Re-Plinking Sears

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:

  1. Signup for Plink and register Kmart in your Plink Wallet (Kmart was necessary because Sears’ physical gift cards are processed by Kmart).
  2. Go through an online portal to Sears.com.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Register Sears (not Kmart) in your Plink wallet.  Of course, it can’t hurt to have both registered.
  3. Find the best online portal for Sears (tip: check cashbackmonitor to find the best one), and click through the portal to Sears.
  4. Go to “gift cards” and select “check balance & reload”.
  5. Reload your gift card by adding $50 to it.
  6. 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.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Yo
Guest
Yo

FM: this is genius! If I only knew this before the 80x$50 GC purchased w MP Pomo last month! Strong work in always refining the current methods!

will
Guest
will

yay! 😉

My points posted to plink, UR, and SWRR (also waiting on Discover cashback to post)

Nick F
Guest
Nick F

Sorry if I missed this along the way, but can you use Sears gift cards to purchase other gift cards (if you can find the rack in the store)?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Nick F: yes, if you find a willing cashier

THEsocalledfan
Guest
THEsocalledfan

Simply genius. Great post.

trackback

[…] Do this before you go and rack up the cash back and points. http://boardingarea.com/frequentmile…linking-sears/ […]

farbster
Guest
farbster

The Bionic Man was the best! The one where Andre the Giant played bigfoot was amazing!

Nick
Guest
Nick

Is it confirmed that this will work with Chase Freedom 4Q bonus? Still have $800 left to use. This trick will make life so much easier going forward. Thanks!

FrequentMiler
Guest

Nick: Not confirmed 100%, but I would be willing to bet on it.

MLH
Guest
MLH

How would you have an empty Sears GC lying around? The cashiers have kept mine when I’ve traded them for Visa GCs. I suppose I could ask for it back…

FrequentMiler
Guest

When I last used a bunch of e-gift cards, I put them all into a spreadsheet. I still have the spreadsheet, so I can use the same #s to reload

Ryan H
Guest
Ryan H

Very nice! I was just about to order 5 $50 gift cards from Sears by going through the AAdvantage portal to trigger the 2500 bonus. This will save quite a bit of time.

Jason
Guest
Jason

bad ass!

subscribed 🙂

KG
Guest
KG

Just tried the Staples double dip you recommended. How long do things normally take to post to Upromise and Plink?

Bender
Guest
Bender

@KG my Plink points haven’t shown up yet but uPromise took about 5-7 days to appear.

FrequentMiler
Guest

KG: Plink points should show up a day after the transaction moves from pending to actual with your bank. If not, contact them for support. uPromise varies from a few days to a few weeks.

buckaroo
Guest
buckaroo

What does everyone do with sears gift cards? I assume this is not worth while, unless you have something you want to buy at sears. Great idea. Thank you for sharing.

FrequentMiler
Guest

1. Use to buy other gift cards
2. Use to buy travel
3. Use to buy stuff (including Kmart, Lands End, etc.)

buckaroo
Guest
buckaroo

Thanks.

Sorry for the stupid question, but what do you mean by , use to buy travel?

MrWho
Guest
MrWho

Do you have a link for $5 sign up bonus for Plink or it’s dead now?

FrequentMiler
Guest

There’s a link to Plink on my signup links page (in the Resources menu). I don’t know if it gives a signup bonus or not.

Howard
Guest
Howard

Frequent Miler does it again!!!

Trying this out now with ShopDiscover and Ultimate Rewards + Chase Freedom. Will announce back the results if applicable

Alan
Guest
Alan

Hi FM,

Unrelated but have you heard of Coin? I just saw it on engadget this morning.

https://onlycoin.com/

Not trying to advertise, but it looked to be pretty interesting especially since we all probably have more than a few credit cards that we’re carrying around. They also have a referral program so maybe if you decided to preorder you could use your link on your site somewhere. Idk, just a thought.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Alan, Coin looks just like another card I wrote about several months ago: A new card to rule them all. I think it would be very risky to pre-order one.

Dave
Guest
Dave

I’m still not sure how this is better than using Ink to buy Sears e-gift cards from Staples. You still get 5x from Ink, portal points from Staples, and Plink points from Staples. The only disadvantage, of course, is the multiple cards. Is that it?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Dave: there are often better portal deals for Sears, plus the Plink ratio is better.

golf7
Guest
golf7

Dave,

I think you are right. But with this method you can max out your Freedom 5x quarterly bonus if you dont have an ink card.

Ben
Guest
Ben

What are you guys doing to liquidate these sears gcs??

justthefacts
Guest
justthefacts

You can use Sears gift cards to buy other retailer gift cards.

vlapar
Guest
vlapar

quote:”It can be a physical gift card or e-gift card”. Could somebody explain what can I do with Sears e-gift or physical card as a final step of process explained in the article?

