Our family LOVES rewards programs. We love airline rewards. We love hotel rewards. We love cash back rewards. We seriously LOVE rewards! In fact, we’ve used rewards to travel all around the world, practically for free. We love rewards so much that we’ve even started providing free rewards advice for other people who want to get the most out of their rewards. Seriously peeps, we don’t want to hoard them all for ourselves. We want you to get in on the action.
So, when AllState Insurance introduced its new AllState Rewards program a few months back, I was naturally curious and expectantly hopeful. Already being an AllState customer, I decided to check it out.
AllState describes the program as a way to reward drivers for their good driving habits. Heck, you don’t even have to be a customer to take advantage of this program. Better yet, it doesn’t cost a dime!
So far, it sounded pretty good. So, I decided to dig a little further. What I found was extremely disappointing and kind of insulting for a rewards enthusiast like myself.
What Is AllState Rewards?
Haven’t heard about AllState Rewards yet? Oh, you will.
AllState Rewards is a program that rewards drivers for their good driving habits. Each time you pass one of their “safe driving” barriers, such as driving 3 consecutive days without any “hard braking” incidents, you earn points. In theory, you can then use those points to get deals on items ranging from watches to restaurant gift certificates. Sounds pretty decent, right?
Well, color me skeptical that an insurance giant is less interested in making money than they are in giving away free shiznit. They have to be getting something out of this, right?
How Does it Work?
As I stated earlier, AllState Rewards program participants are awarded points for their safe driving habits. Here are a few of the ways that you can earn points through the rewards program:
- 10,000 points – Sign up for Drivewise
- 5,000 points – Activate you AllState Rewards account
- 500 points – Watch AllState Rewards “How To” videos
- 500 points – Enter a promo code from emails
- 200 points – Take 10 “safe trips”
- 200 points – Drive 3 consecutive days with no hard braking
- 200 points – Drive 3 consecutive days with no high speeding
Seems pretty legit, right? But, as with everything, all we have to do is follow the money (or in this case, the points) to see what AllState is actually after.
What is this Drivewise you speak of?
In order to participate in the rewards program, you have to first sign up for the AllState Drivewise program…and they’ll give you a whopping 10,000 points for you to do it! So, what exactly is it?
AllState Drivewise is a program that AllState customers can use in order to get a reduced rate on their car insurance premiums. Once accepted, participants are required to put a device in their car that monitors their driving habits. In theory, AllState claims this information will not be used to increase your premium prices. However, you have to assume that they use this information to decide how big of a driving risk you pose for insurance purposes. What other purpose could it serve?
The device itself is a bit invasive. It knows when you were driving, how fast you were going, and even when precisely you tapped your breaks. The scariest part is that it also can piece together exactly where you’ve been. How do we know this? Although AllState claims not to collect GPS information, a closer inspection of the data collected by the Drivewise device shows that a “GPS Trail” of “GPS time, GPS position, GPS speed, and GPS accuracy” is transmitted once per trip. Nothing like having big brother tag along with you for a relaxing Sunday drive!
When you look at how the program awards points, it becomes clear that AllState doesn’t really care too much about your safe driving. What they really want is to get your access to your information, both your contact info (5,000 points for email codes) and especially your driving info (10,000 points for Drivewise). Although AllState claims that nobody but you, your agent, and occasionally an AllState representative can see the info, I’m always a little bit hesitant about giving away my info due to the increasing number of data breaches we hear about on the news.
Who Can Participate?
The “cool” part about this rewards program is that you don’t even have to be an AllState customer to participate! How’s that for spectacular? Even if you aren’t an AllState customer, you can give your private information away to them simply by downloading the Drivewise app to your smartphone! Just carry your smartphone with you, turn on the app while you drive, and start
telling AllState exactly where you’ve been earning points right away. What could be easier than that?
Of course, the app is getting just a two-star customer rating at the iTunes store and a three-star rating for Android…so there is that.
Redeeming Your Points
To be perfectly honest, I don’t mind giving up a little bit of information if I actually got something out of it. Clearly, I’m still an AllState customer, and we even participate in the Drivewise program with one of our vehicles. Plus, I’m super stingy and I’m always up for getting great deals on some good stuff. However, redeeming your AllState Rewards points is like entering the seventh layer of hell. There are some decent deals available, but your points are practically worthless. Rather than actually let you use your points to “buy” things, your points only give you a chance to win items. Let me explain.
The first way that you can redeem your AllState Rewards points is through an auction. Essentially, if you imagine an eBay platform that uses rewards points instead of real money, you’ve pretty much got it nailed. Here is what one of the auctions looks like:
Much like any other online auction site, you can bid on any number of auction items using your rewards points. When the time runs out, the highest bidder wins. Unlike many other online auction sites, you can’t just pay a flat fee to buy an in-stock item outright. You actually have to win the auction, which is pretty much impossible. Believe me, I’ve tried. Unless you jump on at the very last second and outbid the thousands of other people who are trying to get that same $10 gift card, you are totally S.O.L.
