Don’t go to Hawaii for $182.24… yet


Yesterday’s post titled “Hawaii round trip for $182.24” can be filed under Frequent Miler #FAIL.  If you were thinking of following the plan I outlined yesterday, please don’t.  At least, don’t do it yet.  I made several assumptions in that post that are looking questionable or are plain wrong:

Assumption 1: The meaning of 4X

I assumed that Sears 4X meant that you would get 4 extra points for shopping at Sears through the MR portal, in addition to the one point you get anyway for using your credit card.  After all, every other portal I’ve used works that way.  For example, when you click through a 4X link in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall you get 4 points per dollar in addition to the points you get from your credit card directly.  According to one reader, though, when Membership Rewards says 4X, they really mean “3 extra points + 1 normal point = 4X.”  I don’t yet have personal experience to prove that Membership Rewards is completely screwed up works in this unusual way, but I believe it may be true.  I took a look tonight at the site and saw that, unlike Ultimate Rewards, not a single merchant is listed at 1X.  That’s presumably because 1X is what you get without the portal.  I’ll investigate more to find out for sure how this works.  Look for an answer soon.

Assumption 2: 4X everywhere

I should have learned this one from the Ultimate Rewards Mall.  There, you sometimes get different rates depending upon which card you have.  It turns out that the same is true with Membership Rewards.  Where I log in and see Sears 4X, others see Sears 3X.  Don’t even think about going with this plan unless you see 4X.

Assumption 3: Points are given for gift card purchases

Another assumption I made is that the 4X bonus applies even to gift card purchases at Sears.  Many merchants exclude gift card purchases from bonus points.  However, based on past experiences, I still think this assumption is true, but I don’t yet have proof.  I did buy a Sears gift card in this way, though, so I should find out soon.


I should have checked my facts and assumptions before posting yesterday.  I know that.  I knew that.  Sometimes though, I get excited about an idea and just want to share.  What do you think?  In the future, should I wait until all facts have been checked or should I jump in and post anyway?  Certainly I should add a warning next time if I do post prematurely…

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