Is it really that easy? Indeed, says Dan Miller, founder of Transit Treasure, which he calls "a loyalty rewards program for public transit riders."
Here's how it works:
1. Report your use of public transit
- Reporting at least 20 rides in a calendar month earns a member 100 Transit Miles
2. Spend at least $30 with a participating Transit Treasure merchant partner
- Every dollar spent over $30 earns an additional Transit Mile
- For instance: In September I record 30 rides with CTA and buy two sweaters at Gap.com for $100. For the month I earned 170 Transit Miles ($100-$30=70 Transit Miles + 100 Transit Miles for recording over 20 rides).
- Merchant partners currently include over 300 online retailers like: Office Depot, Walmart.com, Sears, Best Buy, Netflix, Macys, JC Penney, Target, Gap, & Kohl's.
- In the near future merchant partners will include local, brick and mortar businesses.
3. Redeem your Transit Miles for cash payments sent to you via PayPal.
Check out the video for more details. I guess this might work for you folks who like online deals and shop a lot.
UPDATE: After a few commenters here asked some pointed question, the founder of Transit Treasure posted this comment, which I ha moving up here for further clarification:
Dan Miller here – I am responsible for the Transit Treasure program. There have been some valid concerns raised in response to the article and I’d like to address them.
We believe people who use public transportation deserve a loyalty rewards program they can call their own – just like how frequent fliers have their frequent flier miles. Since the fare you pay to ride the bus/train does not generate a profit for the transit operator we had to turn elsewhere to find someone from whom we could extract a reward payment – that is the role of the merchant partners in the Transit Treasure program.
At the end of the day, if you take 60-seconds a week to record your use of transit and whenever you decide to/need to make an online purchase you visit a retailer’s site by first clicking their link at the Transit Treasure website you will earn Transit Miles redeemable for cash. That reward is on top of any reward you will also earn from the credit/debit card you use to make the purchase. It’s simple, easy and a good way to get some value out of your commuting experience.
My thoughts regarding specific concerns:
1. Self-reporting of your transit use – it’s simple, it’s easy and it allows you to identify yourself as a frequent transit rider if you so choose. Your transaction history with your transit rider is proprietary data that at this time is not being shared with third-parties.
2. Online retail partners – these partners will be supplemented with local businesses as more members enroll in the program over time.
3. How are my transactions verified? – by logging in to your Transit Treasure account and then selecting the link of the merchant you wish to visit your Transit Treasure ID stays with you throughout your online purchase. 48-hours after your purchase we receive a report that shows the dollar value, date and ID associated with the transaction and we use that award you Transit Miles. When local merchants are added you will simply use a debit or credit card you register to your account and whenever that card is used with a participating merchant your activity is logged and Transit Miles are awarded.
4. Facebook login – nearly 800M people have a facebook account and it allowed us to shorten the time it takes to enroll. We are trying to make things as simple as possible.
5. PayPal – no one wants to wait for the postal service to deliver a check in the mail. This allows us to transfer to you your rewards immediately.
If you all have any suggestions on how we could better “verify” that we are legitimate I would appreciate hearing them. I hope that you would give us a chance and support the program.
Founder of Transit Treasure
And Dan added this later:
We 100% unequivocally will never sell your information to a third party under any circumstances. We collect your email address so we can communicate with you – you will never receive any communication from anyone other than Transit Treasure directly.
All of this is communicated and promised to in our Terms & Conditions (link here: http://transittreasure.com/TransitTreasure/terms.tt)
Your bank information is optional and that data is held in the data center of TSYS, an New York Stock Exchange traded, multi-billion dollar in revenue payment processor.
We place the utmost of importance on safety and security of our members personal information – my own information is stored right along side.
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