Buy Ultimate Rewards Points for 1.53 cents or less

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In a recent post (Ultimate Rewards Mall Updates) I reported that, through the Ultimate Rewards Mall, Magazines.com is currently offering 40 points per dollar.  I mentioned that I was going to try to “double dip” by purchasing an e-gift card and then using the gift card to purchase magazines.  Here are the results:

The Double Dip Worked!  Sort-of…

In December, a reader, “LoveToFly,” posted in Milepoint that he successfully double dipped with Magazines.com through the Ultimate Rewards Mall. In his case, he received full points for the gift card purchase, but only half points for the magazine purchases.  I had the exact same experience!  When I look in my Ultimate Rewards Mall & Travel Earnings, I see a magazines.com transaction amount for exactly half of what I actually paid.  My guess of why this happened is that I ordered magazines with a 2 year subscription and, for some reason, was only credited for the first year.  Will I get another credit after a year is up?  Doubtful, but possible…

Test 2

I just kicked off another test where I purchased a magazine with just a one year subscription.  It will be several days before I know the results of this test, but I’m crossing my fingers…

Do it yourself details

Magazines.com lists the following important restrictions:

Special increased earnings now through 1/31/2012!

Magazine subscriptions that are automatically renewed are not eligible. Not eligible on the purchase of books.

So, if you’re interested in this double-dip, do the following:

  • Make your purchases on or before 1/31/2012
  • Do not purchase books (at least not if you want double-dip credit)
  • Do not purchase magazines that are part of the “automatic renewal” plan.
  • I’d recommend waiting a day or so between buying the gift card and using the gift card.  I don’t know if this really matters, but it can’t hurt.

Buying Points

When buying magazine.com gift cards you get 40 points per dollar from the Ultimate Rewards Mall, 1 point per dollar from your credit card’s base spend, and 7% extra annual bonus if logged into your Chase Sapphire Preferred account when shopping the UR mall.  This adds up to 43.87 points per dollar, just for buying gift cards!  If you then spend the gift cards and get 20 points per dollar for the purchases, that will increase your total to 65.27 points per dollar!  And, if the option to buy 1 year subscriptions pans out, you would get a whopping 86.67 points per dollar!

If you get 65.27 points per dollar, that amounts to purchasing Ultimate Rewards points for 1.53 cents each.  This is more than the fair trading price of 1.31 cents, but depending upon your circumstances it might still make sense for you.  For comparison, if you buy points directly from Chase, you will be charged 2.5 cents each.

If you manage to get 86.67 points per dollar, that would amount to purchasing Ultimate Rewards points for 1.15 cents each!  This is well below the fair trading price of 1.31 cents, and a fantastic value.

What to do with the magazines?

Does anyone have suggestions?  Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Friends and family: let me know if you have your eyes on any magazines, I’ll happily gift them to you!
  • I’m thinking of calling local schools and libraries to see if they could use magazine donations.
  • Are there organizations that would buy magazine subscriptions for pennies on the dollar?

I don’t plan to go into this in a big way.  I’m not looking to become the pudding guy of magazines.  However, if the 80 point double dip pans out, I’m sure I’ll buy several hundred dollars worth!  How about you?


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