Ryan H.
Guest
Ryan H.

You can buy things from Sears/Kmart/Lands End at an effective discount due to Plink/shopping portal bonuses.

fauxblogger
Guest
fauxblogger

@RyanH No Cartera-managed portal bonus for Sears e-cards, correct?

Buckaroo
Guest
Buckaroo

Do you think filling up a GC would allow 5x back with the UR mall?

John
Guest
John

Every cash back portal says not valid on gift cards. Which one works for this?

Lemma
Guest
Lemma

They all may say that, but they generally work for physical gift cards but not e-gift cards. I’ve personally had success with ShopDiscover and Mr. Rebates recently.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Anybody else being required to call in to verify personal info with security when doing the $50 reload on Sears.com? Weird :/

FrequentMiler
Guest

UPDATE: I’ve received confirmation of both Plink points and ShopDiscover cash back!

Lemma
Guest
Lemma

Kmart registers seem to now block the purchase of Visa GC with Sears GC. I got a cashier that was willing to try, but she showed me the error message the register was giving her. I’ve successfully been able to do this at Kmart in the past, but cashiers seem to object more often there so I haven’t tried in awhile.

Sears seems to still work if you can find the secret gift card rack at a store in your area, but I fear they are catching on and the days of this arbitrage are limited.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Yeah, I also tried purchasing Visa GCs at Kmart today and error message popped up that wouldn’t let the cashier swipe my Sears GC. He offered to take the Visa GCs to customer service to see if they could override it but I got antsy and stupidly refused..regretting that now 🙁

FrequentMiler
Guest

Thanks. I’ll have to update the FM Lab

trackback

[…] Re-Plinking Sears […]

MichaelP
Guest
MichaelP

sears.com third party verification page cleared out the shopping cart. Tried to reload gift card again but reload amount entry box disappear.

Anyone experiencing this?

MichaelP
Guest
MichaelP

Update: Switch to using wife’s name in the billing address. Third party verification no longer required.

Buckaroo
Guest
Buckaroo

Is it normal for the reload to take 3-4 days to process? I did one on Monday and it is still “processing” per my order status page.

Thanks

FrequentMiler
Guest

No, that’s not normal. I’d recommend calling to check on the order. It could be held up in verification if they’ve been unable to contact you.

buckaroo
Guest
buckaroo

I called in and they said it should complete today. My GC got the cash the same say (monday), but it is still a pending on my CC and on my sears order page.

Thanks again FM.

Chris Cheng
Guest
Chris Cheng

After reload many $50 per transaction into old sears gc, get constant deny for orders. Not sure whether it is a permanent red flag. anyone has same experience?

Here is how the cancellation email reads like:

We are unable to process your order because some of the information provided cannot be verified. As a result, we have canceled this Sears.com order, and you have not been charged.

Please contact us at 1-877-235-9959 so we can assist you with your order.

We value your business and look forward to fulfilling your shopping needs in the future.

Best regards,

FrequentMiler
Guest

Have you tried calling? They might just need to verify that you’re not doing anything fraudulent

Michael B
Guest
Michael B

Now that Kmart has expired and Sears will soon as well for Plink, what are we to do?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Until something new comes up, I guess we’re left Plinking Staples max 10 times per month

Chris Cheng
Guest
Chris Cheng

I did email them and online chat, they say it is one time technical problem. But it happens again today, I contact them again, they promise to email me with solution within 48 hours.

Bad news:just receive one email saying that Plink would discontinue Sears in a few days, or next Wednesday. This party would end anyway.

Jason Janka
Guest
Jason Janka

@ FrequentMiler –

Why only plink staples max 10 times per month? I didn’t think there was any sort of limit…

FrequentMiler
Guest

Plink added a 10 transaction per month limit for Staples late in November. For some reason they only emailed this info to a select few (I wasn’t one of them).

Tianyi Chen
Guest
Tianyi Chen

I used to be able to get cashback on reloading Sears gift cards through Shopdiscover. Recently, I used Shopathome to do the double dip. Now, only the purchases using the gift cards were posted in the pending list not the purchases on gift cards.
Is there a change in the reloading game or is it specific to Shopathome?
Thanks.

Tianyi Chen
Guest
Tianyi Chen

Anyone else has recent experience in reloading Sears GC?

Audrey
Guest
Audrey

Can you give me the link to get to the plink website? I used to use http://www.plink.com religiously and have over 3,000 points saved. Then, a few months ago, I got an email from them saying they were closing their program and the points were no longer available. WTH?? Is this the same Plink, I wonder? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!