Jul 18

ExxonMobil Bungles Rewards Card Debut

Energy giant ExxonMobil recently sent snail mail letters to its Plenti rewards card members stating that the points program was being replaced with a new one called Exxon Mobil Rewards+. Unfortunately, the letter includes a confusing toll free number and directs customers to a parked page that tries to foist Web browser extensions on visitors.

The mailer (the first page of which is screenshotted below) urges customers to visit exxonmobilrewardsplus[dot]com, to download its mobile app, and to call “1-888-REWARD+” with any questions. It may not be immediately obvious, but that “+” sign is actually the same thing as a zero on the telephone keypad (although I’m ashamed to say I had to look that up online to be sure).

Anyone curious enough to guess at other ending numbers other than zero will wind up at a call center advertising “free” Caribbean (1) cruises or at a pricey adult chat service dubbed “America’s hottest talk line” (6).

Worse, visiting the company’s new rewards Web site in Google Chrome prompted my browser to run a “security check,” followed by a series of popups offering to install a Chrome extension called “Browsing Safely.”

That extension changes your default search engine to Yahoo and appears to redirect all searches through a domain called lastlog[dot]in, which seems to be affiliated with an Israeli online advertising network. After adding the Browsing Safely extension to Chrome using a virtual machine, my browser was redirected to Exxon.com.

The Google Chrome extension offered when I first visited exxonmobilrewardsplus-dot-com.

Many people on Twitter who expressed confusion about the mailer said they accidentally added an “e” to the end of “exxonmobil” and ended up getting bounced around to spammy-looking sites with ad redirects and dodgy download offers.

ExxonMobil corporate has not yet responded to requests for comment. But after about 10 minutes on hold listening to the same Muzak-like song, I was able to reach a customer service person at the confusing ExxonMobil Rewards+ phone number. That person said the Web site for the rewards program wasn’t going to be active until July 11.

“Currently the Web site is not available,” the representative said. “Please don’t try to download anything from it right now. It should be active and available next week.”

It always amazes me when major companies with oodles of cash (ExxonMobil made $20 billion last year) roll out new marketing initiatives without consulting professionals who help mitigate security and privacy issues for a living. It seems likely that happened in this case because anyone who knows a thing or two about security would strongly advise against instructing customers to visit a parked domain or one that isn’t yet fully under the company’s control.

Update, July 11, 11:36 a.m. ET: As several readers have observed in the comments below, it appears that ExxonMobil has registered a different domain for its new rewards program: https://exxonandmobilrewardsplus.com/welcome/home (note the inclusion of the word “and” between Exxon and Mobil). This domain is advertised as the official new rewards program domain via ExxonMobil’s corporate homepage, exxon.com (albeit via a redirect).

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  1. I never signed up for Plenti at first. Now when I did it is ending. The new exxonmobilrewardsplus program only gives a value of 1c to each point and 100 would be needed to make$1. Exxonmobil is only an emergency go to when I did not want to travel to Costco for gas. Now I won’t even care about this program.

  2. Patty Andersen

    So, if I clicked on the “extension” link, how do I get rid of the extension – in Chrome?

  3. Dr. Susan S. Fairchild

    Thanks for the warning. Now I won’t bother. I liked Plenti card, but I won’t use the Exxon card now. It has too many flaws.
    Dr. F

  4. Rebecca Becker

    Thanks for this information. I’ll try again after the 11th.

  5. I like the Plenti card but the Exxon Mobile card has too many warnings. I do not like this at all! Cancel me out!!!!

  6. Thanks for the info. Was just about to try to register. Will be waiting until after July 11. Or…maybe I will skip it altogether. Wish Plenti card was still available, . Oh well

  7. I received my rewards card and it says to register it but what web site have been to them all need help

  8. Heather Sealey

    What’s the sense of promoting something when you don’t even have it ready to be registered . A smart business would never do that.

  9. All ‘loyalty’ programs are just about consumer tracking anyway – better to ignore the lot and leave less of a data footprint.

    • Customer purchases at many large retailers are tracked automatically through Bluetooth/wifi signals from customers’ mobile devices, as well as payment card names or account numbers.

      Store refunds and exchanges are opportunities for stores to gather drivers license details, including addresses and phone numbers.

      A handful of large retailers are even experimenting with facial recognition.

      Even if you don’t sign up for a loyalty card, it’s likely you’re already being tracked.

      Small shops have long thrived on knowing customers by sight and greeting them at the door. Think of your favorite bakery, dry cleaners, or butcher, as examples. That’s tracking, too!

      You may as well get loyalty cards and receive 50 cents off each tank of gas or $20 off the holiday turkey.