Additionally, I’ve found that you’re going to need a lot of points if you ever want to be the “winner” of any of these so-called rewards. This $10 gift card will likely go for several thousand points once the bidding is done. My time is worth far more than watching these silly auctions tick down to 0:00:00. For reals AllState, just put a buy now button on here and you may actually have a reward instead of a lottery ticket.
Speaking of lottery tickets, another way that you can redeem your AllState Rewards points is through sweepstakes entries. Yep, you heard that right. Your reward is a the chance to “purchase” a ticket to a drawing. So, instead of actually being rewarded for giving the company access to your personal information, you just earn the opportunity to have your name picked out of hat to win (almost certainly not win) a prize.
You can use your AllState Rewards points to purchase as many drawing entries as you wish. So, go ahead and blow the whole load of them on this $10 Lane Bryant Gift Card if you want! Of course, once you spend those points on sweepstakes tickets, you don’t get them back – regardless of whether you win or not. So, unless you actually win the gift card, you didn’t truly receive a reward at all. Thanks for that AllState.
The last way that you can redeem these stellar rewards points is through the AllState Rewards Daily Deal. Each day at 1 P.M. Eastern, the AllState Rewards program comes out with some shiny new daily bargains. There are several different categories to choose from – including home and garden, jewelry, handbags, and women’s apparel.
The Daily Deal is a points and cash type system. For those who may be unfamiliar with points and cash, it works exactly how it sounds. You use a chunk of your AllState Rewards points plus some additional cash to purchase the item you want. So far, so good.
With most points and cash programs, you can usually get steeply discounted prices on some super cools stuff. For instance, we just used points and cash to book a hotel room in Jamaica for Spring Break. For a hotel room that costs about $320/night, we used 150,000 IHG rewards points plus $70 per night for a 7 day stay on the beach. That’s about 21,400 points per day and a 78% discount…on a hotel room, on the beach, with an view of the Caribbean Sea, mind you. Had we wanted to, we could have paid for the entire stay on points. As you might imagine, the AllState Rewards program is not nearly that generous.
Behold! Here is what you can get with the AllState points and cash deals:
Yes, you are seeing that correctly. You can use 5,800 rewards points PLUS $140.00 of your own money to buy this purse. What a deal!!! (Man, there is sarcasm dripping all over this piece…)
First of all, you can probably guess my thoughts on spending a gajillion dollars on a handbag, but I digress. Let’s think about this for a second. 5,800 AllState Rewards points is equal to the 3 consecutive days of no hard braking reward…29 times!!! So, if a kid darts out in front of you, make sure you don’t brake hard. You’ll lose those precious points…
The kicker with this whole deal is that you’re only saving a whopping 29% on this silly bag! You can probably walk into the store and find it on sale for less than that. You really rewarded me there, dincha AllState? Thanks/no thanks for your crappy coupon.
Frequently Asked Questions: AllState Rewards
So, what is AllState Rewards?
- AllState Rewards is a program that is operated by the AllState Insurance company. Through the program, drivers can earn rewards points for what the company considers “safe driving.” These points can be redeemed through the AllState Rewards portal for discounts on merchandise, gift cards, and chances to win auctions and sweepstakes.
Who can participate in the AllState Rewards program?
- Anybody who is willing to give up their personal information, including loads of driving info, is allowed to participate. You don’t even have to be a customer. AllState Drivewise participants need only use the Drivewise device in their vehicle and sign up for an account. Non-customers are able to download the Drivewise app to their mobile device, sign up for a rewards account, and use the app while driving.
Is there any cost to participate?
- No…unless you consider letting a ginormous corporation know where you’ve been, when you went there, and how fast you were driving to get there to be a cost. Then, yes.
Where do I go to redeem these precious points?
- All you have to do is go to www.AllStateRewards.com to “redeem” your “rewards.”
How long do my AllState Rewards points last?
- According to their website, the points never expire. Bonus!
Can I turn my rewards points in for money?
- Is that a serious question? Ummmm….no.
Who can see my information?
- As of August 12, 2015, AllState claims that only you, your agent, and occasionally an AllState representative can see your driving info.
AllState Rewards is Great if…
Here’s the thing. Obviously, it is hard to complain about free. I’ve got no problem with rewards programs. In fact, I love them. I am more than happy to give you a little bit of info if I’m actually getting a reward. A rewards program, this is NOT.
Seriously, let’s not call this a rewards program since you can’t actually redeem your rewards points for any rewards. If you’re going to call it AllState Rewards, at least allow these points to be redeemed for something concrete.
Instead of being an actual rewards program, AllState Rewards is nothing more than a marketing scheme that is designed to get you to download their app so that they can collect your information. Of course, most businesses run these type of info gathering programs, including us (Join the VIP Club, y’all!)….but we’re not claiming to be a rewards program. Furthermore, to be a part of AllState Rewards, you’re giving out far more than just your email address. You’re giving up your right to privacy for the chance to purchase a crappy coupon.
So, if you want to give up oodles of information and sit on your computer all day to outbid thousands of others on crummy coupons and gift cards, the AllState Rewards is a wonderful program for you! Personally, my time is worth way more than that.