Welcome!

API Journal Authors: Rishi Bhargava, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, Dana Gardner

News Feed Item

Six Holiday Shopping Tips from Loyalty Program Experts

UsingMiles.com Founder Shares Hidden Tricks for Using Points and Miles to Stretch Your Gift-giving Budget

DENVER, Colo., Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Tapping your loyalty accounts for holiday purchases is like finding extra money under the sofa cushions at Christmastime -- but consumers need to know the hidden tricks and have an intelligent game plan to get the most benefit out of their points and miles.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110407/LA78848LOGO)

"Everyone wants to stretch their shopping holiday budget. And redeeming loyalty program points is one of the best and most underused ways to do that," said Krista Paul, founder of UsingMiles.com, which enables users to track and manage their rewards programs all in one place.

"People stay up all night waiting for Black Friday retail specials, and then they max out their credit cards and stand in line to put gifts on layaway," Paul said.  "But if they just take advantage of the reward points they worked hard at earning all year long, they might not need to borrow money to buy the things they need over the holidays."

U.S. consumers have an aggregate total of $48 billion in points and miles in their loyalty program accounts, studies show.  "People don't think of their reward points as money.  But they really are like a second currency or a hidden bank account that can be used for 'buying' travel, merchandise, gas, groceries and even grande skim lattes," Paul said. 

Paul offered five tips to help consumers save money by "burning" their loyalty rewards over the holidays and also earning more rewards to use in the New Year:

  1. Get organized. The average consumer has three credit cards, belongs to 18 rewards programs, and gets 25 emails a week from Groupon, LivingSocial and other daily deals websites.  They're unable to keep up with the mounting pile of loyalty e-mails and flyers.  Loyalty websites such as UsingMiles were designed to eliminate the clutter.  UsingMiles.com allows consumers to manage more than 210 loyalty programs all in one place, while tracking their balances, bonus offers and even their daily deal vouchers from a single, easy-to-use dashboard.
  2. Think of all your points and miles as a "second bank account."   The holidays are a great time to use up those rewards.   Frequent flyer miles, for example, can be used for free travel as well as for purchasing a wide variety of merchandise and services, including jewelry, housewares, electronics, toys, sporting goods and more.  You can use them to send flowers or download music and movies – or give miles to friends or family members as a gift.  Check airline websites for details.
  3. Don't let miles and points expire.  An estimated $16 billion worth of points and miles lapse every year as a variety of expiration dates and deadlines come and go - often without disclosure to consumers.   On UsingMiles.com, consumers can sign up for e-mail alerts warning them in advance when  points will expire.  Then instead of losing points, consumers can redeem them for items that can be stashed away for holiday gift-giving later in the year.
  4. Book holiday award travel early. Getting an award flight during the holidays isn't easy, but your chances of scoring a free ticket will increase if you plan ahead. Generally, airlines release award tickets between 330-345 days before departure. Start searching at this time and you may get lucky. To make the process fast and efficient, UsingMiles allows consumers to simultaneously search multiple reward programs for available award seats.
  5. Pay for holiday purchases with a credit card that provides rewards points.  Virtually all airlines and major hotels offer credit cards that can be used to earn miles or points.  Banks and major card companies also offer cards that give points that can be redeemed for travel on multiple airlines.  Many of these also give generous sign-up bonuses that can earn you a free trip once you start using them for purchases. While using a loyalty card for gift buying can be a good strategy to accumulate more points and miles, be sure to compare APRs, annual fees and mileage expiration policies, and consider whether you can afford to pay off balances each month. 
  6. Use your points and miles to help others. What better time than the holidays to donate miles to a charity to help a person in need?  Airline loyalty programs partner with a long list of organizations, such as Make-a-Wish, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross and Feeding America, and enable donations from their websites. 

"There's so much value that consumers don't take advantage of in loyalty programs," Paul said.   "At UsingMiles.com, we're dedicated to helping people get the most benefit out of their rewards points with a minimum amount of time and effort.  And, over the holidays, when people are making purchases almost every day it seems, saving money by earning and using awards can be a real lifesaver!"

About UsingMiles

To simplify people's hectic lives and improve redemption, UsingMiles.com aggregates all of a family's membership and loyalty programs – programs like United MileagePlus, Marriott Rewards, Kroger, Starbucks and Groupon – into a single dashboard, and protects them against expiration. Points, miles and credits are organized to use like cash, as second currencies available to spend. UsingMiles provides tools, such as an advanced travel search engine, to help members earn more points and finds efficient ways for families to spend their second currencies.

SOURCE UsingMiles

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...