Portal, cards, and mortgage payments

Today, I have a number of miscellaneous things on my mind regarding portals, credit card offers, and mortgage payments.  Read on…

ShopDiscover caution / question

In my opinion, ShopDiscover is a terrific online portal.  They frequently have the best cash back rates.  And, Discover Cash can sometimes be used for better than 1 cent per penny value (see “Rediscovering Discover Rewards” and “Maximizing Discover rewards: real value from merchant gift cards”).  I’ve mentioned in many posts that the ShopDiscover portal works even if you don’t pay with a Discover card, but recently a few readers have told me otherwise.  They said that Discover sent them emails congratulating them with the message “You’ve Earned Additional Cashback Bonus Through ShopDiscover,” but then no cash back has appeared on their statement, or that it appeared and then was reversed out.

I tried to look at my own experience with this.  I’ve used ShopDiscover many times, and I’ve received emails acknowledging the cash back each time.  And, the Discover Cash has stayed in my account as far as I can tell.  However, I can’t find any way to view my cash back earning history other than by viewing my individual monthly statements.  To make things more difficult, I haven’t received a statement since late last year since I haven’t actually used my Discover card since then.  So, here are a couple of questions for readers:

  1. Do you know of any way to view your ShopDiscover earnings other than “Recent Shop Discover history” shown under ShopDiscover, and whatever shows up on each statement?
  2. What has your experience been in getting ShopDiscover rewards when not paying with Discover cards?

SwagBucks pending, uPromise not yet

In my recent post “Best ways to buy $200 Visa gift cards” I mentioned that SwagBucks is currently offering 6 points per dollar for Staples (thanks to reader hdawg), but that I’ve never used the portal before.  After writing that post, I went ahead and clicked through SwagBucks to Staples and bought a $200 Visa gift card.  Good news: I received an email from SwagBucks yesterday saying that my 1242 SwagBucks were pending (6 x $207 = 1242).  I don’t know how long it will take to move from pending to confirmed, but once it does I should be able to redeem those SwagBucks for gift cards or even PayPal cash.  I’ve added SwagBucks to my Sign-Up Links page (which can always be found under the Resources menu on my site).  However, please consider using hdawg’s link.  He’ll earn 10% of any SwagBucks you earn.

Other recent Staples orders I’ve made have been through the uPromise portal for 5% cash back.  Historically, I’ve seen it take anywhere from 3 days to well over a week to receive confirmation of pending cash back from uPromise.  So far, I haven’t received any notifications about my April 29th orders, but I’m not at all worried since historically all of my purchases have been credited.

UPDATE: My uPromise April 29 orders appeared as pending on uPromise as of May 6th.

New and improved credit card signup offers

I’ve updated my Best Credit Card Offers page with the following new cards:

  • Marriott Rewards Premier Business: This is the business version of the Marriott premier card.  50K point signup bonus.  The only obvious long term benefit to this card that I could see is for those who seek Marriott elite status.  Both the business and personal versions of this card offer credit towards 15 elite nights, so if you have both cards you’ll be just 20 elite nights each year from Gold status (which requires 50 nights).  If you want to get really crazy, get the non-premier personal and business cards as well which each offer 10 nights towards elite status.  If anyone tries this, please let me know how it turns out.  Keep in mind the annual fees that would be due after the first year: $85+$99+$45+$45 = $274.  Ouch.  For Gold status, it would be easier to signup for the new and improved Ritz Carlton card.
  • Wells Fargo Propel World American Express® Card: 40K signup bonus. Its nice to see banks besides Amex, Barclaycard, Chase, and Citi with big signup bonuses.

In case you missed my Quick Deal last week and have also kept away from every other blog in the world since then, Chase has temporarily increased the bonuses for their Ink cards by an additional 10K each.  These are terrific offers, but the usual Ink offers are great too.  I wouldn’t recommend dropping everything to signup for these unless you were planning to signup for an Ink card anyway:

  • Chase Ink Plus and Ink Bold: Now, for a limited time, 60K points after $5K spend in 3 months.
  • Chase Ink Cash: For a limited time, 30K points after $3K spend in 3 months.

And, last but not least, the Lufthansa Miles & More card has hopped back up to a 50K bonus (as it does every few months):

  • Premier Miles & More World MasterCard: 50K bonus.

