December 9th 2011 was a big day! It was the day in which Sears brought back 10 points per dollar in the Ultimate Rewards Mall and it was the day in which I did my first true mileage run which resulted in Platinum status on Delta and 54,000 Delta miles! Many of you followed along as I flew from city to city using Delta’s in-flight internet to buy gift cards and electronics at Sears.com. I finished selling everything off on EBay and now have the results.
I bought three DSLR cameras: the Canon T3, the Canon T3i, and the Nikon D5100. I also bought a Canon lens (in order to qualify for a $100 off deal for buying both a camera and lens), and a Barnes and Noble Nook Color e-reader.
I listed all of the items on EBay, each with a starting price of only $.99, free shipping, and no reserve fee. In other words, I gambled – all in. Most items sold at close to the original price except for the T3i which sold for slightly higher.
I had to pay sales tax on each item that I purchased from Sears. I also had to pay EBay closing fees, PayPal transaction fees, and USPS shipping.
Before accounting for the value of the points gained, I lost a total of $391.43. With purchases that totaled $2277, that comes to a loss of about 17%. I had hoped for a loss of only about 10%, but I still came out ahead:
Not counting points earned from personal purchases, I gained over 49,600 Ultimate Rewards points from these purchases. I also gained 1% in Sears’ Shop Your Way Rewards (which can be used for future Sears’ purchases). If I wanted to, I could completely cover my losses by trading in 39,100 points for cash and keep the rest as profit. However, I value Ultimate Rewards points more than that! At the fair trading price of 1.31 cents each, the points gained are worth $650 plus about $22 in Shop Your Way rewards. Not bad! Even better, I was able to put significant spend on my credit card towards meeting minimum spend requirements.
Buying Points and Miles
Since I don’t plan to trade in my points for cash, I prefer to think of this whole transaction as a complicated way to buy points. Since I spent a total of $391.43 and gained over 49,600 points, my cost per point came to .79 cents each. I consider anything less than the fair trading price of 1.31 cents to be a win, and anything less than 1 cent per point to be a big win. So, yes, despite the $391 in losses, I think I won big!
How did you do?
I know that a number of you did your own version of this gift card churn. How did you do?