HOW TO EARN 44 POINTS PER DOLLAR AT SEARS: Frequent Miler reports that there’s some sort of triple witching hour confluence of promos going on right now to holders of the proper credit cards. If you have a Chase United card and a Chase Freedom card, you can get a relatively safe 32X or a possible 44X if you’re brave and a possible double dip works.
WALGREENS TO OFFER ITS OWN PREPAID CARD: Walgreens is getting into financial services! As per the Chicago Tribune:
The Balance Financial program announced Monday will phase in over the next few months. it will be built around its new Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard.
Balance Financial is offered to customers of more than 250 Walgreens locations in Detroit, Milwaukee and Nashville, with a nationwide card rollout expected by year-end and additional financial services in 2014.
The prepaid MasterCard, which can be reloaded at any of more than 8,100 Walgreens or Duane Reade stores, offers an alternative to cash for those with limited access to traditional checking accounts or credit cards. It also will allow no-fee ATM withdrawals and check-cashing services.
Users also will earn Balance Rewards points, which can be redeemed when making purchases, for using the Balance Financial card.
According to the Balance Financial website, the card will be rolled out nationwide in November. If you’re wondering about how to earn points with your prepaid card, here you go:
- Get 10 points for every $1 spent at Walgreens or Duane Reade stores.
- Get 100 points every time you reload in store.
- Get 1,000 points when your first direct deposit is made. Then, get 250 points for each month a direct deposit is received.
There is a $2.95 monthly fee, though that’s waived if you put more than $1,000 per month on your card. I’m not too familiar with Walgreens and their rewards program (CVS and Rite-Aid are much more conveniently located for me), but a point is usually worth a penny. So it looks like you can get 10% back on purchases if you use your Balance card, though a footnote on that 10 pts/$1 bullet point reads, “Due to state and federal laws, points cannot be earned or redeemed on some items, and points will not be earned in a transaction where store credit or Redemption Dollars are used.”
Those of you in or near Detroit, Milwaukee, and Nashville may want to investigate to see exactly what items are excluded from earning points before the rest of the country has a chance to figure things out.
As for me, I’m pleased to see a merger of financial services and retail loyalty programs. Knowing how complicated it can be for a big company to manage just one of those two, I’m hoping we’ll see some great deals for savvy consumers!
AMEX SERVE CHANGES: Amex has made some changes to its Serve card:
The new Amex Serve prepaid card cut its fees drastically. Most noticeably, they’ve removed many of the so-called hidden costs of prepaid cards: those not charged by the issuer, and therefore aren’t listed on fee schedules, but still substantially drive up the cost for consumers. The primary hidden fees are ATM surcharges and third-party cash load fees. Amex has nixed those charges by allowing surcharge-free withdrawals from the MoneyPass ATM network and free cash loads in CVS and 7-11 locations.
I’m not too familiar with Serve since I cancelled mine to get a Bluebird. I did check with @AskAmex on Twitter to confirm that it was still verboten to have both, and they confirmed that fact. Nuts.
CREDIT CARD RETENTION OFFER COMPENDIUM: Wedding Spend is making a valiant attempt to organize information about credit card retention offers and has started a page to keep track of that data. As he writes:
I’ll continuously update this permanent credit card retention offers page so please feel free to contact me or leave a comment with your own credit card retention offer experience, and I’ll add it to the list. Similar to the format below, please provide the following: date of cancellation attempt, retention offer, your decision, date miles/points are earned if any, date statement credit is earned if any.
Something like this would be a nice feature for the internet to have, so go on over and add your data.