Is Verizon Up Worth It? (formerly Verizon Smart Rewards)

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 another service 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 a short time afterwards.

Verizon Up took its place.

Is it worth it? Or is as bad as Verizon Smart Rewards?

(this post has updates that include the changes to the program as of May 1, 2019)

What is Verizon Up?


Verizon Up is a rewards program that gives you 1 credit after paying your bill. When it first started, you got a credit for every $300 you spent. That included 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.

The change now makes it so you get a point each month. Our bill was a little under $150 a month so we doubled our quickly we earned points – a nice update.

If you want to join, you'll want to enroll as soon as possible because you only accrue points after you sign up. When I first signed up, the program had been going for a few months but I didn't earn any points even though I've been paying my bill. Stinks but that's how it goes sometimes.

What are the Verizon Up Rewards?

Verizon Up RewardsThere are three categories of rewards:

  1. 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.
  2. Unexpected Rewards: These are rewards offered on special occasions and do not require any credits.
  3. 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 May 2019, it showed these rewards:

  • $3 Starbucks gift card
  • 1 GB of bonus data
  • $3 Barnes & Noble gift card
  • $10 off select accessories

The rewards are OK – the data is useful, a few $3 gift cards, but the rest of the offers I've seen are meh. There are other promotions 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?

When I first published this article in early 2018, this is what I wrote:

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. 🙂

After a few months of seeing the offers, I have to say that the offers are meh. It's a couple $3 gift cards to places I don't go and sometimes there's a 1-2GB data offer… it's nice if I have a big data month and don't want to go over… but the “cost” of giving up your data is low but so are the awards.

How Do I Cancel Verizon Up?

We had a reader comment that it was impossible to cancel but we found that you can log into your account and set privacy preferences.

You can remove sharing for Customer Proprietary Network Info, Business and Marketing Insights, and Relevant Mobile Advertising. You can also remove your information from Verizon Selects. I hope that gets me out of it but I'm not 100% sure. 🙂

You have to ask yourself, are these rewards worth the data you're giving them?

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Comments

About the comments on this site:

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  1. DNN says

    Good morning Jim,

    I’ve heard of a Verizon FiOS and other amazing Verizon services, but never something called “Verizon up.” My folks used Verizon bundled services in the past. They had internet, phone and cable. I’m not sure why they switched but Verizon is definitely among the leaders in the industry.

    At least you give an honest opinion of what you thought of the former Verizon Smart Rewards program and thought it was trash. I never ventured into it so I don’t know how it is. But I’ll take your word for it, Jim.

    I absolutely agree with you Jim that nothing in life is free. Some people mask things that free, but there’s a hidden cost. Opportunity cost. Trade off cost. But one thing for sure is that a person is not getting what they think is free for free. Sooner or later they’ll have to give up something.

    I’m wondering if there’s an affiliate program for the Verizon up service that affiliate earn a nice commission from. Verizon does have a pretty good affiliate program where they have decent affiliate payouts, but I’m a member of other affiliate programs and don’t want to stretch myself too thin.

    • Jim Wang says

      I’ve only been on it a month but so far the perks have been “meh.” This month the $5 gift card is to Gap, where I haven’t been in years. The data is useful I suppose but we never go over so it’s of no value. I will give it a couple more months but it’s not looking good.

  2. Douglas Rubin says

    I stupidly signed up for Verizon UP, because generally I am very satisfied with Verizon. A few months later, I realized the awards are basiscally useless and I don’t want them collecting data on much of my browser activity AND all my phone calls AND all my family’s activity.

    So I tried to cancel. Almost impossible to figure out how to reach anyone. When I finally did, I was told, that, “You can’t cancel. It’s a provision of the User Agreement with ‘UP’ that prevents you from ever canceling” (unless one cancels all their business with verizon wireless.

    I like my cell service but I want to get out of Verizon UP. If there is a class action legal effort here, sign me up!

  3. Dave says

    It’s really a fake. The email shows $239. It’s not a redeemable amount. It’s just how much it costs to get another credit. Of course, my 1 credit will expire by then

    I see a $5 gift certificate for the Gap. That’s pretty much it. I get those in the mail every month.

