As Good As Expected – I Earned 11K Points/Miles + $46 in Rewards for no out of pocket cost using Ninja Tricks!

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fulfillment by amazon challenge reimbursement
I love me some ninja tricks! Photo by Baker County Tourism.

Challenging Amazon’s Reimbursement & Earning Thousands of Miles/Points with No Out of Pocket Cost

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Amazon lost three iPads that I had sent to them to be sold. One of the things that many people don’t know is that you actually agree to Amazon’s reimbursement policy when shipping items to them. Here is how the policy is worded:

We consider several factors when determining an item’s value, including your sales history and the average FBA selling price on Amazon.

Originally Amazon reimbursed me $492.50 per iPad. That was about $25 less than I expected, but I originally hesitated to complain. Then Oren’s post about his reimbursement success motivated me to contact Amazon to challenge. To do that I simply logged into Amazon Seller Central and sent them a message stating that I wanted to challenge the amount. They quickly responded asking me for the invoice for the iPads and I sent it over almost immediately.

fulfillment by amazon challenge reimbursement

Two of the iPads had been purchased from Staples for a cost of $506.55 including tax. The other iPad was purchased from Best Buy. While the actual Best Buy price was slightly higher, I had used Rewards to pay for a portion of it and thus the invoice showed a much lower price. Ultimately I only submitted the Staples invoice. A few days later they responded with the good news that they would be giving me an additional $42.15 total. That works out to a reimbursement of $506.55 per iPad. The same as the Staples invoice cost!

Following Up My Ninja Tricks Post

When I originally purchased the two iPads from Staples, I had written about how I was able to get them to price match Best Buy’s “Black Friday in July” sale. Now that my reimbursement is settled, I thought I would follow up on the assertions made in that post. Was this deal as good as I thought it was going to be? (Note: My previous post only talked about the 2 Staples iPads, so I will only deal with those here. I made additional rewards from the Best Buy iPad as well.)

Breaking Down the Rewards

To start, we know I broke even on the iPads. I paid Staples $506.55 including tax for the units and Amazon reimbursed me that amount. This means that any rewards earned come without an out of pocket cost. First off, here are the basic rewards earned:

fulfillment by amazon challenge reimbursement

  • 5X Ultimate Rewards with Chase Ink: 5,066 total ($1013.10 x 2)
  • 5% Staples Rewards: $46.86 (5% of $937.18)

Of course it wouldn’t be a ninja trick without taking advantage of a portal. On the day of this sale, United’s portal was paying 4X at Staples plus they were running a promo where $600 or more in purchases netted an additional 1,750 miles. There was one issue. The terms on the portal said price matches don’t count, so I wasn’t sure if the miles would post.

Thankfully I have good news to report. Very good actually. Instead of calculating my 4X on the pricematched price, the portal gave me 4X on the $539 price before the match. This means I earned a total of 4,312 miles for the purchase plus 1,750 bonus miles. (The 4,312 have posted, while the bonus will take a little longer.)

fulfillment by amazon challenge reimbursement
Plus I should earn another 1,750 MileagePlus miles for these purchases!

Final Rewards Recap

In the end, for no cost at all other than about 15 minutes placing orders and 30 minutes packing and shipping the iPads to Amazon (and maybe 10-15 minutes worth of time emailing them back and forth) I earned:

  • 5,066 Ultimate Rewards points
  • $46.86 in Staples Rewards
  • 6,062 United miles (4,312 have posted with 1,750 yet to post)

The value of this is subjective, however in my original post I valued Ultimate Rewards at 1.7 cents, United miles at 1.5 cents and Staples Rewards at face value. If we stick with that value, this is all worth $86.12 UR + $90.93 United + $46.86 SR = $223.91. (And it’s fun!)

Conclusion

My initial assertion in the post from a few weeks ago was that I would break even on the iPads or make a small profit. I also asserted that I would earn thousands of miles/points and money in rewards without any out of pocket cost. That hypothesis has been proven true. With the exception of the bonus 1,750 points which are taking longer to post, all other rewards are sitting in my accounts. Not bad at all…for a ninja!


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5 COMMENTS

  1. Nice job, Ninja Shawn. I had similar success, taking advantage of the nearly-identical bonus miles deals that American and SWA were also running at the same time. None of the bonus miles have posted yet, but I received confirmation emails from all 3 portals regarding the bonus points. (BTW, those are some pretty scary ninjas you found for the photo.)

  2. I have found telephoning Amazon (866) 216-1072 with any and every issue, no matter how small, has ALWAYS proved successful in a very brief period of time and generally they have been willing to compensate me over and above my expenditure. Just like you mentioned in a previous post, a polite and thoughtful demeanor always goes a long way, as well as, a very positive comment when asked to review the telephone experience. Thank you again for all the help that you provide us.

  3. No offense, but I would not go thru what you have described for $500 upfront! I think you and others are a little obsessive! Just IMHO!

    • No offense taken. What do you mean exactly though? You wouldn’t float the money? I may be obsessive, but I’ll take this outcome any day. I definitely realize that everyone’s threshold is different though.

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