Is Plink Rewards No Longer Rewarding?

Back in October I wrote an introductory guide to Plink Rewards, A Free Double Dipping Points Tool: How to Take Advantage of Plink Rewards.

Plink is a shopping rewards program that works automatically. You sign up for the program and then link a credit card, and then qualifying purchases made with that credit card will earn you points in the Plink program. There’s nothing more to do to earn the points. (You don’t need to remember to do anything, which is nice.)

It’s been a very valuable double dipping tool the past several months. But I’m not liking two current aspects of the program.

Plink Is Short on Worthwhile Merchant Partners

Plink was fantastic when you earned points for purchases at Staples. Staples is a ‘staple’ of my buying routing (mostly Amazon gift cards, Starbucks gift cards, and the like). But now Staples is gone, and so is Office Depot which briefly replaced them.

They do partner with FTD and 1-800-Flowers and there are – as always – great mileage offers for purchase through those merchants. So that’s something. You can earn 30 or more miles per dollar on flowers, miles for making the payment with your credit card, and then points with Plink for having linked that credit card to your Plink account prior to the purchase (and adding the merchant into your Plink wallet).

I find it highly unlikely though that I will use the rest of their merchants. I do not see myself eating at Burger King, Panda Express, or Red Robin.

The Bigger Problem – You Can’t Even Redeem Your Plink Points Today

They seem to run out of stock on various gift cards, mostly the good ones like Amazon fairly regularly. I’m not going to redeem my points for AMC movie theatres or for Facebook credits to be used in an online game. So I wait, and in the past they’ve always replenished the Amazon gift cards. All good.

Today though I went to redeem a stash of points and found that they have nothing on offer. Literally no redemptions are currently allowed.

It’s entirely plausible that they’ll bring back something to redeem for quickly. But having not a single redemption option, to me, undermines confidence in the currency.

I’m genuinely hopeful that both of these limitations are solved — quickly.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Noticed they were out of everything a few weeks ago just like this. I waited a few days and the next time I looked, everything (including Amazon gift cards which is what I use them for) was back. Hopefully this will pass in a few days.

    Also, hopefully they bring Staples back!

  2. Gary, notice the Hyatt Regency Cancun is losing Hyatt relationship the end of April? Wasn’t the fanciest place, but with Diamond is was a super cheap Cancun getaway with semi-inclusive food (Diamond).

  3. Why does Plink require giving them your bank log-in?

    Seems like way too much info to share (though I admittedly have entered my FF program passwords into AwardWallet, but giving access to my bank accounts seems a step further). Dining rewards programs from the airlines can function with just the credit card number, why can’t Plink?

  4. @Larry – I’m sure it comes down to cost. With something where you simply provide a CC number, I guarantee there is a deal with a kickback to Visa/MC to get the merchant data, where Plink on the other hand will probably just skim transaction details from the respective bank sites, thus avoiding the payment to the major players.

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