How I made 16,000 points and $215 on Black Friday shopping

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Black Friday is a crazy time of year for promotions and this year was no exception.  I thought it might be interesting to share some of the deals that I came across for Black Friday and took advantage of.

Earlier in the week, Amazon had a promo on the Nexus 7 32 GB tablets that I like to buy for resale for $239.99 including free shipping and no tax.  I had a bunch of Amazon gift cards I had gotten from Plink so this was a perfect way to turn those gift cards into cash when I resell that same tablet in my Amazon store for $269 after the Black Friday sales are over!


Then on Wednesday, I got an email from Staples with a $50 off coupon for any tablet so I ordered another of the Nexus 7 32 GB for $269-$50 = $219.  I had to pay tax on this one so my total cost was $234.33.  If you read my article on Shopping Portals for Mega Miles, you know that I always get extra miles by starting at a portal.  This time I used UPromise for an extra 5% back in cash.  Staples also has a rewards program where I get another 5% back in Staples bucks to use towards a future purchase.  I also get Plink Points for Staples so will get another $3 back. I used my Ink Bold card to pay for it which gives me 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent. This makes my net cost $210.09 plus I get 1174 Ultimate Rewards points.  I will resell this for around $269 through my Amazon store.

The last deal I was really happy about.  OfficeMax was offering a promo where you could buy a $200 gift card for $180.  Since there is a $6.95 activation fee, this means you would make $13.05 on the card after the promo.  And since I was going to use my Chase Ink Bold Card, I would get 5 Ultimate Reward points per dollar since it is an office supply store.  I got there shortly after they opened at 8 PM on Thanksgiving (we did a Thanksgiving lunch instead of a dinner so I was free).  They had them right up front when I asked about them and they told me “You can buy two per transaction but there is no limit on the number of transactions.”  What!?!  OK, I will take them all then!

officemaxEach of those is two $200 gift cards.  So I ended up with 16 $200 gift cards for a total of $3200 in cards for a total cost of $2984.  Since I used my Ink Bold, I will get another 15,000 Ultimate Rewards on top of making $215!  Gotta love it! If you read my article about Spending Money without Spending Money you know I can use my Bluebird account to take these gift cards and immediately pay off the Ink Bold card I just used to charge it!

I am not sure if there is anything else I will be buying this weekend, but I wanted to share these deals with you so you could get some ideas on how you can make extra miles too! How did you make miles on Black Friday?

How I bought a 70″ TV for $515 the Travel With Miles way!!


I am always shopping for deals, both for things I want and things to buy and resell.  I had had my eye on a 70″ Sharp TV ever since I saw the monster in a Sears store.  But I am never one to pay retail and would rather not buy something than overpay.  I was really happy with the deal I recently worked out, and while it doesn’t involve earning tons of miles per se, I think it will show some of the ways I save money every day on big purchases.

First off, this TV has a retail price of $2,799 which would normally be much more than I want to pay. Here is a review of the TV I ended up getting.  The cheapest price I had seen online was around $1600 at the time.  As many of you know, I love shopping at Sears (like I did when I got 264,000 Ultimate Rewards points and $1000 by shopping and then reselling tablets).  They frequently have Shop Your Way promotions that add a lot of value to things bought there and decrease my effective cost.

One of the lesser known secrets is to shop for things on  Most of the products on this site are brand new and are last year’s model they are closing out or they also get rid of their floor models there.  I had been checking in every once in a while doing a search for “70 LED” and seeing what the prices were.  There are often times some real steals on bigger TVs there.  The problem is with the floor models you have to pick them up from whichever store has them.  I saw a great price once of around $1000, but it was in Hawaii and while I would love to go, coming back with a TV would be problematic. 🙂


Since I have bought and sold so many tablets for resale on my store, I have platinum status with Shop Your Way Rewards.  This makes me eligible to get 15% back in Shop Your Way Reward points on one day each quarter, but sometimes more than one day.  So if I buy $1000 worth of goods then they give me $150 in points to use for a future purchase. In fact I still had $407 worth of these points (407,000) saved up from previous purchases of tablets for resale. They happened to be having one of these special 15% back days on April 9th so I went to the Sears Outlet page and lo and behold they had this 70″ TV in Ft. Myers which is about 2 hours from where I live.  I also had some friends in Naples I could visit if I could work out a deal.

The price was $1193 which wasn’t the lowest price I had seen but it was the lowest I had seen in Florida.  It showed on the site it was a floor model and didn’t have any missing parts or damages, but I called the store and got transferred to the TV department and asked for the condition before I bought it.  They said they had two of them and they could give me the one in better shape if I bought it.  $1193 was a good price but I couldn’t stop my deal there.

I searched around online for a “SearsOutlet Coupon Code” and I found a code for 10% off that was valid. Score!  This would save me $119.  But I wasn’t done yet.  Since I was buying it on the Shop Your Way Cyber bonus days, I got 15% back for $157 worth of points.


