Sears gift cards and the mysterious case of changing terms and conditions

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Sears has been offering amazing bonuses through shopping portals recently.  First they offered up to 16 miles per dollar through the MileagePlus Shopping portal, and now they’re offering 12 miles per dollar through the AAdvantage eShopping portal.  Here are links to some of my posts regarding these deals:

Each promotion has been quick: the first ran for two days, and the second runs for 3.  In either case, there wasn’t enough time to double dip by buying Sears physical gift cards and then using them through the portal for the same promotion.  But there has been enough time to buy and use e-gift cards.  The question of the day has been “will we earn points when purchasing e-gift cards?”

A year ago, the answer was “yes”.  Sears was the most reliable double dip opportunity that I was aware of.  But then they added a new clause to their portal terms and conditions: “Not eligible on gift cards“.  Since then, buying physical gift cards still resulted in points, but buying e-gift cards did not.

Then, a few days ago, Mommy Points noticed new text in the Terms & Conditions.  Instead of saying “not eligible on gift cards”, the terms said: “Gift Cards eligible as of 10/4/13.”  I took that to mean that, most likely, e-gift cards would earn points.

Then, the night before last, the terms changed again.  The statement “Gift Cards eligible as of 10/4/13” had disappeared.  I wasn’t too worried, though, because they had not put back the old text saying gift cards were excluded.  So, yesterday morning I wrote that there was still a chance of getting points for e-gift cards.

Then, sometime yesterday during the day, the terms changed again!  They have added a new, ominous sentence: “Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents.”  Uh oh. 

What’s going on?

Obviously someone deliberately had added the text about gift cards being eligible as of 10/4/13.  Was that an error that they corrected by removing that sentence and then adding a new one?  Or, did they allow gift cards for a little while before deciding it was a bad idea?  Or, does the system still allow gift cards, but don’t want people to know about it?  I have no idea.

As portal results from our recent bouts of Sears’ shopping start to trickle in over the next week or so, we’ll hopefully find out the truth of how the portal works with Sears regardless of what the terms & conditions say. For now, I’m much less confident than before that e-gift card purchases will pay out.  My best guess is that physical gift card purchases will pay out, but I’m unsure even on that point.  Of course, I’ll report back once we know more.

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