Updated: Nov 16, 2021
When we hear the word "double-dipping," we usually think about tortilla chips, potato chips, and French fries, and it is generally considered bad manners. However, there is a different type of "double-dipping" that is a must in the arena of miles & points!
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What Is "Double-Dipping" Your Miles & Points?
A lot of credit cards offer rewards—whether they are earned in the form of miles, points, cashback, etc. For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers 5X points on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. If you max out on the bonus categories for the specified quarter, the $1,500 translates into 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points! You can apply for this card here!
You may feel like patting yourself on the back after using your Chase Freedom Flex℠ strategically for that quarter. Getting 5X back on purchases is a good outcome in the credit card rewards ecosystem. However, it is possible to earn additional rewards, also known as reward stacking, or "double-dipping."
There are a number of online shopping portals that offer rewards simply by virtue of completing your transaction through their respective portal. For example, Shop through Chase, an online shopping portal, rewards their cardmembers with Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. Just simply click the green "Shop" button that corresponds with the merchant you select and complete your purchase at the merchant's website in the same session. At the time of this post, Chase was offering up to 3X points per dollar at The Home Depot. This would be 3X points in addition to the credit card rewards already earned with the credit card used for the transaction!
Let's now do some math to determine the potential rewards earned by stacking or "double-dipping." Chase has included home improvement stores as a 5X points category for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ during the 2nd quarter this year and also back in 2019. It is reasonable to believe that this trend will continue. Let's pretend you use Shop through Chase and purchase an item at The Home Depot for $1,500—and earn 3X points from the online purchase—and use your Chase Freedom Flex℠ during a quarter that earns 5X points—the net result will be 12,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points! You can apply for this card here!
What About "Tripling" Your Sources?
The miles & points gurus go beyond just stacking their credit card rewards with two sources; they will look for opportunities to stack their rewards from at least three sources. How is it possible to stack rewards from three different sources? We will discuss one way below.
A third creative way to stack rewards is by using gift cards. One option is to use the United MileagePlus X app to purchase an eGift Card from one of the listed merchants. You will need to be a United MileagePlus member in order to download the United MileagePlus X app. United MileagePlus is the United Airlines loyalty program.
As an example, at the time of this post, by purchasing an eGift Card from The Home Depot, a member would earn 1X mile per dollar and up to 4X miles per dollar by using the featured app. And, primary United Chase cardmembers earn a 25% bonus on miles earned from MileagePlus on eGift Card purchases! This would include the United℠ Explorer Card or the United Quest℠ Card. The United MileagePlus X app user does not need to even use their United Chase credit card! It only needs to be registered with the app. That means you may choose the credit card that will give you the most rewards for the eGift Card purchase. You can compare and apply for any of these credit cards here!
Let's now put this into practice—with another hypothetical situation involving The Home Depot. We'll use the same aforementioned $1,500 purchase—but this time we'll use the MileagePlus X app instead of Shop through Chase—but we'll still use the Chase Freedom Flex℠ to purchase the eGift Card. Your first step would be to purchase the $1,500 eGift Card on the United Mileage Plus X app. This transaction alone would earn you 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points + 1,875 MileagePlus miles. Next, access The Home Depot as a featured app of the United MileagePlus X, and complete the transaction in the same session, using your eGift Card as payment. This source of stacking will net up to an additional 6,000 MileagePlus miles! The grand total—7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points and 7,875 MileagePlus miles!
The Value of Transfer Partners
Perhaps the least understood but, often, the most valuable method of utilizing your existing miles or points is to transfer your miles or points to a transferrable partner! Chase currently has 14 partners—11 airlines and 3 hotels. Basically, you are transferring your points to a partner of Chase, and redeeming those points with that partner for an award booking.
United Airlines is a transfer partner of Chase. Hence, using the same example above—having 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points and 7,875 MileagePlus miles—you would be able to transfer your 7,500 Ultimate Rewards® points to your MileagePlus account—provided you have a credit card by Chase that allows you to transfer to one of its thirteen partners.
One such card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred—The Best Credit Card Just Got Better! Do you want to determine the potential value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for you personally in your first year of using it? Try our Feel free to use our Credit Card Selector Calculator for FREE! It uses our proprietary algorithm which determines the best credit card in our database based on your spending habits. You will be able to determine the value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in your first year of use. You can apply for this card here! You can also try our Credit Card Calculator to determine how long it will take you to pay off your existing credit card balance based on your monthly payment amount.
After transferring your 7,500 Ultimate Rewards® points to your MileagePlus account, you would now have 15,375 MileagePlus miles. What, potentially, could 15,375 miles get you? United Airlines is now dynamic—the number of miles needed for redemption varies based on the cash price of the ticket and other factors. At the time of this post, as an example, United Airlines was offering a one-way economy ticket from New York/ Newark (EWR) to Nashville, Tennessee (BNA) for only 5,000 miles + $6 in fees! A roundtrip ticket would total 10,000 miles + $12 in fees! Of course, your miles may vary, and the miles required to redeem an award ticket fluctuate often. But, it is easy to see the value of leveraging your credit card rewards against travel loyalty programs.
It is always a good idea to perform a "background check" before you visit another state or country to determine if it is safe to do so. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted travel around the world, and it has left a large footprint that is visible for all to see.
Feel free to visit our COVID-19 Resources page which contains a useful tool that will allow you to do a "background check" on the state—or country—you desire to visit. Simply enter the name of the state or country within the search bar and useful links will automatically populate providing you access to COVID-19 warnings and other travel guidance.
"Quadrupling" Your Sources? No Way!
Yes, it is possible to quadruple your sources. This comes in the form of store loyalty programs. Although this fourth way typically will not yield any miles or points, it does result in cash or other types of rewards. For example, Kohl's has its own loyalty program—Kohl's Rewards. A customer will earn 5% Kohl's Rewards on every purchase; these rewards are only valid toward Kohl's purchases.
"Using your credit card(s) responsibly while maximizing the rewards earned is giving yourself a raise."
One way to quadruple your sources while shopping online at Kohl's is to essentially follow the same aforementioned steps under the subheading "What About 'Tripling' Your Sources?" Once you determine the amount you need to pay, you would (1) purchase an eGift Card using the United MileagePlus X app with a (2) credit card that gives you rewards. A number of credit cards only offer 1X point from online purchases; you may consider using a credit card that earns more rewards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®—it earns 1.5X points from online purchases. You can apply for this card here! Your next step would be to (3) use an online shopping portal—such as Shop through Chase® or the United MileagePlus shopping portal. The icing on the cake is (4) the Kohl's Rewards you also earn from the purchase. You have just quadrupled your sources successfully!
Tip of the Iceberg
We have only scratched the surface when it comes to credit card rewards, reward stacking, and redeeming award tickets via transfer partners. No one has a monopoly on all of the ingenious ways to thrive in the miles & points ecosystem!
Do you feel overwhelmed with all the options available when it comes to redeeming your miles & points? Would you like some assistance to get you started in the right direction? You will benefit from the services of a Credit Card Miles & Points Consultant. They may be able to assist you with regards to earning miles & points through credit card use and redeeming those miles & points for award travel. Get started today!