I ALWAYS look for miles or cashback offers by using a shopping portal online.  For you new guys, a shopping portal just means you log onto an account then go to their online shopping mall.  I searched for SearsOutlet on both and and found out that I could get 5% cash back if I used the shopping portal.  This was more valuable to me than the 3 miles per dollar I could get on American.


I could have used gift cards to sweeten the deal even more, but I wanted to put the main charge of $732.58 on my Business Gold Rewards American Express so I would add 1 free year onto the warranty at no cost. When I buy for resale, I don’t mind using gift cards because I don’t care about the warranty so much since I won’t be keeping it. But since this was personal, I wanted the extra protection (which gave me added safety since it was a floor model.) I also got 732 Membership Rewards for spending $732 on my Amex!

So the grand total ended up being:

  • Retail price: $2,799
  • Sales Price: $1193.93
  • Sales Tax: $64.47
  • 10% discount for coupon: -$119.39
  • 15% in Shop Your Way Rewards Points: -$157.17
  • 5% in UPromise Cashback: -$59.70
  • Redeemed 406,430 Shop Your Way Rewards Points: -$406.43
  • Net cost: $515.71 and I received 732 Membership Rewards points.

Now that’s what I call a deal!  I am planning on selling my old TV for at least that much so I effectively ended up with a larger TV for very little if any out of pocket!

I hope this gives you guys some ideas on ways to purchase things and teaches you a thing or two.  Feel free to comment with your deals that you are proud of!

Holiday shopping for miles and profit via online shopping portals!

You should be getting miles or cashback for every single purchase you make this holiday season.  There.  I said it.  If you play your cards right, you could get earn enough miles for a free vacation just by spending what you were going to spend anyways! Wouldn’t you rather get 10,000 miles for that LCD TV you are going to buy for $1000? Well, pay attention, because I’m going to write about four different ways to get miles or cashback today.  After that will go over some advanced ways to combine the options to really kick things into high gear!

  1. Miles Earning Credit or Debit Cards
  2. Cashback Credit Cards
  3. Online Shopping Portals for Miles
  4. Online Shopping Portals for Cashback

1. Miles Earning Credit or Debit Cards

This is one you should be familiar with if you have been reading this blog for a while. At a minimum you should be getting 1 mile or point per dollar spent. Almost every card on our Top Credit Cards page that lists miles or points as its type will give you this. You get miles for every dollar spent so you should be putting everything you buy on one of these credit cards (and then paying it off right away of course).  Some of my favorites are:

  • SPG American Express (25K sign on bonus) which gives 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent.  For hotel stays these are some of the most valuable points and I have been getting at least $0.05 per Starpoint when I redeem them for Cash and Points stays.
  • Amex Premier Rewards Gold (25K sign on bonus) which gives 1 Membership Rewards point for ever dollar spent. This are great because of the flexibility to be able to transfer to several different airlines and hotel programs.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K sign on bonus) which gives 1 Ultimate Rewards point for every dollar spent.  These points I would value even higher than the membership rewards points due to their flexibility via a higher number of transfer partners (airlines and hotels).

But you can do better than 1% a lot of times!  The Chase Freedom card gives 5X Ultimate Rewards points on Best Buy and Kohl purchases for example The Chase Ink Bold gives 5X UR Points on Office Supply purchases (OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples) so it can add up quickly on computers or tablet purchases.

Even if your credit needs work, you can still get 1 miles per dollar spent by using the Suntrust Delta Debit Card I wrote about.

2. Cashback Credit Cards

These cards don’t give you miles, but instead give you cold, hard cash.  I started with cash back, but realized that there is much better value in the miles cards if you want to travel the world.  Not everyone is the same though so cashback might be a better option if you hate to fly or something. Some of my favorites are:

  • Discover It Card: Up to 1% cashback on all purchases.  They have an additional bonus for the 4th quarter for 2012 of 5% at all online shopping and department stores up to $1500 in purchases which can be combined with shopping portal earnings.
  • Amex Business Simply Cash Card: 5% in Office Supply Stores, 1% at most other places.
  • OPEN Savings from Amex Business cards such as the SPG Business Amex: If you have a business Amex, their OPEN program gives you almost instantaneous cashback with a few key vendors.  The one that I have used multiple times is 10% back on purchases of $250 or more at  It is only the total purchase amount that matters so gift cards, clearance items, and coupons all work in conjunction with this. Other choices are some Marriott properties, Hertz and Hyatt.

3. Online Shopping Portal for Miles.

This is where the big miles earning opportunities come into play.  The way this works is instead of going directly to a merchant, like for example,, you would instead log into your shopping portal first then click on their link to Home Depot.  By the power of cookies the site can tell that you came from the shopping portal and the merchant gives the shopping portal a referral fee, that they rebate to you in the form of miles.

Some of these portals you can use any credit card you want, such at the Southwest Rapid Rewards Mall. I used this mall to get 189,000 miles by shopping earlier this year! Other examples are the American AAdvantage Shopping Mall, the United Mileage Plus Shopping Mall and the Delta Skymiles Mall.

