When 18X beats 21X. Same store, same portal.

Note: Most of the following post was written yesterday morning.  Since then, I learned about some additional related issues, so I added information about that to the end of this post.  It’s like getting two posts for the price of one! 

One of my favorite quadruple dips involves both the Ultimate Rewards Mall and Kohl’s and makes use of intermittently available Kohl’s 30% off discount codes and Kohl’s Cash offers.  I reported the latest such offer via my QuickDeals page: “Kohl’s charge card holders get 30% off everything plus Kohl’s cash.”

The quadruple dip goes like this:

  1. Go through Ultimate Rewards Mall to Kohl’s to buy physical gift cards.  Earn 10 points per dollar (10X) from the mall and 1X from your credit card.
  2. Go through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Kohl’s to use gift cards.  Earn 10X.
  3. Apply 30% off coupon (if you are a Kohl’s charge card holder) or 20% off coupon otherwise.
  4. For every $50 worth of purchases (after discounts are applied), you’ll earn $10 Kohl’s Cash to be used for future purchases.

Through the above process, I have many times earned 21 points per dollar (1 point from my credit card, 10X for buying the gift cards, and 10X for using the gift cards).  On top of that, I’ve saved 30% and earned up to 20% in the form of Kohl’s Cash (which I value at about 10% due to Kohl’s Cash limitations).

Full details about this quadruple dip can be found here: “Extreme Savings at Kohl’s.”  If you’re interested in the quadruple dip, please read that post.

Chase Freedom

This quarter, Kohl’s is one of the Chase Freedom 5X categories.  So, if you haven’t already maxed out your bonus ($1500 5X spend), you can actually earn up to 25 points per dollar by following the above steps and paying for the gift cards with your Freedom card.

Flaky recent results

Since August, shopping at Kohl’s through the Ultimate Rewards Mall has been problematic.  For a while, almost all purchases were underreported by Kohl’s to the Ultimate Rewards Mall.  For example, a person might spend $300, but only $100 was reported for the sale.  Chase will always award mall bonus points based on the sale amount reported to them by the merchant.  So, in this example, the shopper would earn 1000 points (10 x $100) rather than the expected 3000 points.

More recently, most of the portal problems seem to have been resolved, except for one big issue: purchases of gift cards are still being frequently underreported.  As far as I can tell, it seems as if $100 purchases are fine, but larger purchases are underreported.  It may only be an issue when you buy multiple of the same gift card.  I don’t know for sure.  All I can say with confidence right now is that you cannot be sure of earning 10X from physical gift card purchases (and you will never earn points for e-gift card purchases, in my experience).

The faster and safer Ink option

There are two big problems with the quadruple dip I described above.  One issue is the flaky results of recent transactions (see above).  Another issue is that gift cards by mail can take quite a while to be delivered (expect at least a week, if not more).  And e-gift card purchases are known not to work.  Waiting to receive a gift card in the mail might not be a viable option if you’re in a hurry to buy something, or if you’re trying to buy during a soon to expire sale.

A faster and safer option is to buy Kohl’s gift cards at Staples and pay with a Chase Ink card.  Go through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Staples.com, buy a Kohl’s e-gift card, and pay with your Chase Ink card.  By going through the Ultimate Rewards Mall you’ll (currently) earn 3 points per dollar, and by paying with your Chase Ink card you’ll earn 5 points per dollar (since this will be classified as an office supply purchase).  In my experience, you’ll receive the Kohl’s gift card sometime the next day.  In total, you’ll earn 8X for the purchase of these gift cards.

image

If you’re really in a hurry, you can go in person to an office supply store and buy Kohl’s gift cards with your Chase Ink card to get 5X for the purchase.

Once you have the Kohl’s gift card(s), follow steps 2-4, above to complete your savings and point earnings.  With this faster and safer option, you’ll earn a total of 18X points (or 15X points if you buy the gift cards in-person) and the same 30% savings and up to 20% Kohl’s cash.

Summary

It is possible to earn 21X to 25X for Kohl’s purchases, but the approach takes time and may not work as expected.  If you have the Freedom card and haven’t maxed out its quarterly bonus, this is still probably the best way to go (for the chance of earning 25X).  Even if you’re in a hurry, you could use your Freedom card at Kohls.com to buy e-gift cards (or in person at Kohl’s to buy gift cards) and get a total of 15X.

If you don’t have the Freedom card or have already maxed out its quarterly bonus, your best bet (for speed and reliability) is to use a Chase Ink card as described above, and earn 15X to 18X on your purchases. 

Recent problems using gift cards

Now that I’ve described a solution to the problem of getting points for Kohl’s gift card purchases, another problem has surfaced: people have experienced problems when trying to use gift cards with the 30% off codes.  Some people have reported being unable to complete the order online and others have reported that their orders have been cancelled before delivery.  One reader was told that you must put at least some of your order on the Kohl’s charge card for it to work, but even that didn’t seem to fix things.  Personally, I’ve had mixed results.  Yesterday, one order seemed to go through without any trouble, but of course it could still get cancelled before shipment.  A second order wouldn’t go through at all.  The screen showed an incomprehensible error message.

