Middle Age Miles

UPDATE: How About a 9x Transferable Points ***Plus 3% Cash Back*** Play for Amazon Purchases?

9x transferable points plus 3 percent cash back ultimate rewards ur membership rewards mr amazon purchases amazon kindle gift cards chase freedom rakuten in-store offer jcpenney jc penney dosh cashback


Yesterday, we published the article that appears below, outlining what we thought was a very clever stack of deals that would result in earning 9x transferable points for gift cards you can use for future purchases on Amazon. In short, the deal is to use the Chase Freedom quarterly bonus category on department stores to earn 5x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points, and a Rakuten in-store offer promotional rate at with your Membership Rewards (MR)-earning account to earn 4x MR points as well, when you purchase Amazon Kindle gift cards at JCPenney. Total return: a 13.5% points rebate – nice!

Well, we can now report that this deal got even better. This morning, we received an email from Dosh, letting us know that, “Cha-Ching!”, we had earned $5.17 cash back at JCPenney:

It had slipped our mind that in-store purchases at JCPenney also earn 3% cash back from Dosh! So, on our $172.39 purchase (including $150 in Amazon Kindle gift cards), we earned another $5.17 cash back.

The extra Dosh stack here means that the total rebate on our purchase of Amazon Kindle gift cards at JCPenney, with 9x UR/MR points plus 3% cash back, was an even sweeter 16.5%!

To get the Dosh deal, you’d need a Dosh account, and you’d need to have linked your Chase Freedom card in Dosh.

We were excited to learn that this already sweet deal became even better, and we wanted to be sure to share it with Middle Age Miles readers this morning!

Here’s the original article that we published yesterday:


We love concocting and performing various points-earning experiments – sometimes for real and sometimes just for thought. Here’s a stacking strategy that we actually executed earlier this afternoon, and we wanted to do a quick post as we head into the weekend since it may help some Middle Age Miles readers:

If you have the right ingredients in your pantry, you might be able to make a points play to earn 9x valuable transferable points for gift cards you can use for future purchases on Amazon!

Ingredients for the Amazon 9x Transferable Points Play

Here’s what you’ll need to make the Amazon 9x transferable points play:

  • A Chase Freedom card enrolled in this quarter’s 5x bonus categories
  • A Rakuten (formerly Ebates) Membership Rewards (MR)-earning account
  • A nearby JCPenney store, like ours in the north Dallas area (Frisco/Stonebriar Mall), that sells Amazon Kindle gift cards (or any other kind of Amazon GC, for that matter)

What You’ll Need to Do

The first step toward 9x Amazon is to make sure your Chase Freedom card is linked to your MR-earning Rakuten account. In addition, you’ll need to activate the Rakuten In-Store Cash Back offer at JCPenney. The normal Rakuten in-store earning rate at JCPenney is 2%/2x MR points per dollar – but this weekend, there’s a promotion to earn 4%/4x MR (and this promotion seems to be available semi-regularly, especially on weekends during the holiday season).

In addition, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve activated the 5x bonus categories for this quarter (4th quarter 2019 / Oct-Dec) on your Chase Freedom card. For this quarter, the 5x categories are Department Stores and purchases made using PayPal or Chase Pay.

JCPenney is specifically listed by Chase as a Department Store, so you know you’ll be getting 5x:

I had noticed on an earlier visit that our local JCPenney store sold Amazon Kindle gift cards. Importantly, Amazon Kindle gift cards can be loaded to your Amazon account and used for any Amazon purchases (not just Kindle purchases). The Amazon Help website confirms this:

The only denomination of Amazon Kindle gift card at our local JCPenney is $25. But no matter; we can purchase multiple cards and just load them one at a time onto our Amazon account. The card itself also re-confirms that it can be used for “millions of other items on Amazon.com” in addition to Kindle books and accessories:

So, we purchased 6 $25 Amazon Kindle gift cards, along with a few other items, for a total of $172.39 including $150 for the gift cards. Within a couple of hours, 690 MR points (4x $172.39) had posted to our Rakuten account:

Accounting and Recap

For our purchase of Amazon Kindle gift cards at JCPenney, we earned a total of 9x transferable points – 5x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points by putting the spend on our Chase Freedom card, and 4x MR points from the Rakuten in-store offer for JCPenney. That’s a pretty sweet deal!

Our baseline value for UR points and MR points is 1.5 cents each, resulting in an effective points rebate of 9 x 1.5 = 13.5% on our spend. We’ll take a 13.5% return on our Amazon spend any day, and it’s not too much trouble to load the gift cards onto our account and use them on things we’d buy in the ordinary course.

We know there are a number of ways to get discounts and points for Amazon spend, but we liked this one a lot and wanted to share it. Good luck with all of your own points-and-miles earning for your holiday shopping!

What do you think about the 9x UR/MR + 3% cash back Amazon play? Do you have other tips or suggestions that would do better? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments! Thanks!

At Middle Age Miles, we love to bring you travel, credit card and points-and-miles information that you can use to help make your travel dreams come true. To see all of our tips and insights, please Like and follow us on social media at:

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12 thoughts on “UPDATE: How About a 9x Transferable Points ***Plus 3% Cash Back*** Play for Amazon Purchases?

