If you are a Chase customer and participate in their "Ultimate Rewards" program via one of their credit cards, you should be really careful about redeeming your points. I was in their store today just to see what they had to offer and ran across this:
I don't know why Chase opts for "points" other than it means there is an extra step to conversion. But they offer a "cash for points" method that shows what "points" map to in terms of real dollars. It turns out that $1 USD = 100 points. 2,900 points is $29 USD and 4,800 points is $48 USD.
A "Most Popular" section in an online store typically means a lot of people are buying that item. But that means that there are a lot of people out there spending $48 USD on a single copy of the Blu-Ray version of Toy Story 3 (currently $20 on Amazon.com)! I guess people just don't realize it would be better to get the cash and then buy the movie themselves. This only helps confirm what I've suspected ever since the forced switch to points - "Ultimate Rewards" are for Chase, not their customers.
Cold hard cash is the only useful form of value. Points are useless to everyone except to sleazy marketing/sales departments who came up with a way to obscure money by requiring an extra layer of knowledge. Knowing $1 USD is 100 points is knowledge most people won't go to the effort to determine. Therefore, unsuspecting people who think they must be getting a good deal get ripped off.