Tag Archives: amazon

Marriott Rewards MORE

Update: November 2, 2017

I guess 3.5 pts / $ at Amazon.com was too good to be true. Last I checked, Amazon is no longer listed as a retailer.

Edited November 1, 2017 to correct actual earning rates in the conclusion.

Marriott’s brand new shopping portal, Marriott Rewards MORE, isn’t ready for prime time, but might be worth the hassle for Amazon.com purchases.

Once you sign in to your Marriott account, the MORE portal shows how many points / $ you can earn. This value appears to take into account all bonuses you are eligible for. The only retailer that stood out to me was Amazon.com. Being a Platinum member and having the Marriott Rewards Premier credit card provides a 50% and 25% bonus respectively. I think it’s better to use a different shopping portal for the other retailers, but this is the only shopping portal where I’ve seen a reasonable value for Amazon purchases.

To take advantage of this, you need to install a browser extension or install the MORE app.

The browser extension adds a big ugly banner to eligible pages.

Extension error in Safari.

First I tried through a browser. As far as I can tell, the HTTPS Everywhere extension in Chrome conflicted with the MORE extension and I didn’t receive points. I tried installing the extension in Safari and Firefox, but it gave errors when trying to load in both browsers and no other extensions.

You start you checkout process like normal, but when you get to the Checkout page, you need to click "Pay now" to select Marriott points before clicking "Place your order".

The checkout page when I didn’t receive points.

I finally downloaded the app (which is not available natively for an iPad). Here I was able to complete my transaction with minimal issues.

For the $56.98 charged, I received 114 base points (2x pts / $), 57 Platinum points (50% bonus = 1x pts / $), and 29 credit card points (25% bonus = .5 points / $) in addition to the 5% back from using my Amazon Store Card. This results in earning 3.5 pts / $. I figure points are work approximately $0.01 each which results in 8.5% back at Amazon.

I figure it’s worth the effort to add items to my shopping cart until I am ready to make the actual purchase through the MORE app.

Revisited: Eliminating Mixed Content warnings with Amazon Associates

Links & Banners

I verified that adding internal=1 parameter and removing http: from an iframe banner URL will cause it to load securely. I also verified that the clicks are counted (show up in the link Earnings and Link-Type reports.
Important: This does not work for all banner ads. While reviewing the banner ads, this trick will work on any ad that displays without mixed content warnings on the amazon page.

<iframe src="http://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=tidgubi-20&o=1&p=12&l=ur1&category=mp3&f=ifr&linkID=4ZPJJS7R4IXD5OGO&internal=1" width="300" height="250" scrolling="no" border="0" marginwidth="0" style="border:none;" frameborder="0"></iframe>

I have not been able to figure out a way to make the javascript based Banners load all parts securely.

Secure Widgets


Contextual Recommendations


This widget can be secured with some work.

Amazon doesn’t sanitize the amazon_ad_tag parameter, so the &internal=1 trick works for this widget.
Remove "http:" from the script src attribute and update the widget script with:

<script type="text/javascript"><!--
amazon_ad_tag = "tidgubi-20&internal=1"; amazon_ad_width = "728"; amazon_ad_height = "90";//--></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/s/ads.js"></script>

Partially Secure Widgets

These widgets will load securely; however, they load insecure content if the user hovers over a product and causes a popup to load.

Insecure Widgets

Some quick testing showed the non-mobile friendly widgets use flash. While the flash code is loaded securely, it loads insecure content when executed. Using any of these results in mixed content warnings.

Amazon Echo Alarm

I used the alarm on my Amazon Echo this morning. For me it is a pleasant sound but different enough to wake me. The dangerous thing is it’s so easy to say, "Alexa, off."

I’m going to stick to my phone alarm where I can easily set multiple alarms and visually confirm the number and time that are set. I’ll use the Echo alarm feature more as a timer, to help remind me to check on things like the laundry.

Amazon Echo First Experience

I’ve only been playing with my Amazon Echo for a few hours, but so far, I’m very happy with "Alexa".

Echo has a very sold feel. It weighs almost 2.5 lbs and does not have the feeling of cheap plastic.

Setup was very easy, although it felt strange. From iOS or a computer, it involves:

  1. browsing to echo.amazon.com
  2. connecting your computer/phone/tablet to the WiFi network created by the Echo
  3. using the echo.amazon.com webpage to setup the Echo

So far Echo seems like it will be great for listening to music, getting the weather, and getting answers to basic questions.

Playing music with Echo is my favorite feature as well as my primary complaint. Being able to say, "Alexa, play country music," is a great convenience. Being able to use voice controls to change volume and change songs is very convenient as well. The speaker sounds pretty good and produces room filling sound. My main complaint is that Echo pauses audio when processing commands. Just telling Echo, "Alexa, volume down," results in the music pausing for about two seconds. A minor complain is that Echo tells you when it is playing Prime Music.

Echo is also good at telling you what the weather is like.

Echo is not very good at answering questions… Echo answered, "Do dogs dream?" with, "Yes, at least some dogs dream." This is a huge difference compared to Google now which answers the same question with the entire first paragraph from Psychology Today.

The Far-Field microphones work as advertized. I can generally speak in a normal voice while music is playing, and Echo will hear my command.

On a side note, my wife, who does not get excited by technology; is excited playing with Echo and playing different music.

Tomorrow, I’ll post how the alarm works.

Selective Amazon Product Preview Popups

As an Amazon Associate, I appreciate being able to easily incorporate popups; however, the Product Preview javascript, turns every single Amazon link into a popup. There is a very simple way to for some links to have popups while disabling popups on others.

The standard link to

<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003L1ZYYM/?tag=tidgubi-20">AmazonBasics HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters)</a>

renders as follows: AmazonBasics HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters) (hover to see the popup)

It appears that the Amazon code parses links for "http://www.amazon.com", so updating the link with "https" to

<a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003L1ZYYM/?tag=tidgubi-20">AmazonBasics HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters)</a>

renders without a popup as follows: AmazonBasics HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters)
The link works fine, because Amazon automatically redirects from https to http.