With the recently introduced Redeem Away program, La Quinta Returns members can use their points to pay for everyday purchases charged to a Visa credit card. 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?
After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.