April 23, 2012
First, let me tell you what this post is not about. It is not about the successful experiment lab assistant Jeff conducted recently. He bought a $100 Visa gift card at Staples.com (for $105.95) after going through uPromise for 5% cash back. The exciting news is that the experiment appears to have worked. 5% of his cost, $5.30, has posted as pending to his account! This means that if you buy Visa gift cards this way, you will get most of the $5.95 transaction fee back ($5.30 via uPromise) and still get 5X points if you make your purchase with a Chase Ink card.
This post is also not about how to increase the uPromise cash back to 5.5% by setting up and linking a savings account. According to the uPromise web site, you can get a 10% annual bonus on all of your earned cash back, so 5% back becomes 5.5%. This is really extraordinary because 5.5% cash back from a Visa gift card purchase of $105.95 comes to $5.83. In other words, you would get back all but 12 cents of the card’s $5.95 fee and still get 5X points by making your purchase with a Chase Ink card!
What this post is really about
Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, TopCashBack has just raised their Staples cash back rate to 5.5% and now explicitly includes gift cards!
While this is the same rate that is possible with uPromise, this is much easier. I purchased a Visa card earlier today, so I should learn soon whether the TopCashBack approach has worked.
Either way, 5X
Whether you prefer to earn 5.5% cash back from TopCashBack or from uPromise, this is an extraordinary development. It literally means that all purchases made with these $100 Visa cards earn the equivalent of 5X Ultimate Rewards points (less a small rounding error of 12 cents)! Imagine if you were to buy and spend 16 of these cards each month… You would end up with
96,000 over 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points! (Here’s the math: $106 X 5 points per dollar = 530 points. 530 X 16 cards X 12 months = 101,760)
Note that the TopCashBack rate can be pulled at any time. If you notice the rate drop below 5% or so, you might want to consider the uPromise route instead.
Spending and cashing out
While 5X everywhere is exciting, carrying a wallet full of gift cards is not. In future posts, I’ll discuss ways to simplify using gift cards, and legal ways to cash them out.
If you’re new to Frequent Miler, please start here