The JCP Double Dip

JC Penney gift cards are readily available through gift card resellers for 25% off (or more).  This is a nice, easy way to get an automatic 25% savings on all JCP purchases.  If you’re willing to order online, though, you can do even better.  Currently, the Chase Freedom card offers an extra 10 points per dollar for JCP purchases when you start your shopping within the Ultimate Rewards Mall (just until then end of July).  Similarly, ShopAtHome currently offers 10% cash back when you start your JCP shopping within their portal.

With some merchants, points or cashback are not awarded when you pay with gift cards.  However, I’ve recently received confirmation that both of the portals I mentioned do work with JCP purchases made with gift cards!  Through the Ultimate Rewards Mall, HikerT made 100% of his purchase using gift cards and he used a free shipping coupon code, and he received all of the expected points.  Through ShopAtHome, a reader named Steve made most of his purchase with gift cards and small percentage with a credit card.  He received the full 10% cash back.

Step by Step

If you’re in the market for JCP stuff, do the following:

  1. Estimate the total price of all items you plan to buy (including taxes)
  2. Go to to find a gift card reseller with cards who’s value add up to the amount you plan to spend.  I’ve had good luck buying from both Cardpool and PlasticJungle.  I haven’t tried any of the others.
  3. If buying from Cardpool or PlasticJungle, start at TopCashBack and click through to the appropriate reseller.  This will give you 2% to 4% in extra savings!
  4. Buy the gift cards you need to cover your purchase.  If you plan to order online, you may find it easier (and faster) to order e-gift cards.  I don’t know whether e-gift cards from JCP can be used in-store.
  5. When you are ready to make a purchase, log on to either the Ultimate Rewards Mall or ShopAtHome, then click through to JCP.
  6. Within JCP’s website, pick out what you need and then pay with your gift card(s). 

Add it up

With the gift cards, you save 25% off of the total purchase (including taxes!).  With the portals, you get back 10% of the pre-tax total.  As an example, in a state with 6% sales tax, your tax-included savings would come to 34.4% (or more if you value Ultimate Rewards points higher than 1 cent each).  You could save even more if you buy your gift cards after clicking through from TopCashBack.

If you’re in the market for clothes, furniture, housewares, etc. this can be a great way to stack discounts for big savings especially if you find items in which JCP already has a competitive price!

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months. Some exceptions that do not fall under the 5/24 rule include: British Airways, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott Business, and Ritz Carlton.
Amex 5 credit card limit: If you apply for a new Amex credit card, you may get turned down if you already have 5 or more Amex credit cards. Both personal and business cards are counted towards this limit. Charge cards, though, are not counted. You can apparently get as many charge cards as you’d like, and the number of charge cards you have does not affect your ability to get up to 5 credit cards. Authorized user cards are also not counted towards the 5 credit card limit. See also: Which Amex Cards are Charge Cards vs. Credit Cards?
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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. What is your experience with buying the gift cards that are sold on eBay listed on giftcardgranny for significant discount?

    • Jon: I’ve only bought a few gift cards on EBay. Both took a long time to be shipped (about 6 weeks), but otherwise worked out fine. One advantage is that you get 2% back in EBay bucks.

      greek2me: People have reported “no” — you can’t upgrade JCP gift cards.

  2. One more thing, if you buy the GCs with your prepaid Amex, add another 4% to that. This is a very good deal. Do you know if I can combine JCP GC?

  3. Does any one maintain a list of all the different shopping portals?

    I know chase has ultimate rewards. Most airlines have one. Citibank has it Thank You portal.

    What else? Sometime in the next few months I have my eye on some drapes from pottery barn. It looks like that was once 10X on ultimate rewards from a google search last December.

  4. FM: I have a 7% utilization when you compare my total combined credit card debt to my total combined spending limits but I have 40% utilization on a singe card. I know the goal is to keep utilization under 30%. Are they referring to a single card or all of it combined? I’m wondering if I should hold off churning until I get my untilization down for that particular credit card? You must get sick of answering the same kind of questions all day. LOL

    • Joe: that’s a good question and I honestly don’t know the answer. My guess is that you should keep the utilization low within a bank, but again that’s just my guess. I’d recommend asking Frugal Travel Guy since he used to be in the loan business. Let me know what he says!

      Steve: Thanks

      chuck: Great!

  5. FM and Dee Tee:
    During the checkout process, if you click “Yes I would like to use a giftcard” it allows you to input two different gift card numbers.
    “Enter your gift card information below. You can use up to two gift cards per order”.

  6. I was about to report the JCP success to you. Yes, I used TopCashBack to buy 30% JCP gift card and used the gift card to purchase some items thru URM along with the free shipping code. All points were posted to my Freedom card yesterday!

    • Elle: Read my post “One card to rule them all” for details. The basic idea is this: 1) get a Chase Ink card that gives 5X for office supply purchases; 2) Use Ink card to buy Vanilla Reload cards at Office Depot [you get 5X because it is an office purchase, but there is also a .8% fee on $500 cards, hence 4.2% savings]; 3) load the reload card onto an Amex Prepaid card and use the Amex to pay for things.

      • Ah. Gotcha. Very helpful. I have the Chase Ink Bold, so I need to try this out.

        Thanks for your speedy reply and amazing, helpful posts!

  7. Have a question for you – a few weeks ago I went to the Ultimate Reward Mall (I have a Sapphire card) and purchased about $500 from Kohl’s. I paid with my AmEx card since I had to spend on it. I never got the Ultimate Reward points. I called up yesterday and the Chase representative told me that in order to get the extra points (10 per $) I needed to use my Sapphire card. So it seems like I am out of luck. How can you then use your JCP gift card to pay and get points from the Ultimate Mall?


    • Jane: Usually you’ll get points whether you use a Sapphire card or not to pay. Every now and then, though, there is a blip in which UR mall purchases aren’t recorded properly (regardless of whether you use your Sapphire card). When that happens, it can be difficult to get your points. Call Chase again and ask for your points again. If that doesn’t work, call again. Eventually you’ll get a nice rep who will award you the points.

  8. When you say can earn points when paying by gift cards, are these gift cards physical ones or electronic? or both?

  9. Tim: There’s a big difference here. With JCP, you are simply getting points for things that you actually buy. The guys who went to jail were getting cash back without actually buying anything.

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