewards Programs



Rewards offered: U.S. Savings Bonds. Minimum to Redeem: 50 Bond Dollars (equivalent to $25) 



Rewards payable by check or PayPal quarterly, with a $5 payout minimum. Promotion: $5 for joining
and making your first purchase.



Rewards go to your PayPal account with no minimum after a waiting period of 3 to 4 months to
allow for returns and adjustments. Promotion: $5 bonus for first-time shoppers.



Rewards payable by check or by PayPal, any time your account reaches $10, after a 3 to 4 month
pending period.



Rewards Offered: check or deposit into a college savings account



Rewards redeemable for gift cards or merchandise. Minimum redeemable - $25

I am very interested in your feedback on this article.  If you use any of the above rewards programs, how you are benefiting (or not).  Use the comments section below to add your own thoughts and a link back to your own website or blog.

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris
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