Carrot Plus: Introducing the Stick

Last month, I earned 82 Aeroplan points (yes, I know they call them miles, but I like to call a spade a spade, or a point a point, as it were) from daily step goals and step together challenges with the Carrot app.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about or what Carrot is, please start here, then come back to read about this update.

This month (with the horrible increasingly-popular invention of in-app subscription purchases), I now have the option of multiplying the points I earn by 2, 5, or 10 and all this can be mine for a monthly (or annual) fee!

Let’s break this down.

Ratehub values an Aeroplan point at 1.20 cents/point.

Aeroplan itself would charge me 4 cents/point to top-up if I was short for a flight redemption.

Different sites will give you different numbers, but as a general rule, I look at how much I would pay for a point in other situations.

For example, I might pay a $120 annual fee for an Aeroplan-earning credit card with a 20,000 point welcome bonus. (If I’m being honest, I’d still be looking for better options, but we’ll go with this.)

$120/20000= 0.6 cents.

It is highly unlikely that I’m going to pay more than that without even a guarantee on my investment. I might not be able to hit my step goals and could earn even less than my 82 point baseline. So, let’s find out what’s on offer by doing the math.

Lowest Price:

For $1.99/month, if I take my monthly baseline of 82 points, I would get 164 (82×2) points instead. Considering I would have received 82 for free, that’s 82 (164-82) extra points.

That means I’d be buying those extra points at a cost of 2.43 cents per point ($1.99/82)!

No deal!

Now, if I were to buy the annual plan, I’d save two months worth of monthly fees and get a whopping 100 point bonus for my troubles.

$19.99/(82*12+100)=1.84 cents

Better, but no deal.

Now sure, I could go all out and try to hit all my daily step goals, get a continuous streak going, and take on step together challenges whenever possible. However, that means my goals would just keep going up and up with no end in sight and continually maxing out my rewards would not be sustainable.

There’s no way I could make that work for a whole year, so I’m not even going to do those calculations. Let’s looks at one month.

4 step together challenges = 20×4=80

Streak:

Day 1&2=2

Day 3&4= 4

Day 5+=3×26=78

Total=2+4+78+80=164 free points

164×2=328 with the bonus

328-164=164 purchased

$1.99/164= 1.21 cents per point

Still no deal.

Mid-Range Price:

For $3.99/month, if I take my monthly baseline of 82 points, I would get 410 (82×5) points instead. Considering I would have received 82 for free, that’s 328 (410-82) extra points.

That means I’d be buying those extra points at a cost of 1.22 cents per point ($3.99/328)!

This is still not a good value from my standpoint.

So now let’s look at option 2, the yearly plan.

$39.99/year will get you a somewhat better return.

328×12= 3936 points/year plus a one-time bonus of 250 points

$39.99/4186= 0.96 cents

This is better, but still not fantastic if you have better options for earning Aeroplan points.

So, in order to buy the points at the credit card bonus example rate of 0.6 cents/point, I’d need to earn an extra 665 points per month ($3.99/0.6 cents). Let’s see what a maxed out month would get me.

4 step together challenges = 20×4=80

Streak:

Day 1&2=2

Day 3&4= 4

Day 5+=3×26=78

Total=2+4+78+80=164 free points

164×5=820

820-164=656

$3.99/656= 0.61 cents per point

Not a bad deal, if you don’t have a better way to earn these points and think you can keep a streak going with your stepping partners for a full month.

Highest Price:

Let’s run the numbers at the highest level.

Monthly:

82×10=820

820-82=738

$5.99/738= 0.81 cents/point = no

Yearly:

738×12=8856

$59.99/8856+500 bonus=0.64 cents/point = meh…be

Maxed out month:

164×10=1640

1640-164=1476

$5.99/1476=0.41 cents/point

This is the deal I’m trying out for a month.

Bottom Line:

Ok, maybe. For one month at a time, at the top tier, maybe. But that’s a heck of a lot of work for Aeroplan points. I don’t see how this could be sustainable. There’s a lot of risk that I wouldn’t achieve enough steps to get a reasonable value out of my purchase. That’s where Carrot is now introducing the stick part of the equation.

The best value (financial, not health) I can see is to alternate months of subscription and step goal achievement with months of intentional failure to lower the target steps.

There are easier ways to get closer to that flight reward, but if you need the extra motivation of your money on the line to get moving, try Carrot Plus (and don’t forget to use my code: HeatherM6749 to get extra points when you sign up).

Pro Tip: Use your AmEx Cobalt to buy iTunes gift cards at 5X points for in-app purchases, or get your iTunes gift cards at Costco for less $$. Always stack the offers!

***

P.S. Your numbers will be different than mine. Do the math and tell me in the comments how these offers work out for you. Don’t forget to compare what you’d get with SCENE, et al.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s