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Remember When Kohls Paid Out For Gift Card Purchases?

Yesterday, I had posted about UPromise and as I was poking around the portal, I clicked through the link on the sites that offered cash back for purchasing gift cards. I was surprised to find Kohl’s on the list because they have not been crediting gift card purchases with any cash back or points.

upromise_kohls_tc

Here is the terms and conditions from UPromise:

Kohl’s online department store carries the most popular brands of today’s hottest styles for the entire family. From apparel, furniture, bedding, footwear, jewelry, electronics, house wares, accessories, toys, home products and much, much more, you can always “Expect Great Things” but expect to pay much less with these valuable Kohl’s coupons.

Kohl’s does not offer member rewards on Kohl’s credit card sales made with coupon codes that are higher than 15%. Contributions are not eligible on e-gift card purchases.

Here’s a blurb from American Airline’s Aadvantage Shopping Mall (emphasis also mine):

Not eligible on purchases made with coupon or discount codes that are not found on this site. Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents, including portion of sale made with Kohl’s Cash. Qualifying customer purchases include all sale-, regular- and clearance-priced merchandise, except for the following exclusions: Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise and other charitable items, Electronics brands including Beats, LG, Monster, Philips, SOL Republic, Sony and Toshiba, and Prestige brands of cosmetics and skincare and select prestige brands of fragrance including Action Solutions for Men, Borghese, BOSS, Cargo, H2O+, Hydroxatone, Il Baccio, Lorac, PUR Minerals, theBalm, Zirh. Not eligible on 600-watt/900-watt Nutribullet Blenders (all colors), shipping, taxes, eGiftCards, or other service fees. Not eligible on jewelry purchases that exceed $4,000.

kohls_aa_mall_terms

 

As you can see, the American Airlines’ Aadvantage mall would not pay out on the gift cards. We know that Chase will not pay out either. What’s the link? Both are Cartera operated malls. Remember:

Always keep in mind that just because one mall doesn’t award points, does not mean all malls do not award points. It can be generalized that if several points or miles malls are operated by a single company like Cartera, then the points/miles will not post.

Don’t forget to check out Frequent Miler’s Laboratory for the latest on which portal pays out

 

Better Deal Than Citizen Bank’s Credit Card For Easy Cash Rewards

The other day, I wrote about a credit card ripe for abuse. It wasn’t scaleable and was maxed to $240 a year. You also had to be a checking account customer and a few other hoops to jump through.

discover_bank_rewards

There is a better deal if you know how to play the automated, small value transaction game. You would need to open a checking account with Discover Bank, and for every transaction of the following you would receive $.10 up to 100 transactions:

  • debit card purchase
  • online bill payment
  • check cleared

In total, you’d be able to earn $10 per month also up to $120 a year. However, this being a checking account with Discover, I would expect a 1099-INT to be issued.

If it we were me, I would take the same page as MilesAbound, make all of your transactions with your utility company.

So if you did both Citizens Bank and Discover Bank, you could make an incredibly easy $360 a year per person.

 

**Also see the comment below from Hua about shutdowns and irregular charges from Discover’s antifraud(?) department

Do You Buy American Airline Miles At 1.8 Cents A Mile?

Hat tip to all the Boarding Area bloggers who posted about the current American Airline AAdvantage offer. You need to spend $200 to unlock the 1000 miles bonus.

I won’t list out all the details, but you can gift card churn and buy the miles outright from this offer at 1.8 cents per mile. If you participate in the US Airways 1.8 cents a mile deal, this is very similar. The 1.8 cents per mile offer  is not including any benefits you will receive from the spend on your credit card which could lower it down to as far as 1.5 cents per mile.

It is a bit expensive, but if you are close and need to top off some miles this wouldn’t be a bad deal. Keep in mind, the extra 1000 miles will take some time to deposit into your AAdvantage account.

You Could Own Two Chase Freedom Cards

Some readers know that I have a Chase Freedom Visa and a Chase Freedom Mastercard. I received a letter from Chase notifying me that they will replace my Freedom Mastercard with a Visa.

