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.