Up to 36X at Sears through Oct 12

UPDATE: T&C now says “Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents.”  That wasn’t there this morning!

As I reported earlier today through my QuickDeals page, Sears is currently offering 12 miles per dollar for shopping through the American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping portal.  This promotion ends Saturday, October 12th.  By stacking multiple types of rewards, it may be possible to earn up to 36 points per dollar with this promotion.  I’ll explain how, but please note that some of these steps are risky (in that you might not earn points) or painful (i.e. a lot of work)…

Step 1: Go through portal to Sears. Buy e-gift cards.

This is the riskiest part since past experiments have shown that Sears does not pay out points for e-gift cards bought through online portals.  Recently, though, the terms & conditions that used to say that gift cards were excluded was changed to say “Gift Cards eligible as of 10/4/13.”  Last night, that clause disappeared, but it still does not say that gift cards are excluded.  So, my best guess is that e-gift cards will work, but it is really just an educated guess right now.  It will be a few days before we know for sure. 

If your e-gift cards don’t arrive in about an hour, call Sears at 1-888-396-5299 to verify your purchase.  Have your order number handy.

Earnings: 12X (maybe)

 

Step 2: Pay with Freedom or Discover card

The Chase Freedom card is offering 5X this quarter for Amazon.com and select department store purchases, Sears included.  Since e-gift cards are sold by Sears, these purchases should qualify.  The Discover card is offering 5% back this quarter for online purchases, so these purchases should qualify for that as well.  With either card, make sure to sign up for the quarterly bonus.  Also note that both cards offer 5X only for up to $1500 in spend each quarter.

Earnings: 5X

 

Step 3: Plink

Before buying anything, you can sign up for Plink and put Sears (and Kmart too) in your Plink Wallet.  Link the credit card you plan to pay with to your Plink account.  Plink offers a maximum of 300 points (worth $3 towards gift cards) for each Sears purchase of $50 or more.  If you spend exactly $50 per transaction, you can earn the equivalent of a 6% rebate in the form of Plink points.  So, you could buy e-gift cards $50 at a time to maximize your Plink earnings.  For each transaction, make sure to click through from the AAdvantage eShopping portal to hopefully ensure your 12X points from step 1.  Yes, this is the painful part of this whole thing.

When using e-gift cards, Sears allows a maximum of 15 gift cards to be applied to one order.  So, if you plan to make very large purchases at Sears.com, this $50 at a time trick may not work for you.

Earnings: 6X

 

Step 4: Go through portal to Sears. Buy merchandise.

Once you have your e-gift cards, you can go back through the AAdvantage eShopping portal to Sears and buy Sears’ merchandise.  Anything with an “Add to Cart” button that doesn’t take you away from Sears.com should qualify for points.  No, you cannot buy gift cards online with your gift cards.

Don’t forget to apply coupon codes to your order.  Here are the codes from the AAdvantage eShopping portal:

  • Patio furniture, $30 off $150: 30SODL
  • Clothing and accessories, extra 15% or 10% off: COLUMBUS
  • Hottest outfits (whatever that is), extra 10% off: OUTFIT10
  • Tools, extra $10 to $60 off $75: SEARSTOOLS
  • Tools, extra $15 off $75: SAVE15
  • Lawn & garden orders, $20 off $200: FALL20
  • Appliances, extra $50 off $300: 50OFF300
  • Any Sears items, extra $5 off $50: SEARS2013

Other coupons might work, but you will risk the possibility of not getting portal miles if you apply them.  Personally, I prefer to stick to the ones shown in the portal.

 
Earnings: 12X

 

Step 5: Earn Shop Your Way Rewards points

Sears’ has their own loyalty program called Shop Your Way Rewards (SYWR) which typically offers the equivalent of 1% back for purchases.  Shop Your Way Rewards points can be used to pay for future purchases.  When I have several Sears’ purchases to make, I do them one at a time (when practical) so as to earn SYWR points that can be applied to the next order.