I’m hoping that Kohls is experiencing temporary technical issues, but more likely this is a continuation or evolution of the flaky results we first saw in August.  Either way, I hope Kohl’s fixes their systems soon!

Have you experienced problems placing Kohl’s orders?  If so, what discount codes did you use?  Also, did you pay with gift cards?  Please comment below.

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.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Comments

    • MrWho: I’ve done both. At times I’ve been able to find items that re-sell at about the same price as Kohl’s listed price, then with the 30% discount I’ve made a nice profit in addition to earning around 21X points. More recently, though, I simply use this to buy stuff we can use: clothing, shoes, small kitchen appliances, sheets, etc.

  1. When using gift cards, kohls has reported my transaction amounts to be half (e.g. Buy $412 worth products, UR gets reported as $206 for 2060 points. This happened numerous times in August. Is this what you’re referring to has being fixed?

    I’ve had 5 orders cancelled since spring. I think this is because I was ordering more than the household limit for a product within a few hours of each other. Kohls policy says that the gift cards will be restored within 24 hours, but this is not the case at all. If your order is cancelled when using GCs, call Kohls.com CS. An agent is able to credit each of your gift cards (that you saved of course!) back to what it should be. It is a little work for them and takes time. DO NOT let a CS agent say they will put a request in for you. Also do not email Kohls to reinstate the GC. By doing so, a CS agent can’t credit your cards nor can they remove the notated cancelled orders. At this point you are stuck to wait about 6 weeks until you receive your new kohls GCs. They may give you a timeline of 10-14 business days. That is no way near accurate. I hope this helps someone!

  2. Last month I was able to get the following, I have not tried anything in September.

    -Used Chase Freedom to buy $100 in physical gift cards through the mall. The result was 1,000 UR points, plus 500 UR points for using the Freedom.

    -Used gift cards and charge card to buy about $120 worth of goods. They gave me 1020 points for using the Ultimate Reward.

    Best of luck to everyone.

  3. I had a large purchase that I made through the UR mall at Kohl’s with my Chase Freedom and Chase stated I did not properly complete my transaction through the rewards mall and couldn’t credit me the extra 10x points per dollar. After much hassle and stress dealing with Chase’s marketing department they credited me for my purchase minus the Taxes (any ever see that before?). Now coming in the 4th quarter I am looking to make another purchase at Kohl’s but don’t know if I will have the same problems with the ultimate rewards mall. Anyone else experience similar problems?

  4. Great deal and good post but….
    If you buy anything that isn’t on sale at Kohls they are the highest place in town. Their motto should be: you could buy better but you couldn’t pay more
    JCP is starting to give them a run for the money though (pardon the pun).

    • DaninSTL: It’s true that most things are way overpriced, but with a 30% discount many things are either competitively priced or far cheaper than anywhere else.
      .
      Robert: You can use non-Chase cards for payment through the UR mall and you will usually get points without problem. The issue is that if you do have problems, Chase won’t help you.

      • Quick update: my successful purchase from last night has progressed to the point of them sending me Kohl’s Cash. That’s a good indication that my order won’t be cancelled. We’ll see if I earn the full 10X from the order. I expect to, but there’s no question that Kohl’s systems have been flaky lately!

  5. Several months ago I purchased $1k in physical gcs (all the same variety) through the UR mall. Went back through the UR mall a few times and spent the 1k in gcs. Got 0 points total. Chase fought with me and said I didn’t use my chase card and they wouldn’t award points.

    I placed an order through the ShopDiscover portal and everything posted fine.

    Last month I ordered $1500 in physical gcs with Freedom through SD portal. Hasn’t posted to SD yet.

    I’m at a loss. I don’t know if I should try to buy items through SD or UR or something else. It’s a bit harder to buy/sell for points when I’m not being awarded any points!

    • Jordan L: There are a lot of possible reasons for your experience. One could be an issue with your computer/browser or the particular way you go through the portal to Kohl’s. See “How to ensure your portal points.“. Of course, if you reliably get points from other merchants through the UR mall, then the issue is probably with Kohl’s. You may have been very unlucky with buying from Kohls during this period where their systems seem to be all messed up.

  6. Oh bad news scares me.. canceling orders … I processed 2 order yesterday, 1 this morning, all of them are in submitted status, each of my orders totals up to $402.19, I always do little over $400, so I can use 4 GC and little balance goes to the kohls card, that’s the only way i was able to get the 30%. And also below is my GC purchase UR points, I try to keep my order under 600, that way the UR is reported in 3 days. On Aug 31st I did 4 transaction of $500 each to purchase GC, on each case the UR awarded was 1500.

