Is it Worth Switching Utility Providers to Earn Thousands of Miles?
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Energy Plus offers an enrollment bonus of thousands of miles when you switch to its utility service. But something about the whole thing seems a bit fishy. TPG Contributor Betsy Mikel answers the question: Is the Energy Plus miles-earning offer legit? She digs into this promotion so you can cash in without getting blindsided by the costly fine print.
What if you could earn thousands of miles simply by paying one of your regular monthly expenses?
That’s the pitch from Energy Plus. The utility service provider offers a lucrative promotion when you switch to its electricity or gas service. Most major airlines have a partnership with Energy Plus, offering a bonus from 2,500 to 10,000 points or miles. Plus, you earn additional miles or points every time you pay your bill.
Energy Plus promises no long-term commitments or switching fees. Too good to be true? It depends.
You certainly can earn a significant number of miles or points by switching your utility to Energy Plus. But as with most miles-earning promotions, you need to read the fine print. Otherwise, you may end up overpaying for your utilities.
I’ll dive into the details of this promotion to show how you can earn the maximum number of miles or points without being overcharged. It’s not difficult — it just requires a bit of organization and attention to detail.
First Things First: What Is Energy Plus?
Energy Plus is a privately held energy supply company that offers electricity and natural gas service to customers in select states. Energy Plus is available in Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
If you enroll in Energy Plus, you don’t actually switch utility providers. You simply pay a different company for your service. Energy Plus buys energy from your local utility, then sells it back to you. It supplies your energy. Your local utility delivers it. These are separate charges that will be clearly outlined on your bill. Here’s what my bill looked like when Energy Plus supplied my electricity:
I found switching suppliers to be seamless and painless. In fact, I completed the whole process in just a few minutes at an Energy Plus booth at the airport while waiting for a delayed flight. I didn’t need to register with a new company or create a new account.
I still received bills and service from the same electric company. This hassle-free switch is in Energy Plus’ best interest, since it means you might forget to review your bill — and then you might not notice the gradual increases to the service charges that could nearly double your bill.
The Fine Print That Could Cost You Big Bucks
Long story short, Energy Plus offers you a generous discount to switch suppliers, but then will sneakily increase the rate of your energy supply — leading to bigger and bigger bills. Some customers claim their bills doubled after just a few months of service.
No matter which utility provider you use, Energy Plus will likely be able to offer you a lower rate at the time you switch. It’s easy to get sucked in by the allure of a cheaper energy bill. The catch? After a few months, that rate is no longer locked in. In the contract you sign, you agree to a variable rate after three months — meaning Energy Plus can (and likely will) jack up the price.
So you can do what I did: Get in and get out. Even though I canceled my Energy Plus service just three days after my bonus miles posted to my account, I did end up getting charged one month at the variable rate, which was significantly higher. But even so, I’m much closer to flying Cathay Pacific first class to Hong Kong!
Here’s the exact breakdown of how much I was charged on the supply portion of my bill before and after I switched:
- Before Energy Plus, I was paying $0.07533 per kilowatt hour.
- For three months, Energy Plus offered me $0.06900 per kWh. (During three months, I calculated this saved me $16.)
- On the fourth month, Energy Plus charged me $0.08940 per kWh. (I calculated that I overpaid by $23.)
Based on reviews I read from other customers, the energy rate likely would have continued to increase. While the current American Airlines promotion offers 2 miles per dollar spent on the supply portion of my electric bill, it wasn’t worth it to overpay on my bill just to get those miles.
And on that note, keep in mind you’ll only earn those extra miles on the supply portion of your bill. Your bill contains other charges, on which you won’t earn miles or points. For reference, here’s the breakdown of one of my electricity bills — I only earned miles on about half of it.
So… Is It Worth It?
Since it takes a billing cycle or two for your service to switch, you’ve got to keep an eye on your bill. I signed my paperwork in early July, and I didn’t see miles post until September. Despite my careful planning, I did make one mistake. I forgot that each month’s bill was for the previous month’s electricity. So I could have canceled my service a month earlier, still have earned my 10,000 AAdvantage miles and have avoided the higher bill on the fourth month.
If you’re organized enough to check your bill every single month, note when Energy Plus service starts and then call exactly two months later to un-enroll, I’d recommend signing up for Energy Plus. Or, if you don’t mind blowing unnecessary gobs money on your bills, definitely go for it.
Energy Plus seems to suck people in with the initially low rates, and it then counts on customers just paying their bills without looking at the energy rate. Meanwhile, it sneakily increases your rate and jacks up your bill. While you’ll still continue to earn miles on every dollar you spend on the supply portion of your bill, for me that only amounted to about 100-200 miles per month. Not worth it, in my opinion.
In total, I earned 10,634 miles — 10,000 from the promotional bonus, and the rest on the supply portion of my bill over four months. Not bad for a little bit of hassle. So I think it’s worth it as long as you know what you’re getting into.
Airlines That Partner with Energy Plus
Energy Plus partners with the following carriers. Remember, only residents in Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania are eligible. Connecticut residents were previously eligible, but no longer qualify for the promotion at this time.
- Sign up for Energy Plus and earn 10,000 AAdvantage miles, plus 2 miles per dollar spent on the supply portion of your electric bill.
- Natural gas customers in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Ohio are also eligible.
- Texas residents can earn 5,000 miles and 2 miles per dollar from Everything Energy; 15,000 miles and 2 miles per dollar from Gexa Energy (up to 20,000 miles); and 15,000 miles plus 500 bonus miles each month for 24 months from Reliant.
- Sign up for Energy Plus and earn 5,000 SkyMiles, plus 2 miles per dollar spent on the supply portion of your electric bill.
- Other energy provider partners include Ohio Natural Gas, Nicor Advanced Energy, Grand Rapids Energy and Georgia Natural Gas
- Sign up for Energy Plus and earn 5,000 TrueBlue points, plus 2 miles per dollar spent on the supply portion of your electric bill.
- Sign up for Energy Plus and earn 5,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points, plus 2 points per dollar spent on the supply portion of your electric bill. Rapid Rewards Credit Cardmembers automatically earn an additional 2,500 bonus award points.
- Texas residents can earn 5,000 points and 2 points per dollar from Everything Energy and 15,000 points plus 500 bonus points each month for 24 months from Reliant.
- Sign up for Energy Plus and earn 10,000 MileagePlus award miles, plus 2 miles per dollar spent on the supply portion of your electric bill. MileagePlus credit cardmembers automatically earn an additional 2,500 bonus award miles.
- Texas residents can earn 5,000 miles and 2 miles per dollar from Everything Energy and 15,000 miles plus 500 bonus miles each month for 24 months from Reliant.
- Sign up for Energy Plus and earn 2,500 points, plus one point per dollar spent on the supply portion of your electric bill.
Do you think this promotion is worth the hassle for the extra miles? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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