Earnings: 1X

 

Add it up

Let’s look at how it all adds up:

  • E-gift card purchases: 12 AA miles per dollar
  • Freedom card: 5 points per dollar; or Discover card: 5% cash back
  • Plink: 6% Plink points
  • Merchandise purchases: 12 AA miles per dollar
  • Shop Your Way Rewards: 1% SYWR points
  • Total: 12X + 5X + 6X + 12X + 1X = 36X

 

Questions and Answers

 

Q: How can I make sure to get the miles from this promotion?  I tend to have bad luck with portals.
A:
Make sure to disable ad blockers, browser toolbars, and other plug-ins before shopping as they can interfere with the portal tracking.  Please see “How to ensure your portal points” for more.  Also, if you plan to buy lots of gift cards, spread the risk by making several separate purchases.  Make sure to go back through the portal each time. 

Q: Do I have to pay with an AAdvantage credit card to get 12X?
A:
Nope.  Pay with whichever card gives you the best rewards.

Q: What about physical gift cards? Can I get points for those? When I put a physical gift card in my cart, it says “Sold by Kmart and Fulfilled by Kmart” so I don’t believe I’ll earn miles for this purchase.
A:
It’s true that physical gift cards are processed by Kmart, but many past experiments have shown that you will still get portal miles for clicking through to Sears and buying physical gift cards.  Of course, they won’t be delivered in time for a double-dip.

Q: Will I earn 5X with my Freedom card this quarter if I make a purchase at Sears through the AAdvantage eShopping portal?
A:
Yes, as long as the transaction is processed by Sears, you should earn the Freedom card’s 4th quarter 5X bonus.  Note that you probably will not earn this bonus for physical gift card purchases since those are processed by Kmart.

Q: How long will it take for my miles to post?
A:
Most mile earning portals show pending results between 3 to 7 days after a purchase.  For very large purchases (>$1,000), it often takes longer.  Sometimes it can take up to 3 weeks or so for the transaction to show up in your account within a portal.  It will take considerably longer for the miles to actually post to your account for use.

Q: Can you buy Sears gift cards online with other Sears’ gift cards?
A:
No

Q: Can you use Sears’ gift cards in-store to buy other merchant gift cards?
A:
Yes, it is possible, but it is not necessarily easy. At Sears, you would have to find the secret gift card rack (please read “The mysterious case of the secret gift card rack” for details).  The secret gift card rack often has $100 Visa gift cards available for $105.95 as well as a number of merchant gift cards with no fee.  There have even been recent reports of Amazon gift card sightings!  I’ve never had any trouble using a physical Sears gift card or a printed e-gift card to buy other gift cards at Sears.

Kmart is a different story.  Kmart’s rule is that you cannot buy gift cards with gift cards.  In practice, though, some cashiers allow it.  Some stores are hard coded not to allow Amex, Visa, and MasterCard gift cards, though, so go for merchant gift cards instead.  Maybe throw a few into your cart with a bunch of groceries just to be safe.  Also note that Kmart requires a manager override to apply e-gift cards, so stick with physical gift cards if you plan to go this route!

Q: Can you combine multiple Sears’ gift cards into one gift card?
A:
Not online, but you may be able to do so in-store.  Reader Ron Bonnell reports success at Sears, but not at Kmart.

Q: Can I use my Home Improvement gift cards to pay for items at Sears and get miles through this promotion?
A:
Yes, that should work.  It used to be possible to buy physical gift cards from Sears this way too, but that stopped working.  You might be able to buy e-gift cards this way, though.  Please let me know how it goes if you try it.  Note that Sears puts a $1 hold on the card before processing it, so make sure to spend $1 less than your card’s balance.

Q: Is there anything worth buying and selling?
A:
I haven’t researched this yet, so I can’t say for sure. Often, good bets are DSLR cameras where you get an additional discount if you throw in a camera lens.  Also look for popular tablets or laptops that sell at a competitive price.  Expect to lose some money if you do this.  Hopefully, though, the value of the miles earned will far outweigh the loss of money.

Q: Are there any great sales going on at Sears right now?
A:
Reader suggestions?