  1. SgFm

    Usually I’m just happy to get 5x URs buying Amazon GCs at Staples with my Ink Cash. This certainly kicks that up quite a few notches! And a small additional earn can be had by converting MRs to cash at 1.25x, if you have the Amex Schwab Platinum.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi SgFm – Thanks for the comment and glad you enjoyed the article. Correct, of course, on converting MRs to cash back at 1.25 cpp with the Schwab Platinum. We tend to use our MR points toward flights, either at ~1.54 cpp by using Pay With Points and the Biz Plat 35% rebate, or occasionally by transferring to airline partners. Hope you continue to enjoy Middle Age Miles! ~Craig

  2. Alex

    Interesting tip. You got me off the couch and into a JC Penny nearby that I’ve never stepped foot in. Sadly, no Kindle gift cards or any other useful gift cards.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hey Alex – You made me laugh about getting off the couch! Rats on not finding any Kindle or other useful GCs at your local JCPenney store, though! Aside from the Amazon Kindle cards, ours had a small hodgepodge collection of GCs, mostly for restaurants, that wouldn’t have been all that interesting to us. We really didn’t have any idea how widespread it would be for JCPs to carry the Kindle GCs, but it was definitely interesting to see that our local store did! ~Craig

  3. jot73

    Nice article, this a great option for everyone who missed the Dec. 2nd 15% in store rebates, and for those thinking of how to max out the rest of their Freedom spend this quarter of they haven’t already. Now, if you can stack the next offer with one of the 12 Days of Pei, that would be an awesome article!

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi jot73 – Thanks for the comment and compliment! I saw that Pei is running the “12 days” promotion – haven’t had time yet to study it to see if there are any interesting plays there. Great idea of a place to be looking! ~Craig

  4. JDoe

    I missed the step by step method of getting the 1.5 multiplier. So far I have only used straight cash back.
    How do I get this…
    “Our baseline value for UR points and MR points is 1.5 cents each, resulting in an effective points rebate of 9 x 1.5 = 13.5% on our spend. ”
    Please explain getting the 1.5 step. Thank you

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi JDoe – Thanks for the comment. In our view, UR points and MR points are both “worth” at least 1.5 cents per point. For UR points, because we have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, we can easily redeem UR points for 1.5 cents each for travel purchases through the Chase portal. We might be able to get even higher-value returns by transferring UR points to Chase’s airline partners or Hyatt. For MR points, because we hold an Amex Business Platinum card, we can easily redeem MR for airfare at 1.54 cents each by using Pay With Points for airfare (with the Biz Plat 35% points rebate). Also, we might be able to get even higher’value returns by transferring MR points to Amex’s airline partners.

      Your personal values may be different, depending on what cards you hold and how you use your points. We feel like our “baseline” values are just that, a baseline from which we can evaluate our returns/values.

      So, when we’re doing math to estimate the value of the return on a deal like this, we use our baseline points values to help us figure out whether a deal is worth it or not. Each person should always use their own circumstances to evaluate the value to themselves.

      Hope that helps. Thanks for reading Middle Age Miles! ~Craig

  5. Juliana

    In “Exclusions” on Rakuten app, it says: “Cash back is not available on… and the purchase or redemption of gift cards.”

    I’m not sure we’re actually get points/cask back with Kindle gift cards like this.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Juliana – Yes, fair point. As shown in the article, MR points from our JCP purchase (including the Kindle GCs) posted to our Rakuten account. They’re still in our account today, although there is always risk of clawback. Thanks for reading and the comment! ~Craig

  6. GradCashGrab

    I like reading your blog, Craig, and appreciate your line of thinking. More importantly, this same sort of rationale can be used at many other stores, but obviously a reminder should be had for people that the UR component is only up to $1500 spend for the 5% Chase Freedom category bonus. This is a fleeting deal, but plays can still be had, though I’m not so sure about it having to be posted like this to obtain more exposure.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi GradCashGrab – Many thanks for the comment and compliment. It’s definitely a fine line on what to publish and what to keep quiet. As you can tell from reading the blog, we like to help people earn more points so they can travel for less. And those types of articles are by far the ones that more people read and engage about. I love to write the travel articles, but they take far longer and, more pertinently, generate significantly less interest. Obviously, we strive to provide content that people will find interesting and helpful – which of course merely exacerbates publish-or-not dilemmas.

      This particular deal seemed relatively harmless in that, as you note, it’s next-to-impossible to really scale it because of the $1.5k limit on the Freedom 5x bonus category. Also, it’s a bit of a pain to load the cards $25 at a time. For what it’s worth, I was back in my local JCP store this morning, for the first time since I published the article, and there were tons of Kindle cards available on the racks. For reasons unknown to me, our article didn’t precipitate a stampede to the store! 🙂

      All that said, I get your point, and I appreciate the touch with which you made it. It’s a conundrum with which we struggle every day.

      All our best for a happy holiday season! ~Craig

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