Evolve Money mortgage payments

In the post, “Best ways to use $200 Visa gift cards” I said that you can get mortgage payments applied to your monthly payment (rather than to principal) by making multiple small payments through Evolve Money, all in one day.  I still believe that this works in most cases, but a couple of people have reported that they had to call their bank to persuade them not to apply the payments to principal.  Each bank is different in how these payments are handled, so keep an eye on your account and call your bank right away if the payments aren’t being handled the way you want them to.

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. Did you make sure that your order didn’t get cancelled with Staples? I ordered 20 of the $100 Visa gift cards 3 weeks back and after a week noticed that my order showed $0 for my purchase amount. Once the $200 came out, I ordered 10 of them…in which I received a phone call/voicemail a couple days later saying that they’re cancelling my order because “federal law prohibits us selling more than $2,000 in gift cards to a person in a day.” I assume they consider the fees as part of the gift card amount. A few hours after the message, I ordered 8 of the $200 cards and they just shipped out last night so I’m waiting on my Upromise cash to appear.

  2. The T&C for the new Business Marriott card that I saw exclude holders of the personal card!

    From the Offers Detail tab:
    “This new cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this consumer credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months.”

    Pretty unusual, I think?

    • It’s clear to me that someone copy and pasted from the consumer card’s offer details. The fact that the text says “this consumer credit card” proves it, for example. So, I’m pretty sure its not true that you can’t have both

  3. Swagbucks has revised the specials term for Staples that “Gift Cards and Gift Wrapping are not eligible for Swag Bucks.” after May 4th.

    • I see the “gift cards… not eligible” but where do you see “after May 4th”? Maybe this text has been there all the time as it is on most other portals?

      • I am pretty sure that the wording is not there before May 3rd. I have been looking for “gift card” all the time when I clicks through any portal.

  4. Guess I should pay more attention. I have about $250 cash back confirmation emails from discover but my actual cash back balance has been the same since my last statement (3 months ago)

  5. Ha, I got my first Discover cashback email notice yesterday showing my $1200 purchase of 6 Visa gift cards. I had a bit of time to feel pretty good about (more than) covering the fees on the cards… but now… who knows?

  6. @greg, please know when you receive receive your confirmation email from Upromise. I made an order of $200 GCs on 4/29 and have yet to receive a word from Upromise.

  7. I actually received a letter from Discover stating they were reversing the cash back from some purchases made through the portal for which I didn’t use my discover card as payment. Received the letter a few days after had the statement close. Perhaps had gone a bit too hard on the portal for a number of months and caught someone’s attention.

  8. I ordered 10, $200 Visa gift cards from staples through the upromise portal. My order went through fine, and I have 5% cash back pending.

  9. I ordered my staples gift cards on 29th April through Upromise. Nothing yet.

    On a different note, I still haven’t received the barclays 4X bonus on Amex purchases as well. Its been more than 2 weeks.

  10. I have around $40 that I earned from OfficeD, when I used up the rewards dollars I earned from that crazy promo they had with free after rewards stuff a couple months ago. So, that was not with a Disc card, and not even with a credit card, but mostly rewards (I got 5% of the full amount). I am pleasantly surprised.
    I only see the info in my statement, but not in the shop discover history. It is very hard with this portal to track what you are earning, in my limited experience.

    • The above comment of mine refers to buying things through shopDisc and not using one of their credit cards. I reread it and realized I didn’t state that very explicitly.

  11. I have a swagbucks purchase from staples that shows as
    order date: 2/15/2014
    SB credit date: 3/19/2014
    This is consistent with my vague memory of how long it took.
    I have already turned those points into paypal credit, then cash. You will spend your points on a reward (i.e. GC or paypal) and then that will again be pending for a few days, and then you go back on swag bucks and redeem it.

  12. you have to message discover to get an actual detailed list of your cashback bonuses. It’s actually quite annoying that discover doesn’t provide an itemized list of each transaction that earns CB through the portal, and rather, provides the total amount earned and perhaps by catgories. I am not sure messaging them is ideal, because it increases the risk of a more detailed analysis of your earnings and purchases. FYI.

