Saturday, January 24, 2015

CheckPoints app

Many years ago, when I bought an iPod Touch, I decided to see if there were ways of making money with it.  I came across CheckPoints, a program that would allow me to check in at various stores.  You could also scan products for extra points.  Alas, my iPod Touch was the last generation of iPod Touches not to have a camera.  (Not that it mattered.  You have to have a phone to scan stuff.)  After several app updates, I found that I could no longer use CheckPoints, as it needed a more-current version of iOS.  When I recently got an iPhone, I installed CheckPoints.  I couldn’t wait to get into a store and test it out.

The idea is simple.  When you open the app, you’re given a list of nearby stores, usually grocery and drug stores.  You’ll see CVS, Walgreen’s, Kmart, and so on.  Each has a number next to it indicating the maximum number of points you can earn in each store.  Each store has a different assortment of products.  The Home Depot, for instance, is 50 right now.  There are two CLR products you can scan for 25 points each.  Kmart, for some reason, has Hasbro board games for 19 points and Doritos for 15 points.  Even though you might be able to find Doritos in other stores, it’s not necessarily listed there.

I’m not sure what determines where you can scan each product or how many points you can get.  I’d imagine it’s up to the individual stores and/or manufacturers.  (It’s also possible that they don’t want you scanning everything all at once.)  Interestingly, there are five Vick’s products, all Nyquil and Dayquil items worth five points each, that are available in all stores that would carry them.  The only problem is that I haven’t been able to scan them.  (The app says that I’ve gotten the points, but it doesn’t show as being credited.  I reported it.  Customer service was quick to respond, but it hasn’t been fixed yet.)

I’ve also seen products listed that aren’t available in the store it’s listed under.  I went into a Best Buy and found the printer paper, but they didn’t have the correct brand.  I tried scanning other brands to no avail.  It’s probably that not all stores carry all brands all the time.  It’s possible that that particular Best Buy doesn’t carry that particular brand or was simply out of it that day.  I’ve also noticed this in Publix and Winn-Dixie.  It’s possible that the brands in question are regional.

For the most part, it’s fairly easy to get points.  I find that I can get sever hundred in a day.  In addition to scanning products, which accounts for most of my points, you can watch videos and refer people.  (My code is seacow99, which has to be entered when you first sign up.)  There are also other places, like restaurants, that only give points for checking in.  I find that many don’t have any points, but a few will give you two if you can find them.  (The only way to know is by clicking on each location.)

You may be wondering at this point what you can do with the points.  You can’t get cash, but you can get gift codes and products.  You can enter sweepstakes for a gift card for as low as 40 points or you can just get the gift card for a set number of points.  The conversion seems to be at around 325 points per dollar.  You can get a $1 Amazon gift code for 335 points.  A Redbox gift code goes for 420 points. (It says it’s good for $1.20 off you first day’s fee, but I haven’t used it since their recent rate increase.)

If you want to save up, a $25 Subway gift card goes for 8,675 points.  All you need for a $500 gift card Neiman Marcus or Louis Vuitton gift card is 154,500 points.  (That’s 309 points per dollar.)  The most expensive reward, point wise, is a Hermes Birkin handbag for 418,500 points.  (I did a search on Google; the cheapest I saw was $10,000.)

Back when I had the iPod Touch, I had been redeeming for Redbox codes.  It seemed like it took forever to get one code.  I’ve had an iPhone for about two weeks now and I already have enough for three.  At this rate, I should have that handbag in no time.

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