This, that, and the other thing

49

As we head into the weekend, there are a number of things on my mind…

Shopping portal holiday bonuses

A number of shopping portals are offering bonuses for holiday shopping:

AAdvantageeShoppingHoliday

  • AAdvantage eShopping (10X): Through December 2nd, earn bonus miles for cumulative spend as follows: 750 miles for $75 spend, 1,500 miles for $150 spend; and 2,500 miles for $250 spend.  This works out to an extra 10 miles per dollar if you spend exactly the amount of one of the thresholds.
  • SkyMiles Shopping (4X): Through December 5th, earn 500 bonus miles for every $125 (cumulative) you spend.  This works out to an extra 4 miles per dollar if you manage to spend an exact multiple of $125.  5500 bonus mile limit.
  • MileagePlus Shopping (2X): Through December 31st, earn 500 bonus miles for every $250 you spend.  This works out to an extra 2 miles per dollar if you manage to spend an exact multiple of $250.  2500 bonus mile limit.

Assuming you know that you’ll hit a threshold, it can make sense to pick one of these portals (especially the AA portal) over other ones even if the other portals seem to have better payout rates. 

Black Friday is coming

The most interesting Black Friday deal I’ve seen so far is from OfficeMax.  For three days they’ll offer $200 MasterCard and Visa gift cards for $20 off.  Gotta love free money.  The offer says “limit 1 per customer,” but in past similar promotions that limit was not often enforced.

Small business Saturday is coming and its smaller than ever

Speaking of free money…  I love American Express’ small business Saturday, but this year they’re offering only $10 back for a $10 purchase made at a participating small business.  In previous years, they’ve offered $25.  Still, I’ll happily visit a bunch of local merchants and, at a minimum, buy a $10 gift card from each one.  More likely, though, I’ll get a start on holiday gift shopping.  Of course, I’ll be armed with piles of Amex cards from my own accounts and as an authorized user on many of my wife’s accounts.  Unfortunately, Bluebird and other prepaid Amex cards are not eligible.  Full details here.

 

BP statement credit test

American Express often has great offers in which you can get a statement credit simply by spending a certain amount of money at a certain store.  In fact, Deals We Like listed a bunch of these yesterday, including how to register for them (see “Recap of New Amex Sync Promotions“).  I don’t usually report these since they tend to be single purchase deals, but this time there is one that is good for multiple purchases:

BP: Get a $5 statement credit each time you use your enrolled Card to make a single qualifying purchase of $25 or more at the pump at any BP station by 12/31/2013.

That’s a pretty terrific promotion since it means that you could go and fill up your tank to $25 each time and get back $5.  That’s a 20% savings!  I decided to test whether I could take this further.  Despite the terms saying otherwise, would I get a statement credit if I bought a $25 gift card at BP?  How about if I bought two in two separate transactions?  Would I get two $5 statement credits?  So, I tried it.

The answer was no.  No statement credits for me.  I guess Amex really meant it when they wrote in the terms of the offer:

Offer not valid for online purchases or any other purchase not made at the pump. 

Rats.

Amex gift cards cash advance

Last month, I reported via Quick Deals that Chase is now charging cash advance fees when you use a Chase credit card to buy Amex gift cards online.  Now readers have reported similar experiences with Discover and US Bank (Citi was always an issue here).  It seems that Amex had changed how they code these purchases.  Amex credit cards seem to be fine for purchasing Amex gift cards, but if you plan to use any other types of credit cards, I recommend that you call the bank and request a low (or, ideally zero) cash advance limit.  It would be better for these purchases to get declined than accepted and treated as cash advances. 

Post title?

Reader challenge: Who can tell me where the title of this post comes from? 

Have a great weekend.

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