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Back when I first got into the travel hacking game, I thought surveys were a good way to earn some extra points and miles. I’d complete several a week, adding a bit to my Southwest or United balance in the process.
But soon I became disenchanted. The time requirement is large, and the payoff is small. My survey-taking soon went the way of the dodo.
However, I have held onto a single survey portal. And it only makes sense for one specific type of points
Why I still use eRewards
eRewards is the only survey site I still use to collect any miles or points. I gave up long ago on the airline or hotel specific options. There are two reasons eRewards is more unique (and worth using from time to time).
First, they offer partial compensation. Granted, it’s not much. But sometimes earning $0.25 or $0.50 of eRewards currency for each survey you can quickly disqualify yourself from is worth more than slogging through 30 minutes of mind-numbing clicking for $7.50 of their currency.
Second, they have an attractive partner with whom you cannot obtain points easily any other way: Hertz.
Why I always redeem my eRewards for Hertz points
eRewards has many redemption options. On the hotel side, you can redeem your currency for Choice, Club Carlson, Hilton, IHG, La Quinta, and Le Club Accor. Their sole airline option is Southwest. You can also redeem for FlexPerks, but the redemption value is terrible. Actually, the redemption value for most of those options is terrible. But for Hertz it is not.
eRewards currency can be redeemed for Hertz points at the $30, $65, and $120 level. The $120 level is only a bit better than the $65 level in terms of value. but it may be the one worth shooting for. Especially since you can only make one Hertz redemption per quarter.
You see, Hertz’s points can be worth much more than the all the competition. They won’t be in every situation, but as a general rule, they are a much higher value. Case in point: I made my first redemption for a value of 9.1 cents per Hertz point. This is a weekly rental of a full-size car for an upcoming trip. Autoslash and Priceline currently offer the same car type for $330. Subtracting the ~$80 in fees I still owe, my 2,750 Hertz points covered $250 of rental car (leading to the 9.1 cents per point valuation). This also means $120 in eRewards currency is worth ~$100. You really cannot approach this value with any other eRewards partner.
If I believe Hertz’s standard rate when I booked using points, though, my “value” would be more like 27 cents per point. But there are ways to score a much better deal, so that is a pretty unrealistic evaluation.
The other reason using eRewards for Hertz makes sense is that there are very few ways to easily accrue points with rental car companies. If I want a rental car for free, I have to redeem my precious flexible points through a travel portal. Since I typically don’t like letting go of my Ultimate Rewards for 1.25 cents each, I usually bite the bullet and pay cash. I use Autoslash, of course.
As an aside, it’s still a puzzle to me why one (or all) of the car rental companies have not jumped on the co-branded credit card bandwagon. If Hertz or Enterprise offered a credit card, I’d almost certainly apply for one.
Understand that time is money
Time is my most limiting factor these days. Between working a full time job and raising our three recently-adopted kids, life is very full at the moment. So why am I even bothering to complete surveys?
Well…when you can obtain points that are a) worth a whole lot more than most others and b) earn points that are impossible to otherwise accrue, I think it can make sense. Granted, if you have other ways you could spend some hours of your time and earn an extra $250 for the effort, that is probably the way to go.
Honestly, I didn’t have to use eRewards to earn all the points I needed. Due to a few work rentals and a couple personal rentals with Hertz, I already had some points with them (although I prefer to earn United miles through Hertz if they are running a great promo). So all I needed was $120 of eRewards currency to finish off what I needed for our weekly rental.
The eRewards survey panel is the only one I occasionally do for the points or miles. In all other cases, I find that the return simply isn’t worth it. But since this is a unique partner with high-value points, it is an attractive enough option, especially when I can kill 15 minutes of “down time” (not sure what that is, now that I am a parent…haha) to earn several bucks of eRewards currency.
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