American Express used to have a 'shopping mall' that allowed you to earn extra points when going through their shopping portal. Ultimate Rewards modeled it's portal to look much like AMEX's when it launched. It was VERY interesting for certain merchants like Apple which delivered up to 4x for purchases with an eligible participating card.
Back in August 2012 AMEX suddenly shut down the site without notice or explanation. It just defaulted to an error page. Several AMEX reps confirmed that the shopping mall should be back by January 2013 but it hasn't happened yet.
But the friendly folks at Flyertalk have made some interesting discoveries – you will now earn bonus points from some merchants even without clicking through the shopping mall.
– Amazon.com 3x
– Kate Spade 3x
– Paypal 3x
– Bestbuy.com 3x
The way to leverage this is to go through another cash back portal (Ultimate Rewards, TopCashback etc.) and use your AMEX Personal Rewards Card. This way you can double dip. So far no other cards have been reported to work.
Reading through the posts on FT and it becomes clear that not all purchases receive the bonus points.
I bought a new MacBook Pro last month and did not get any extra points. Here's the reply I got:
I would like to inform you that membershiprewards.com/earn is currently unavailable. Therefore, you cannot earn 4X or 5X MR points for Apple purchases
We have recently identified unforeseen system issues within the Earn page at membershiprewards.com. While we make updates to fix these issues, we have to interrupt the program.
Here's an interesting interaction another Flyertalker had though:
I sent a secure message to Amex Rewards and got this reply:
I am really sorry that the Bonus Points Mall web site is still not working and you are loosing on bonus points.
However, please do not worry, I would request you to make the charge directly at merchants physical store or online store (Apple, Tiger Direct, Home depot etc) and once the charge is posted to your account, write back to us with the charge details and we will issue the bonus points manually.
Before you make a purchase, send AMEX a Secure Message and test the waters. Even if the reply is negative, send some purchases towards AMEX with Amazon and Paypal and see if they post a 3x.