What’s awesome is that I will get to keep the new Freedom Visa which means I’ll have two Freedoms at my disposal for the quarterly calendar.

Having the two Freedoms have been hugely beneficial because I could manufacture spend $3000 per quarter versus $1500 of a single card holder. In 2013, it was very profitable with the rotating categories. So far, this year hasn’t been too good. I’m hoping that the department store category will be a good one again like last year with Neiman Marcus.

Buying Big Does Not Always Save You Money

Before I begin, I’d like to add that there are certain stores that will calculate the math of the product like $ per [unit of measurement]. The unit of measurement varies from ounces to pounds to piece, like a roll of paper towel. I love checking it out because it allows you to make the best purchase decision. If I remember correctly, I originally began seeing it either at Costco or BJ’s Wholesale club. Since then, I always make an effort to read the price tags.

The other day I was in Wholefoods Market with my family utilizing the American Express Sync offer of $10 off $75 purchase. While there, I was perusing the aisles and came upon something that made zero sense to me and this is why you need to pay attention when you make your purchases.

6ozmacandcheese

See how it is $3.97 per pound

12ozmacandcheese

See how this one is $3.59 a pound? Cheaper when you buy the 12 oz box compared to the 6 oz

14ozmacandcheesedeluxe

Notice how the “deluxe” version is $4.56 a pound and is 14 oz

6ozshellsandcheese

$4.51 a pound for the shells and cheese at a 6 oz box

12ozshellsandcheese

$5.32 a pound for the “deluxe” for 12 oz of shells and cheese

Notice the largest box costs more in $ / pound. Meanwhile, the smaller boxes are cheaper. I’ve seen this in CVS when I replenish my candy for my candy tray. Just because Wholefoods places the moniker of “deluxe” and “creamy” increases the box weight to 14 oz does not automatically mean you’re getting a better deal. If you wanted to make your mac and cheese creamier, just add more milk.

So the next time you shop, regardless of store, you should do a price per unit math to figure out what your best deal is.

 

Is Now The Time To Sign Up For Citi Prestige?

With the latest transfer partner additions to the Citi Thank You Points, I have been taking a serious look into Citi’s premium Thank You point earning cards that would allow me to transfer the points.

Some of the changes that have been published to the Citi Prestige are:

  • Travel Credit
  • Companion Pass
  • Free fourth night
  • Airport Angel
  • Priority Pass

And other changes

While reading the changes, I was trying to wrap my head around the terms and conditions:

$200 Statement Credit for Airline Fees
Effective October 19, 2014, this benefit will no longer be offered Only the Primary Citi Prestige cardmember is permitted to enroll the Card Account. The credit resets each year on your Cardmember Anniversary Date. It can take up to 10 business days after Cardmember enrollment for the statement credit to be effective. Purchases made by the Primary cardmember and Authorized Users on the enrolled Card Account are eligible for statement credits. Airline Incidental Fees are defined as purchases charged on the enrolled Card Account under 9 qualified airline merchant codes. The credit will apply toward purchases of $100 or less, with an annual cap of $200 for all fees charged by October 18, 2014. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying incidental air travel fee is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account. Qualified airlines include: AirTran Airways, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United/Continental Airlines and US Airways. We do not determine whether merchants appropriately identify all transactions you make on your Card Account, but we do reserve the right to determine which purchases are eligible for the statement credit. Cardmembers are responsible for payment of all charges on the Card Account regardless of eligibility for statement credit. To be eligible for this benefit, the enrolled Card Account must be open and current at the time of statement credit fulfillment.

$250 Air Travel Credit
Effective October 19, 2014, purchases made by the Primary cardmember and Authorized Users on the Card Account are eligible for this statement credit. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying incidental air travel fee is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account. This statement credit is an annual benefit available for purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December. Pending transactions that do not post in your December billing cycle will count towards the next year’s Air Travel Credit. Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying air travel expense is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account.

