There are fewer partners in the Plenti rewards program. Macy’s and Chili’s are pulling out.
If you’re a fan of the program (I’m not) you will have until May 3 to redeem points. Plenti’s Online Marketplace, where members redeem points for merchandise, also will shut down after March 15, the company said.
Could this been the beginning of the end of the multi-retailer program launched by American Express in mid-2015?
Despite having 30 million members, Plenti has struggled to keep partners. AT&T, Nationwide, Direct Energy, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Hulu have all exited the program, though Exxon, Mobil and Winn-Dixie are among the few remaining retailers participating.
With some exceptions, the free rewards program offers one point for each dollar spent at participating retailers, allowing members to redeem points for dollars-off savings or through the Online Marketplace, which has hundreds of partner retailers such as Office Depot, Wal-Mart and Groupon. Points expire after two years.
In September, Macy’s revamped its Star Rewards program in a move to boost lagging sales. Macy’s credit-card holders are automatically enrolled in the program when opening an account. The free program offers 5 percent back in rewards on eligible purchases, free shipping and coupons, among other perks.
Chili’s has not announced any changes to its free My Chili’s Rewards program, which still offers free food and perks.
Macy’s put the squeeze on me to sign up for Plenti when it joined the program. But I found the program too complicated so I never used it after joining. I suspect others felt the same way about Plenti, although Winn-Dixie shoppers seem to like it.
But, when one reward ends, another begins.
Starbucks has launched a new Chase Visa credit card that lets members earn freebies at the coffee shops. The card works in tandem with the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, which is free to join.
The credit card has an annual $49 fee and comes with a sweet introductory offer: Spend $500 in three months and earn 2,500 stars. That equals about 20 food or beverage items. Card-members also get 250 bonus stars loaded onto Starbucks Cards in the Starbucks mobile app.
Card-members also are automatically enrolled in the loyalty program (current members of the program can link the new Visa credit card) and earn two stars per $1 spent in coffee shops; earn one star for each $4 spent everywhere else. Card-members also earn instant Gold status, among other perks.
Sign up at Starbucks.com/VisaCard.
Free ride on Brightline
Whisk your sweetheart off to dinner in West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale on the new Brightline train and get a future ride for free with a Valentine’s Day promotion.
Purchase a one-way or round-trip ticket through Feb. 18 using promo code LOVEBL and you’ll get a free ride of equal value added to your account. Free rides are redeemable starting Feb. 22, based on availability.
In order to get the freebie, you must have a Brightline account. Book rides at GoBrightline.com, in the free app or at kiosks in stations at 101 NW Second Ave. in Fort Lauderdale and 240 S. Quadrille Blvd. in West Palm Beach. (Get a free $5 credit when you download the app.)
Rides average about 40 minutes. One-way tickets cost $10 with an introductory rate.
Hopefully, no one will get run over while you’re on the train, as that would be decidedly unromantic. There have been multiple accidents since the service began running on Jan. 13, through no fault of the new rail line.
Don’t let that derail plans to let Brightline do the driving. Trains drop passengers within walking distance of CityPlace in West Palm Beach and Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Both offer fantastic places to wine and dine your lover with restaurants offering specials listed at CityPlace.com and LasOlasBoulevard.com.