Take advantage of freebies from retailers

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - We probably all have them.  Rewards cards that are tucked away in a wallet or on a key chain.

Rewards cards have become all the craze in retail, but, do you really take advantage of them?

"The only one I actually do keep up, are the ones that email me and let me know what I have," says shopper Christy Gomez.

Apparently, Gomez isn't alone.

Research shows the industry average is only 2% of rewards being cashed in.

CVS awarded nearly $2 billion in Extra Care Bucks, but company officials say only a small fraction of that actually got used.

CVS prints its rewards at the bottom of the receipts, which may be one of the reasons consumers don't use them.  They may often get thrown away or stuffed in a box with other random receipts. Company officials recently acknowledged that the program could be run better, and they say they might eventually start to load them on customers' cards instead.

However, retailers aren't the only ones customers should turn to for rewards.

Individual brands themselves often have ways for consumers to cash in.

My Coke Rewards is one of the most popular. You earn points from purchases, and enter the codes online that appear inside bottle tops.

 "I've had subscriptions to Oprah magazine, different things, but the big prize was the Wii," says Gomez.

You heard right, Gomez actually won a free, Nintendo Wii after stacking up a bunch of coke rewards.

"When I tell people I have a free Wii, they're amazed," Gomez says.

Four points with Tropicana gets you a $10 off $60 Adidas purchase.  Five points with Pop Tarts, and participants can get five music downloads or 25 free photo prints.

Huggies "Ride the Rewards" offers everything from free diapers to restaurant gift cards.

"You need to do it, it's free stuff," adds Gomez.

If you do plan to use rewards, pay close attention to product packaging.   Often times there are small, numbers printed there that you may need to redeem your rewards.


What you get


Pampers Gifts to Grow



$3 off coupon (150 points)
 Jeep Wrangler All-Weather Stroller (4,600 points)

My Coke Rewards


Free movie rental (50 points)
$20 Omaha Steaks gift card (500 points)
Travel discounts using MCRPointsPlus  


Tropicana Juicy Rewards

$10 off Adidas purchase of $60 or more (4 points)

$100 onboard credit with Norwegian Cruise Line (9 points)

Pop-tarts flavor card

5 music downloads (5 points)

25 photo prints (5 points)

Limit of 5 rewards

MyStonyfield rewards

4-cup Probiotic Multipack (20 points)

Patagonia shoulder bag (350 points)


Disney Movie Rewards


Stickers (275 points)

Tour of Disney Studios (15,000 points)

Nature Made Wellness Rewards

Lunch cooler (450 points)

Yoga mat (2,500 points)

Contessa Loyalty Rewards Program

Stainless-steel coffee mug (7 points)

paella skillet (350 points)


Stouffers Dinner Club


Ringtone (300 points)

Two movie tickets (2,000 points)

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