NEW YORK (MainStreet) On March 5, 2014, AARP, the widely-known nongovernmental organization, announced the launch of "Rewards for Good," its brand-new loyalty program that is sure to pique the interests of many.
Rewards for Good is quite unlike anything else in its league. Designed to reward users of AARP.org for utilizing the tools available on the site, one of the most attractive qualities about this loyalty program is that it does not require its members to make any monetary purchases in order to gain rewards.
The premise behind Rewards for Good is to provide a simple, accessible way for people to learn information that is pertinent to living a healthy life, and then place a fun spin on it.
"Rewards for Good offers a wide variety of tools in categories like Saving and Managing Your Money, Improving Your Community, Managing Your Health and Healthcare, Finding and Enjoying Your Work, and more," said Sami Hassanyeh, the chief digital officer for AARP. "There is a Credit Card Payoff Calculator, a Money Savings Skills Quiz and a Debt Challenge, just to name a few."
By taking general well-being quizzes and calculating ways to pay off debt, members are retaining the information that AARP strives to pass on, as well as gaining rewards in turn for their efforts.
It's interesting to note that, although AARP members do get rewarded with 50% more points than non-members, those that are not yet of the age required to become an AARP member can still participate. The Rewards for Good program is open to anyone over the age of 18.
"While a common misperception of AARP is that it is only for those middle-aged and moving closer to retirement, AARP has expanded its reach into the areas of health and financial security," Hassanyeh said. "The Rewards for Good program is all about rewarding those users who actively engage with AARP's social mission and those who become better informed about life's possibilities after 50."
AARP's mission is clear in that there is no reason to wait until retirement age to start learning more about ways to improve the state of one's well-being.
Users that are new to AARP.org can start racking up their Rewards for Good points as soon as the initial website registration steps are completed. Depending on the tool being utilized, rewards points can range from approximately 200 to 500 points each. The time required per tool varies as well, depending on the type of tool and the amount of time each user personally spends with it.
Generally, the tools can take around 20 minutes, give or take, to complete. Even if only one hour per day is spent on the site, the points still have potential to start adding up rather quickly.
Curious as to what fun goodies can be purchased with the rewards? Points can be cashed in right on AARP's website in a couple of different ways. There are live auctions that offer prizes such as iPads, smartphones and gift cards to various dining, retail, and gas station locations in exchange for points bidding. There are also sweepstakes that run for a few weeks at a time, and the site permits members to submit entries daily (with a maximum cap, of course!). One of the recent prizes in the sweepstakes was a $25 gift card to Applebees, while another was a $10 gift card to Starbucks.
Participants can also use their rewards as a way to discount the cost of products and merchandise from more than 200 participating brands including Dooney and Bourke, Steve Madden, Lacoste and more. For example, a name-brand tote with a retail price of approximately $300.00 can be available on the rewards site with a 30% to 40% savings.
After cashing in a certain number of points, the tote can be purchased through the site for a much lower-than-average price. The site also offers a local discounts section, where members can enter their personal address or zip code, and the site will search for deals near that specific location. Deals can be related to dining, shopping, and entertainment. For 500 points, a local pizzeria may offer a half-priced regular pie, for which the certificate can be printed right from the website seconds after purchasing.
This day and age, it's easy to get roped in to fad diets, bad financial deals, and credit card debt. Unfortunately, situations like these are encountered so often because the education factor is missing. With Rewards for Good, all of the free information from AARP is available at one's fingertips and, for the first time, members are actually getting "paid" to learn.
"AARP recognizes that our users' time is an investment on their part and we believe that it is significant enough to be rewarded," Hassanyeh says. "Being a social mission organization is all about making a difference, and so our rewards program is unique: it is all about rewarding individuals for actively engaging with the mission of AARP."
Learning how to improve one's overall well-being is already a positive change, so getting rewarded for it in addition to that definitely makes it a win-win situation.
--Written by Ciara Larkin for MainStreet