A Raging Embarrassment – The Panini Points System

When the Panini points system was first announced at the industry summit last year, everyone went fucking bananas with excitement. I was not among that group, because like some who can actually think about the situation, I was of the opinion that redemptions were not the problem. It was the task of getting an unfulfilled card replaced that was the problem. Now that we have reached a point where the system is a train wreck, I think its time for a big “I told you so!” moment.

Just for reference, here is what points sell for these days. Remember the price they used to sell for?

150 Panini Rewards Redemtpion Points

250 Panini Rewards Redemtpion Points

900 Panini Rewards Redemtpion Points

300 Panini Rewards Redemtpion Points

Panini thought they could revolutionize the whole situation with a fix that didnt address the real issue, and in the process, made people hate redemptions more than they already do. Again, having redemptions isnt the thing that people SHOULD be pissed about. Sometimes player generated logistics dont allow all cards to be signed in time for a product. That’s fine – as long as the eventually sign, the cards are still as nice as ever. That’s where the true product comes into play. Fixing the actual redemptions is the equivalent of realizing your car is going way too slow, and replacing tires instead of the engine. Its a fool’s way of approaching this problem. Some of my favorite cards in my collection were redemptions at some point, and I was happy to wait.

What Panini fails to realize is that collectors dont like opening packs and not being sure of what they end up with. They like being able to walk away satisfied with spending the money they did. That’s what made redemptions unattractive in the first place – not because they werent sure of the card, but instead of whether they would actually get what was promised to them. That question leads to frustration. To remove the item aspect and replace it with a nebulous point system, makes it even worse. Panini literally wants you to do the work for them, and pay to have it shipped when you do (not kidding). Its funny, because some of the best cards Panini has made would have flopped under this system.

Points cut costs, and that’s why Panini wanted to go that way. It has nothing to do with satisfying collectors, as we have seen that all products that are worth half a damn DONT have points in them. Basically, they dont want to spend the time to produce a card if its not able to be fulfilled, which is understandable. But to not give people the choice of waiting removes all desire from that program. Its like “Here is your card we couldnt be bothered with making for you.”

There is also a lack of understanding the way team and player collectors work as well. A scrub from a good team can still be valuable in some cases, even more so if they turn out to be someone like Austin Davis or Justin Forsett. People like having those things in the bank, even if they dont pan out. Taking that out of people’s hands just makes it all the more disappointing and enfuriating to pull these points cards.

I think one of my followers put it best:

But the above notion isnt the only thing about this that is such a fucking joke, and that is just beyond hilarious. There is literally no support for this program what-so-ever. The inventory on the site is so bad that its hard to even find one thing that is relatively worth saving your points for. It would be one thing if they offered some nicer stuff, but the cards are either A) Overpriced for what they are, B) terrible players, or C) terrible sets that no one would ever want. There is a reason many of the available inventory is on there.

Bottom line, Panini needs to pull their heads out of their collective asses. If they have their way, they will eventually be the only sports card manufacturer with a league license for any of the major sports. From what I have heard, save some relatively powerless individuals, there is no one on the team that really can grasp what it takes to make a quality product or design a good looking trading card. Everyone is so concerned with keeping cost low, that it almost negates any true progress that can be made with any brand based equity.

Its almost paradoxical in nature considering how much they overpaid for each of the exclusives they own, as they are very happy to throw their money around in that fashion without any profit margin consideration. In their opinion, it seems like they want us to be stuck holding the bill while they dine and dash.

If I am Panini, I take every opportunity to start making amends with collectors for the shitty calendar of products that never seem to end.

17 thoughts on “A Raging Embarrassment – The Panini Points System

  1. It’s a program doomed to fail and a backwards way of remedying the redemption problem. I think the poor redemption experience stems from a systemic issue of poor product planning and execution. No point system can fix that.

  2. I will start off by saying, anyone out there who wants to sell me their unredeemed Panini Rewards Points for $2.50 for each 150 points, mail your points (1000 point minimum) to:
    Sports Cards Plus
    2251 Lockhill-Selma Road
    San Antonio, Texas 78230
    Call Charlie at 210-524-2337 between 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. if you have a significant number of points to sell.

