Let me preface this article by saying no wonder Best Buy is a sinking ship of consumer electronics. So lets take a look at some of the latest developments in the Best Buy Reward Zone program, and what you can do to minimize the impacts.
Our family collect Best Buy Reward Zone (BBRZ) points as part of the Audience Rewards program. Answer some simple Broadway trivia questions approximately every 10 days, which we give you the answers; then convert the points out into a mileage or other reward program of your choice. The result is more airline miles for you, less likelihood of the miles expiring due to inactivity, and the ultimate goal of getting you to your favorite travel destination, all for FREE!
Upon our discussion in early January showing you how to get the BBRZ converted out, we discovered their Facebook page was handing out free points for taking one question surveys and entering some simple contests.
Then we started to see some real potential for growing your BBRZ account balance exponentially more than that through the Audience Reward program, and the waterfall of free points worked like a charm. In our post “Why You Should Add Best Buy Reward Zone Points to Your Mileage Portfolio?”, we elaborated on how the BBRZ program could be a mile-cow. The key was making sure your redemption for certificates was set high within the BBRZ program, and making sure to liquidate old points before Best Buy deleted them for you.
Sure enough, people started experiencing issues of their balances being cleaned out by Best Buy. Even after people had moved out all of their points, Best Buy was proceeding to issue certificates on points earned this year at lower levels than their accounts were set up to redeem.
For some reason, we were immune to that process, presumably because we cleared out all of our 2012 points. That is until this week.
Upon logging into my BBRZ account via Facebook to earn today’s 25 free points, I noticed my account balance had gone from a hefty 685 down to 175 points. Best Buy had taken the liberty to issue me a $10 certificate (500 BBRZ points) and remove 10 of my points.
This makes zero sense, because if they were removing points above the certificate threshold, why would they have not just deleted all 185 extra points? My experiment on how BBRZ conversions would all work out came to fruition.
So what to do?
Well I decided to call Best Buy (1888-237-8289) to see what I could get resolved. After running around through a complicated automated system, I eventually got a live agent. You would think you were accessing your deepest, darkest secrets when discussing your account with Best Buy, as there were more security questions than even my bank asks.
After briefly explaining that my points were automatically converted into a Best Buy certificate, and going over how we already move old points out and set the redemption level to 1000 points = $20 certificate, the agent set off to work. Within minutes my certificate was reversed, and I was told the 500 points would be back into my account; however, due to the auditing process of the program, I would not see the balance show up until after February 23, 2013.
I thanked the agent and proceeded back to check into my BBRZ account online. Sure enough, 500 points were credited back to my account, although the overall balance was still off. Talk about a ridiculous way to run the program! Note: The Best Buy Facebook app and points.com shows me the correct point balance; only the Best Buy Reward Zone site shows the incorrect balance.
The moral of this story is that if you want the points back in your account, do not be shy about calling Best Buy and having them reverse the conversion.
So what does this mean now?
As of right now, we have 700 BBRZ points in our account (200 balance + 500 “pending”). The coming days are going to be packed full of free BBRZ points. On February 17, we will be able to select a new members choice item, earning 25 points. Also on February 17 we will be able to virtually design a kitchen, earning another 50 free points. Then the daily survey questions will earn 250 points (10 more days * 25 points). By then the Best Buy Reward Zone program should have their auditing complete and everyone’s accounts updated. However, this also means I am going to approach the 1,000 point mark in the coming days.
That means I need to pay careful attention to our balance so that we do not get issued another certificate at the 1000 point level. This also means you need to be really cognoscente of your real point balance. If the balance shows 200, but you really have 500 points, you need to pay attention to when you are getting close to the 1000 point level and move the points out.
For reference, 1000 Best Buy Reward Zone points is equal to 474 US Airways or Hawaiian Airlines miles; 263 American Airlines or United miles; 279 Frontier Airlines miles; 340 Aeroplan miles; 249 Alaskan Airline miles; 400 Amtrak points; 510 Asia miles; or 215 Virgin America miles.
Besides the whole ridiculous aspect of Best Buy deciding a customers point balance should expire each year, if Best Buy can not design a computer system to handle their reward program, how are they to be a trusted resource to sell electronics?
Come on Best Buy, your auditing process of accounts is costing you more money than just letting the customers point balance grow. If you must take away from your “loyal” customers, then maybe adopt an expiration policy similar to airlines (i.e. the points expire after 18 months of inactivity).
With a little bit of effort, we will be sitting on the beach somewhere, thanks to Best Buy.
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