  13. I have purchased more than $6000 worth of VGCs from staples through the ShopDiscover portal in the last few months and have received my cash back no problem. The website doesn’t show the pending cash back, but it has hit every time (takes about 4 weeks).

  14. Ordered 5 $200 Visa GC through Upromise and 5 for my wife on 4/29. I received the GC’s today and Upromise shows pending. So far so good !!

  15. Has anybody tried ordering through the UR mall? I ordered on 4/29, got my gift cards in the mail on SAT, but I haven’t seen any UR Mall activity yet.

    Speaking of which…when is the last time *anybody* got paid out for purchasing a Gift Card through the UR Portal? The T/C’s say “not eligible for gift card purchases”…so I’m wondering if I’m wasting time by ordering through the portal.

  16. Just as a data point, I ordered 5 each for my wife and myself on 4/28. They showed up today (5/3) as pending on my upromise account. Not sure if it is funny or scary, but the ad in the CAPTCHA box below is for Visa Gift Cards from Staples 🙂

  17. I been getting discover confirmations emails You’ve Earned Additional Cashback through out the week 4/10, 4/11, 4/12, etc…

    But strangely enough on 5/4 i got several You’ve Earned Additional Cashback emails for the same days (4/10, 4/11, 4/12) I was already confirmed to have received cash back for. Except the amounts in these new emails are significantly lower for the 4/10, 4/11, 4/12 dates..

    I had been purchasing with out paying with my discover.

    I did not get a letter that they will be reversing my points.. but now I am worried to as which why they would send me these emails.. I wonder if they are in addition to what I should receive? or are they reflecting the new amounts of my cash back for those dates.

    I feel like it might be the latter since the cashback in the first set of emails was fairly accurate with what I bought.

  18. On 4/29 I ordered 5 gift cards from Staples via Upromise. Upromise is only showing $5 pending cashback for the transaction. I wonder if that’s the end of the Upromise cashback? On 5/4 I ordered one more to see what would happen and the transaction is not even showing up as pending on Upromise…

      • Rephrase myself. Where can you see the transaction shows up as pending on Upromise before cash back is shown as pending? Since you ordered on 5/4, cash back has definitely not shown as pending yet.

  19. To clarify, the 5/4 transaction shows up nowhere on Upromise. The 5/29 shows as Pending but for only $5, which is clearly wrong.

  20. A data point: I received an email on 5/5 that the cashback for my 4/29 Staples GC purchase, which I paid for with an Ink through ShopDiscover’s portal, had tracked and was pending.

    • @Maury…what date did you purchase through the UR mall? I bought the evening of 4/29 and it’s still not showing up as anything in my UR Mall activity…

  21. Made several Shop Discover purchases through the month and got my statement today. A few points:

    1. Staples purchases (office supplies): 4/9, ShopDiscover email 4/12 saying that I’ve earned cashback. Did not use Discover Card. DID receive cash back.

    2. 1800Flowers/Amex promotion 4/16, ShopDiscover email 4/23 saying that I’ve earned cashback. Did not use Discover Card. DID receive cash back.

    3. Staples purchase (office supplies) 4/27, ShopDiscover email 5/1 saying that I’ve earned extra cashback. Did not use Discover Card. DID receive Cash Back.

    4. Three additional Staples purchases (4/27, 4/28, 4/29) for Visa Gift Cards. Received all 3 email confirmations that cash back was pending. Did not use Discover Card. DID NOT receive cash back.

  22. Just got my UR points posting today from staples as well! (only it posted for 1 of the orders, not the other one…)

    FYI, still no barclays portal posting for 4/24 AMEX order.

    • @Gabriel, I got my Barclays miles on 5/7 for 4/4 order, so you probably have to wait for a while for 4/24 order.

  23. I have not gotten cash back from UPromise on my 5/2 staples GCs order. It is my first time to use UPromise. I am not sure how long I should wait.

  24. nick says:
    May 6, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Okay just to follow up on my last months comments, I received all points they said I would for my mid April to May statement.

    However for my mid May to June statement I had received emails for incorrect amounts that were far below what I expected. For this statement I was due to receive about $500 worth of cash back and actually only received about $300. There were some days that I ordered and never got a confirmation email for it.

    I have heard rumors lately that shop discovers payout has been spotty lately.

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