  4. David says

    I think the way to make Up work, if you’re likely to stay with VZW, is the “Device Dollars” option on Up. While your CREDIT expires after 60 days, if you use it on the “Device Dollars” option the device “dollars” accrue. Currently I have 70 device “dollars” accrued toward my next phone, whenever that might be needed (my 2-year-old Pixel is working fine at the moment.) When I look at the “Device Dollars” in the app, it says I need to use them by April 2020 (it’s Jan 2019 at the moment.) I’ll look next time I use a credit to see if that extends the use-by date. One thing I *DO* notice is that every couple of months they’re only offering 5 “device dollars” per credit, when the previous month offered 10. Since the credits last 60 days I wait until the next cycle to bag a $10 offer.

  5. Kelly says

    I really appreciate your review. I just received another marketing email from Verizon about Verizon Up. I have resisted joining all this time, as it just has seemed like more trouble than it’s worth to keep track of some programs like this that may just be more of a nuisance than a value. You give a great reminder that things are not always what they seem, and to me it is increasingly important to protect my privacy and my information, so I would be quite unhappy to have joined and be told I could not discontinue the program.

    • Jim Wang says

      Thanks Kelly!

      It’s been a few months since I wrote the original post and I just seem to accrued 2 GB data cards for those random months we get close to going over (which typically only happens once a year). I’ve kept it because of inertia but I’m not sure it’s “worth it.”

  6. Mami says

    I just went into the chat with a Verizon rep and they told me they would cancel the Verizon up. I am supposed to get a text when it is done from a rep named Tyler. We shall see, I will keep you posted.

  7. Mami says

    Directions to opt out of this..

    In the Verizon app, go to account—-> Account Settings—–> click on the Privacy Tab and turn all the green buttons off then I would click into the other items below them and opt out of everything.

  8. Connie Sell says

    I happen to like it. Last month was an anniversary date. Don’t remember how many years (like 20). Verizon Up sent me a $20 Amazon gift card. I only have a small (2gb) data plan, so I like having the reward points for the extra data.

  9. Donalyn Keliipuleole says

    Thank you for your honest opinion. I suspected the same about the data collection when a Verizon agent pitched the program. I also wondered about the quality of the perks and the likelihood that I would use them. I have an unlimited plan with a backup Sprint data plan (no hard cable for a wired service plan) so the additional data benefit has no real appeal. I wont be signing up.

    • Shane Burke says

      Be vigilant. I too resisted enrollment and eventually I was enrolled covertly by Verizon without my knowledge or consent. And once enrolled, they will not allow you exit the program. Eventually I left Verizon because of this.

  10. Shane Burke says

    I was covertly enrolled in Verizon Up after transferring two lines from Sprint to Verizon. Before that I had successfully avoided enrollment despite constant badgering to join. Finally they just enrolled me without my consent and then the text spam started coming. I contacted Verizon multiple times and was told (in writing) that I would be de-enrolled. However, no such action was taken and finally I was told that there is no way to exit the program. Ultimately I left Verizon because of this and am now with another carrier.

  11. John R Dowty says

    Just for everyone’s FYI. Verizon Up Device Dollars are only for new phones and tablets. I saved for 2 years thinking I could use that for a new headset or watch….NOPE. Waste of your time to use Verizon UP. I really can’t wait till T-Mobile/Sprint get their act together and see what they will offer and the most important, what their service will be like.

  12. Ivy Tamwood says

    Not only that, getting the rewards are impossible. On the delivery information page, it takes forever for the complete form to come up. If it does and you finish and submit it, you get a message that the system is too busy and to try again later. It happens to me every month. I have yet to collect on a reward.

    Usually, the form never comes up. They hope you’ll give up, which I almost always do. Today though, I waited and I’ve gotten the “sorry” message three times. The second two times, it just says that an unknown error has occurred. People give up, they don’t lose anything. Today I am contacting them about it. It’s just a lousy monthly $3 gift card!

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