Credit card companies, retailers, and other businesses have jumped on the loyalty points bandwagon. We accumulate all sorts of different points, and some of us manage to redeem points for various goods and services. I tend to look at these points as a kind of currency.
Businesses are issuing their own brand of currency that they give their customers in return for making purchases with actual money. The problem for consumers is that these businesses control the rules for this currency and can devalue it at any time by adding various restrictions and changing the number of points needed to redeem a “reward”.
Viewed this way, it becomes apparent that many reward points systems aren’t worth the bother, but this isn’t likely to change consumer behaviour. The innumerate masses love their points. It’s true that some points systems have real value and are worth the trouble, but this is the exception rather than the rule.