UPDATE 3/12/2018: As of March 27th, 2018, JetBlue miles will only be paid out when making purchases over JetBlue inflight wifi. For many of those who don’t fly JetBlue regularly, this will mean that earning an extra 3X points on Amazon purchases is effectively dead.
UPDATE 2/1/2018: American Express has addressed the MPX/5X/3X trick and MPX purchases are now earning 1X on PRG as well as personal Platinum (and its related variants). This effectively kills United MileagePlus earning as well, as earning 5% back using the Amazon card from Chase or Synchrony would outweigh the value of earning 0.5/0.625X United and 1X MR.
There are some tricks that are used by those in the know to maximize rewards (or discounts) on certain types of spending. Combining a particular credit card with a particular shopping portal (“stacking”) can earn you a generous bounty of points. Here’s one particularly juicy method for getting 8.625X bonus points (including up to 6.25% cash back!) on your next trip to the Safeway family of grocery stores (Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randall’s, Tom Thumb, Pack ‘n Save Foods and Carr’s).
What You’ll Need
To get the full 8.625X, you’ll need to have
- Platinum Card from American Express
- United MileagePlus account
- Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card
- MPX account and mobile app
- JetBlue TrueBlue account
- Amazon.com account (Amazon Prime is not necessary).
Open up MPX app on your phone, log in to your United MileagePlus account, add your American Express Platinum Card as your payment method, and buy an Amazon.com gift card with your Platinum card.
Use the Amazon gift card code provided by the MPX app and add it to your Amazon.com Gift Card Balance (or just enter the code during the Amazon checkout process later on).
Log in to your JetBlue account and click on ‘Shop and Earn’ from the JetBlue Amazon landing page. Make sure you’re not using any ad-blockers or browser settings that might block cookies, otherwise you won’t be credited by JetBlue for your Amazon purchases.
Once you’re on Amazon.com (after having clicked the JetBlue ‘Shop and Earn’ link), buy a Safeway gift card and use your Amazon gift card balance as a funding source.
Use your Safeway gift card to buy groceries at your local Safeway grocery store.
Point Earnings Breakdown
How do you come out with 8.625X points after completing these steps? Here’s the breakdown:
- 0.5X United Miles from buying Amazon.com gift card through MPX app
- 0.125X United Miles for those with 25% MPX bonus (requires having Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card)
- 5X American Express Membership Rewards points from buying Amazon.com gift card through MPX with American Express Platinum Card
- 3X JetBlue TrueBlue points by buying Safeway gift card from Amazon using JetBlue TrueBlue Amazon link
A Cash-Back Miracle
For those of you who also have the Schwab Platinum card from American Express, you can redeem the 5X Membership Rewards points for cash at 1.25cpp for a total of 6.25% cash back on your Safeway shopping. If you only have the Schwab Platinum but do not have the regular personal Platinum card, you may be able to earn 5X on your MPX purchases, too, so a regular personal Platinum card may not even be necessary for this deal. If you have the Schwab Platinum card, please try this deal out and let us know in the comments if the purchase posts as Travel for 5X, and we’ll update this post to let others know that it works. Until we receive positive data points of Schwab getting 5X on MPX purchases, we recommend using the regular personal Platinum to get 5X on MPX, and then using Schwab Platinum to redeem for cash at 1.25cpp.
The terms and conditions of Safeway gift cards specifically bar customers from using Safeway gift cards to buy other gift cards, so use your Safeway gift cards only for buying groceries. Some enterprising individuals have successfully used Safeway gift cards to buy Amazon gift cards from Safeway stores, but we do not recommend that you do this. Not only is it against the terms and conditions, buying gift cards with Safeway gift cards may ruin this deal for everyone, so just don’t do it.
Another limitation of this method is that you will lose out on any extended warranty or return protection for anything that you buy at Safeway. Some credit cards offer these useful protections, however, since your grocery store purchases will go on your Safeway gift card and not your credit card, you won’t benefit from any credit card purchase protection.
The last caveat here is that earning 5X Memberhip Rewards points on MPX purchases is not guaranteed. The method used to work in the past, and then after some time passing, the loophole was closed. At some point in 2017, MPX purchases on Platinum cards began to earn 5X Membership Rewards points on MPX again. That’s the current state of affairs as of September 2017, but this loophole may be closed again, so you need to be prepared for that potential outcome.
What if I don’t have an American Express Platinum Card?
Don’t fret! American Express Premier Rewards Gold cardholders get 3X Membership Rewards points on MPX purchases, so you can earn up to 6.5X on groceries using the Premier Rewards Gold card instead of the Platinum card.
Those who have a Synchrony Amazon Store Card or a Chase Amazon card can use one of those cards to get 5% off purchases of Safeway gift cards (as a statement credit) at Amazon and can stack this with the JetBlue 3X points offer, but doing this would forego earning the United MPX miles as well as the 5X with American Express Platinum (or 3X with Premier Rewards Gold). For those who prefer cash back instead of Membership Rewards points, this could be a good option.
Additional Stacking Opportunities
You can always use your Safeway just4u app to increase your savings by clipping their in-app coupons, which can offer big savings. Every few weeks or so, I get a $2-off-$20+ or a $4-off-$20+ coupon in my Safeway just4u app, so it pays to look and see what coupons you’re targeted for. If you have any manufacturer’s coupons, you’ll get additional savings. The Ibotta app is another good way to stack savings on your grocery bills.