November 14, 2013
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:
- Signup for Plink and register Kmart in your Plink Wallet (Kmart was necessary because Sears’ physical gift cards are processed by Kmart).
- Go through an online portal to Sears.com.
- 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:
- 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.
- Register Sears (not Kmart) in your Plink wallet. Of course, it can’t hurt to have both registered.
- Find the best online portal for Sears (tip: check cashbackmonitor to find the best one), and click through the portal to Sears.
- Go to “gift cards” and select “check balance & reload”.
- Reload your gift card by adding $50 to it.
- 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.