Verizon aims discount products at customers via Smart Rewards

New program gives points to Verizon customers that can be used to buy merchandise, gift cards, and other products. Is there a catch?

verizon-smart-rewards.jpg
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Verizon will now reward participating customers with a new loyalty program that promises lots of goodies.

Available nationwide starting Thursday for any Verizon subscriber with a postpaid account, the new Smart Rewards program will dole out points based on specific activities. For example, pay off your monthly bill, sign into your My Verizon account management tool, or switch to paperless billing, and you'll receive a certain number of points for each task. Just registering for the program earns you 10,000 points from the get-go.

In return, you can exchange those points for certain products, including brand-name items, offers at local stores and restaurants, and even travel. Verizon said it will offer discounts of up to 40 percent on more than 200 brand-name products and that the travel benefits will include discounts at more than 26,000 hotels.

The Smart Rewards program has already been available on a limited basis over the past several months. But the new push will see it travel across the nation.

Companies typically don't dole out loyalty programs out of the goodness of their hearts. Such programs are usually a way to coax customers into using or signing up for more services, or at least not jumping ship to a competitor. And often they come with a catch.

To participate in Verizon's Smart Rewards, you'll have agree to enroll in Verizon Selects, a marketing program that tracks your use of Verizon products and services in order to aim more ads and other content that hopefully will appeal to your interests.

Here's how the company describes Verizon Selects:

To provide you ads and content from Verizon and others that may be more relevant to you, we would like to use information about your use of Verizon products and services (like your devices and equipment, the features and apps you use, the websites you visit, and your location), interests (like shopping preferences), demographics (like age range), and information about the quantity, type, destination, location, and amount of use of your Verizon voice services (known as CPNI).

Those of you who don't mind signing up for Verizon Selects will receive 2,500 bonus points and 500 Rewards points per line each month.

The products offered through Smart Rewards carry a lowest-price guarantee and free shipping. The points you receive can also be used to score deeper discounts through daily deals, auctions, and sweepstakes posted to the Smart Rewards catalog each day. So Verizon is certainly trying to make the program tempting through a variety of products and discounts.

Those of you willing to give Smart Rewards a shot can sign up for both the rewards program and Verizon Selects at the Smart Rewards Web page. More information about the program is available at the Smart Rewards Terms and Conditions page. After you sign up, you can view the full range of products and other items available at the Smart Rewards catalog page.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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