    How many times have you pulled an autograph from a Topps (or any manufacturer) product that you couldn’t sell for $2.50? The smallest rewards points is 150 and they sell for about $4 or more on eBay. I had one customer pull a 3000 Rewards Point Card (sells for about $130 on eBay) and at least 4 customers pulled 1500 Rewards Points Cards.

    While many of the items on the Rewards Points Site are overpriced, Panini is now including cards worth the 250 Point Price Tag listed. While Panini has been slow to include cards worthy of putting a smile on my face, Mr Mark Warsop told me higher value items will eventually be included on the Rewards Point site and I know Mr. Warsop to be a man of his word. There are smart people out there buying points on eBay. They also believe really good stuff will eventually be listed on the Rewards Point Site.

    I may have missed something, but I don’t believe any meaningful autographs or redemptions are missing from any Panini product. So, who is getting hurt by the Rewards System? I know everyone has their favorite team and would like to wait for the redemption of their common rookies, even if it’s not worth 99 cents on eBay. However, even though you may want that one valueless rookie card, there are 31 people with other favorite teams who don’t want that valueless common that you want. At the same time, while the Panini Rewards Points Site has cards most of us don’t want, someone out there wants it and is happy to redeem their points for it. That means these Rewards Points will give collectors fewer cards they don’t want.

  3. How does one view Panini Rewards inventory? Do you have to have points to be able to browse any inventory? I login to the Panini Rewards app, am told I have zero points (which is correct) and the links I find are to go to the main home screen, scan a code, or access Panini’s news, twitter, facebook and youtube videos. I don’t see any obvious “inventory” button that I could browse to see if I want to purchase points on ebay to acquire something.

  4. Being unfamiliar with this program I had to look out up. I only buy singles on eBay for the past few years.

    The website is terrible to start and entirely mobile unfriendly. Beyond that who would want most of these cards? Hope Solo, astronauts, Secretariat piece of game used memorabilia (I’m not sure what that means and at this point I’m afraid to ask). Doing the math of these cards replacing a hit you’re taking about saving up 16 of those to get 1 card and then pay shipping. Why would anyone do that.

    Finally, I’d like to meet the executive that decided to make the cards cost amounts that the points don’t come in. Hooray I got 150 points, but the cheapest cats cost 250 so WTF. What a way to give the finger to a customer.

  5. Great article. I haven’t had to use this program but from what I’ve heard the shipping is $4.50??? Wish I could get away with charging $4.50 to ship when I’m selling on Ebay!

    It really is insulting the way Panini treats us. If it’s any consolation, maybe if they keep getting worse eventually some “white knight” company will come along and revitalize the industry a la Upper Deck in the ’90s.

  6. Seems like an even more convoluted way to get a redemption card.

    Not sure why people dog Topps about redemptions. I have had to redeem cards with UD, Topps, and Panini and have had great and bad experiences with all three. Bottom line, they get the cards to you when they can. Some times they arrive quickly, some times slowly, but all companies redeem cards relatively the same way.

    However, after 2010, Upper Deck really started sucking at redeeming cards. No customer service, nothing. Waited 2 years for an Exquisite Marc Gasol rookie patch auto redemption that never came. They finally sent me some junk to replace it with and I sold it on eBay.

  7. Hello everyone,

    I’m from Paris (France), and I’m collecting cards from few decades, with the chance to paying boxes with cash money or money order, to different shops in Europe, without the necessity to use international credit card, that I don’t use on my own.

    I was quiet seduced by Panini America produces, until the avenement of “Panini rewards”.

    It was free for international shipping, just have to apply “Panini Redemption”, and waiting few months to receive “The gift”.

    I’ve contacted Panini America, and they told me that it was impossible to even exchange “Panini rewards points” to money to credit, to pay there unfree shipment.

    How long will we wait, for there supply services, to rich the level of there marketing communication ?

    No more buying boxes with “Panini rewards points”, until they change the process.

    See you soon… 🙁

  8. I just opened a box of Totally Certified NBA. Got it at a discount at $75 for a box of 4 packs. Guaranteed hit in every pack, gu or auto.

    First 3 packs were mediocre jersey cards (one was from a photo shoot, not even a game), then in the last pack, nothing but base cards and a points card.

    I was in the middle of filing a claim with Panini about the product missing items guaranteed to be in it, when someone told me the points card was the hit. THAT IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT. So, no only did I not get what I was guaranteed, I have to PAY to get the missing card shipped to me? Fuck you, Panini. Fuck you.

