By pure chance, we get television, internet, and wireless cell phone service through one company – Verizon.
For TV and internet, we don't have a choice. We live in a slightly remote area and the only cable line that runs to our house is from Verizon. I know this because due to construction in our area, the fiber optic line has been cut twice. Each time, Verizon comes out and and fixes it. We can still play the “cancel for a better deal” game because Verizon doesn't know we don't have a choice. 🙂
The Verizon Up rewards program is strictly for Verizon Wireless. We use Verizon Wireless for our phones because we get great reception in our home and the packages are well priced for us. I've debating switching to a Republic Wireless type of service (or even Freedom Pop) but never got around to it. Inertia is a real thing folks.
When Verizon first debuted their Verizon Smart Rewards program, I took one look and saw it was trash. I suspect many people felt the same way because they shuttered the program last fall.
Verizon Up took its place.
Is it worth it? Or is as bad as Verizon Smart Rewards?
What is Verizon Up?
Verizon Up is a rewards program that gives you 1 credit for every $300 you spend. This includes monthly bills, devices, accessories, etc. All you need is to enroll in the Verizon Up program, install the My Verizon app on your phone, and wait to accrue points.
If you want to join, you'll want to enroll as soon as possible because you only accrue points after you sign up. The program has been going for a few months but I didn't earn any points even though I've been paying my bill.
You earn one credit for every $300 you spend and the credit expires after 60 days.
What are the Verizon Up Rewards?
There are three categories of rewards:
- Earned Rewards: Every month the program refreshes the 6 reward options, which include “device dollars” to new devices, discounts on an accessory, or a reward with a partner.
- Unexpected Rewards: These are rewards offered on special occasions and do not require any credits.
- Super Tickets: These are tickets to sporting events, shows, concerts and similar live experiences. There's a countdown and when it reaches zero, you can claim the ticket like a regular reward. First come, first served.
When I looked at the app in mid-May 2018, it showed these rewards:
- $15 off a gift Bark Box
- 1 GB of bonus data
- $8 Amazon Video credit
- $10 Device Dollars
- Canon – 50% off photo books, ships free
- Panera Bread $5 eGift Card
- Super Tickets – SEA LIFE Arizona
The rewards are OK – the data is useful, maybe the Panera Bread gift card, but otherwise it's just an invitation to spend more money. A reward of % off a purchase is a glorified coupon. I remember Verizon Smart Rewards was chock full of those “deals.”
Verizon Up Collects Your Data
Nothing in life is free and for these rewards, you're giving them your usage data.
When you enroll in Verizon Up, you also enroll in Verizon Selects. When Verizon acquired Yahoo and combined it with AOL, they renamed it Oath. It's 50 brands (includes some names you know like HuffPost, Tumblr, etc.) and Oath is part of Verizon Selects.
And what does Verizon Selects do?
Drum roll please…
Verizon Selects collects data to better serve you advertising.
Here is what Verizon Selects collects:
- Information about your wireless device and how you use it – including web addresses of sites you visit, similar information about apps and features you use, as well as device and advertising identifiers.
- Information about your device location, including network data and location information transmitted by apps you permit to use your device location.
- Your postal and email addresses.
- Information about the quantity, type, destination, location, and amount of use of your Verizon telecommunications and interconnected voice over internet services and related billing information (also known as Customer Proprietary Network Information or CPNI).
- Information about your Verizon products and services and how you use them (such as data and calling features and use, Fios service options, equipment and device types).
- Information we get from other companies (such as gender, age range, interests, shopping preferences, and ad responses) or that you provide.
- Information advertisers share with us to better target their own advertising.
The information they collect may be kept for up to three years.
Is Verizon Up Worth it?
That's for you to decide.
As someone who spends a lot of time on the internet, I'm familiar with having my data collected in this way and I'm comfortable with it. You may or may not be, and I pass no judgment, so your decision hinges on whether you are willing to sell this data for essentially a few gift cards.
And you don't even get to pick the cards… so there's that. 🙂
You have to ask yourself, are these rewards worth the data you're giving them?