One of the best malls that I have made hundreds of thousands of miles with is the Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall. Due to the flexibility of the Ultimate Rewards points, this is often my top choice for purchases even if another site has a slightly higher multiplier.

Some merchants even allow you to buy gift cards and get points, then to go back through and get points again on the gift card use.  I took advantage of this strategy at Sears when I got double dipped to maximize my miles and got a companion pass in the process.

Two great sites for comparing the miles (and cashback) are EVReward and Cashbackholic. You just have to put the store name in the search box and it will come up with an array of miles and cashback sites.  Keep in mind that when you redeem airline miles, you will often get at least $0.02 per mile and Hotel Points closer to $0.01 (except for Starpoints which I value around $0.03.)

4. Online Shopping Portal for Cashback.

This is even more simple than the miles portals.  You sign into the portal, then click through to the merchant and then get a % back in cash in usually 4-6 weeks, but it can sometimes be longer. EVReward and Cashbackholic are still the best spots to compare all of the options in one place.  My favorites for cashback are:

ShopDiscover: Has 10% for Groupon that I use all the time, and during the holiday season it bumps up the cash back on a lot of its sites to 3-4 times what everyone else is offering (think 15% instead of 5% cash back for instance). I make several hundred dollars per year just on Discover Cashback so with no annual fee, this card is staying in my wallet.

UPromise: Has a larger selection of stores than almost any portal and the tracking of your clicks is rock solid.  Even though it bills itself as cashback for education, there are several ways to get the cash back into your hands.

TopCashBack: This cashback site has some of the highest cashback out there, including a whopping 21% recently at Intercontinental Hotels. In my experience the points are a bit slow to post, but eventually it pays out as it should. I use Upromise if the rate is about the same, but will still use this site if it is the highest %.

Advanced Strategies.

Once you have the basics above down, you can combine them to find the best option.  When I got almost a quarter million Ultimate Rewards points and $1000 cash, I bought gift cards for 10X points using the Ultimate Rewards mall (from section 3) and my Chase Sapphire Preferred card for 1X points (from section 1) and then used those gift cards after clicking through UPromise for 5% cashback (section 4).

You can buy $500 Visa gift cards at OfficeMax or Office Depot getting 5X Ultimate Rewards points (from section 1) then go through Southwest’s Shopping Portal (from Section 2) to get 7X miles from

You can buy $1500 in gift cards at on your Discover card getting 5% back on online shopping (from Section 1) using their ShopDiscover portal for 10% cashback (from Section 4) then use those gift cards through UPromise (from Section 4) for another 5%.  That is a whopping 20% off of anything total up to $1500 at Sears!

You can go through UPromise to (Section 4) to get 5% cashback then use your Amex with OPEN savings to pay for your purchase of $250 or more and get 10% back in a statement credit. (Section 2).  15% off any total at Officemax and that is after any coupons or sales!


If you can’t see the value after reading this article, then go back and read it again!  Or ask any questions that you have in the comments.

Buying the iPhone 5 for Points and Profit! 1200 Ultimate Rewards Points + $10 Cashback!

Like many others, I will be picking up the iPhone 5 when it becomes available on September 14th for preorder.  I always try to plan any purchases of $100 or more (well, really almost any purchase) around what will give me the most points or miles and this is what I came up with for the iPhone 5 purchase.  I am assuming a $199+tax upgrade price.  If you aren’t eligible for the subsidized upgrade or are spending more than that then it will be even more miles.

I have split the strategy into beginner and advanced sections.

Beginner Strategy – Go through Upromise to get 5% cash back.  First log into Upromise (or sign up for a upromise account if you don’t have one yet) then under the Earn toolbar, click on Online Shopping.

Then click on the Apple banner that should be on the next page, or look for Apple in the store list.  It should be giving 5% cash back.

The web site will then open a new tab in your browser and redirect you to the Apple site where you will get 5% cash back on your iPhone purchase.  Yes, it is only $10, but that is better than what you had before you read this article!  Make sure to use whatever card gives you the most miles or a card you are trying to meet a spending requirement on.

Advanced Strategy – Use your Chase Ink Bold card to purchase a Vanilla Reload to fund your Amex Prepaid card as I discussed in this article.  This will get you 5X Ultimate Rewards Points on your purchase price (including tax) which should be at least 1070 UR Points.  Then use the prepaid Amex to go thorough UPromise as mentioned above to get the additional $10 back.  So if all goes well, you should get 1000+ UR points + 199 UR points + $10 cashback using the advanced strategy.  Not bad for something you were going to buy anyways! Make sure to remember if you use this strategy you won’t be eligible for the extended warranty protection that your credit card may provide.  I personally tend to upgrade my iPhone once a year when the new model comes out so this isn’t as much of a concern for me.

Alternative Advanced Strategies – If you have the Chase Freedom card, you can wait until October 1 when they activate 5% UR points at Best Buy.  Or if you have an Ink Bold or Ink Plus that gives 5X UR points on telecommunications, you can probably put the upgraded handset onto your monthly bill and get 5% on it.