A few days ago I published a complicated scheme that I thought could get you to Hawaii round trip for $182.24. Then, the next day, I posted a caution saying that some of my prior assumptions seemed to be wrong. I said that I would check the facts and let you know. So, here is the final word on those assumptions:
The Hawaii trick relied on a couple of faulty assumptions about the American Express Membership Rewards shopping portal. Many emails, reader comments, and FlyerTalk posts have led me to understand the following:
- Amex Platinum and Centurion card holders are given an extra point in the shopping portal above what others see. So Sears 4X only applies to those cardholders. Everyone else sees Sears at 3X.
- Unlike almost every other shopping portal in the world, the rates shown by Amex are inclusive of your standard credit card points. So, 4X means you will get 1 regular point from your credit card spend and 3 bonus points.
- I don’t yet have an answer to whether buying Sears gift cards through this portal will result in extra points. Apparently, it can take quite a while for this information to show up on your statement and it is not as readily available as it is on other portals.
With the above information we can officially call the Hawaii scheme a failure. C’est la vie.