By Julian, author of Devil’s Advocate..
If there’s one thing we can count on from Sears nowadays (and there literally might only be one thing we can count on from Sears nowadays), it’s impressive shopping portal bonuses. Greg has reported on several of these recently and it’s likely we’ll see more in the not too distant future.
However, when you buy a physical Sears gift card online (as opposed to an e-gift card or reloading an existing card), the transaction is fulfilled by K-Mart instead of Sears. Why they do it this way is beyond me. I suppose it’s to give K-Mart some extra revenue, though it occurs to me that the last thing Sears should be doing right now is giving out “extra” revenue.
In any case, this quirk is a problem if you’re looking to stack the portal bonus with either the Chase Freedom or Discover 4th quarter department store bonuses, as neither considers Kmart to be a department store. The good news is there are two ways to stack these bonuses and still end up with physical Sears gift cards:
1) Get a physical gift card ahead of time without much money on it (e.g., use an old one or buy one in store for $5), then go through the shopping portal to Sears and reload it up to a total of $500. This transaction shows up as coming from sears.com and counts for Freedom’s 5x 4th quarter bonus.
2) If you don’t already have a physical gift card, remember that Discover is not only offering 5% cash back at department stores this quarter, but also 5% for online purchases. So a physical Sears gift card purchase that appears to be coming from Kmart will record as an online transaction for the 5% cash back.
I confirmed this during the recent AAdvantage 8x portal bonus for Sears. Here’s the Discover transaction for a physical Sears gift card bought online. Note the sale is listed as an “online” transaction coming from Kmart.com.
Unfortunately Chase and Discover cap their bonuses at $1,500 in spend per quarter, so this deal isn’t infinitely scalable. But maxing out that $1,500 would result in $75 cash back with Discover and/or 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points with Chase, plus additional miles from the shopping portal. So make sure you register for Chase and Discover’s 4th quarter bonuses and you’ll be ready for the next portal bonus.
Oh, and don’t hold onto those Sears gift cards too long. The way things are going over there, you’ll probably want to get that Kenmore washer/dryer while there’s still a place to buy them. I’d recommend declining the extended service plan though…