Buy Alaska or Southwest miles for 1.6 cents each. Today only.

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Today only, Southwest is offering 9 points per dollar at Sears when shopping through the Southwest Rapid Rewards portal.  Similarly, Alaska Airlines is offering 9 miles per dollar at Sears when shopping through their MileagePlan Shopping portal (I don’t know if this deal also ends tonight, but my guess is yes).  It is possible to take advantage of either deal to buy miles for 1.6 cents each.

1. Go through portal to Sears to buy Sears’ physical gift cards.  Earn 9 miles per dollar.  Make sure not to buy e-gift cards since those have lower resale value.
2. When you receive the gift cards, sell them to gift card resellers for 84 cents on the dollar (see GiftCardGranny, here)

For example, suppose you buy two $500 gift cards for a total cost of $1000.  If all goes well, you’ll receive 9000 miles from the portal and another 1000 miles from whichever credit card you use for the purchase.  Then, you should be able to sell those gift cards for $420 each.  Your final out of pocket cost will be $80 x 2 = $160.  $160 for 10,000 miles equals 1.6 cents per mile.

Warning: many things can go wrong when buying and selling gift cards. The most obvious danger here is that the resale offers may drop if too many people do this.  Other risks include: portals not tracking your purchases correctly, losing gift cards in the mail, having gift card resellers reject your sale, etc.

Warning 2: Purchasing miles for 1.6 cents each is only a good deal if you have concrete plans for using those miles towards greater value.  With Southwest, it would be difficult to get 1.6 cents per point value, but it may be worth it to get you closer to a companion pass.  With Alaska, your best bet for getting outsized value is to use miles on partner airlines for international first or business class awards.

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