10 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar is a great return for Sears purchases. In this post I’ll list numerous ways to leverage this deal.
This month, Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall is offering 10 points per dollar for Ink and Sapphire cardholders when shopping at Sears.com. The deal is good through 8/31/2012.
Leveraging the Deal
This is almost too obvious, but it needs to be said. If you have Sears’ purchases you were going to make anyway, shop through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to earn 10 points per dollar (in addition to the points earned automatically with your credit card).
Tips for saving money:
- For free shipping, you can usually select “pickup in store”.
- Look for coupon codes before you shop. One great one available today only is “AUGUST35” which will give you $35 off a $350 order (hat tip HikerT). Note that the code will not work for buying gift cards.
- If a competitor (with a physical retail presence) has a lower price, fill out the online Price Match form. Sears will match the lower price and take an additional 10% off (hat tip MSPDeltaDude)
- Make sure to signup for Sears’ Shop Your Way Rewards program. You will earn points worth the equivalent of 1% of your order.
Buy gift cards
If you do not currently have a need to buy stuff from Sears, consider buying Sears gift cards instead. The beauty of this is that you will get 10X now and have plenty of time to make purchases later. The other big advantage is that Sears’ gift cards can be used in a variety of additional shops: Lands’ End, KMart, Sears outlet, My Gofer, Crafstman, Kenmore, etc. If shopping at KMart, checkout Cuckoo for Coupon deals for some great bargains (hat tip IrishTiger).
Does the purchase of gift cards count for 10X? YES. In the recent 15X deal via the Southwest Rapid Rewards portal many readers bought physical and e-gift cards and received points for each.
Buy gift cards and upgrade
I have used Sears gift cards many times in Kmart and Sears to buy other gift cards. In the past I’ve bought BP cards and EBay cards, although I noticed recently that my local Kmart no longer carries EBay. Note the risk: some people have reported being unable to use gift cards in-store to buy other gift cards. Your success will depend on the policies and cashiers at your local Kmart or Sears store.
Double Dip for 20X
This is one of my favorite tricks which I’ve done successfully at Sears.com many times. The idea is to go through the portal once to buy gift cards (physical or email), then go through the portal again to use the gift cards for buying merchandise (no, you can’t buy gift cards with gift cards online). The net effect is that you end up earning 20 points per dollar for your purchases! The downside is that you won’t get purchase protection or extended warranty coverage that is given by many credit cards. Caution: one reader has stated that Chase revoked their points for a purchase made with gift cards. I’ve never had anything like that happen so my guess is that it was a one time fluke, but be prepared for the possibility.
Double dip, buy and sell merchandise. By finding deals at Sears.com for merchandise that can be easily resold via EBay, Amazon Marketplace, or Craigslist, you can potentially get Ultimate Rewards points at a very low cost. The idea is to first double dip (buy gift cards for 10X), then buy re-sellable merchandise with the gift cards (for another 10X). The last time Sears was at 10X in the Ultimate Rewards Mall, I earned almost 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points by doing this trick. See “Mileage Run Shopping: Buying 162,000 Miles for $500” and “Mileage Run Shopping Results.” In that adventure, due to the costs of buying and selling (taxes, merchant fees, shipping, etc.) I lost 17% of the money spent, but the points earned more than made up for that. If you are a member of Sears’ Shop Your Way Rewards program, you’ll earn 1% back in the form of Sears credit! Caution: many things can go wrong when buying and selling, so this option is not for everyone. You may have trouble finding buyers, you may find merchant fees and other costs to be higher than expected, buyers may return items that can no longer be sold as new, etc.
I find Ultimate Rewards points hugely valuable so I will definitely play the “buy and sell” game. I’ll follow up with tips about how to find re-sellable items as well as some of the dangers and headaches involved in reselling. I’m heading out for vacation today so I don’t have time to jump in yet, but when I’m ready I’ll probably target earning 120K points or so. That would mean purchasing and then spending $6K worth of gift cards. Luckily I have all month to get this done.
How about you? What are you going to do to leverage this deal?