    The selection has gotten a little better since this article was originally posted, but it’s still mostly a bunch of crap.

    Goran Suton? Come on, really?

    It really wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to PAY for the shipping. Panini is the one who screwed up and didn’t include the card I was promised, not me. Why should I have to pay extra for something that was supposed to be included? I’d rather pull a redemption for a Michael Jordan auto, then have it replaced by a scrub because the card was never produced, than pull another shitty points card.

  9. I pulled a 1500 point card and am getting a Mike Ditka auto /49 out of it. I’m happy with what I got, but they could use some better stuff on there.
    I think panini will be fine in control of football. Topps brought it on themselves by locking down baseball licensing first. Was panini supposed to give up? They saved all this money from not getting other licenses they had before and offered a bunch of money to lock down the rights for football. I would rather both companies had rights then they would have actual compilation, but topps derserved to lose football production rights.

  10. To the guy whos tryna buy panini points u are a joke then you sit their and say one of youre costumers pulled 1500 only way u get those is in a 300+ box or even if that point is they bullshit us with replacement cards also given us shit we dont want when the card we redeemed was a stud ….either way they need to fix the problem or try to make every card live

  11. If Panini wants to saturate the market by taking the lions share of FootBall this year please don’t dilute this years Football card pool with crap points. I think they are going to have 26 SKU’s this year for football and i’d say 1/2 of them will contain points which is b.s.

    Simple solution(s). Cut down on your SKU’s (1 single College Draft Product, 1 Post PhotoShoot Rookie product, 1 Pre-Season Rookie and Vet Auto product, 1 MidRange Rookie Auto and Patch Product, 1 MidRange Rookie and Vet Auto and Patch product, Prizm, Contenders, PlayBook, NT, Flawless, Contenders and a couple products to close out the year). If they want to keep making newer product and flood the market at least do it with redemps, not points. 95% of the products on the rewards page is trash and the other 4% is out of stock.

  12. Panini points and redemption cards are a joke. I agree with having to pay for shipping when the shipping is more costly than the value of the shitty cards themselves.
    I have purchased 4 panini hobby boxes(black & gold, Certified 2016) only to receive shitty jersey cards, shitty auto cards, a redemption, and 2 150 points cards. Each time I thought result would be different but consistently shitty. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!

  13. Totally agree I thought I’d be slick and buy boxes that Don’t have the reward points posted as a possibility on the backs of certain hobby boxes but after buying a box of 2016 Donruss Signature (4Autos) for $108 I was Very PISSED when upon opening I received x3 Backup Defensive Players and my 4th was a Weak 250pts card. How can they get away with this when the possibility isn’t even posted on certain boxes?? I switched from buying Topps because of the complete TRASH I got in cases of cards bought (premium cards) so I don’t know what to do guess it’s time to start taking HUGE losses selling on eBay.

  14. First of all i agree with you completely but i dont really like panini design of the cards of the uniqueness of there inserts. I buy panini once in awhile because there is a football rookie i want and you are forced to buy them. Panini doesnt get good action photos. The nfl, nba, mlb, nhl all messed the card industry up when they went with the exclusivity deals. The card industry needs topps and upper deck in every sport. Remember how the industry loved the upper deck sp rookies or topps stadium club rookies they helped make trading card industry exciting. There really hasnt been no quality cards like they use to be. Especially in the nfl and nba. To me panini is too boring of a company to get me excited about really going out and spending money on outside a pack here or there and most of what i pull is boring photos or boring inserts. Hell even if panini stayed with more the fleer metal universe design that would be better. Score, donruss, does any body really want them they dont hold a good value. The old playoff designed cards from panini dont have enough good photos like they did in the past. Whatever happened to collector’s edge. They had good cards. I think in my 30 years of card collecting they last two have been the worst and least exciting for me to want to collect and a large part of that is because the lack of competition in the industry nobody is pushing each other so they keep doing the same old tired stuff.

  15. I’m a card collector that has been away for a while. I am told these are considered a hit! I don’t see it that way. I find a lot of rewards points in those crappy Lil Wally world boxes ( unsold packs/damaged goods) Now I get 1 auto on 2016 Select because I have a 250 reward card? Really? I guess card collecting got worse? Say it ain’t so.

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