Want to use your La Quinta Returns points to pay for everyday purchases charged to a Visa credit card? You can, with the recently introduced Redeem Away program. Here’s how it works:
- Link your Visa credit card account to your La Quinta Returns account
- Make a qualifying purchase with the linked Visa card
- Reply “Yes” to the text message inviting you to redeem points for the purchase
- Receive a credit for the purchase on your Visa statement
Qualifying purchases can be made at the following types of merchants: fast food and casual dining restaurants; bookstores; grocery stores and drugstores; club and discount stores.
There is a $3,600 limit to the number of points that may be redeemed during a calendar year, and a maximum of $300 may be redeemed during a 30-day period.
According to a La Quinta rep reached by phone, the value of points when redeemed for Visa purchases is .33 cents (a third of a cent) per point. So, 333 points per $1, or 1,500 points for a $5.00 cup of coffee.
Through March 31, La Quinta Returns members can 1,500 bonus points for linking a Visa credit card account and mobile number with their Returns account.
Deal or No Deal
Redeem Away is a slick program, a well-realized implementation of the points-as-money idea.
The problem, as is almost always the case with loyalty programs’ non-travel awards, is the abysmal value program members receive when redeeming their points for Visa charges. When points redeemed for La Quinta stays are worth between 1 and 2 cents apiece, getting just .33 cents for eligible purchases is at best a questionable financial proposition.
Reader Reality Check
Would you redeem your La Quinta points for .33 cents each?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.