A Creative Method to Buy Ultimate Rewards Points for 1.4 Cents or Less

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Intro to Buy Ultimate Rewards Points for 1.4 Cents or Less

Here is a creative method to buy Ultimate Rewards points for 1.4 cents or less.  Buying points is always something debatable because at many times it may not be worth the cost.  If you are planning a trip and need to accumulate miles quickly, you may sometimes want to buy miles for cheap if you do not have enough.  This method is involves gift card churning high value gift cards on Plastic Jungle or Cardpool.

I’ve recently been experimenting on Plastic Jungle and Cardpool.  These sites let you buy gift cards at a discount and sell unwanted gift cards.  I wanted to see which gift cards were the most valuable.  I posted last week about a Plastic Jungle $20 promotion for selling $200 or more in gift cards.  I discovered that Mobil/Exxon gift cards were paying the most at 93% of its full value.

Mobil/Exxon Gift Card Churning at 93% value.

Mobil/Exxon Gift Card Churning at 93% value.

Since I regularly pay for gas using gas gift cards bought from Office Depot at 5X, I noticed that Office Depot sells Mobil/Exxon gift cards.  You could buy these in $50 denominations at Office Depot and get 5X points.  For example, last week I bought 4x $50 Mobil gift cards to sell on PlasticJungle.

  • 4 x $50 Mobil gift cards = $200 cost
  • Sell at Plastic Jungle @ 93% = ($186)
  • Sell through Topcashback (cashback is calculated at cost not sell value) @ 2.5% extra cash back = $5
  • Total: $14 for 1,000 points (without TCB) and $9 for 1,000 points (with TCB)
  • Cost Per Point: 1.4 cents or 0.9 cents with TCB
  • Rinse and Repeat = gift card churning

Note: There have been differing reviews on Topcashback.  I’ve heard that many people have been getting paid out but it takes a long time.  I also hear people have to submit tickets to get paid.  In my experience, all my purchases have posted on Topcashback as pending.

Is It Worth It?

Buying Ultimate Rewards points at 1.4 cents per point has both pros and cons.  At 1.4 cents per point:

  • USA to Europe business class @ 100k miles = $1,400 (w/o taxes)
  • USA to Asia business class @ 120k miles = $1,680 (w/o taxes)
  • West Coast to Hawaii @ 25k miles = $350 ($20 taxes)

The cons would be that alternative methods in accumulating points may be better.  Buying and selling gift cards can be quite time costly.  Even though it is a pretty simple process selling gift cards on Plastic Jungle, you would still have to go to Office Depot to buy gift cards, print out the shipping label and drop it off in the mailbox.  Buying Vanilla Reloads and leveraging Target AMEX might be more worth your time.  However, it is good to mix up some different methods in your points accumulation.  Diversifying your methods  will lower your risks of red flags.

If and when Topcashback pays out, I would say 0.9 cents per mile is definitely worth it.  To buy Ultimate Rewards Points for 1.4 cents could be worth it too if you have an upcoming redemption and need miles.  I would not accumulate and hoard points at 1.4 cents per mile because the lowest an Ultimate Reward point can be worth is 1 cent.  However, at 0.9 cents per mile, you are coming up 0.1 cents ahead at the most conservative value.  I value Ultimate Rewards points at about 1.5 cents each, other people value them at about 2 cents or more if you constantly redeem for business and first class travel.

Disclaimer: I do receive a small commission for signing up for TopCashBack through my link.  I appreciate it whether or not you choose to support the site!

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11 comments for “A Creative Method to Buy Ultimate Rewards Points for 1.4 Cents or Less

  1. Jonathan H
    January 23, 2013 at 9:08 am

    What is your experience with TopCashBack? I’ve read it’s unreliable and arduous process, but I’ve personally never used it.

    Also, weird cause I took advantage of the PlasticJungle promotion last week also with Mobil gift cards, and they’re paying me out 96.6%! Do you have experience in how long it takes after you mail in before your payment posts for Plastic Jungle?

    • January 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      I have several pending transactions and will wait until they pay out otherwise I will send a message to request for cash back. I know many people who have received TopCashBack, but waited about 3 months.

      Plastic Jungle should send you a check within 3 days. I’ve used Cardpool, and the whole process took about one week. Plastic Jungle should be the same.

    • January 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Sometimes Plastic Jungle says 96-98% but when you enter the gift card in, it is only 93%. Maybe if you use higher denominations you can get paid more? Not sure, I can only find $50 Mobil gift cards.

      • Jonathan H
        January 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm

        Oh, I think it’s cause you’re using the cash back option. Sorry, I was getting 96.6% for the Amazon gift card option. I also did 4x$50 Mobil gift cards.

        • January 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm

          Yeah it does take some work. I’m just posting some of my experiments and findings along the way.

  2. Ron
    January 27, 2013 at 2:23 am

    1.4 cpm for UR?! That’s insanely expensive! But of course, anything to get a TCB referral, eh?!

    If you are paying more than 0.8 cpm for UR’s, you have your head up your backside!

    Why waste anyone’s time with such stupid posts?! I understand the pressure to fill up space, but come on, show the readers some respect!

    • January 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      With topcashback it’s about 0.9 cents per UR. I would say that’s worth it if I had lots of time. I personally don’t think 1.4 cents per UR is worth it but somebody else might. Thanks for your opinion.

  3. February 7, 2013 at 5:00 am

    TCB give you 2.5% on the 186 not 200. So you are $4.65. Not to be too specific. But if someone is doing an economy of scale and buying 40-50k worth of GCs it might move the needle a little.

    • February 7, 2013 at 7:03 am

      Yup. I mentioned it was on the sale price in a previous post. Thanks.

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