Visa->Amex Free Mileage Accrual via Costco

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by SFOPeter, May 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. SFOPeter
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    SFOPeter Silver Member

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    (1) Go to Cost_co.com and use your Visa to buy something expensive like a computer that offers free shipping.

    (2) Return it unopened at a Cost_co store. Since they don't accept Visa in stores, they will offer to give you cash or credit an Amex.

    (3) Choose to have them credit your Amex, then get a credit balance check from Amex and pay off your Visa [OR JUST GET CASH BACK - thx paramount for comment]

    (4) Miles for nothing!

    :)

    [on request via dm edited so that cost_co doesn't show up in search engines, requesting same for the title]
     
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  2. FlashBack
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    FlashBack Silver Member

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    Why does highly unethical come to mind? A thought MP was going to be a different type of forum!
     
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  3. Halothane
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    Halothane Silver Member

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    Why bother to have it credited to your Amex? Would you not have points deducted from MR, SPG, DL, etc for having the credit applied?
     
  4. Why not just get cash?
     
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  5. gogogo888
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    gogogo888 Silver Member

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    What did the loss prevention manager said?
    Did you tell him that you are doing this for miles?
     
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  6. SuperW2
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    SuperW2 Silver Member

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    I've been charged Sales Tax every time I've ordered anything on Costco.Com... deal killer for me!
     
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  7. Halothane
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    Halothane Silver Member

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    Most definitely a deal killer......
     
  8. UCC

    UCC Silver Member

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    Are you saying the tax wasn't going to be refunded?
     
  9. SFOPeter
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    SFOPeter Silver Member

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    This wasn't some big scheme - I found out by accident yesterday by returning a computer since they had a better deal a week later so I ordered the new computer and returned the first one unopened. They wouldn't refund to my Chase BA card, and instead refunded to an Amex I had with zero balance. So it didn't impact my Amex MR points, and the refund of course included the sales tax. The computer was a free shipping deal so weight didn't factor.

    Paramount's comment about just getting cash makes a lot more sense! lol. I just had it in my head that I would get a credit back on my card and gave them an Amex!

    I don't think this is unethical at all. It is their problem that they don't refund you with the card you paid on, and as a previous poster mentioned they encourage you to return mailorder items to their stores. I don't plan on doing this regularly but for those who are are doing the same thing with the Mint etc. I thought it was a useful tip.

    Peace out.

    Peter
     
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  10. SuperW2
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    SuperW2 Silver Member

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    Guess I wasn't thinking about that...I guess thats why I suck at these "schemes". :cool:
     
  11. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    I posted this idea like a year ago on fw/ft.

    Try doing it more than a couple times and you'll see how unfruitfull it is.
     
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  12. Surface Interval
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    Surface Interval Silver Member

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    Their terms state that you get tax back as well.
     
  13. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    And why would MP be all that different when membership is the same? :D
     
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  14. P.S.

    P.S. Silver Member

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  15. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    What is your basis for this statement? I suspect if you have an mr account with Amex, they will reduce your mr point by this refund.

    I had a negative balance on my Amex DL card and they reduced my skymiles balance that month. (this was a few years ago, but I can't imagine their approach has changed, or would apply differently to mr versus co-branded cards.)
     
  16. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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  17. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Without expressing an opinion as to what the answer is, wouldn't the answer be the same as mint coin ordering (for those that plan to deposit the coins)? If you return your web purchase in new, unopened, resellable condition, how is this any different than buying mint coins and then depositing them?

    In both cases, you're costing the vendor the cc processing fee and freight costs...and not complying with their intended purposes.
     
  18. jwsky
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    jwsky Silver Member

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    I had this happen to me at Costco, too. It was a few hundred points. I just looked at it as a small bonus. It makes up for the times when I seem to miss getting miles for something.

    But, doing this on purpose would be more than unethical, but fraud. I have never done the Mint thing, but do not believe it to be illegal.

    As far as posting things on the forum..... I guess it is free speech. The nature of the responses shows how people in our group feel about the topic.
     
  19. Bluto
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    Bluto Silver Member

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    If this were a small store owned by your neighbor, instead of Costco, would you still do this knowing that it was costing him money (because of the credit card merchant fees)?

    Costco is run by frugal executives who operate it almost like a cooperative. The products are given a minimal markup over cost and the savings are passed along to its members. It's kind of a shame to be an expensive parasite on an organization that does so much good by saving millions of members money.
     
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  20. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    I've got to say, people have been doing this for years and years, and I'm still amazed that Costco hasn't put a stop to it.

    Once upon a time, you didn't even need to have bought the item on your Costco account to get a full refund. They put a stop to that.

    Once upon a time, all items were returnable forever. They put a stop to that.

    I have a feeling this one is next, especially if the abuse explodes. I doubt MP could single-handedly pull that off, but it's been making the forum rounds recently.
     
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  21. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    OP, thank you for taking the time to post this ...

    I thought we left the self-appointed "morality" police back at FT ... ;)

    Your profile states that you are a UAL 1K member ... what happened to your AA lifetime Platinum? :)
     
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  22. FlashBack
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    FlashBack Silver Member

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    I thought we left the “sell your mother for a mile” attitude back at FT also.
     
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  23. NYBanker
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    The mint purchase brings with it what is best described as a "deemed representation" about it not being your intent to deposit the coins.

    The mint bears the risk of free shipping and cc fees to achieve their goal. Cost-co bears these same risks with the expectation of dealing with a bona fide customer. These situations are highly analogous.

    While some people call taking advantage of programs like the mint or this Cost-co lapse unethical, we should also look to a longstanding principle widely accepted in England. This principle is called "invitation to treat." What this means, in a nutshell, is if a company sets itself up to be taken advantage of, then it is perfectly defensible (defencible there) for people to abuse them. Big companies set the rules that most things in our lives go by (cell phone contacts, car leases, etc), and British law allows them to be fully taken advantage of when they let situations slip through the cracks.

    I'd say this isn't much (if any) worse than signing up for a credit card to get the 75k mile bonus...with the full intent to cancel a few months later. The card issuer isn't buying 75k miles for a 4 month account. We all know this...and while these short term card members are a "parasite" on the banking system (maybe they would offer 150k sign up bonuses if they knew people would stick longer?)...the ethics card is rarely (ever?) played in those threads.

    * * * *​

    In practice, I think more than a few large returns for cash at a local cost-co will at a minimum get you a speaking to with the store manager. Not inconceivable to see them cancel and refund your membership (though I don't think you need to be a member to make an online purchase). Plus the hassle of queuing up to make a return at most cost-cos should be considered before undertaking this approach.
     
  24. norge
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    norge Silver Member

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    It's acts like this that drive up the merchants costs & then they raise prices. :oops:
     
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  25. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Looking at that price of some of the jewelry items on Costco.com, seems like it wouldn't be too hard to take advantage of them. They have a ring for $82,999.99.

    Make a couple jewelry purchases throughout the year, take them back to the store, and this could be more lucrative than dollar coins. Would I do it, though? No.
     
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