      If you want to mess with their loyalty cards, share a loyalty card with several friends and sign up with a fictional name. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a start.

      • Yeah I was only advocating for simplicity, not paranoia – one less piece of junk in the wallet. Of course a lot of tracking is unavoidable – I keep that simple too by not worrying about it.

  10. I appreciate the heads up. I just tried to log in and activate my new card and thought I typed the URL in wrong.
    I never clicked on any of the links, fortunately.
    I’ll check back on the 11th, but yeah, what a stupid move by Exxon.

  11. Sorry, but that is the state of commercially available programming. It’s not a mistake, but a feature. It’s their path to your pocket. Neat, ehh?
    Like I’ve said before, not every programmer was a a plus student, or trained in a a plus school. And they are not the ones in charge. And the ones in charge are the sons and daughters of the ones higher up. Do they know management, or programming? Usually not. So, did they hire the best out there?

  12. So Plenti points expire on the 10th and You can’t transfer the points to Exxon till the 11th!
    But by then they are EXPIRED! Nice one exxon

  13. Your article was helpful. I tried to activate the rewards card I received and was confused with where the site directed me.

    I’m surprised no one had the foresight to disclose the July 11th date.

  14. Thanks for sharing. I will wait until tomorrow to register. Also, I know that all remaining points will transfer – it just takes a day for Plenti to send points balances to ExxonMobil. Anyhow, I am excited about this new program – rewards will be 3x larger than they were in Plenti!

  15. Saved by the bell. I was about to register then I saw this article. I will wait till the program is officially up and running.

  16. thanks for the info, just got my card and tried to register it online, and ran into the same problem. will try again on the 11th!

  17. Thank you for the info! I just got their mail-out today (July 9th) & was trying to reach the online site. Keep up the good work!!

  18. What is this world coming to??? Every time I call any company’s. Customer service I wait sometmes for 45 minutes, then get a run around or get a person with such a heavy accent I can’t understand them. I tried to access the rewards website also but thete is no such thing, and I too was unaware that the + sign on the end of the customer service # was actually a 0. Would it have been to much to ask for them to print out the actual number alongside of the one with the plus? Shame on such a large corporation for such shoddy implementation.

  19. I have the same issue with the same card exon moble the numbes on it no good on line with it no good

  20. Really ExxonMobil??? You need to fire the person who committed this mistake. I could do a better job! and probably for a lot less!

  21. New Exxon program administrator is amx. Points transferred from plenti to Exxon Automatticly as long as you use the card mailed to you and don’t register for a new account. You’ll collect 3 point per gallon, an increase. Plenti was 1 point. Yes they should have a opening soon landing page installed a month ago . Bunch of derps on the web team I guess

  22. George Appiah

    “It always amazes me when major companies with oodles of cash (ExxonMobil made $20 billion last year) roll out new marketing initiatives without consulting professionals who help mitigate security and privacy issues for a living.”

    Bryan, you might be wrong on that one.

    From personal experience, often these mega-corporations DO consult and pay a ton of cash for such consultations.

    But the game at these mega-corps is often so rough that only the big-4 CONsultanting giants have the balls to play, often with a team of “graduate trainees” who have checkboxes to fill — not true security professionals who have any opsec knowledge and experience.

  23. Andrew Rossetti

    I get 10 cents per gallon off at Royal Farms, and 5 cents off just about everywhere else through my GasBuddy card. Everywhere except for ExxonMobil. The only time I’ve gotten gas there in the past 5 years is when redeeming my Plenti points. Guess where I WON’T be stopping at anytime in the foreseeable future?

  24. They have you by the short hairs!!! If you don’t use the loyalty card at Rite Aid drug stores you don’t get the discounts they offer. Since many of their discounts on seasonal items are 50% or more you can really score on some items (e.g. we got a collapsable canopy that’s regularly $70 or more for $30!) This card is also awkward because you can’t attach it to a key ring like all the other loyalty cards (including my Plenti card).

    As far as the comments about tracking, we are all on the tracking grid and Big Brother is always watching!

  25. These kinds of offers mainly need to take in the form of the fast transaction for which you can attend the first position of the rewards for more contact the Google Support to extend the updates.

  26. Incredible !! Just another Valdez ship wreck!!! Horribly instituted program.

  27. Well today is July 11th and I still can’t register my Exxon Card so I get points for my fuel. There is no Log on that shows register my card. I guess this card is useless

  28. laurie montefusco

    still not live

  29. I believe the “new” url to register is https://exxonandmobilrewardsplus.com/welcome/home

    The old one seems to be registered by someone else?

  30. Still not up, BUT, “coming soon”. Called the number on the card. “experiencing high call volumes, you register by going online….”
    Yeah right.