Campus Dining and Shops reward points to expire ahead of new reward program launch

Students hurry to redeem points and share suggestions before current program ends

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Students have until March 13 to redeem campus reward points at UB Campus Tees. After that, points awarded through dining dollar purchases, campus cash purchases and meal swipes will expire. 

Under the current program, students can use points at any time during their UB career, but participants forfeit all accumulated points if they have not reactivated their dining plan within 12 consecutive months. Many students, unaware of the program’s rules and restrictions, unknowingly forfeited their points by failing to redeem them before the end of the 12-month period. Now, students hope others will take advantage of the program before the March 13 deadline to avoid forfeiting their points, too.

Campus Dining and Shops (CDS) announced the programs end on Dec. 20, ahead of its transition to a new rewards program. The new program’s launch date has not been announced yet. The new points program will be “completely different” from the old system, according to CDS, so students must spend or forfeit their outstanding points before they can begin earning points under the new system. 

Under the old program, students earned one point for every dining dollar spent at CDS owned cafes, restaurants, vending machines and convenience stores and two points for every dollar spent at Campus Tees. At the dining halls, students earned four points for breakfast meal swipes used at Main St. Market, C3 or the Governors Dining Center during weekdays. 

Jason Zheng, a senior finance major, hopes the new reward program will offer more options at lower point values and eliminate point expiration dates so students can save points for better prizes.

 “I stopped buying food at school a while ago and didn’t really know what the points were or how to view your points using the GET app,” Zheng said. “ I finally learned about the program, but I don’t have my points anymore because I didn’t use them in time. Hopefully they’ll change the program so you can get more of what you paid for.”

Students stopped earning reward points on Dec. 20 but can still redeem their existing points on select items –– including specific T-shirts, sweatshirts and crewnecks –– at UB Campus Tees. 

Many argue that points took years to accumulate and complain that some apparel prizes cost too many points. Zheng said he hopes the new CDS rewards program will offer more points per purchase, feature less restrictions on when and how they can spend and warn students when points expire.

“There are so many rules about how you can use points, but they don’t even tell you about the program when you choose a meal plan at orientation,” Zheng said. “They should tell people, especially considering there are rules about where you can use them and how long you have them for. Hopefully the next program will be designed with student input in mind.”

Students hope the new program will offer them greater point-earning opportunities and lower-priced prizes, but CDS has not yet announced the program’s specifics. 

Ray Kohl, marketing manager of Campus Dining and Shops, said the new program is still in “development.”

 “[The new rewards program] is still in development as we are working on [the] logistics of the program couples with integration with our vendor’s software,” Kohl said. “At this time, we do not have a timeframe for a launch.” 

 Kenneth Zhang, a sophomore management information systems major, said he has not redeemed his points and does not think the program offers much incentive for students to renew their meal plans after their obligatory freshman year meal plans expire.

 “I didn’t pay attention to when I stopped gaining points, but I [had] heard about it before through an email,” Zhang said. “I don’t even think I have enough for a hoodie, so I haven’t redeemed them.” 

 CDS did not tell The Spectrum the specific amount of points that go unused in time for publication. 

   Currently, items that are point-purchase eligible are categorized into six levels. Level one items, which cost 300 points, include stress balls, phone stickers, a Victor E. Bull plush and cap guards. Level six items, which cost 2,000 points, include embroidered sweatshirts and long-sleeve crew tees. 

 Maggie Feng, a sophomore intended nursing major who redeemed her points at Campus Tees last year, said it is difficult for students to apply their points toward the prizes they want because sweatshirts and sweatpants cost “too many points.”

 “I know the points expire after a certain time. I was like, ‘I might as well use it.’” Feng said. “All I got was a cup because I only had so many points. It was either a cup or the card sleeve for your phone, but they give the sleeve away at campus events for free sometimes anyway.” 

UB requires freshmen who live on campus to pay $5,780 for an “any 14” plan or $6,110 for an “any 19” plan for their first two semesters, but many like Feng, only accumulate enough points to purchase a level one or two item by the end of their first year.

 Still, students hope the new reward program will offer new opportunities so they can get more with their meal plans.

“You’re paying a lot of money for your meal plan, so you deserve to get everything that comes with it,” said Zheng.

 The news desk can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com.