If you’re not entering sweepstakes you may be wondering about the types of prizes you can win. It’s possible to win anything, and some people have won the most unexpected and craziest things like even sex toys, an aircraft or a race horse. Prizes like these are atypical; more ordinary and usable stuff are typical as prizes. Below are five more common types of prizes being given away in sweepstakes and contests:
Store gift cards and gift certificates to shop. Almost every company that sells a product line has given away shopping credits to their sweepstakes winners. It’s a natural for a merchant. What better and more thrifty way to promote their stuff than by giving away their own merch?
Free products. Same as above info on gift certificates. What they’re selling you could win. Smaller companies ship wins out by themselves most often; larger companies would likely use a judging agency to distribute prizes to the winners. (Tip: if you’re not interested in the company or the prize, it’s good etiquette to skip the contest and go onto another one you do like.)
Cash. Yep, cold hard cash is a very nice prize win, and it’s given out more substantial amounts than you would ever believe. Large companies tend to give out cash prizes as checks. Smaller companies may award smaller amounts, like a $25 Visa gift card. Personally, the oddest cash prize payment was 18 American Express gift certificates my mother received in a UPS special delivery envelope.
Free trips. These are great for people who have the time to get away, and they’re given out far more often than you’d ever believe. Sometimes a sweepstakes trip is tied to a specific even, and you’d have to go on the trip at the time the sponsor defines. Other times, when the trip is not tied to an event, you’d have the opportunity to choose your departure date. People who enter sweepstakes and contests over a long period of time tend to win multiple trips. If you talk to them, they may mention that they’re repeat visitors to common destinations such as New York City, Los Angeles, Orlando and Las Vegas. (Tip: if you’re not interested in the destination, or know you simply can’t get away to take the trip, leave it for someone else. There are lots of other trip giveaways you can enter.)
Lots of people are concerned about the notification process and would like to know how to be prepared. Sometimes when you win any of the above, the prize will show up unexpectedly at your door. (In the case of a trip win, you could be notified via UPS or FedEx courier.) More often, you’d receive an email notification tell you a great prize is yours.
It’s your responsibility to answer the sponsor and confirm your information within 48 hours (usually). If you miss the notification and don’t answer, the sponsor would be forced to pick another winner. Always be alert for your cash, trips, merchandise and gift certificate wins when you enter giveaways and sweepstakes.