Sometimes, the potential to earn free stuff is just too good to let up, which is why your keychain is likely filled with dozens of membership key tags. There are so many different rewards programs out there – store rewards, credit card rewards, restaurant rewards – and it may feel impossible to stick to just a few.
Does your wallet look like this?
They all seem great at first, and the sign-up process may be easy, but some programs then require you to spend money or do additional work before you can reap the benefits. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on the program before taking the time to sign up. While some people may be willing to put in the work and wait, fortunately, there are a few passive reward programs that don’t require you to do much.
As of late, two of the most popular reward points programs are Drop and Carrot – mobile apps that allow you to choose what type of rewards you earn with what seems like no (or very little) extra work required on your end.
How Drop works
Drop allows you to earn points at some of your favourite retailers and restaurants. Once you accumulate enough points, you can redeem an e-gift card.
What makes Drop unique is the fact that you link your online banking account to the app, so as you make shop with your debit or credit cards, you earn Drop points.
After downloading the app, you’ll be prompted to pick five retailers where you want to earn points for making purchases. For example, you can choose from popular brands like McDonald’s, Amazon, Starbucks, LCBO, Cineplex, Wal-Mart, or Uber, among others. But pick wisely; you can’t change these five brands after making your initial pick, so you’ll want to select the ones where you spend regularly. For example, if you visit Wal-Mart often and buy Starbucks on your way to work every morning, you’ll want to choose these when you pick your five retailers.
The app works in the background, so there’s no need to swipe anything or even open the app as you make your purchases. As long as you’re using one of the cards connected to your online banking account, you’ll get your points. Worried about your information being safe? The app uses 256-bit bank-level encryption so all your data is protected.
And even though you can only earn points by making purchases at your five chosen brands, you can redeem e-gift cards from many different retailers – like Sport Chek, Apple, Milestones, Best Buy, Old Navy, or Groupon, just to name a few.
On average, you should be able to earn a reward about once a month, but it really depends on how much you spend at your preferred brands. Only after choosing your brands, the app tells you how many points you can earn at each retailer. Depending on the retailer, you could earn one to even 100 Drop points per dollar spent.
How Carrot works
Although the amount of points earned through the Carrot app aren’t nearly as impressive as Drop, it’s still easy to earn points while doing very little.
Carrot is largely focused on encouraging healthy lifestyle choices, so you earn points by doing healthy things. The first way to earn points is by completing short, simple quizzes or surveys related to physical activity, healthy eating habits, mental health, etc. These surveys generally consist of five to 10 multiple choice questions and take no longer than a minute to finish.
But for those who don’t want to do much additional work, the other way to earn points with Carrot is by achieving a daily step goal. After installing the app, Carrot will monitor your average daily step count for about a week. It will then give you a daily step goal that is slightly above your average. Hit your goal, and you’ll earn points.
What makes Carrot more appealing is that you get to pick the reward points you earn. Unlike Drop, Carrot doesn’t have its own points. You can choose to earn Aeroplan Miles, SCENE points, Petro-Points, More Rewards, or even Drop points for completing surveys or achieving your step goal.
The downside is that, depending on the reward program you choose, Carrot only grants you a few points for making your step goal (two points if you choose to earn Aeroplan Miles, four points if you choose to earn with SCENE, and 50 points with Drop). You’ll be walking a very long time before you can earn enough points to make a redemption. I recently calculated it would take me 34 years and 120 million steps for me to earn a return flight to Los Angeles by solely earning Aeroplan Miles for reaching my step goal on Carrot.
Of course, the Carrot app isn’t meant to get you free stuff quick; as mentioned before, it’s more about promoting healthy choices.
Drop and Carrot essentially work hand-in-hand to earn you free stuff for things you would’ve done anyway. With some reward programs, you run the risk of buying things you never had any intention of buying, strictly to get those points. This can be an easy trap to fall in, and you may not want to join another reward program or download another app, but Drop and Carrot are passive enough that you can sit back (or step up) and rake in the points.