Misleading portal deal details: how to make sense of them

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You would think that email promotional advertisements would be pretty straightforward, right?  You would think that the vendor would want you to know if the deal being offered was good only for today, right?

With online shopping portals, though, the email ads are almost always misleading.  The ads may not be intentionally misleading, but almost everyone I know (including me) has made the same mistake I’m about to describe…

Take a look at an email from the AAdantage eShopping Portal that hit my inbox early this morning.  They are offering a few excellent payout rates such as Sears 9X, Neiman Marcus Last Call 12X, etc.:

screencapture-view-aadvantageeshopping-com-1429180042734

The confusing part is where each offer states the end date.  For example, lets zoom in on the Neiman Marcus offer:

screencapture-view-aadvantageeshopping-com-1429180042734

The offer above clearly states “Ends 4/20/2015”.  So, you have until then to earn 12 miles per dollar, right?  NopeThat end date represents the 30% off sale.  To find the end date of the portal offer, you have to follow the asterisks to the appropriate footnote.  This one shows three asterisks: “now 12 miles/$***”.  And, looking at the footnotes, we see:

***Extra miles are available through 11:59:59pm ET on 4/17/15.

That’s tomorrow!  And the Sears offer with only two asterisks, is worse.  That offer ends today:

**Extra miles are available through 11:59:59pm ET on 4/16/15.

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