Monday, July 6, 2009

Product Rewards Programs

In the past, I have collected frequent flyer miles but stopped short of joining other product rewards programs. It just seemed that there were too many different things to join, too much paperwork or typing in of coupons.
But lately it has occurred to me that I buy a lot of a few things, mainly diapers (Although we did switch to mostly cloth with our 2-year-old, we have shelved the cloth ones for the moment because she grew out of her diaper covers and the new baby is coming every day. I'm thinking that after the baby is born, I'll invest in some cloth training pants for the 2-year-old.). I also buy a few 12-packs of soda every few months.
So I decided to test drive the Pampers Gifts to Grow, Huggies Enjoy the Ride Rewards, The Caregivers Marketplace, My Coke Rewards and Pepsi Stuff.
Of course, all these programs ask you for your email address and want to send you newsletters, coupons, etc. If you haven't yet set up a separate email address just for signing up for promotional junk, this is a good time to do so.
The first thing I should let you know is that I gave up on Pepsi Stuff right away. When I typed in, which was listed on my box top with the code, I got to a regular Pepsi Web site and didn't see anywhere to enter codes. After a few minutes, I said "eff it" and moved on.
Here's my impression of the other sites so far:
Pampers: Finding the codes to type in was easy once I looked at the diagram on the site -- you have to completely turn the bags inside out or look inside the inner lid of the wipes box. Unfortunately, the code on my wipes had partially rubbed off and I wasn't able to use it. The code on the Pampers bag I had lying around said it was past its date -- it said "end, March 09," but when I typed the code in, it still worked. Then I also entered the bonus codes I found on Money Saving Mom (only the 1-point ones are still valid), so I have 7 points.
What you can get: Kids books, gift certificates, stationery, Starbucks gift cards; all the cheapest rewards (like 40-80 pointes) are for Shutterfly.
What I like: They make it easy to enter multiple codes at one time, including cutting and pasting bonus codes from Web sites.
What I don't like: Why would they put the code where it can have contact with baby wipes and rub off?? Also, the site is pretty slow in getting back to you after submitting your code, and sometimes it asks you to log in multiple times.
Huggies: Apparently besides buying Huggies, you can also get points on this site by taking polls and watching commercials. However, it hardly seems worth the trouble since the points only get you entries to sweepstakes, not actual loot. There are so many free sweepstakes out there that I don't have time to enter, so why am I bothering with this site? I have a feeling I won't be. Which is too bad, because I buy more Huggies than Pampers. Hopefully, they will get some new loot soon.
What I like: Variety of ways to earn points.
What I don't like: The loot; the 3-part code entry process that makes it slower to paste bonus codes from online.
My Coke Rewards: I only had one box top around, which I entered for 10 points. They also gave me 10 points for joining. I must say, although the point numbers are arbitrary, that I now feel more accomplished in Coke Rewards than I do in Pampers where I only have a single-digit point total.
What you get: At first, I was excited to see there is a category for spending only 1-10 points. But then I saw that they're all sweepstakes. See above. The next tier up offers a bunch of promotional clothing, which they should pay me to wear, no?
At 24 points, things get better. You can get a coupon for a 20-ounce drink. I really like getting coupons for free products because I can use them to run up my total when doing Catalina deals at Jewel or using a coupon with a minimum purchase at CVS. The next level up is mostly magazine subscriptions, which is strange because those are so often available for free or really cheap. I think I will spend all my points on 20-oz. Coke or Minute Maid coupons.
What I like: Codes easy to find and easy to enter. Can be redeemed for product coupons.
What I don't like: Aside from the coupons, stuff you can get is kinda lame.
Caregivers Marketplace: This is not exactly a brand rewards program; it's actually some kind of rebate program that pays you real cash for Huggies diaper receipts (and Balmex diaper cream). I'm really not sure what their angle is -- the Web site says the manufacturers pay the rebates -- but I like getting real cash back.
Signing up on the Web site was quick enough, but I'm nervous about the requirement to send in actual paperwork. You download a PDF rebate request from the site, and send it in with receipts for five products, and in 4 to 6 weeks they send you a check. For Huggies, it's 75 cents per jumbo pack.


Paula said...

Yep...I do the Coke rewards...SOMETIMES they coupons you can print (in exchange for your points) for $1 off 12packs. I try to stick to those... come in handy when there's a 4 or 5/10 sale! : ) I rarely buy Pampers and an hoping to enter enought points to get *something/ANYTHING* by the time my DD is done with diapers!! : ) I did the Huggies, too, but doesn't seem worth my time to hang around. Interested to see how that caregiver program works out for you, though.

Carrie said...

Hi Paula,
Well, I was all set to send my two receipts into Caregivers Marketplace, with five packs of Huggies on each, but then I had to send them to Catalina instead to try to get my $14 coupons. Oh well, next time.

Helen said...

PepsiStuff ended with the end of 2008, sorry! My mom got some beach towels and DVDs (which she sold on eBay) before it ended. She only drinks diet pepsi, so racked up the points.

The free Powerade q from cokerewards comes in handy for the every-3-week or so sale at Ultra where it is buy 10, get 5 free. I also snag $.75/2 q's from gas stations. Hubby and my uncle love this stuff.