The Basics

Watch Out For Returns!

Shopping portals
Written by Charlie

With Christmas almost upon us, I am sure most of you have done a majority of your Christmas gift shopping (if not already finished it). If you have been really diligent in your online shopping, you have been buying everything you can through shopping portals to maximize your posts. In combination with that, you are probably also using a credit card that you need to get spending on to get your annual threshold bonus.

Shopping portals

Shopping portals, like the Ultimate Rewards Mall, are great ways to accrue points – but those points will be lost if the item is returned!

Those are very smart ways to shop but be careful in how you gift those items! If you give a receipt with the item and the gift recipient returns the item, you will lose your portal points and your spend on the credit card! This can be a disaster if you had just met the minimum spend requirement before the end of the year on a threshold bonus or if you lose a lot of miles/points from a portal purchase.

How to Avoid It?

Giving a gift receipt with the gifts should help you to avoid that problem. However, some stores still do process it as a return and it triggers the portal about the return (it will not affect your spending on your credit card because the purchase is either exchanged or refunded as a gift card). This has happened to me a couple of times (but I cannot remember which stores they were).

If the recipient does want to return your gift, they rarely tell you that :). However, if you got a monster portal bonus from it, you may wish to mention to them to just let you know if they want to exchange it so you can help them with it. There are some stores which will process the return without having a receipt and just using the phone number of the purchaser. If this returner is someone in your immediate family, they may just plan on returning something to go back on your card to purchase something else at a different store later. Make sure you check with them to see if they plan on returning something!

If you have transferred your points to a partner program (like transferring Ultimate Reward points to United), you will not lose those new United miles if a return has been initiated. So, that may be a safe way to protect against any returns. Otherwise, just get them a gift card next year through an online portal – earn the points and reduce the headache! 🙂


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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

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