Whenever I’m binge-watching my favorite show (every night), I wonder if I should be knitting my own clothes or doing sit-ups. Then I get my head on straight and figure if I’m sitting on the couch, why not earn frequent flier miles too?
I joined e-Rewards in 2015 to take online surveys and I’ve managed to rack up thousands of airline miles, along with discounts to Best Buy and a 25-week subscription to the Wall Street Journal.
I do surveys almost every day for just a few minutes here and there, giving my opinion on things like shampoo, vitamins, frozen dinners, cell phone plans, car insurance and sparkling water.
It’s simple to sign up using your email address. Create a profile and you’ll start to receive emails alerting you that a survey is ready based on your preferences.
A typical questionnaire starts with basics like state, zip code, age, ethnicity and annu
al gross income. You can pass on any of those questions (“Prefer not to say”) or logout at any time, although you won’t receive the full incentive (you get $0.25 in e-Rewards currency just for trying).
The incentives vary from say, $5 in e-Rewards for a 15-minute survey to $1.50 in e-Rewards for a 5-minute survey. I’ve seen incentives as high as $10 for a 40-minute survey-- you’re warned of the time commitment before starting.
In a typical week, I spend about two hours taking surveys but that’s never in one sitting. I might do five or six in a row; other times, I’ll do just one and move on to other things. Some present a short video or lots of columns to read through so you need to be focused. Others, you can speed through pretty quickly.
The fun part comes when it’s time to choose rewards: Omaha Steaks, Audible.com, Starbucks, Macy’s, Hertz car rental, Red Lobster and iTunes are just some of the vendors available.
My favorite so far is Alaska Airlines. I travel from New York to Seattle a few times a year and have earned 8,250 Alaska Airlines reward miles. I’ve redeemed $25 in e-Rewards currency toward 500 Alaska Airlines miles several times over the past year, just by filling out surveys. On another occasion, I started a subscription to the Wall Street Journal for 152 issues at $50 in e-Rewards.
Based on my calculations, doing the surveys is like earning anywhere from $10 to $18/hour – not too bad in sweats at home eating popcorn.
Like any rewards program there are some drawbacks but not many. You never provide your full name so the surveys are anonymous but you will complete them from your home computer, which has an IP address and cookies, so Big Brother may be watching. (You can opt out of Advanced Cookies that track certain information based on your activity.)
Keep in mind your wallet is not going to grow by taking e-Rewards surveys (try some of these ideas to actually earn green). By completing market research questionnaires of varying lengths, you earn “Panel Currency” (that’s what e-Rewards calls its points because you are a panel researcher). And even with one eye on the TV, you need to answer the questions honestly and in good faith.
Some surveys require reading long passages and occasionally the researchers will throw in an “empty” question: “What color is a banana?” or “Choose #3 below” to check that you’re paying attention.
Each survey ends with a feedback form to rate clarity, thoroughness and whether there were technical issues. I find it fascinating the way the questions are arranged and often write constructive notes on how to improve the surveys.
If you’re like me and travel a lot, love dining out, and get giddy with a stack of gift cards on hand, then check out e-Rewards. I’ve learned about new brands and earned airline miles, all while wearing my PJs.
Jennifer Karchmer is a freelance writer, editor and proofreader. She runs Over the Shoulder Editorial remotely while working from places like Bellingham, Washington; New York City; France and South Africa.