September experiments in progress

In the recent post “Ultimate Rewards Mall September Edition” I highlighted some big bonus opportunities for the month of September in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall.  For the Frequent Miler Laboratory, two opportunities warranted further research: Bloomingdale’s 10X for Sapphire cardholders and Buy.com 10X for Chase Ink cardholders:

Bloomingdale’s double dip?

With some merchants, you can double points earned by going through a shopping portal to buy a gift card, and then go through the portal a second time to use the gift card.  In order to find out whether this works for Bloomingdales, I went through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Bloomingdales and I bought an e-gift card.  I paid with my Sapphire Preferred credit card.

The second step will be to go through the mall a second time to buy something at Bloomingdales and use the gift card that I previously purchased.

Unfortunately, chances of this double-dip working don’t look good.  Here are Bloomingdale’s Ultimate Rewards Mall Terms & Conditions (bolding is mine):

Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents. Not eligible on phone orders or any purchases made from Bloomingdale’s Wedding Channel. Eligible on sale amount excluding any discounts or coupons, taxes, shipping and handling, gift wrapping or other services, credit card fraud, bad debt, or adjustments to purchase price to address customer service issues and deductions/allocations for returned items. The purchase of bridal registry items, adjustments, reorders, corporate gift cards, mattresses and furniture or sales from partner sites that have their product listings linked to Bloomingdales.com are not eligible.

The most likely outcome is that I will get points for using the gift card, but not for buying it.  Often, though, points are awarded despite terms like this, so I’ll give an update once the results are in.

Buy.com gift card points?

There are not many online stores where you can buy gift cards for other merchants and earn points when doing so.  Back in February, a reader reported successfully getting points from the Ultimate Rewards Mall when he went to Buy.com and bought a Home Depot gift card.  Does this trick still work?  The Buy.com terms & conditions seem to indicate not (bolding is mine):

Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents. Purchases paid by check, or method other than a credit card, are not eligible. Wireless Plan, purchases made through Buy.com Canada, music downloads, and purchases made from other stores operated by third parties that may be accessible from Partner’s site are not eligible.

To test this, I went through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Buy.com and I bought a $100 gift card.  Buy.com charges $2.99 for shipping so my total came to $102.99 which I paid with my Ink Bold card.  If all goes well, I should receive 1030 points from this purchase.  As always, I’ll give an update once results are in.

Reader experiments

Have you tried any interesting tricks to get miles or points?  How did it go?  Please let me know so that I can update the Frequent Miler Laboratory with your results!

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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23 Comments on "September experiments in progress"

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Grant
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Idk if this is true, but I think I had better success getting points when buying giftcards when you purchase something else in the same order.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Grant: Good idea for another twist on these experiments

rich (arizona)
Guest

Hi,

This might be a stupid question but while googling I didn’t come across any solutions. Are there ways to pay someone with a credit card even though they don’t accept credit cards? For example a lot of people in construction are still living in the old days and want either checks or cash.

Is there a way I can use a cc via some kind of service and then have the service pay the person via a check?

It sounds like Paypal will do it for a fee unless I’m missing something. Anyone else?

Based on your posts I’m guessing this is something you probably have researched.

Thanks.

FrequentMiler
Guest

rich (arizona): Great question. The best way to pay others with a credit card is via Amazon Payments which is free up to $1000 per month. The downside is that the recipient needs to be tech-savy enough to setup their own Amazon Payments account and link it to their bank account so that they can accept the payments. Serve is another option, but with similar smaller limits. Another option is to get the NetSpend prepaid card. You can buy Vanilla Reload cards using a credit card and use them to load the NetSpend card. Then, for $1 per payment you can use the Bill Pay feature to send checks. The downside? NetSpend is very quick to shut down accounts of unprofitable customers. So, you’re only likely to be able to use this for a few payments before getting shut down. There are other options (like PayDivvy), but they charge % fees for credit cards. Some people buy prepaid Visa cards or prepaid Vanilla reload cards and give those to contractors as payment. Of course the person you are paying would have to agree to that first.

SgFm
Guest

rich, there is a way. Use Amazon Payments, there is a $1000 limit to fund w/a credit card per month however. I have used it for a couple of years, it may be only $12K/yr, but it is great for meeting minimum spends.

bill
Guest

you can buy buy.com e-gift certificate from

http://checkout.buy.com/CO/basket/giftcertificatepurchase.aspx

FrequentMiler
Guest

bill: Thanks! Note that there’s a good chance that no points will be awarded for purchasing these, but it’s definitely worth a try!

rich (arizona)
Guest

Thanks for the suggestions. I doubt I will be able to get someone to sign up for Amazon payment.

I might bite the bullet and do one of the online payment methods to pay a couple months of my mortgage even though it might cost me ~2%. Not something I would do often but to meet a high spending plateau it would be ok.

One of my mortgages I can pay that way, unfortunately the other one is a smaller credit union and I don’t see a way to include them.

Thanks again and I find the articles interesting although most are a bit too risky for me.

Rob
Guest

Hi! I was wondering if it makes sense to buy the visa prepaid cards at office depot for $500 with the $4.95 fee to get the 5x points on my ink bold. Then use the visa cards to buy the Marriott gift cards to get the southwest points when purchasing. I have a stay at Marriott coming up for a little over $1,000 for work. Am I missing something?
Thanks!

FrequentMiler
Guest

Rob: Yes, that’s a great idea. See Enigma’s comment for details of how to do it. Alternatively, get a permanent Amex Prepaid card and buy Vanilla Reload cards for $3.95.

Enigma
Guest

Rob,

Visa gift card doesn’t work online (They only register the zipcode not the full address). You should buy a amex giftcard/prepaid card and then call amex to register you address with the card. Then you can use it to purchase the marriot gift card for southwest points.

Benji
Guest

Can’t you load serve cards with a vanilla GIFT card?

Benji
Guest

Can’t you load serve cards with a vanilla GIFT card? If not then what gift cards can u load serve with?

al
Guest

off topic from this post: i admire the fact that you are one of the few bloggers in this scope who isn’t doubling down on “pushing” the spg amex card on the day before the offer comes down. I read the other bloggers, and they ALL have to remind us that the bonus is coming down. it’s like how many blogs do i need to remind me of this? anyways, if i apply for this card i will do it through your links even though you aren’t “pushing” it. sometimes i am upset since it seems that you post less than other bloggers…but of course when you post, there is more substance…….the game changes the player over time and nobody is immune to that, but for now you are good!!!!!

FrequentMiler
Guest

al: Thanks!

Grant
Guest

@Benji, the Amex Serve can only be loaded online and Amex charges a % to use a cc to add money to the card. The Amex reloadable prepaid card is the way to go.
.
@Al, I feel the same way. Sometimes less is more. I sign up for FM’s cc links for most of the cards I get.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Grant: thanks!

yitzi
Guest

Hey FM, do you have an update with Bloomingdales?
Thanx

AZ
Guest

Any update yet on Bloomingdales Gift Card experiment?

FrequentMiler
Guest

AZ: The Bloomingdales experiment is not looking good. So far I have received pending points for the merchandise purchased with a gift card, but no points for buying the gift card

FrequentMiler
Guest

Buy.com update: I’ve received points both for buying a merchant gift card (Marriott), and for buying a Buy.com gift card. I don’t yet have evidence of points for using the Buy.com gift card, but that may come soon. Also note that they do not let you pay for a merchant gift card with a Buy.com gift card.

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[…] at Bloomingdale’s as long as they start in the Ultimate Rewards Mall.  In the post “September experiments in progress,” I described how I launched an experiment testing whether it was possible to earn 20 points per […]