On May 9th, in the post “Experiment in progress: Sony 30X,” I described how I used a combination of techniques to attempt to earn 30 points per dollar from a Sony.com purchase. I had hoped to report success by now, but I can’t. Not a single bonus point has shown up in my account in the Ultimate Rewards Mall. However, the experiment is not completely dead…
As a reminder, the experiment went like this:
- I started with a Visa gift card that was bought at Staples.com. Currently, the Ultimate Rewards Mall offers 5X bonus points at Staples, and the Ink Bold offers 5X for office supply purchases. So, by buying Visa gift cards at Stapes through the Ultimate Rewards Mall and paying with an Ink Bold, one can earn 10 points per dollar. This part of the experiment is pretty safe: it has been proven before. I didn’t even really test this part – I just used a Visa I had lying around from a previous experiment.
- I logged into the Ultimate Rewards Mall with my Ink Bold account and clicked through to Sony. For Ink Bold owners, Sony is currently at 10X AND is listed under “gift cards”. So I bought myself an e-gift card using my Visa gift card to pay. If things worked, I would have earned 10X for this part of the experiment.
- Once I received the gift card, I went back through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Sony, and bought an iPhone dock using the gift card to pay. The total purchase amount was $1.49 more than the gift card value so I used my Ink Bold to pay the remainder. Ideally I would have earned another 10X for this final part of the experiment.
Every day I’ve checked “Ultimate Rewards Mall & Travel Earnings” to see if any points have posted. So far, not a single point has posted. Is it time to declare the experiment dead? Yes, and no…
What went wrong?
Buying the gift card: I was worried when I bought the e-gift card because I was routed to a different URL for the purchase. It’s very likely that the failure to get points from this purchase was due to the fact that the purchase was made at cashstar.com instead of sony.com.
Using the gift card: The Terms and Conditions for Sony in the Ultimate Rewards Mall do not say anything about gift cards so it should be OK. However, it’s possible that the written terms & conditions are not complete. So, it may be the case that I didn’t get points because purchases made with gift cards are not eligible for points. That doesn’t make sense, though, because I did pay $1.49 with the Ink Bold. Worst case is that I should have received points for 10X of $1.49, but I didn’t even get that.
Terms & Conditions: I think this is the real reason I didn’t get points for the purchase. The Terms & Conditions state:
Not eligible on Sony outlet, refurbished, clearance items, and Sony Ericsson locked phones, or Employee Purchase Programs.
Remember that iPod dock I bought? It was on clearance. The T&C clearly state that my purchase was not eligible. In other words, I messed up big time!
Only mostly dead
The Sony experiment was a failure, but it didn’t prove anything other than my ability to make mistakes. It’s still possible and even likely that the experiment would work under the following circumstances:
- Buy physical gift cards which are sold by sony.com. Don’t buy e-gift cards which are sold by cashstar.com.
- Using physical gift cards, buy items that meet the T&C. Don’t buy Sony outlet items. Don’t buy refurbished items. Don’t buy clearance items. Don’t buy Sony Ericsson locked phones (that’s a weird one). And, don’t use employee purchase programs.
I will redo this experiment, but unfortunately it will be too late to make a big impact. The 10X promotion is scheduled to end at the end of this month so it’s unlikely I’ll have results in time for anyone to capitalize on them.
If anyone else has been experimenting with a Sony double dip, please let me know how you
- Experiment in progress: Sony 30X
- Ultimate Rewards Mall Awesomeness!
- Frequent Miler Laboratory
- Ultimate Question
- Ultimate Rewards, Ultimate Confusion: Shopping
- What’s my X?
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