Re-Plinking Sears

In my July post, “Plinking Sears,” I introduced the idea of double-dipping when buying Sears gift cards by earning both Plink points and online shopping portal points for the same purchase.  That approach works well, but it is slow and cumbersome. You have to wait for gift cards to arrive via mail and you end up with many separate $50 gift cards.  As I described in the post “Combining Sears gift cards,” it’s not always so easy to consolidate down from many to one.  Fortunately, thanks to a reader tip, I can now introduce a better Plinking process.  Better.  Stronger.  Faster.  [Scratch that “stronger” part. I just needed that word in there to evoke memories of the Six Million Dollar Man intro.  You know: “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better…stronger…faster.”  Memories? Anything?]

Old Plink (pre-bionics)

Here was the rusty old way of Plinking Sears:

  1. Signup for Plink and register Kmart in your Plink Wallet (Kmart was necessary because Sears’ physical gift cards are processed by Kmart).
  2. Go through an online portal to Sears.com.
  3. To maximize Plink rewards, buy only one $50 physical (by mail) gift card.

If all went well, you would earn portal points, credit card points, and Plink points from this single purchase.  Using a Discover card with this quarter’s online shopping 5% bonus, and the ShopDiscover portal, you could earn 15% cash back from Discover and another 6% back from Plink (in the form of gift cards) for a total rebate of 21%!  But, as I said in the intro, you have to wait for gift cards to arrive by mail and you end up with many separate cards each with their own delightful silver strip on the back that needs to be scratched off.

Note too that this process does not work to trigger the Chase Freedom 5% back this quarter at department stores because the charge comes through from Kmart, not from Sears.

Newer, better, faster Plink

What if you don’t want to wait for gift cards to arrive by mail?  What if you don’t want to deal with many separate Sears gift cards?  What if you want 5% this quarter from your Freedom card?  No problem!  Here’s the new way:

  1. Find an empty or low-value Sears gift card lying around.  It can be a physical gift card or e-gift card.  It can be from Sears, Kmart, or Lands End.  If you don’t have one, order a $10 e-gift card online.
  2. Register Sears (not Kmart) in your Plink wallet.  Of course, it can’t hurt to have both registered.
  3. Find the best online portal for Sears (tip: check cashbackmonitor to find the best one), and click through the portal to Sears.
  4. Go to “gift cards” and select “check balance & reload”.
  5. Reload your gift card by adding $50 to it.
  6. Pay with the credit card you have registered with Plink.

You can reload gift cards up to a maximum value of $500.  If you reload a second time (or third time, or fourth time, …), make sure to click through to Sears from the online portal each time.

Note that I’ve tested that the above process works for online portals (specifically I tested with RapidRewards Shopping), but I haven’t yet completed a test to ensure that Plink points are earned.  I am currently testing the combination of Plink and ShopDiscover to make sure both work, but I don’t know why they wouldn’t.  I do see on my credit card account that the purchase of the reload comes from Sears.com.  I’ll update this post with final results once they’re in.

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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Comments

  1. FM: this is genius! If I only knew this before the 80x$50 GC purchased w MP Pomo last month! Strong work in always refining the current methods!

  2. Sorry if I missed this along the way, but can you use Sears gift cards to purchase other gift cards (if you can find the rack in the store)?

  3. Is it confirmed that this will work with Chase Freedom 4Q bonus? Still have $800 left to use. This trick will make life so much easier going forward. Thanks!

  4. How would you have an empty Sears GC lying around? The cashiers have kept mine when I’ve traded them for Visa GCs. I suppose I could ask for it back…

  5. Very nice! I was just about to order 5 $50 gift cards from Sears by going through the AAdvantage portal to trigger the 2500 bonus. This will save quite a bit of time.

  6. What does everyone do with sears gift cards? I assume this is not worth while, unless you have something you want to buy at sears. Great idea. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Frequent Miler does it again!!!

    Trying this out now with ShopDiscover and Ultimate Rewards + Chase Freedom. Will announce back the results if applicable

  8. Hi FM,

    Unrelated but have you heard of Coin? I just saw it on engadget this morning.

    https://onlycoin.com/

    Not trying to advertise, but it looked to be pretty interesting especially since we all probably have more than a few credit cards that we’re carrying around. They also have a referral program so maybe if you decided to preorder you could use your link on your site somewhere. Idk, just a thought.

  9. I’m still not sure how this is better than using Ink to buy Sears e-gift cards from Staples. You still get 5x from Ink, portal points from Staples, and Plink points from Staples. The only disadvantage, of course, is the multiple cards. Is that it?

  10. Dave,

    I think you are right. But with this method you can max out your Freedom 5x quarterly bonus if you dont have an ink card.

  11. quote:”It can be a physical gift card or e-gift card”. Could somebody explain what can I do with Sears e-gift or physical card as a final step of process explained in the article?

    • They all may say that, but they generally work for physical gift cards but not e-gift cards. I’ve personally had success with ShopDiscover and Mr. Rebates recently.

  12. Kmart registers seem to now block the purchase of Visa GC with Sears GC. I got a cashier that was willing to try, but she showed me the error message the register was giving her. I’ve successfully been able to do this at Kmart in the past, but cashiers seem to object more often there so I haven’t tried in awhile.

    Sears seems to still work if you can find the secret gift card rack at a store in your area, but I fear they are catching on and the days of this arbitrage are limited.

    • Yeah, I also tried purchasing Visa GCs at Kmart today and error message popped up that wouldn’t let the cashier swipe my Sears GC. He offered to take the Visa GCs to customer service to see if they could override it but I got antsy and stupidly refused..regretting that now 🙁

  13. sears.com third party verification page cleared out the shopping cart. Tried to reload gift card again but reload amount entry box disappear.

    Anyone experiencing this?

  14. Is it normal for the reload to take 3-4 days to process? I did one on Monday and it is still “processing” per my order status page.

    Thanks

      • I called in and they said it should complete today. My GC got the cash the same say (monday), but it is still a pending on my CC and on my sears order page.

        Thanks again FM.

  15. After reload many $50 per transaction into old sears gc, get constant deny for orders. Not sure whether it is a permanent red flag. anyone has same experience?

    Here is how the cancellation email reads like:

    We are unable to process your order because some of the information provided cannot be verified. As a result, we have canceled this Sears.com order, and you have not been charged.

    Please contact us at 1-877-235-9959 so we can assist you with your order.

    We value your business and look forward to fulfilling your shopping needs in the future.

    Best regards,

  16. I did email them and online chat, they say it is one time technical problem. But it happens again today, I contact them again, they promise to email me with solution within 48 hours.

    Bad news:just receive one email saying that Plink would discontinue Sears in a few days, or next Wednesday. This party would end anyway.

  17. I used to be able to get cashback on reloading Sears gift cards through Shopdiscover. Recently, I used Shopathome to do the double dip. Now, only the purchases using the gift cards were posted in the pending list not the purchases on gift cards.
    Is there a change in the reloading game or is it specific to Shopathome?
    Thanks.

    • Yes, a few weeks ago I reloaded a Sears gift card via the SW Rapid Rewards portal and points showed up a few days later as pending. Of course I don’t get Plink points anymore since Sears is no longer part of that program.

  18. Can you give me the link to get to the plink website? I used to use http://www.plink.com religiously and have over 3,000 points saved. Then, a few months ago, I got an email from them saying they were closing their program and the points were no longer available. WTH?? Is this the same Plink, I wonder? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

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