  7. @jordan Flush your cookie settings in your explorer. Never use InPrivate browsing in IE, or Incognito in Chrome, ur point will never post. Purchase amt of less then $600 post with in 3-5 days over $100 takes up to 8 weeks, in my case it took 30 days

  8. I calculated my losses from kohls not crediting me for gift cards and orders to a loss of about $400 for the month of august. They have been extremely flaky, I have toned down the purchases since then, wanting to avoid a repeat of the disaster that was August.

  9. i got 2, 300$ product return in one week, almost all my gains were washed away. now struggling to sell them on ebay.. you gotta have lot of luck i guess…

  10. Trying to understand some of the example some of you gave, if your purchase is under $500 you get the 10x UR Mall points in 3 days otherwise it can take over a month? I had this problem with a purchase I made and they did credit me but it seemed like a one time thing basically blaming me that I did not make the purchase correctly through the UR Mall (which I know I did do it CORRECTLY). I have another large purchase to make in the 4th quarter and it is 15x again for Kohls with Freedom I just don’t know it I want to take my chances with a large purchase not getting credited properly.

  11. The problem with this is that you can not count on Chase/Kohls giving you full UR points unless 100% of the purchase is made using your Chase card. Not the discourage anybody from trying, but that has been my experience. I’ll get 8x credit for purchasing the the e-gift card from Staples; but 0 points if I use the gift cards through the UR portal. Especially if you use your Kohl’s card to get the 30% discounts. I’ve had zero luck getting UR points when I’ve used my Kohl’s card.

  12. Just logged into kohls and saw one of my orders no longer had the 30% applied to it, I was being charged full amount, even though confirmation emails shows the discount applied.. sigh..

    wish they fix all their issues.

  13. When I tried yesterday and today to make purchases using the 30% code and all gift cards I get a strange error on the top of the page something like “Order XXXXXXXX Payment Group not calculated correctly.” Then I get an email confirming my order but the order total, tax, discount numbers are blank. Then I get an email a few min later saying that my order was cancelled. This has happened every single time.
    .
    Also, if you use a combination of gift cards and Kohls Charge but then in the confirmation email it shows $0.00 charged to Kohls Charge, it will definitely get cancelled.. just a helpful tidbit from a CS rep.
    .
    I think I’m done with Kohls for a while.

  14. OK, help me to understand.

    I buy 5 $100 GC’s with my freedom thru the ur mall. I get 7500 UR (5x freedom, 10x ur mall)

    Once I receive the cards, I go back to the UR mall, and purchase and get another 10X. I get all that. How many gc can I use at a time, and do I also have to use a kohls charge at checkout to get the 30% in addition to using my gift cards? How many different payment types can I apply?

  15. I took the other approach and ordered Kohl GC from Staples – except, I was charged taxes on my GC purchase! Never seen those before. Called Staples and they reversed the taxes, but it was wierd. Anyone else seen these?

  16. Chris: That’s the same error I got with my second order.
    .
    John: you can use up to 4 gift cards at once. I’ve never had to put any of the amount on my (actually, my wife’s) Kohl’s charge card, but maybe they’re trying to enforce that now. You can pick just one credit card and up to 4 gift cards.

  17. I was in store earlier this week, attempting to make a puirchase using gift cards, with a portion of my order payment going onto the Kohls charge to get the additional discount. Cashier informed me I can no longer use the 15, 20, or 30% discount associated with using my Kohls charge if I paid any portion of the order with a gift card. It seems that they are implementing some new rules.

  18. Someone should get fired at Kohls for the horrendous technical issues they’ve had over the past few weeks. It must have cost them tens of millions of dollars. I just stopped shopping there since it was utterly painful to place an order with them. I’m actually very surprised they didn’t address the issues in their Twitter feed or anything else; it was a very well known issue!

    Did your orders end up going through?

  19. For one of your quick options if you have the chase freedom you mentioned buying the e-card from Kohls then shopping with it going through the portal to get a total of 15x. Does that mean we can get the 5x category spend on egift cards and just not the portal bonus?

  20. If I went to Chase portal and then Staples to buy Kohls GC, should I choose physical GC instead of electric GC to get the UR point?

  21. I have a 1,000 purchase I want to make a Kohls. What would be the safest method to earn the most points? Since staples sells only a 100 gift card, and from what I understand I can only use 4 gift cards at check out, that would only get me to 400. Should I just put the remaining 600 on a credit card?
    If I was guaranteed I would get 10,000 points from UR mall portal I would be even ok with that, but if there’s a safe way to earn more I don’t want to miss out since I have such a big purchase.

    • You’re right that you can only use 4 gift cards at check out. It’s technically possible to get merchandise credit larger than $100 by returning stuff, but that would be pretty complicated. So, your best bet is probably:
      1. Go through UR Mall to buy 4 separate $100 Kohls physical gift cards (do 4 separate transactions, and click thru from UR mall each time).
      2. Once cards arrive, go through UR Mall again to Kohls to buy merchandise. Use gift cards and whatever coupon codes you qualify for. Pay the rest with credit card or Kohls charge card (if you use coupon code only available to charge card holders).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *