Several months ago Swappable was launched by marketing service MyPoints as a unique gift card mall. Gift cards from a decent number of retailers in multiple denominations were offered for purchase, and the service even had its own reward system. You could earn reward dollars (redeemable for more Swappable card purchases) for buying gift cards from a select number of retailers (but not all). The real unique feature of the platform and associated mobile app was that gift cards were truly ‘swappable’ between users. You could gift, swap, and purchase cards for other people, and the goal of the service was to allow users to exchange gift cards they didn’t want for someone else’s gift card in a mutually beneficial transaction.
While the service offered by Swappable wasn’t really anything that I got excited over, I found the real value to be in the promotions offered by MyPoints. For those of you unfamiliar with MyPoints, it is a marketing service that allows you to earn rewards points through a variety of activities, including watching videos, taking surveys, clicking on ads, and making purchases with retailers advertising through the site. The rewards offered are not typically very lucrative, but sometimes there are some decent deals. Rewards points are then redeemable for gift cards, with one awesome exception: you can redeem points for United miles.
This is where I found the real value. For several months MyPoints offered bonus points for purchasing gift cards through Swappable on almost a weekly basis. The return was typically 500 points for $25, or 1,500 points for $50, or 2,500 points for $100. I am typically not a major gift card user, but Amazon was among the retailers available through Swappable, and I was able to leverage this. Whenever I anticipated making purchases at Amazon, I would stock up on a gift card or two.
The return was a significant number of United miles. Assuming that I purchased a $100 gift card during each promotion, I would net 2,500 MyPoints on each transaction, a rate of 25 MyPoints per dollar (the rate for purchasing the $50 gift cards is actually better). I would then save the points until I hit a total of 13,000, when I would redeem them for 5,000 United miles. The effective return was 5,000 United miles per $520 spent on Amazon gift cards, all of which we would have bought anyway for both normal needs and Christmas shopping. Valuing United miles at 1.5 cents each, the return was a whopping 14.4%!
Swappable will now unfortunately be shutting down as of May 31st. Any remaining gift cards in users’ wallets will remain available through July 31st. I had noticed that their promotions had become much less frequent during the early part of 2016, and then they seemed to dry up completely within the last two months, so I am not really surprised. Somewhere in that time-frame the Amazon gift cards were pulled from the store as well. If others had found the same value that I did using the Swappable mall, I doubt it was a sustainable business. Still, I am sad to see it go.