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How strong is your Apple addiction?
I’ve never purchased an Apple product of any kind. I am a determined 2-button mouse Windows and Android guy.
When I got a new phone last year I looked a few high end Android phones and decided to return to Samsung with the Galaxy S8. The last time I had a Samsung was the Galaxy S2. The Samsung crapware on that phone was too much to take so I went to the pure Android install on Motorola. I like the Galaxy S8 so much that I forget there is a dedicated button for a service no one wants: Bixby.
Points factored in to my pick over alternates like the Google Pixel. Samsung has Samsung Pay. With Samsung Pay that past year, I’ve earned a fair chunk of points that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Is it worth switching your primary phone to Samsung or getting a secondary phone just to earn points?
First, the Tech
Most mobile payments programs use Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology. Acceptance of NFC is increasing in the US though not quite at the level of the alternate: Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST). MST works most anywhere a card swipe is accepted as it mimics a card swipe.
To maximize effectiveness, you want a Samsung device that has MST in addition to NFC. This is complicated by country variants of some devices have MST while others do not. For example, the US version of the Samsung Gear G3 watch has MST while other watch versions do not. The Wikipedia entry on Samsung Pay is a good starting point.
Now let’s look at three points earning use cases.
1. Mobile Payments Category Bonuses
A first use cases is cards like the US Bank Altitude card that award bonus points for mobile payments.
For many merchants, any of the major payments platforms may work via NFC. Samsung Pay may not be necessary at your merchants, though via MST it may be easier.
2. Chase Pay with Samsung Pay
Chase Pay is a mobile payments platform that uses QR codes that are only accepted by a few merchants. Often, cashiers often do not know the special steps needed to accept Chase Pay.
Realizing their platform is failing, over the summer Chase Pay linked up with Samsung Pay. You can launch Samsung Pay from Chase Pay and earn bonus points such as Q4 2018 Chase Freedom 5x.
Between my wife and I we have 5 Chase Freedoms. This quarter we could have used up perhaps one of the $1,500s on warehouse clubs. The other cards would have been idle if not for Chase Pay with Samsung Pay. We’ll call that 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points we otherwise would not have earned.
Chase Freedom does not publish their categories much in advance so we don’t know if Chase Pay will return in 2019. There is still time for 2018, though.
Some tips on juggling this:
- Authorized user cards in Samsung Pay do not appear in Chase Pay, you can’t launch them from Chase Pay.
- It doesn’t work to have one person sign in on Chase Pay and the other on Samsung Pay, even with authorized users. Both accounts must be to the same primary cardholder.
- There isn’t a typical sign-in, sign-out for Samsung Pay. You need to delete the Samsung profile from the phone and add a new phone (this deletes things like backups and Samsung apps). This does not affect the rest of the phone which is tied to the Google account.
3. Samsung Pay Deals and Samsung Rewards
Samsung Rewards isn’t what it once was, though there are still great Samsung Pay deals that pop up. Last week there was, “Samsung Pay: 30% Cash Back at Bestbuy.com (max $100 CB/trx) + 30% at Walmart on Toys + 30% at Groupon.”
This the domain of resellers and avid deal hunters. I’ve almost entirely given these a miss.
Time to Get a Samsung?
If you are a reseller or deal maniac, a Samsung tool to add to your points earning options.
If you are a casual points collector, then how many cards like Chase Freedom or US Bank Altitude you have, and the convenience of MST, may make it worthwhile.