Office supply 1X, Devolvolution, FlexPerks minus AA, and more

Miscellaneous thoughts and happenings…

Online Office Depot and OfficeMax not posting as office supply

A reliable source has informed me that all of his recent online Office Depot and OfficeMax purchases made with his Chase Ink cards have failed to receive the cards’ promised 5X office supply points.  Apparently these online orders were processed with merchant codes not categorized as office supply.  No word yet on whether Chase will retroactively award his bonus points.  If you’ve made purchases online at Office Depot or OfficeMax this year I recommend checking your records to see if you earned the expected 5X.  If not, give Chase a call. 

As far as I know, Staples.com purchases have been happily earning 5X without trouble.

Evolve Devolves further

Evolve Money is an online service that lets you pay bills with debit cards, MasterCard or Visa gift cards, ReloadIt packs, or Evolve Pay Bucks.  Buying gift cards with a credit card and then using those gift cards to pay bills that can’t usually be paid with a credit card has been a great way to earn extra points.  Until now.  Evolve sent the following email to their customers (bolding is mine):

Dear Evolve Money Customer,

Due to changes in our risk and regulatory compliance policies, Evolve Money will be implementing a limit of one payment per biller account per month. This change takes effect September 1, 2014. There are no limits on the number of cash payments made with a Reloadit pack or Evolve Pay Bucks.

We realize that some of our users have taken advantage of the multiple payments per month to pay off larger expenses such as mortgages. We are currently working on ways to improve the bill paying experience for you and expect to announce details soon.

So, the idea of using Evolve to earn lots of points is pretty much out the window unless you have dozens of bills to pay, or a point earning debit card, or the ability to buy ReloadIt packs or Evolve Pay Bucks with a credit card.  Hold tight though.  They have promised to add the ability to pay with a credit card (for a fee), and they promised the ability to pay credit card bills with Evolve.  September 1 looks grim, but the future might still hold promise…

AA pulls out of Orbitz. Why we care.

Earlier in the week I showed how to get free one-ways (or more) with FlexPerks awards (see “Maximizing value from the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Card”).  Unfortunately, American Airlines has stopped allowing Orbitz to sell its inventory.  And, unfortunately, FlexPerks uses the Orbitz engine for booking awards.  This means you’ll be unable to book American Airlines flights with FlexPerks until the situation is resolved (hopefully soon!).

Luckily Hotwire still allows American Airlines bookings (see “Best options when paying for flights”).

The Iberia fiasco leads to learning

Yes, I was as guilty as many others in thinking that Iberia had changed their award chart, and yes I figured that meant that British Airways would soon follow.  We were all wrong, except the few of you who knew better.  It turns out that Iberia has had the same stinky partner award chart for years.  The good news is that this fiasco led me to dive into the intricacies of that award chart and I found some decent uses for it.  There’s nothing amazing to see here, but there really are situations where it would make sense to convert British Airways Avios to Iberia Avios even when booking partner awards (it has always made sense to do so for awards on Iberia itself thanks to their lower fuel surcharges).  If you skipped over it before, take a look at my wrongly titled post: Surviving the new Iberia Avios award chart.

ThankYou gets thankier

A quick note:  I reported earlier that Citi has added another transfer partner to their ThankYou program (see: “Citi ThankYou adds transfer partner: Airfrance/KLM Flying Blue”).  And now I finally got around to also updating my Transfer Partner Master List.  View it here.

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. I was using Evolve to pay my student loan bill with $200 gift cards from Staples. I was upset by the Evolve news, but I knew it had to end soon. I can still pay my water bill, electric bill, and student loan (500/month) so it’s not a total loss–I was doing straight debit transactions before.

  2. The problem with checking to see if you received your 5x points is that Chase doesn’t give you any easy way to calculate this. If you only have 1 or 2 purchases then it’s pretty easy. But if you have 30+, some online and some in the store, some Office Supply, some not, it’s not easy to reconcile your total points with all your purchases.
    Anyone have an EASY way to find out if the correct amount is posting?

    • I agree Chase needs to help their INK customers the same way they’ve helped their FREEDOM customers: make the points earned per purchase visible online.

      When FREEDOM added it, I had a twitter exchange with customer service. They said I could call in (to INK) and request the points earning for specific purchases because they can see it on their end. I have not verified this though (too much hassle).

  3. For booking AA flights with FlexPerks, I would imagine that you could call FlexPerks and have them do it over the phone. They may not go through the Orbitz website, but I’m sure they can take care of it. Just a guess.
    .
    @Patrick, can you see what category your Office Depot and Office Max purchases show up as in your Chase account? If they don’t say office supply store, you probably have a problem.

    • If the FlexPerks engine through Orbitz is handled as a corporate contract, which I imagine it would be, then AA has exempted it and other corporate portals from the removal of its flights. It’s only consumer facing Orbitz sites, however that’s defined, that are missing AA at present.

      I don’t personally have the card or use the Flexperks site, so maybe someone who does can check for the benefit of others who do.

  4. on 7/22 I bought an office chair from officeMax, The expense Category shows as Miscellaneous . Payment of Comcast Internet bill also shows as Miscellaneous but in both cases I got x5

  5. Hey I’m just getting started and LOVE your blog. Kinda my bible recently. I had been making my own points transfer chart and things and then saw todays post and just wanted to point out that you didn’t have club Carlson on the Hotel points transfer. MR transfers at a 1 to 3 ratio, which is awesome. Thanks for your blog. It’s nice to be able to be able to travel despite having no money. 🙂 Thanks a lot.

  6. I purchased a $40 JCPenny gift card from Staples.com thru UR on 8/21. Statement closed on 8/24. UR gave me extra x4 for that $40. So it is still x5!

  7. @FrequentMiler

    2 Questions

    1) Evolvemoney – I currently cant get the giftcard to work anymore. It wont let me pay in advance. The site has a disclamer saying that it will not accept any giftcard payment 1-2 days in advance. Yes I can pay it on the same day BUT there is a fee associated with it, thus it eats up your return.

    2) TY points. How much do you value these pts given you can transfer these pts to some airline partner/hotels etc. I beliveve if you do a cash back , its not 1 for 1.

    Thank you in advance!

    Bundy

    • 1) When you click a date to make a payment, Evolve will tell you which day it will actually charge the card. If you pick the soonest no-fee date, look for it to say that your card will be charged today.
      2) I haven’t thought of a specific number as to how much I value TY points now. Of the top of my head I’d say they are comfortably worth about 1.25 cents each (since they can be used for that much to buy airfare if you have a premier card). You can get more value than that at times through transfers to airlines, but that’s not guaranteed.

  8. Thanks for the update on Evolve — bad as it is. I was about to try it, but as a modest mortgage payment was my primary anticipated use, it’s now a no go.

    While I’m at it, are you familiar with the “new” vanilla reload cards? (the ones with more green color on them, and no scratch off pin on the back)…. Several of my local go to spots for the old VRC’s are now carrying them — and I can buy them with cc’s…. Apparently, the merchants can load VRC’s to participating products at the story, but haven’t figured out how to do so with bluebird as yet.

    • Those VR cards aren’t really new. I posted about them a bit in 2012. The good thing about them is that there is a bit less risk of criminal activity since people have to have their prepaid card in-hand for the reload. You can reload Serve this way at Family Dollar (as long as you are the first to do so on a given day), or try other Vanilla Reloadables such as MyVanilla.

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