Q: The terms say “Not eligible on purchases made with coupon or discount codes that are not found on this site.”  Is that true?
A:
I’ve always received points from Sears when using coupon codes even if they were not shown in the portal, but there are no guarantees.  It’s certainly safer to use the discount codes displayed in the portal.

Q: How many gift cards can I apply to one order online?
A:
15

Q: Do Sears Marketplace items earn points?
A:
Yes, as long as the “Add to Cart” button is there and you do not leave Sears.com you should earn points.

Q: Do tires count?  The T&C says Not eligible on auto services.
A:
Yes, I think tires are fine.  I believe that the auto services exclusion has to do with making an appointment online for automobile services that you haven’t yet paid for.

Q: Can I get points for Craftsman or Kenmore products?  The T&C says not eligible on Craftsman, Kenmore (and several other stores) purchases.
A:
As long as you buy the item from Sears.com, you should get points.  Those exclusions have to do with going to the other sites such as Kenmore.com, etc.

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. […] Up to 36x at Sears through Oct 12. By Frequent Miler. Now it is American Airlines Miles. I ran out of time two days ago to earn United Miles. Maybe I will get to this in time. I made the first step, I joined Plink! Yes, this would be a perfect place to pimp my referral link with two caveats: 1) I can’t find it and 2) Not sure this is a big deal, let’s see if this is still in business in a year. In other words, burn asap! […]

Comments

  1. I also played the RoeBucks game. It’s toward the top right, under your name and account link. It’s sort of like bingo…I bought ten items and got a bonus 2k ($2) SYWR. Why not, right?

  2. Bought e-gift cards yesterday, called and got them cleared. Still waiting for them to arrive in my email….. It’s been almost 24h.

  3. Regarding the Q&A on Kenmore purchases. You state that you should get points when purchasing a Kenmore item as long as it is through the Sears web site.

    A few months ago I purchased a Kenmore appliance through the Sears web site using the AA portal on an 8x miles deal. I received only a small fraction of the miles that I was expecting.

    When I sent an inquiry to AAdvantage Shopping they stated “Please be advised that per the terms and conditions for Sears.com, Kenmore purchases are not eligible.” I was much better off using the Discover portal which was offering 10% cash back at the time and did not have such an exclusion.

    • Elizabeth: That’s very strange that you didn’t get the full points. I’m not surprised about the inquiry response, though. The T&C is confusing and so the people answering questions like these rarely know the true answers.
      .
      ken: No, you can’t register Home Improvement gift cards with Plink. Yep, see you in Chicago this weekend.
      .
      Jessie: Some people see just Sears, others see just Kmart, and others see both. Try contacting Plink and ask them to add Sears to your view.
      .
      Curtis: Thanks, I’ll update the post with the correct coupon details.

  4. Can i register higc cards on plink to get the additional 6%. I suspect not, but uou are the expert.

    Will we see you at FTU in Chicago this weekend?

  5. I just signed up with plink. I don’t see Sears shown up on one of the selection on wallet, but I can see Kmart, though.

  6. GC purchases from Sears come through the CC bill as being from Kmart. Freedom qtrly bonus does not cover Kmart, so I don’t think you will get the bonus on Freedom card.

    Earlier this year I combined GCs into a larger GC at Sears store. The clerk said she wasn’t sure it would work. She tried it and it worked. Had tried this earlier at a Kmart and the system wouldn’t allow it there.

    • @Ron Bonnell, that is clearly incorrect. All of my $50 orders are appearing as “Sears.com 9300”. Please state your evidence for backing up your statement.

    • Ron Bonnell: In my experience, only physical gift card orders come through as Kmart purchases. e-gift cards show up as Sears.com. Thanks for the info about combining gift cards, I’ll update the post.

  7. Bought Sears physical GCs yesterday morning. Called Sears security line to verify my identity, etc. On the Sears website, it says order is still processing. Hope this thing works.

