Double Dippin’ with Ultimate Reward Points

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Even my two year old knows that two scoops of ice cream are much better than one, and miles and points junkies know that two scoops of points are better than one.  This is often referred to as the “double dip”.  The way it often works is you go through an online miles and points portal (think United MileagePlus Shopping, Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal, etc) to purchase a gift card to your chosen retailer.  Often, but not always, this is an electronic gift card that gets delivered within minutes to your inbox.  Next, you use that gift card to shop via the online shopping portal to make your desired purchase.

If this works, you receive points on the gift card purchase and points on the actual purchase.  Double the points.  Double the fun.  Technically it was also double the effort, but double almost no effort still equals almost no effort.

What’s the catch?  Well, the catch is that it only works with selected retailers.  If you read the terms in the online shopping portal it will often say something like “gift cards excluded” or “gift card purchases excluded” or something like that.  Sometimes that means purchasing gift cards won’t earn points, sometimes it means paying with gift cards won’t count, and sometimes it might mean that anything involving a gift card won’t count.  There is some increased risk with doing this that you will wind up empty handed with no points at all.  However, this is also a chance that you will end up twice as happy at the end of it all than you otherwise would.

I keep an eye on both the Milepoint gift card thread and the Frequent Miler Laboratory from time to time to see how various “double dips” are going.  When I think about it, I also run some of my own gift card experiments.  I get particularly interested in the double-dip when a retailer has a very high payout via one of the shopping portals.  For example, recently a certain department store was offering 10x via the Ultimate Rewards portal through September 4th.  (Edit – looks like it was actually extended through the end of the month, so anyone who logs into the UR portal with a Chase Freedom Visa can still get in on this).  We happened to need a new grill at that time, so it was the perfect time to try out the double-dip.  I first bought an e-gift card for roughly the price of the grill.

Within a few minutes I had the gift card in my inbox and went back through the Ultimate Rewards portal to use the gift card (plus a few extra dollars) to purchase the grill.  There was free shipping for orders of $49 or more, and by some magical occurrence the grill was delivered to our home the next day.  Were they just waiting down the street with the grill knowing I was about to order it?  It was spooky fast.  Then, about five days later I see this beautiful email in my inbox.

This meant that the “double dip” was successful and I earned 20x points on a purchase that I needed to make anyway.  Instead of getting in the car, driving to the store, finding the grill I wanted, waiting in line, chasing my toddler around, and paying for it with a card that would likely just earn 1x and get me roughly 110 points…I didn’t have to go anywhere, and I earned about 2,200 Ultimate Reward points.  As I often say, for my family it is all about being strategic about the everyday things that you do so that the points really start to add up.  Just earning a 100 points here and there probably isn’t going to get you anywhere very fast, but earning 2,000 points here and there will add up in a hurry.  The quicker the points add up, the quicker that your family will have enough points to redeem for the adventures that you seek.

Do you ever partake in the points “double dip”?  What are some of your favorite “double dip” situations?

 

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  1. I tried the Sears double dip in early August but after a month with no points at all sent a message to Chase and they added the 10X points for the purchase. I of course logged in through the UR mall both times but I am assuming I did something wrong, whether using the wrong browser or some other mistake. Does anyone have recommendations for ways to improve the chances of getting points credited without having to send a message?

  2. I’m glad your double dip worked Mommy Points! One caution: very large orders are taking many weeks to post so don’t give up if you don’t see points right away. Also, 10x at Sears for the Freedom card goes until the end of the month!

  3. I am huge fan of UR and try and take advantage of every 10x offer there is. Bloomingdales.com had a great one with Sapphire preferred last week, and so my wife bought a bunch of gifts for showers, etc and also a dress for herself. Now I wonder if we could’ve gotten 20x. I have never tried this method. My concern is on the “2nd dip” if you will. When you check out and say the purchase is $1000 and you use a $1000 gift card, doesn’t that bring the check out balance to $0 and so your purchase ends up being $0, and so you don’t get the points. If your method of payment is a gift card and not the Sapphire card I wonder about getting those 10x points. Sounds a bit too good to be true, but I am looking forward to trying. Thanks a lot for this post!

  4. Make sure you join ShopYourWayRewards if you’re doing any shopping at Sears, Lands End, or Kmart. You get at least 1% base points, and they offer frequent bonuses.

