Caution: for most readers this will be a “so what?”, or a “who cares?” post. If you’ve never heard of Cartera Commerce, then you’ll probably want to skip this post.
Cartera Commerce is the company behind many miles-earning shopping portals including American Airline’s AAdvantage eShopping, Delta’s SkyMiles Shopping, United’s MileagePlus Shopping, and Southwest’s RapidRewards Shopping.
When shopping portals work well, they can be a fantastic way to build up your portfolio of points and miles. Sometimes, though, things do not go well and shoppers are left without the points and miles they expected. I’ve never had much trouble with Cartera, but others have. In fact, one guy who goes by “Marathon Man” had so much trouble that he sued them. You can read the background in this FlyerTalk blog post. Ultimately Marathon Man lost the suit, but was (coincidentally?) given most of the miles due to him (details are buried deep in this FlyerTalk thread).
Ultimate Rewards Mall
While I can’t find specific references, I have seen people praise Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall and claim that it works well because it is not run by Cartera. That may or may not be true, but they certainly use the same software that Cartera does. Take a look at some screen shots of the Ultimate Rewards Mall compared to RapidRewards Shopping:
Search for Sears in the Ultimate Rewards Mall results in:
Search for Sears in RapidRewards Shopping results in:
Click to view Gift Cards in the Ultimate Rewards Mall results in:
Click to view Gift Cards in RapidRewards Shopping results in:
While not every screen is as near a perfect match as the examples shown above, it should be clear to everyone that the two shopping portals use the same software with just slightly different skins to make them unique.
Unlike the other shopping portals, I can’t find any written proof when viewing the Ultimate Rewards Mall that Cartera is behind the scenes. It’s clear to me that Chase private labeled the software to make it look like it is fully run by Chase. And, it’s possible that Chase bought or licensed the software and does fully run the program. My guess, though, is that Cartera runs the day to day operation, but that Chase owns the site and provides customer support. I don’t have any proof of this, it’s just speculation. I won’t be surprised if some readers know better and post the facts below.
Sorry, but I don’t have any great reason to give for this post. There’s no wise conclusion that will show you how to exploit this finding. Quite a while ago I simply noticed how similar the various web sites were and figured it was time to share.