E-Rewards: worth it or walk away?

If you’re a Points and Miles Playa (pronounced PLAY-ah), at some point you’ll face off with the great and terrible e-rewards.  What is e-rewards?

Try to keep an open mind here.

Basically, e-rewards is a survey broker.  It’s free to join e-rewards, but it’s an invitation-only program, which means that you have to figure out how to trigger an invitation.  Normally, you will eventually snag an invite if you make sure to check the little box agreeing to receive lots of juicy emails from relevant sponsors when you are filling out your account information on a website.

I’ve received invites from Southwest, US Airways, Hilton, and Priority Club, but there are lots of other program sponsors as well.  There is a full list on the e-rewards website.  The program is shrouded in mystery, so I’m not sure if all the program sponsors listed can actually send out invitations, but if you want to get in on the action, it doesn’t hurt to go wild and sign up for all of them!!  However, beware: each invitation to join the program is unique and features different partners to choose from.  In other words, while one invite will offer a bounty of partners offering a wondrous, wide variety of point and mile redemptions, another invite might be restricted to only a handful of partners offering a limited amount of rewards that you aren’t that interested in.

Once you’re in, e-rewards sends out surveys from many different companies about topics ranging from which brand of razor you prefer, to where you like to buy office supplies, to which radio stations you listen to.  For each survey you complete, you get a dollar amount of e-rewards currency.  I’ve had surveys offer anywhere from $2-$15.

Average time it takes to complete a survey is ten minutes or so, although sometimes it takes two minutes and sometimes it takes forty-five minutes (yes, you read that correctly).  I am typically able to access the surveys from my phone, so I knock them out while I’m on the go (in line, at kids’ soccer games, etc.) and it’s relatively painless.

Once you’ve amassed at least $25 of e-rewards currency in your account, you can redeem your savings for a reward.

A scan through my current rewards offerings shows a sample what I can get for $100 of currency:

  • 7,000 Hilton Points
  • 2,000 Points in Southwest Rapid Rewards, United Mileage Plus, Virgin Atlantic, Jet Blue, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta, US Airways, and a handful of others.
  • 1,000 Hertz Gold Points

I’ve got 2 accounts, so I’ve got multiple options in terms of rewards.  My first account is sorta limited in terms of choices, while the second account is a goldmine.  I signed up through Southwest for the first account and US Airways for the second, and used different email addresses for each account.

So, is e-rewards worth the time and effort?  Let’s review the pros and cons.

Pros

  • A great way to bulk up your Points and Miles balances without using credit cards
  • Free!
  • Easy/does not strain your brain (you can answer surveys on the go or while watching TV)
  • A possible US Airways Grand Slam Hit (more on that later)

Cons

  • Takes time/can be tedious
  • Can be frustrating trying to get an invitation

In my opinion, e-rewards is worth the time and effort if you’ve got little bits and pieces of time built into your day.  If a survey takes more than 10 minutes, I usually pass it up because I don’t have time to settle in for the long haul answering questions about my grocery shopping preferences.  But if a survey shows up in my in-box while I am waiting for the barista to call my name at Starbucks…sure.

What are your thoughts on e-rewards?  Anyone have any helpful hints to share?