  5. @Smitty06, congrats!
    @Dan, as FM says, large purchases can take longer to post. I know that larger gift card purchases can also trigger a call from Sears. Do most of your other UR purchases go through?
    @Perceval, shame on you! 😉
    @FM, those sneaky sneaks posted a 9/4 date and then extended it…how dare they! Ha ha – actually that’s great news. Thanks for sharing!
    @Ed, the double dip is not a guarantee, but it does work most of the time for some retailers. It is awesome when it does work.
    @Anita, good advice!

  6. How often does Sears offer the 10x points? I need a new refrigerator, and they happen to carry the one that I want. Unfortunately, I don’t have the Chase Freedom, but I do have the Ink Bold & Sapphire Preferred.

  7. I bought $1000 in gift cards from the already mentioned retailer. It took a little longer for them to be emailed to me, because they had to call and verify my identify with such a large purchase. After buying my tablets for about $1000, my double points appeared within a few days.

    @Ed – That’s the beauty of this deal with certain retailers. As long as you click through UR, you will get the points, no matter how much you put on a credit card vs. a gift card. I had a $100 gift card to one retailer, bought $75 worth of merch with it (put $0 on a credit card) and still got the bonus points.

  8. Just so I understand, lets say a retailer is offering 10X points in Ultimate Rewards. You buy a GC at the retailer’s site through UR and then go back into UR and use the gift card to make the purchase?

    • In theory, yes it works that way. However, this does not work with all retailers. Some retailers do not award points for gift cards. I recommend checking out the linked Milepoint threads and Frequent Miler’s lab to see how this has worked at specific retailers. Also, you can start by doing small purchases and see how it works (then please add your results to the lab and Milepoint thread).

      Sears has had 10x for a couple months now with different Ultimate Rewards earning cards. It just varies each month.

  9. I recently double-dipped on the 10 point offer from Sears, using the Ultimate Rewards Mall. I bought a camera for $620 and sold it overnight at a loss of $60. I earned about 12,500 points, which is enough for a Category 4 Hyatt hotel. So for $60 I get to stay at the Hyatt Regency in Dubai, which typically goes for $200/night.

  10. On Aug. 30, I bought $2,000 gift card through UR portal for the above-mentioned store using Ink Bold card. A few minutes later the store called me to confirm, then emailed the gift card. I went back in and purchased a new big screen TV for our family room for $2200, using $2000 gift card and $200 from Ink Bold. This should be 40,000 UR points, but still nothing has posted. I was giddy the whole day after this, but now I’m just nervous it won’t ever post!

  11. Hello,
    I bought a $500 gift card on Aug. 31st and I’m still expecting my points… I used my Freedom UR portal. I haven’t tried to double dip yet. Is it typical for Freedom cards to have long delays like that?

    Thanks!

    • Mine posted quicker, but it was also a smaller purchase. Word on the street is larger purchases may take longer. Don’t give up hope yet.

  12. I will say that I am a big fan of double dipping, especially when we first got some credit cards and needed to meet that high spending requirement We knew things we wanted for future or for holidays and would purchase gift cards then purchase the items through UR…in the comfort of our office 🙂
    We racked up so many UR points it was unreal and very much worth the work.

  13. I bought a $1000 e-gift card from Sears during the August 10x bonus and then used the e-gift card to buy a new dryer that we desperately needed after going 3 months without one. The waiting paid off! I ended up getting nearly 20,000 UR points for a purchase I was already planning to make.

  14. Just be careful shopping on sears.com as you can easily end up buying something from one of their marketplace sellers instead of from Sears. In many cases Sears is then not responsible for returns or warranties. Was hoping to double dip on the iPad my DD wants for xmas but it’s not really Sears doing the selling although you can apparently use a Sears gift card. When I looked into it, the marketplace seller has only a 7 day return policy and I would need to deal with them direct. I don’t think Sears is doing enough to clarify this to online shoppers.

    • @Chewy, I would not advise buying/selling UR points as it is against the terms of the UR program and people are getting shut down for that sort of activity. Sorry!!

  15. Ever tried double dipping on airlines?

    Redeem points through UR for UA flights, get UA mileage.
    Havent tried it, but do you Think it will work?

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