Portal, cards, and mortgage payments

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Today, I have a number of miscellaneous things on my mind regarding portals, credit card offers, and mortgage payments.  Read on…

ShopDiscover caution / question

In my opinion, ShopDiscover is a terrific online portal.  They frequently have the best cash back rates.  And, Discover Cash can sometimes be used for better than 1 cent per penny value (see “Rediscovering Discover Rewards” and “Maximizing Discover rewards: real value from merchant gift cards”).  I’ve mentioned in many posts that the ShopDiscover portal works even if you don’t pay with a Discover card, but recently a few readers have told me otherwise.  They said that Discover sent them emails congratulating them with the message “You’ve Earned Additional Cashback Bonus Through ShopDiscover,” but then no cash back has appeared on their statement, or that it appeared and then was reversed out.

I tried to look at my own experience with this.  I’ve used ShopDiscover many times, and I’ve received emails acknowledging the cash back each time.  And, the Discover Cash has stayed in my account as far as I can tell.  However, I can’t find any way to view my cash back earning history other than by viewing my individual monthly statements.  To make things more difficult, I haven’t received a statement since late last year since I haven’t actually used my Discover card since then.  So, here are a couple of questions for readers:

  1. Do you know of any way to view your ShopDiscover earnings other than “Recent Shop Discover history” shown under ShopDiscover, and whatever shows up on each statement?
  2. What has your experience been in getting ShopDiscover rewards when not paying with Discover cards?

SwagBucks pending, uPromise not yet

In my recent post “Best ways to buy $200 Visa gift cards” I mentioned that SwagBucks is currently offering 6 points per dollar for Staples (thanks to reader hdawg), but that I’ve never used the portal before.  After writing that post, I went ahead and clicked through SwagBucks to Staples and bought a $200 Visa gift card.  Good news: I received an email from SwagBucks yesterday saying that my 1242 SwagBucks were pending (6 x $207 = 1242).  I don’t know how long it will take to move from pending to confirmed, but once it does I should be able to redeem those SwagBucks for gift cards or even PayPal cash.  I’ve added SwagBucks to my Sign-Up Links page (which can always be found under the Resources menu on my site).  However, please consider using hdawg’s link.  He’ll earn 10% of any SwagBucks you earn.

Other recent Staples orders I’ve made have been through the uPromise portal for 5% cash back.  Historically, I’ve seen it take anywhere from 3 days to well over a week to receive confirmation of pending cash back from uPromise.  So far, I haven’t received any notifications about my April 29th orders, but I’m not at all worried since historically all of my purchases have been credited.

UPDATE: My uPromise April 29 orders appeared as pending on uPromise as of May 6th.

New and improved credit card signup offers

I’ve updated my Best Credit Card Offers page with the following new cards:

  • Marriott Rewards Premier Business: This is the business version of the Marriott premier card.  50K point signup bonus.  The only obvious long term benefit to this card that I could see is for those who seek Marriott elite status.  Both the business and personal versions of this card offer credit towards 15 elite nights, so if you have both cards you’ll be just 20 elite nights each year from Gold status (which requires 50 nights).  If you want to get really crazy, get the non-premier personal and business cards as well which each offer 10 nights towards elite status.  If anyone tries this, please let me know how it turns out.  Keep in mind the annual fees that would be due after the first year: $85+$99+$45+$45 = $274.  Ouch.  For Gold status, it would be easier to signup for the new and improved Ritz Carlton card.
  • Wells Fargo Propel World American Express® Card: 40K signup bonus. Its nice to see banks besides Amex, Barclaycard, Chase, and Citi with big signup bonuses.

In case you missed my Quick Deal last week and have also kept away from every other blog in the world since then, Chase has temporarily increased the bonuses for their Ink cards by an additional 10K each.  These are terrific offers, but the usual Ink offers are great too.  I wouldn’t recommend dropping everything to signup for these unless you were planning to signup for an Ink card anyway:

  • Chase Ink Plus and Ink Bold: Now, for a limited time, 60K points after $5K spend in 3 months.
  • Chase Ink Cash: For a limited time, 30K points after $3K spend in 3 months.

And, last but not least, the Lufthansa Miles & More card has hopped back up to a 50K bonus (as it does every few months):

  • Premier Miles & More World MasterCard: 50K bonus.

Evolve Money mortgage payments

In the post, “Best ways to use $200 Visa gift cards” I said that you can get mortgage payments applied to your monthly payment (rather than to principal) by making multiple small payments through Evolve Money, all in one day.  I still believe that this works in most cases, but a couple of people have reported that they had to call their bank to persuade them not to apply the payments to principal.  Each bank is different in how these payments are handled, so keep an eye on your account and call your bank right away if the payments aren’t being handled the way you want them to.

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