Delta Airlines has severed ties with both e-Miles and e-Rewards according to this thread and and this thread on FlyerTalk. As of the New Year, you are no longer be able to redeem currency accrued in either program for Delta SkyMiles.
For those unfamiliar, both e-Miles and e-Rewards are websites that reward visitors with miles or fun money for filling out surveys in a wide range of categories. After earning enough currency in their respective loyalty programs, you have the option of transferring your points/miles to Delta or a host of other frequent flyer and guest programs.
Is this announcement a big deal?
I’m not too terribly caught up by this news. I used both e-Miles and e-Rewards primarily as “hits” for the now-defunct US Airways Grand Slam Promotion. The Grand Slam Promo was extremely popular and very lucrative with the frequent flyer community. By doing simple things like renting a car and crediting the miles to US Airways, transferring hotel points to US Airways Dividend miles, or even transferring e-Miles/e-Rewards to Dividend Miles, you accumulated “hits.” Accumulate enough hits, and you could receive over 100,000 US Airways Dividend Miles.
I participated in the Grand Slam in both 2010 and 2011. For about $500 out of pocket, I was able to bank about 120,000 Dividend Miles each year. This valuation doesn’t account for my time spent nor the value of hotel points lost when transferring miles, but I still came out well on top using the Mile Value Leaderboard valuation of Dividend Miles at 1.95 cents/mile.
I have plenty of free time, how do I sign up for e-Miles?
The e-Miles sign-up page can be found here. At the time of registration, make sure you choose your transfer airline/hotel partner carefully. It actually takes some considerable circumstances to make a switch after the fact! Don’t believe me, check out their own FAQ below:
You would have an easier time extricating yourself from a gym membership. With that being said, I would select US Airways or United as my transfer partners. The two carriers both rank highly on the Mile Value Leaderboard and have a host of partner airlines with which you can book award tickets.
How do I sign up for e-Rewards?
The e-Rewards home page can be found here. You actually have to receive an invitation from a hotel or airline loyalty program to join.
Keeping your email address on file with your loyalty programs increases the chances of receiving an e-Rewards invite. When I first signed up for a Delta SkyMiles account and a Hilton HHonors account, I received e-Rewards invites from both programs a few weeks after the fact.
After receiving an invite, filling out the registration and answering a few surveys on your interests and spending habits, you should begin to receive emails alerting you to eligible surveys.
What’s the difference between the two programs?
Both programs offer surveys for miles. e-Miles typically earn 5 miles per mini-survey which consists of about 3 questions. Because the minimum transfer is 500 e-Miles, it will take you a very long time to extract any sort of value out of the program. I’m not sure it’s worth the time/effort unless the US Airways Grand Slam is involved.
e-Rewards is actually a bit more interesting. Instead of earning miles, you earn fake currency that can then be redeemed for frequent flyer miles. Unlike e-Miles, e-Rewards doesn’t restrict you to one transfer partner, either. They have a host of airline and hotel options. Below are the programs available to me.
Surveys at e-Rewards earn anywhere from about $0.25-$20.00 (or more) in currency, depending on the length of survey and number of participants needed. To see the typical redemption structure, I pulled up their American Airlines chart.
In the beginning, I was routinely getting 3-4 surveys a week and the extra miles were rolling in. Unfortunately, I haven’t received a new survey offer in nearly a year. I even emailed them to find out why but was told there weren’t any surveys for my demographic. Very strange. Hopefully the well isn’t permanently dry!
Any other catches with the e-Rewards?
Actually, yes. Though e-Rewards has a host of hotel and airline transfer partners there is one issue you need to be aware of. Signing up for e-Rewards via a hotel program invitation meant that you can only transfer e-Rewards into that frequent guest program. You can still transfer to any e-Rewards airline partner, but all other frequent guest programs are essentially blacked out for you.
If, for example, you joined via an invitation from Hilton, you can transfer to any e-Rewards airline partner, but the only frequent guest program you can transfer to would be Hilton. I couldn’t, for example, transfer my e-Rewards into Priority Club points.
I signed up for e-Rewards via Hilton’s invitation. As you can see in the transfer list above, they are the only frequent guest program that I am allowed to transfer e-Rewards.
This FlyerTalk blog entry discusses how that restriction may be lifting. Just to play it safe, though, I would try to join e-Rewards via a hotel program invitation like Priority Club or Hilton. The list of airline transfer partners is too extensive and valuable!
Though Delta is severing ties with both e-Miles and e-Rewards programs, that shouldn’t stop you from using them to supplement your frequent flyer account balances.
In my opinion, e-Rewards is a lot more useful than e-Miles. It takes forever to reach the minimum 500 mile transfer threshold with e-Miles, and the time commitment just isn’t worth it. e-Rewards can be more lucrative though nothing outstanding.
Transfers from either program can be used to top off your account for an award redemption or keep a mileage balance from expiring. The flexibility of e-Rewards many partner programs is also very useful. Both sites certainly aren’t going to help you reach an international award ticket by themselves, but by supplementing your travel miles and credit card sign up bonuses, they can help you reach your award goals.