Buy Ultimate Rewards Points for 1.53 cents or less

In a recent post (Ultimate Rewards Mall Updates) I reported that, through the Ultimate Rewards Mall, Magazines.com is currently offering 40 points per dollar.  I mentioned that I was going to try to “double dip” by purchasing an e-gift card and then using the gift card to purchase magazines.  Here are the results:

The Double Dip Worked!  Sort-of…

In December, a reader, “LoveToFly,” posted in Milepoint that he successfully double dipped with Magazines.com through the Ultimate Rewards Mall. In his case, he received full points for the gift card purchase, but only half points for the magazine purchases.  I had the exact same experience!  When I look in my Ultimate Rewards Mall & Travel Earnings, I see a magazines.com transaction amount for exactly half of what I actually paid.  My guess of why this happened is that I ordered magazines with a 2 year subscription and, for some reason, was only credited for the first year.  Will I get another credit after a year is up?  Doubtful, but possible…

Test 2

I just kicked off another test where I purchased a magazine with just a one year subscription.  It will be several days before I know the results of this test, but I’m crossing my fingers…

Do it yourself details

Magazines.com lists the following important restrictions:

Special increased earnings now through 1/31/2012!

Magazine subscriptions that are automatically renewed are not eligible. Not eligible on the purchase of books.

So, if you’re interested in this double-dip, do the following:

  • Make your purchases on or before 1/31/2012
  • Do not purchase books (at least not if you want double-dip credit)
  • Do not purchase magazines that are part of the “automatic renewal” plan.
  • I’d recommend waiting a day or so between buying the gift card and using the gift card.  I don’t know if this really matters, but it can’t hurt.

Buying Points

When buying magazine.com gift cards you get 40 points per dollar from the Ultimate Rewards Mall, 1 point per dollar from your credit card’s base spend, and 7% extra annual bonus if logged into your Chase Sapphire Preferred account when shopping the UR mall.  This adds up to 43.87 points per dollar, just for buying gift cards!  If you then spend the gift cards and get 20 points per dollar for the purchases, that will increase your total to 65.27 points per dollar!  And, if the option to buy 1 year subscriptions pans out, you would get a whopping 86.67 points per dollar!

If you get 65.27 points per dollar, that amounts to purchasing Ultimate Rewards points for 1.53 cents each.  This is more than the fair trading price of 1.31 cents, but depending upon your circumstances it might still make sense for you.  For comparison, if you buy points directly from Chase, you will be charged 2.5 cents each.

If you manage to get 86.67 points per dollar, that would amount to purchasing Ultimate Rewards points for 1.15 cents each!  This is well below the fair trading price of 1.31 cents, and a fantastic value.

What to do with the magazines?

Does anyone have suggestions?  Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Friends and family: let me know if you have your eyes on any magazines, I’ll happily gift them to you!
  • I’m thinking of calling local schools and libraries to see if they could use magazine donations.
  • Are there organizations that would buy magazine subscriptions for pennies on the dollar?

I don’t plan to go into this in a big way.  I’m not looking to become the pudding guy of magazines.  However, if the 80 point double dip pans out, I’m sure I’ll buy several hundred dollars worth!  How about you?


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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. I did this on 12/12/11 and did not receive points for purchasing magazines with the gift cards. How long did it take your points to post? Thanks

  2. IF it did work out I might be hiring a neighborhood kid to go out and sell magazines like I did when I was a kid – I remember working so hard to get enough points to earn that fishing pole and box. If I had only known…. If this works I probably would have earned a round-the-world flight for the same amount of sales….hahaha!

  3. Just out of curiosity I did the math, and if it pans out at 80pt double dip, spending $1150 through this offer would get you 100,000 UR. Not bad!

  4. Can you share some magazines that are NOT on the automatic renewal? So far most magazines I’ve looked up (primarily kids to donate to my wife’s school)are apart of it. Thanks, Gabe

  5. Same here gift card purchase did not earn points. Purchased in Dec. So double dipping may not work. Also, gift card purchase do not qualify for auto renewal.

    • MTS: I bought the gift card in December, and I ordered magazines on Jan 1. The points for the magazines showed up under “Ultimate Rewards Mall & Travel Earnings” today on Jan 6. In December, the points for the gift card purchase showed up in a similar amount of time.

      Steelsnow: Great idea! Will you pay the kid in cash or in UR points?

      David: Not bad at all!

      Worldtraveler2: I feel for you! I was in a similar situation in the summer when I missed all of those bump the bonus Amex opportunities.

      Gabe: The one’s that I know work are: Cooking Light and MAD magazine. The new one I tried is Motor Trend. Others, please comment with mags you find too!

      Rookie10: Gift card purchases definitely should earn points. The UR mall lists magazines.com under “Gift Cards”. So, if you don’t get points you have a legitimate reason to contact Chase and demand the points. Note that points don’t show up in your point total for quite a while, but they do show up under the heading “Ultimate Rewards Mall & Travel Earnings”.

  6. I got some Sears gift card from CapOne. May I ask if I can use these gift cards on the UR mall and get the points for the purchase(s) without using/paying with the Chase Sapp Pref card? Thanks.

  7. @ FM: I was thinking of paying the kid with KMart/Sears gift cards, of course!

    @ Nguyen: You will need the Sapphire Preferred card (or Ink Bold) to get in to the UR Mall, but once in several of us have been able to use Sears gift cards for actual purchases and earn the UR points through the Mall. Note right now that the UR Mall is only offering 4 points/$. If you need to make a purchase right away you might want to look at evreward.com for a possible higher earning rate.

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