This page was inspired by the latest outrage, which goes as follows:
However the devil is in the details (and it is more than appropriate to bring the devil in at this stage). Some of the ways that the clever folks at Bank of America try to cheat you out of the reward they promised you go as follows:
Expiration -- This is actually detailed on their website (unlike other aspects of their program). But it is as simple as this: you have a couple of years after you earn points to redeem them, after that you loose them. So, use them or loose them! This plays hand in hand with the following business of:
Quantization -- Redemption is not as simple as getting a dollar per 100 points. There are several ways to get screwed. First let me explain the one that just got me. I had 63,000 points available for redemption. So, you would think I could just go and get a check or a transfer, or a credit for $630, eh? Well, when I try to enter the number of points as 63,000, it tells me I can redeem a maximum of 50,000 at a time. So I do this (big mistake). This gets a $500 credit, but leaves 13,000 points for round 2. Now I find I can only get $80 instead of $130 for those 13,000 points -- screwing me out of $50. (Actually I can only redeem 10,000 points for $80, so they screw me out of $20, and retain $30 to screw me out of later -- just to be entirely accurate about how the system works).
The deal is that there is a redemption table (that is not on the website any place I can find) that goes somewhat like this:
2,500 points - redeems as $12.50 (sacrifice $12.50) 10,000 points - redeems as $80.00 (sacrifice $20.00) 15,000 points - redeems as $120.00 (sacrifice $30.00) 25,000 points - redeems as $250.00 (no sacrifice)So, what I might have done was to take out my 63,000 points as 30,000 then 33,000 and I would have my $630.00 -- but you have to play this game with essentially undocumented rules. It turns out the above is impossible, you have to redeem at specific levels. The best I could have done would have been $250 plus $350 which would have redeemed 60,000 points and gotten me $600.
However, they are unwilling to reverse the $500 redemption I already claimed (never mind that it was a credit to my account and from my point of view entirely within their system). I called back a third time (maybe it was a fourth?), to see what they might do if I pushed a bit. The first bump got me to their redemption center and the person there got a bit snotty then bumped me to a supervisor, who was at least willing to think, but ultimately they are unwilling to do anything for me. I asked (again) where the redemption schedule could be found online, they gave me wrong information and were ultimately clueless about this (so how am I to know the rules?).
Some links (reviewing the Worldpoint program), one of which calls Worldpoints the worst reward program in 2013 (I guess they haven't tried dealing with Discover).
Conclusions The thing to do is to avoid doing business with a company that wants to play games like this to cheat their customers. I plan to dump them for just this reason ASAP, where ASAP is as soon as I get my full $130 out of their rewards system. It took two phone calls to pry the above information out of their phone representatives. When I told the lady during the second call that this is a horrible contrast to the simple and honest terms of my Capitol One Card, she then offered to convert my rewards card to a "better" program with no points expiration and no funky rules about redeeming points. She says that all the points will transfer over, and once they are on my new card I can pull them all out immediately. They call this their "123" card program and clearly it is a reponse by them to outfits like Capitol One. We will see if new fees or other dirty tricks creep in with the new card.
"I see that I have a cash back reward available, I would like to apply this towards paying the balance on my account." I'm sorry sir, that isn't possible.
"Well then, can you just mail me a check." No, we can't do that either
"What about a transfer to one of my bank accounts." Sorry
"So where the heck is the cash in "cash back", how do you feel working for such a dishonest and deceptive company?"
It turns out they can send me an Amazon.com gift card, but only in increments of $20 (quantization).
Tom's Banking pages / email@example.com