Sometimes I make the mistake of assuming some things I write about on a regular basis are “common knowledge”, but just because some of us live, breathe, and eat miles and points, doesn’t mean that there aren’t also folks reading who are brand new to this world or don’t yet know all the ins and outs. I want to keep a balance of writing to those who are new, and those who have been around a little bit longer. So along those lines, I am going to devote a post just to the Ultimate Rewards Shopping portal. Those who are more advanced in their miles and points journey likely know much of this, but hopefully this info can serve as a good resource for others.
Who can access the Ultimate Reward Shopping Portal?
This Ultimate Reward shopping portal is available to those who have Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Reward points. Some popular examples are Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom MasterCard , Ink Plus Business Card, and Ink Bold Business Card. If you have a card like those that earns Ultimate Reward points, then you can go to www.ultimaterewards.com and log-in using your online credit card log-in.
What is the Ultimate Reward Shopping Portal?
The part of the portal that I utilize the most is the feature that allows you to click through to popular merchants like Gap, Kohls, Pottery Barn, Target, Home Depot, etc. and earn up to 10 extra points per dollar (and sometimes even more than that) for a purchase I was going to make anyway. At 10x, that turns a $100 purchase that might otherwise only earn 100 points into one that earns 1,100 points (10x plus the original 1x). That is a huge difference for only a very small amount of extra “work”. The portal also allows you to look and see what purchases you have earned points for in the past, so you will know what bonus points to expect on your next statement.
How does it work?
If you have more than one Chase card that earns Ultimate Reward points, then you will need to select which account you want to earn points with when you log-in. A lot of times the payouts for each type of Ultimate Rewards account are the same regardless of which card you log-in with, but there are some times when the payouts are higher with one card or another. You can manually check each payout by logging in with your various Ultimate Rewards earning cards, but you can also check out HikerT’s website to see the payouts for the various cards.
Once you log-in with a card that earns Ultimate Rewards, click on the “earn faster” option at the top of the screen.
I select “Browse by Merchant” from that drop-down and then you get all of the available merchants listed in alphabetical order.
Once you find the merchant you want, click on the retailer’s name, and you will be taken to a screen that verifies how many bonus points per dollar you will earn for your purchase, as well as any restrictions or rules associated with that merchant.
Sometimes there are rules surrounding buying or using gift cards or prohibiting certain products or coupon codes. Sometimes those rules are enforced as written, and sometimes they aren’t. It never hurts to try going through a portal, but be aware that if you try placing an order using a coupon code/gift card, or for a product that is expressly forbidden from earning bonus points then it may very well not work. The overwhelming majority of my online purchases are eligible, but every now and then I hit one that isn’t.
Once you click through the screen with the rules and restrictions, you are taken to the retailer’s website that will look identical to how it would have if you would have just gone there directly without going through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
When do I get my points?
Your points usually post with the next statement (unless the transaction is made close to the end of your billing month). However, you can track the points much faster as they are often in a pending state listed on the website within a week or so. I also get emails shortly after the points show as pending on the Ultimate Rewards portal. You can view the points you have earned via the shopping portal by month by clicking on “Rewards Activity” and then selecting “Ultimate Rewards Mall & Travel Earnings”.
Do I have to pay with an Ultimate Rewards credit card?
The site says to pay with a Chase card, but in practice any credit card (or gift card) works the majority of the time. The one downside to not using a Chase card is if for some reason the points don’t post correctly and automatically then you have very little recourse. However, if you have paid with a Chase card then they can see the purchase and are more likely to give you a “courtesy points adjustment”. Though I have gotten a courtesy points adjustment once even though I paid with a non-Chase card. Generally speaking, I do pay with a Chase card unless there is a real benefit of using another card (like free shipping with my Gap card), just to be on the safe side.
The Ultimate Rewards shopping mall gives these tips to help make sure you get all the points you deserve:
- You must go directly from Ultimate Rewards Mall to a participating merchant’s website to be able to earn extra points.
- Check the merchant’s terms and conditions before making a purchase to determine eligibility to earn extra points.
- Be sure to complete your purchase before you click away from the merchant’s website.
- Only use coupons or promotion codes from the Ultimate Rewards Mall and no other sites.
- Make sure your browser settings are not blocking cookies for participating merchant websites.
How often do the point payouts change?
The points payouts for different retailers typically update monthly, but often only some change payouts while many stay in the same range. The large payouts are often the ones that don’t stick around for very long, but even that can vary. I usually post on the 1st of each month to give an update on some of the best payouts for the upcoming month.
What is “double dipping”?
There are a few retailers where you can earn points on both purchasing a gift card and using that gift card through the online shopping portal. That is huge as it can take something that would typically be a 10x purchase and turn it into a 20x purchase since you basically earn the points twice. Frequent Miler keeps some good stats on this, but it is a dynamic thing as more and more stores close the opportunity on double dipping.
What to do with all these Ultimate Reward points?
You can use UR points for a number of things, but what most miles and points junkies find to be the greatest value is to transfer them at a rate of 1:1 to hotel and airline partners that include Hyatt, United, British Airways, Marriott, Priority Club, etc. In particular, I transfer most of mine to United and Hyatt as I get the most value out of those redemptions.
My family earns tens of thousands of Ultimate Reward points each year by making our online purchases through shopping portals like this one. I think overall the Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall is the best one out there. The payouts are often (but not always) the best, the points post pretty consistently, and the customer service is more responsive than many other shopping portals. If you don’t yet have a card that earns Ultimate Rewards and/or you don’t yet use the online Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall, then I suggest you rectify that situation as soon as you can. Once you get in the habit, making your purchases through a shopping portal becomes second nature and the points start adding up in a hurry.
I’d love for other UR portal veterans to chime in with any tips or suggestions that I have left out. Also, please feel free to ask any questions!
Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card using one of my affiliate links. As always, thanks for your support.