September 18, 2012
Sweet! One of my September lab experiments has paid off handsomely. I now have evidence that its possible to double dip at Buy.com for 20X! Before I tell you how, lets take a quick look at what has gone before…
- In the post “Ultimate Rewards Mall September Edition,” I mentioned that Chase Ink cardholders can get 10X at Buy.com in the month of September through the Ultimate Rewards Mall. I also mentioned that early in the year a reader had reported receiving points for purchasing merchant gift cards at Buy.com. I promised to repeat that experiment this month.
- In the post “September experiments in progress,” I described how I launched an experiment testing whether a merchant gift card purchase (a Marriott gift card) made through Buy.com would result in 10X points.
Experiment 1 Success
In the post “Buy.com experiment success,” I showed that the purchase of merchant gift cards (Home Depot, Marriott, OfficeMax, etc.) did indeed result in points! This was despite Buy.com’s T&C in the Ultimate Rewards Mall (bolding is mine):
Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents. Purchases paid by check, or method other than a credit card, are not eligible. Wireless Plan, purchases made through Buy.com Canada, music downloads, and purchases made from other stores operated by third parties that may be accessible from Partner’s site are not eligible.
I also mentioned that I would start a new experiment: “I plan one more Buy.com experiment. I will buy a Buy.com gift card to see if I get points, then I’ll use that gift card to buy a merchant gift card (e.g. Home Depot, Marriott, or OfficeMax) to see if I get points again.”
Experiment 2 Failure
For the second experiment, I went through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Buy.com and bought a Buy.com gift certificate for myself (sent via email). Shortly after I made the purchase, a reader named Bob wrote the following comment:
Not sure if you already started your experiment with purchasing Buy.com GCs to then buy merchant GCs, but it won’t work. I tried doing the same thing and Buy.com will NOT let you purchase a gift card with a buy.com gift card. However, if you were going to purchase something else from Buy.com, a double-dip may work. I did receive Super Points for the buy.com gift card purchase.
Sure enough, as Bob said, when I tried to use my Buy.com gift card to buy a merchant gift card, the system wouldn’t allow it. And, unlike Bob, I didn’t receive any Buy.com Super Points for the gift card purchase. So, I decided to do a new experiment as Bob suggested. I would use my gift card to buy merchandise to see if a double-dip would work.
Experiment 3 Success
Once again, I went through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Buy.com. This time I used my Buy.com gift card to buy merchandise. Six days later, I checked my Ultimate Rewards Mall earnings (here’s how) and found that I had received 10X points for both the purchase of the gift card and the use of the gift card! That means that I earned 20X for my purchase! Buy.com also gives 1% back in the form of “Super Points”. I received Super Points for my merchandise purchase, but not for my gift card purchase.
So, to summarize, I bought a Buy.com gift certificate and earned 10X points through the Ultimate Rewards Mall. Then, I went through the mall a second time to use the gift certificate (to buy merchandise) and I earned 10X points again.
Finding Buy.com Gift Cards
It wasn’t easy to find where to buy Buy.com gift cards. When I used Buy.com’s search feature to look for “gift cards” it only pulled up other merchant gift cards. Finally, I found a way to find Buy.com gift cards:
1. Hover over the “Wine, Gourmet, Gifts” menu, then select “Gift Cards”:
2. On the Gift Cards page, look for the menu on the left as shown below and click “Buy.com Gift Cards”:
3. You should now be on the page labeled “Purchasing a gift certificate”:
When buying through shopping portals, there is always a risk that points won’t get tracked correctly. In this case, if that happens, it may be impossible to get help from Chase since the Terms & Conditions seem to exclude gift cards. Consider this risk before jumping in. Also see “How to ensure your portal points” for advice on how to better your odds.