A deal that’s better than it looks

On Sunday, I posted the following Quick Deal: “Free $5 award card from Kmart, Sears when buying Kmart, Sears gift cards.”  This deal is way better than it seems upon first look.  Read on…

The basics of the deal are as follows:

  • Valid through June 15
  • At Kmart, buy a $25 Kmart gift card and get a free $5 award card
  • At Sears, buy a $50 Sears gift card and get a free $5 award card
  • Shop Your Way Rewards (SYWR) customers get $2 back in points (SYWR is the Sears/Kmart store loyalty program)
  • Limit two per person
  • Award cards can be used between 6/16/2014 and 6/21/2014

Given the limitations (two per person) and restrictions (award cards redeemable 6/16-6/21), this appears to be a good deal, but not an amazing deal.  After all, it seems that the most you can profit is $10 in award cards and $4 in SYWR points.  That said, in KmartAwardCardAndSave30Centsmy recent experience, the deal is much better than it seems….

Restrictions, what restrictions?

I’ve done quite a bit of gift card shopping at Kmart and Sears in the past few days and found that there doesn’t really seem to be any per person limit.  There does seem to be a per transaction limit, though.  When buying enough gift cards to theoretically trigger receiving two $5 award cards (such as buying two $25 gift cards at Kmart at once), the system only gives out a single $5 card.  Each time, I’ve had to go to the customer service desk afterwards to request the other card.  I’ve also found that Award Cards are immediately usable.  I didn’t have to wait until 6/16 to use them.  I’ve used them now, many times, on the same trip to the store in which I received them.  And, I further tested to make sure that Kmart award cards work at Sears.  As expected, they do (since Sears and Kmart gift cards are interchangeable).

According to receipts, I’ve received 4000 bonus SYWR points so far for these purchases.  The strange thing is that those points appeared on later purchases, not on my first 5 or 6 purchases.  The terms of the deal say that those points will be awarded within 30 days of purchase.  It will be interesting to see whether I earn any additional bonus points.  My guess is not, but it would be awesome if I’m wrong.

 

Fuel Savings from Kmart

As I’ve reported before, when Shop Your Way Rewards customers spend $50 or more at certain Kmart stores (at the locations listed in this PDF), they’ll receive a coupon for 30 cents off per gallon on gas at either BP or Speedway.  And, this does work when purchasing gift cards at Kmart. With Speedway, the maximum discount is for 15 gallons of gas (and you can use up to 3 of these coupons with one fill up).  That makes each coupon worth up to $4.50 in gas.

So, if you buy two $25 Kmart gift cards at once during this promo, you should not only get two $5 award cards and $4 in SYWR points, but also a coupon worth $4.50 in gas.  In total, you’ll have $68.50 worth of store and gas credit for $50.  That’s a healthy 27% discount.  But, it gets a bit better.  If you turn around and use the gift cards at Kmart to buy merchandise, you’ll get another 30 cents off gas coupon and the normal 1% or so in SYWR points.  Now, in total, you’ll have $73.60 worth of merchandise, points, and gas for $50.  That’s up to a 32% discount (the discount is maximized by spending exactly the amount of credit you received at Kmart.  If you spend more, then the discount, as a percent, goes down).

Keep in mind: when you buy two $25 gift cards in one transaction, the system is not smart enough to give you two Award Cards.  Instead, take the receipt to customer service after your purchase to ask for the second Award Card.

Sears is good too, maybe better

Even though there are no gas savings, and the purchase requirements are higher, I like the opportunities at Sears.  For some reason that’s hard to explain, I simply prefer going to Sears…

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

    • Last I checked, the registers do allow it, but unlike at Sears, you have to give your gift card to the cashier to swipe it and in my experience most are trained not to allow the purchase of a gift card with a gift card.

  1. Murali – The registers will allow this. Beware of the occasionally overzealous cashier though, who may refuse you. So keep your purchase amount within reason and don’t clear their entire stock of merchant gc’s, so you don’t kill the golden goose.

  2. Two questions:

    (1) Can you turn around and use the award cards to purchase more GCs (Visa and/or store), or are they only usable on merchandise?

    (2) When you say you prefer going to Sears, do you mean to liquidate all the GCs? It seems like it makes the most sense to buy the Kmart GCs, but then go use them at Sears…?

    • 1. The award cards seem to work the same as gift cards in every way as far as I can tell
      2. Think of that part of the post as a puzzle to be solved. The hints are there

  3. Miler,

    I can tell you in Sioux Falls, I can’t find any Visa gift cards in Sears but you can absolutely by gift cards with a Sears/Kmart gift card. For folks that can’t liquidate, I think buying needed merchent gift cards at Sears is a great way to liquidate since Kmart can be tough on that practice.

    That match your thoughts?

  4. It seems like I recall that many moons ago you may have had success combining multiple Sears gift cards into one large Sears gift card. Am I dreaming or is there a way to actually do that?

  5. They did this last month with similar date restriction on the award card. But in my experience at Kmart the $5 award cards were immediately redeemable.

  6. Thanks for the great post! Any way to also stack 4 miles/$ through Barclays RewardsBoost portal to kmart.com ?

  7. Just tried this at Kmart. Had to goto customer service as the $5 award card did not generate. Also, the 4,000 points haven’t hit as of yet but I will be patient.

  8. FM, it’s refreshing to see that you’re always trying new things and coming up with new ideas for MS amidst an ever-dwindling sea of opportunities. Though I usually hit this deal up once or twice every time it’s run, I only do it for merchandise here and there. The MS opportunity seems like too much hassle, more time than I want to spend in Kmart, and too many questionable looks from CSRs about what I’m doing. But I hope this opens a new door for some folks.

  9. FM – I’ve been reading your blog daily for over a year and am somewhat stumped on the Sears innuendo. I’m maybe over-complicating this, but I see two possible options:

    1. Buying 2 $50 sears GC, receiving $10 in awards and then using the $110 to buy a $106 VGC. Is this the pppm you’re referring to? 4% CB is nice but not worth driving to sears for me.
    2. If you could buy kmart/sears GC with kmart/sears GC, this could be a pppm, but I didn’t think that was possible.

    Am I close?

  10. @jennifer,

    I am pretty darn sure he meant #2. It is over his ethical line to post about and over my line to even do….

    Interesting thing to me, is even if you have them consolidate gift cards, it will likely spit something out…

    Miler, I will not feel bad if you delete this comment.

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