Welcome to the Best Point Earning for the Runner series. This is intended to help the runner obtain the best prices on gear while maximizing the points they can earn. I will cover many different sites and the best cards to use for which purchases as well as some of the best deals on gear.
Best Point Earning for the Runner – Ultimate Rewards Edition
To begin, you must have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card or a Chase INK Bold or INK Plus card to access these deals on the Ultimate Rewards Mall. To get these cards, you can apply through the links below. I do not get a commission for these cards.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – 40,000 Points after $3,000 in 3 months – Application Link (I do not receive a commission for this link
Chase INK Bold Card – 50,000 Points after $5,000 in 3 months – Application Link (I do not receive a commission for this link)
Chase INK Plus Card – 50,000 Points after $5,000 in 3 months – Application Link (I do not receive a commission for this link)
1) To start, once you have the card or if you already have one of the cards, go to the Ultimate Rewards site.
2) Log in to the site and go to the Earn Faster tab and select to browse by merchant.
3) I like to sort the stores by earn rate as opposed to alphabetic so I can see the stores with the highest earn rates.
4) Here is the list of the highest earning rates for stores with running gear or shoes
- Shoebuy.com – 10 extra points per $1
- Shoes.com – 9 extra points per $1
- Road Runner Sports – 8 extra points per $1
- The North Face – 8 extra points per $1
- ShoeMall.com – 8 extra points per $1
- Famous Footwear – 7 extra points per $1
- NikeStore.com – 7 extra points per $1
- Under Armour – 7 extra points per $1
- Backcountry.com – 6 extra points per $1
- Eastern Mountain Sports – 6 extra points per $1
- Footsmart – 6 extra points per $1
- Finish Line – 5 extra points per $1
- Onlineshoes.com – 5 extra points per $1
- Reebok – 5 extra points per $1
- I am not listing any of the stores below 5 points because you can use one of the Ink cards to buy from an assortment of gift cards at Office Max (including Amazon)
5) Make sure you read the terms for the store on the screen that takes you to the store from the Ultimate Rewards mall. Each store has their own terms and conditions and some of them will exclude using external coupons or promo codes (to keep eligibility for the Ultimate Reward points). For just about every store, you can use any codes that are present on the store website itself.
6)It is hard to specify exactly which sites are best for your particular need since some stores do not carry all the shoe brands and some do not carry running equipment (watches, lights, etc). Obviously, you want to find the site that gives you the best deal possible – to figure out which is the best deal, you need to take into account the amount of points you are earning as well as the cost of the item(s) you are buying.
For example, if you are going to buy the Brooks Glycerin 9 in size 8.5, you would probably start with Shoebuy.com (10 extra points). They sell that shoe on sale for $90 with free shipping. We also go look for the same shoe at Finish Line (5 extra points). They are selling the shoe for $80 plus $5 shipping. If that is our final price, we have to do the math to see which is best: Shoebuy – $90 + 990 Ultimate Reward points (which are worth at least $9.90) = effective price of $81.10. Next, Finish Line – $85 +510 Ultimate Reward points (which are worth at least $5.10) = effective price of $79.90. So, it would appear that the Finish Line deal is better as far as dollars and cents, but I would go with the Shoebuy deal as Ultimate Reward points are worth a MINIMUM of 1 cent each. It is very easy to get a value of 1.5 cents – 2 cents per point making the points worth more than the $2 in savings. BUT WAIT! Remember, you can use coupons that are found on the site. In this case, Shoebuy has a 20% off winter sale bringing your shoe purchase down to $72.68 (before the point valuation). So, it will take some looking to get the best deal. Just remember that the points you are earning are worth at least a penny each so take that into account when you search.
7) Be careful about buying something that you will need to return! Many of the terms and conditions for these stores state that you will lose your points if you do a return, even if it is an exchange. If you need to do an exchange (face it, we runners can be very picky about what feels best especially since a little clothing annoyance can be a big problem over the course of a marathon!), it would be best to leave the tags on and do it without a receipt or order number. Most stores will do an exchange if you do not have the receipt.
8) Watch the points pile up! The average running shoe can have about 350 miles put on it. The average marathoner might run 1,500 miles in a year which makes for 4 pairs of shoes over the course of a year. A cheap running shoe can now cost $100, so if you bought that shoe at Shoebuy and bought 4 pairs throughout the year, you would end up with 4,000 Ultimate Reward points just from shoe purchases. That is worth a minimum of $40, so it is like you are saving $10 per pair of shoes. Or you can look at it as being a free short-haul one-way on American Airlines using British Airways Avios (4,500 one-way for short-haul flights, these can be some of the most expensive domestic tickets). It can also get you a hotel room at a couple of different chains. Throw in your clothes, watches, water bottles, backpacks, and other accessories and you can get another 4,000 – 10,000 Ultimate Reward points. You are spending the money anyway, why not get points back doing it? In this case, this is an easy 10% rebate.
Is this a lot of work? No, not really. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! Just taking a few extra minutes when shopping can help you save money and earn points.