|By PR Newswire||
|November 7, 2012 08:00 AM EST||
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.
"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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!"
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.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 28, 2015 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,370
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 28, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,751
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Jul. 28, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 219
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 28, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,247
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
Jul. 28, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,156
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jul. 28, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 407
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Jul. 28, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 224
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jul. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,026
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 27, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,037
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jul. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,018
Akana has released Envision, an enhanced API analytics platform that helps enterprises mine critical insights across their digital eco-systems, understand their customers and partners and offer value-added personalized services. “In today’s digital economy, data-driven insights are proving to be a key differentiator for businesses. Understanding the data that is being tunneled through their APIs and how it can be used to optimize their business and operations is of paramount importance,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO of Akana.
Jul. 27, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 308
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jul. 27, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,890
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, analyzed how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Payment...
Jul. 26, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,556
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jul. 26, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,139
"Optimal Design is a technology integration and product development firm that specializes in connecting devices to the cloud," stated Joe Wascow, Co-Founder & CMO of Optimal Design, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 379
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault's exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unp...
Jul. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,938
Electric Cloud and Arynga have announced a product integration partnership that will bring Continuous Delivery solutions to the automotive Internet-of-Things (IoT) market. The joint solution will help automotive manufacturers, OEMs and system integrators adopt DevOps automation and Continuous Delivery practices that reduce software build and release cycle times within the complex and specific parameters of embedded and IoT software systems.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 443
"ciqada is a combined platform of hardware modules and server products that lets people take their existing devices or new devices and lets them be accessible over the Internet for their users," noted Geoff Engelstein of ciqada, a division of Mars International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,518
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,480
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
Jul. 24, 2015 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,043