  8. Interesting that you can take a printed eCard into the store and buy physical gift cards with it. I think I will try that – after looking for the ‘secret rack’ of course 🙂

    So theoretically, even if you don’t have anything to buy now for the double dip, you could still get 5x Freedom and 12x AA by buying e-gift cards and then converting them to physical cards in store later, right? (I’m figuring a single dip is better than no dip at all since I can’t figure out what to buy right now with the e-gift cards!)

    • stacey: Yes, that will work if they really do give points for e-gift cards. It’s ominous that the terms now say “Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents.” That wasn’t there this morning!

  9. Looks like they’ve added a line at the end of the T&C to specifically exclude “gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalent”.

    • Matt: Thanks for that tip. That’s worrisome!
      .
      Agnes: What a pain! Sorry you have to deal with that.
      .
      Ashley: Sorry to hear that.
      .
      Jason: Good point. I don’t think they would split up $50 gift card orders, but certainly if you buy multiple separate items that add up to $50 you might not get the full Plink points as you said.

  10. I bought some e-gift cards and then used those to order a Nexus 7 yesterday for UA’s promotion. However, I received an email this morning saying that my order was cancelled because the item was out of stock. After calling CSR, she confirmed that this item still can be ordered and is not showing out of stock in their system. I will need to place a new order if I still want it. And she said it takes 3~5 days for the refund to show up in my gift cards (it is showing $0 even if the order has been refunded) !!! I guess they just don’t want me to get 16 miles/$. And I don’t know if I can get my refund in time to at lease order again and get 12 miles/$ from AA.

  11. I also am having an issue with the egift cards. I ordered $400 yesterday. Called the verification hotline right away and they told me it would be 1 hour, waited the UA deal expired at 11CST and it has been 16 hours and still no egift cards in the email. I have been told they are backlog and to just wait. They gave me a phone number for the sears gift card dept. 1800-549-8151. They have limited hours and were closed last night. So I missed out on the UA portal and was extremely frustrated. I am so glad to see that there is a new AA portal. Just a warning to everyone purchasing the egift cards. They do not come within an hour.

  12. Just a thought and warning on Sears.com purchases – if multiple items adding up to $50+ are purchased but shipped separately, Sears.com splits them up on my CC statement. Since Plink only has access to the statement, I’m guessing it would be possible to receive a fraction (or none) of the Plink bonus if the splits don’t work out right.

  13. I’ll bet nothing is paid out on the gift card purchases. Plus you can’t even get them in time now anyway. Much safer to buy gcs at OD and redeem through the portal for 21x (now 17x).

    Dealing with sears and their customer service may not be worth 32x.

  14. What about using shop your way rewards coupons that just give you extra sywr points. Would that affect your ability to earn 12x aa portal points?

    • Better late than never, I guess…
      Bryan: I think that SYWR coupons are safe. I would risk it, but I can’t really say for sure.
      Matt from Saverocity: You are right that you can’t earn Plink points from using e-gift cards, but you can earn them when buying e-gift cards.

  15. I’m not really much of a plonker, so forgive my newbie question:

    How do I earn my Plinkie Points from e-gift cards? I thought you had to register a credit card and pay with that- doesn’t switching the buy money from credit card to e-gift card to net the 12x (if it still works is a separate thing to worry about) negate the ability to be earn the Plink points?

  16. T&C changed

    Not eligible on purchases made with coupon or discount codes that are not found on this site. Only products with “Add to Cart” button are eligible. Not eligible on Home Delivery Charges, Auto Services, PA and Installation, Master Protection Agreements, Take With, Protection Plans, Sears auctions, Landsend.com, PartsDirect, Sears Canada, Portrait, Craftsman, Kenmore or Outlet purchases. Sears Marketplace products with “Go to Site” button are not eligible. Not eligible on Sold by Kmart items or any other licensed partners. Any return, exchange or other adjustment made at a physical store location for an on-line purchase may result in your purchase being deemed ineligible. Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents.

  17. So I emailed Plink since I didn’t get any points form them and they said all purchases on that day for the same amount were flagged and held and that they’re working out the glitch and should run it tomorrow (Friday). So in the future multiple same amount purchases shouldn’t get held up.

    Still nothing from united though.

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