Experiment in progress: Sony 30X


image_thumb4As I reported recently, the Ultimate Rewards Mall is currently offering Ink Bold customers 10 points per dollar at Sony.com until the end of May.  That’s pretty good by itself, but I always like to see how far we can go.  Can we get 20X by buying gift cards for 10X, and then using them for another 10X? 

Examining the Ultimate Rewards Mall leads me to believe that the gift card double dip just might work.  First, notice that Sony is explicitly listed under gift card offers:



Second, notice that there are no explicit restrictions against gift card use:


The Experiment

Of course, I’m not content to settle for only 20X.  So, I started this experiment with a Visa gift card purchased at Staples.com.  Currently, for Ink Bold owners, the Ultimate Rewards Mall gives 5X for Staples.com purchases, and the Ink Bold itself gives another 5X for the office supply category.  So, you get 10 points per dollar when buying Visa gift cards this way at Staples!  There are fees, so the actual bonus is more like 6X overall (see “What’s my X?”), but round numbers like 10X are more fun to write about Smile.

Using the Visa gift card, I logged into the Ultimate Rewards Mall and clicked through to Sony.com.  There I purchased a $25 e-gift card and sent it to myself via a secondary email address.

Once I received the e-gift card (about 20 minutes after purchase), I went back the the Ultimate Rewards Mall, clicked through to Sony again, and bought a $20 iPod dock.  My goal was to keep the entire purchase under $25 so that I could pay entirely with the gift card, but shipping and taxes pushed the total slightly over.  I paid $25 with the gift card and a little over a dollar with my Ink Bold.  In retrospect, I see that I was an idiot because if I had added $5 to my order the $5 shipping would have been free.  Oh well.  They probably don’t sell anything for $5 anyway…

Wait and see

When buying the e-gift card I was routed to a different URL so I’m a little worried about that one.  I’m not sure at all I’ll get points.  I thought about switching to a physical card, but the 10X deal only lasts through May so time is of the essence!

I’m also disappointed that I didn’t pay entirely with a gift card.  If I get points for the iPod dock purchase, I won’t know for certain that points will always be awarded.  Sometimes when paying with a gift card through a shopping portal, you get points only if at least a part of your order is paid by credit card.

It usually takes 4 or 5 days for the Ultimate Rewards Mall to show credit for purchases (via the “Ultimate Rewards Mall & Travel Earnings” menu selection).  I should be able to report back with results next week.

How good would it be?

If all parts of this experiment succeed, let’s look at the bounty:

  • Purchase $100 Visa cards through Staples:
    • Points earned 10X.  Subtract cost of cards and real benefit = 6X.
  • Purchase Sony gift card through Ultimate Rewards Mall:
    • Points earned 10X
  • Purchase Sony merchandise through Ultimate Rewards Mall:
    • Points earned 10X
  • Total estimated “rebate”:
    • Points earned: 26X
    • Value of extra points using Fair Trading Prices = 26X * 1.31 = 34% rebate!

Enough with the Ink Bold already!

People have asked me to find deals and bonuses for other cards.  Not everyone has a Chase Ink card and not everyone can get one.  But the Ink seems to have endless opportunities!  I can’t help myself! 

I will do my best to dig up deals for other cards.  One great one this week requires American Express business cards: see “Up to 14.5% off Amazon and Barnes & Noble.”

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