Buy books for 40X


I’ve written quite a bit in the past about offering 40 points per dollar through the Ultimate Rewards Mall.  Most of these posts were reports of attempts to double dip by buying and then using gift cards.  Initially, a half double dip was possible: gave 40X for gift card purchases and then another 20X when using the gift cards, for a total of 60X overall.  Unfortunately, that loophole quickly closed and that was the end of the double dip. 

40X is still an awesome return for magazine purchases, but if you’re like me you already get too many magazines.  One can never have too many books though! 

Buying Books

In the Ultimate Rewards Mall, terms & conditions state explicitly that book purchases are not awarded bonus points:


Luckily, this restriction is very easy to get around.  Simply buy yourself an e-gift card first and then use it to buy a book.  Gift card purchases are awarded 40X:


So, if you’re shopping for books give this a try!  Note that while their prices are not competitive with, you might be able to get to price match.

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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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  1. If you purchase some books with a Credit Card that offers the Price Protection benefit, you can probably get the difference refunded. Some of the Citi cards offer this benefit.

  2. I’m not going to try this (I would if I wanted a book right now), but I’m curious if there’s a chance for another dip?
    I find nothing at coupon cactus indicating that the 28% cashback doesn’t apply to books, and nothing about how gift card purchases are treated (i.e. ebates specifically says 26% cashabck for magazines, 2.5% cashback for books, and shopathome says “If a Gift Card or Gift Certificate is redeemed, Cash Back is only available on the balance of the purchase after redemption.” – no statements like those at the cactus)

    If you can use gift cards for book purchases, that would be another 28% cashback. Might be worth a try in the lab? 40x UR points + 28% cashback sounds tempting.

    • Steve: It might be worth a shot, but I did try double dipping through several sites without any luck (see the Laboratory page), but none worked. You never know if a different portal might work though…

      Ryan from MA: Yes, I should have written more about that. As you point out, when charges more, that doesn’t mean its a bad deal. I would gladly pay extra to get 40X points! I would use this formula: (extra cost) / points earned = $ per point. As long as $ per point is about a penny or less, your doing great!

  3. The prices aren’t horribly different from amazon. For example, “River of Doubt” is $12.75 but on amazon it’s $10.20. A difference of $2.55. $2.55 for 510 UR points, costing half a cent is pretty good to me, especially if you WANT the book. Right?

  4. FYI, In addition, use the GC at Ebates for 2.5% cashback, Bigcrumbs possibly 24.5% cashback, Mr Rebates-books not eligible, ShopDiscover-not valid with using GC or purchasing books, AA-books not eligible

    • DealsSeeker: I don’t think it would work. Simply try calling to price match after ordering a book. I know someone who succeeded doing that with magazines and said it was very easy.

  5. Thanks for the great tip…I have a question for you on ultimate rewards. I buy something following the mall and within a few days of my purchase get an email saying I have earned points. However, I dont see those points posting for months afterwards. Have you noticed that? Thanks.

    • Vivek: Yes, your points don’t post to your account until your statement closes each month

      caveman: For the Nook you can buy B&N gift cards for 10X, credit them to your account and then buy Nook books with the credit.

  6. Great idea – you are a gift card freak! 🙂 does not price match books though they charge no sales tax and its free shipping so not a bad deal indeed. Now they just need to sell a wider range of books 🙂

  7. How do you track your Ultimate Rewards points earned thru the mall? I did the Staples purchase on Sunday. When will I see some affirmation that I have points pending?

    • Carol: log into Ultimate Rewards, click “rewards activity..ultimate rewards mall & travel earnings”. There you’ll see the points that have been credited but are not yet in your account (they’ll go in your account when your statement closes monthly)

      Rajesh: Yes, 40X Ultimate Rewards is the best rebate out there. The hope, though, was that you could get 40X for buying gift cards and then cash back (or points) for going through a portal to use the gift card. That would be the classic “double dip”. It hasn’t worked for me since early January with

  8. Please correct me if I am wrong but if you use a website like ebates or gift crumbs, it would still be lesser than the 40% cashback on UR mall. And since each of them including the UR mall require you go through their link, you can’t stack them and hence wouldn’t the UR mall be the best in terms of cashback?

  9. Very nice blog, I like learning new tricks like this 🙂 One really lame question though, I still don’t understand how you can “double” dip? The gift card amount should be subtracted from the total amount right? So the second time the points returned are only the amount not covered by the gift card? Or am I totally wrong in this?

  10. fivegoats: This post isn’t about double dipping, its just about getting 40 points per dollar for the initial gift card purchase so that you can use the gift card to buy books. If you bought books directly you wouldn’t get any points.

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