There was a time when the only negative about them was their annoying illiteracy, such as using "dine" as a noun and misspelling "receive" with "ie" in the online profiles. Suddenly, things started to change, as though the buffoon department had grabbed control. They changed their short, snappy, memorable, easy-to-say name into a boring, unimaginative and pedestrian one that few would be inclined to remember and even fewer would want to have to type, Rewardsnetwork. They reduced the benefits from their system and started a haphazard move from idine.com to rewardsnetwork.com.
Sadly, there were more dumb decisions to come. Around September 2004, they changed their email of special offers and such to go through a mob called Exacttarget. Despite it being well known that HTML email is evil, the new setup started sending HTML email. Even more stupidly, they send out pure HTML with no text section, just like spammers, which means that their email will simply be marked as spam by many spam filters!
The new setup has additional customer-hostile functionality: "Email Format" is one of the Rewards Network user profiles selections. You can set that to "Text only", but it will ignore that and send HTML anyhow. But wait, there is more frustration ahead. The email messages contain an Exacttarget link for modifying your email choices. You can click on that link, change your preference to Text, wait a month and, yes, you guessed it, receive more HTML!
Rewards Network is quick to respond to email queries, but all they ever say is that they are working on it. They've been "working in a diligent manner to ensure this issue is rectified" for over a year now, so it's about time they answered more truthfully. I suspect this would be closer to reality: "We have no idea how our own system works and don't plan to find any competent IT staff. We changed over from the working system to the faulty one without ever testing it, so you can tell we don't place a high priority on customer satisfaction."
Exacttarget haven't helped. Once, on 15 Dec 2004, they assured me that "your preference will be in place in the next week". Nothing was done, and they have simply ignored any further email about the issue.
Random improvements are occurring. I received one American Airlines email newsletter in plain text, but then they went back to HTML again. The most recent Alaska one, Nov '05, was plain text.