We do not determine whether merchants appropriately identify all transactions you make on your Card Account, but we do reserve the right to determine which purchases are eligible for the statement credit. Cardmembers are responsible for payment of all charges on the Card Account regardless of eligibility for statement credit. To be eligible for this benefit, the enrolled Card Account must be open and current at the time of statement credit fulfillment.

Cardmembers can call the number on the back of their card if statement credits have not posted to their Card Account after 2 billing cycles. Cardmembers are responsible for payment of all charges on the Card Account regardless of eligibility for statement credit.

To be eligible for this benefit, the enrolled Card Account must be open and current at the time of statement credit fulfillment.

 

This is my understanding. If you sign up for the card before the changes and use the $200 Airline fee before October 19, 2014, it looks like you can use the $250 Air Travel Credit after October 19, 2014. Therefore, in the first year, it could make your first year profitable (if you include the $100 refund on the Global Entry).

What do you think? Is that the same understanding that you have? If you have the same understanding, and assuming this would work, we should be signing up for the Citi Prestige before the changes go into effect.

Newish Credit Card Ripe For Abuse

Citizens Bank has released a credit card product called “Green$ense Platinum” which is a Mastercard. What makes this card very interesting is that instead of a percentage of your purchase becomes a reward, you earn cash back per transaction. You’d need to make 10 transactions first or that requirement is waived if you enroll in their “Value Plan” or “Combined Plan”

 

greensense_platinum_MC

 

How do I earn Cash Back from my Green$ense Credit Card?

Cash back is earned monthly on credit card purchases, after you make 10 qualifying transactions with your Green$ense® Platinum MasterCard®1. If you have a Green$ense Credit Card and are enrolled in our Value Plan or Combined Plan, you do not need to make 10 qualifying transactions to start earning cash back.

How much cash back can I earn from my eligible Green$ense Credit Card transactions?

Earn 25¢ per purchase when you make 10 qualifying Green$ense Credit Card transactions that post to your account each month, up to $20 monthly and up to $240 per year.2

How will I receive my Green$ense Credit Card cash back reward?

The Citizens checking account that the cash back will be paid into is based on the following (in order of account chosen for payment)

  1. The Citizens checking account associated with a Value or Combined Plan
  2. The most recent Citizens checking account that was paid Green$ense cash
  3. The Citizens checking account that you are listed as the Primary Account Holder
  4. The checking account that you are listed as a Non-Primary Account Holder.
  5. If you have more than one account that falls into one of the criteria listed above, the account that will be paid will be the account with the most checking account transactions posted for that month.

 

You’re limited to $20 a month and up to $240 a year, but this could be an easy $240 a year if you know how to automate small credit transactions per month. Even if you don’t automate it, you could totally take a page out of my buddy MilesAbound book:

So since the beginning of November, I have been paying my water bill in $0.01 increments! Racking up 20 odd transactions a day.

 

The man is a genius!

Plastic Jungle Silently Dies

Back in my hey day of gift card churning, I used to leverage Raise, Cardpool, and Plastic Jungle as well as credit card offers and buy points like a mad man. It was especially lucrative when Top Cash Back offered an extra 2.5% for any transaction at Plastic Jungle. Sadly, in April 2013, Plastic Jungle was no longer a player in the B2C sphere and announced that they would only convert gift cards into CVS Extracare or United Miles.

Then, recently I wrote about Plastic Jungle questioning if they would even exist anymore when they pulled the US Bank Flexperks as well as Best Buy. Today, on a whim, I decided to check them out again. If you go to Plastic Jungle, you will see this:

 

cardcash_announcement

 

There’s a small news blurb out there that it turns out Plastic Jungle was bought out by Cardcash for an undisclosed sum of money. I’ve never successfully transacted with Cardcash/ABC Gift Card so I can’t comment on how well they operate their business. The other day a reader left several comments on this post regarding his experience with Cardcash. I honestly hope they get rid of the Cardcash site and use some of the infrastructure from Plastic Jungle. Plastic Jungle had its fair share of problems, but Cardcash site blows. It needs to join the 21st century.

Another deal comes and goes…