Sears Quintuple Dip Results, and why I should have bet more on Discover

In December, I published “A fantabulous but risky quintuple dip.”  Those with Discover It cards that were enrolled in the Double Cashback promotion, had an amazing opportunity for Extreme Stacking. Sears Quintuple Dip At the time, all of the following deals could be stacked together into one mighty Sears Quintuple Dip:

My approach to the Sears Quintuple Dip

  • I clicked through the Discover Deals portal to Sears and bought Sears e-gift cards.  I bought 8 $100 gift cards and one $50 gift card.  I paid with my Discover It card.
  • I used all of my gift cards (plus some that I already owned) to buy items available for 100% back in points.  Some of the purchases were made through the Splender cash back portal (which was offering 7% cash back at the time).  Most were made through Discover Deals (which was offering 10% cash back at the time).  In many cases, I applied coupons so that I actually earned more than 100% back in points even after accounting for sales tax.
  • I used many (but not nearly all) of the earned Shop Your Way points to buy things I needed: clothes, shoes, household staples, and new car tires.  For each purchase made at Sears.com or Kmart.com, I first clicked through a portal.  Some of the purchases were through Splender.  Others were through the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping portal.

Sears Quintuple Dip Results

Now that I have my February Discover statement, I can confirm that almost everything worked as I hoped and expected:

  • I bought a total of $850 in Sears e-gift cards and expected $170 worth of promo e-gift cards.  Instead, I received only $150 worth.  If I had noticed this in December, I expect that I could have emailed Sears’ support to get the additional $20.  Still, for $850, I had $1,000 in Sears’ gift card credit – that’s not bad!
  • I paid the $850 with my Discover It card.  Thanks to the 4th quarter 5% Discover It bonus category (which included Department Stores), I earned 5% cash back for these purchases: $42.50.
  • By shopping for the gift cards through the Discover Deals portal (which was offering 10% back at Sears at the time), I earned $85 in Discover Cash.
  • When I clicked through Discover Deals and paid for merchandise with Sears’ gift cards, I correctly earned 10% cash back for the total merchandise price before taxes.
  • When I clicked through Splender and paid for merchandise with Sears’ gift cards, I correctly earned 7% cash back for the total merchandise price before taxes.
  • I earned the expected 100% back (or better) Shop Your Way Rewards points for each purchase.
  • When I clicked through Spender or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal and paid for merchandise with Sears’ Shop Your Way Rewards points, I correctly earned the amount of cash back or points expected, based on the total purchase price.

While I can’t yet confirm this, I expect that the Discover Cash Back earned will all be doubled at the end of my Double Cash Back 12 months.  Since I earned a total of $187.78 in Discover Cash Back, I should end up with a total of $375.56From Splender, I have a total of $98.74 that is either pending or now payable.  So, across the cash back portals, I expect to end up with $474.30 in cash back.  That’s more than half of my original spend!  And, that’s not all: of the items that I bought for 100% back in points, some were given away during the holidays, but many others have been sold through Fulfillment by Amazon.  I didn’t earn back anywhere near the items’ original purchase prices (nor did I expect to), but any return from those items is a net positive since I bought them primarily as a way to earn extra portal rewards.

Discover Deals all the way

At the time of this deal, Discover Deals was offering 10% cash back for Sears.  Combined with the Double Cash Back for 12 months deal (for those enrolled in it), that brought the payout for Sears up to 20%.  That was way better than any alternative portal.

So, why didn’t I make all purchases through Discover Deals?  In my prior post about this deal, I wrote the following:

  1. For Sears and Kmart, the Discover Deals list of exceptions includes “gift card purchases and redemption.”  In my recent tests, I have (after a very long wait) received email confirmations that I will receive Discover Cash Back for purchases of gift cards, purchases made with gift cards, and purchases made with SYW Rewards points.  So, it does not appear that these terms are being enforced, but they are more restrictive than most other portals which do not ban the use of gift cards.
  2. There is evidence that Discover sometimes claws back portal cash back when the Discover card is not used to pay for an order.  See: Quick Tip: Discover claws back portal purchases made with non-Discover cards.  This means that you could risk losing your rewards if you go through this portal and buy items with gift cards or with SYW Rewards points.
  3. The Discover Deals portal has been altogether flakey lately.  See: What’s the deal with Discover Deals?

In other words, I had good reasons for hedging my bets with other portals.  What if I had spent everything through Discover Deals though?  If the portal had worked for all purchases, and none had been clawed back, then:

  • $850 spend resulted in $1,000 in Sears’ gift cards and $127.50 Discover Cash Back (10% from portal + 5% from credit card).
  • $1,000 in gift card spend on 100% back in Shop Your Way rewards items would have resulted in ~$100 Discover Cash Back.
    (Since I actually earned more than 100% back in points, the total spend could have been higher than $1,000. That would have made up for the fact that the sales tax portion of the purchase does not earn rewards)
  • $1,000 spend on merchandise paying with Shop Your Way Rewards would have resulted in ~$100 Discover Cash Back
    (No sales tax is charged for items purchased entirely with points)

Total Discover Cash Back before doubling: $327.50

Total Discover Cash Back after doubling: $655

Final out of pocket cost for $1,000 worth of merchandise (car tires, etc.) plus $1,000 worth of 100% back in points items (apple charging cables, etc.): $850 – $655 = $195.  That’s ridiculous.  And, that’s why I should have chanced the Discover portal.

See also

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Sears fan
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Sears fan

I did a variation of this since I don’t trust the Discover portal most of the time. I bought everything via shopathome.com.

$400 OOP for the gift cards yielded:

$80 in bonus gift cards
$36 in ShopatHome portal dollars (9%)
Various Sears Products I valued at $75
About $50 in extra Sears points using coupons or promotions with 100% back in SYW Points
Another $15 from ShopatHome for these buys (rate dropped to about %4)

Shop at home did not cover Shop Your Way Pts so the item i actually wanted to buy did not get reimbursed.
I didn’t sell any of my bonus products but gave a few away as gifts and figure it saved me about $75

Overall not a bad quadruple dip that yielded $256 in cash and prizes back for $400 OOP Wished I’d tried the Discover deal but to be honest I’ve never had much luck with their portal and was skeptical the quintuple dip would work.

If I had to do it all over I probably would have done the same thing but really gone for the throat and bought myself a new set of kitchen appliances :).

Russ
Guest
Russ

New title: Helping Sears’ Marketers Exacerbate Their Quarterly Loss

http://www.forbes.com/sites/walterloeb/2016/02/15/quarterly-loss-says-sears-is-a-sinking-ship

This kind of multi-stage dip should not exist. You were right for doubting you’d get paid by Discover. Sears will either go out of business or get their act together and tighten up enforcement of their terms. Don’t be left stuck holding their GC’s, liquidate any stragglers asap.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Seriously, and fm thinks used car salesmen are shady. This is one ihg the shadows things I’ve ever heard of.

Max
Guest
Max

The timing of Sears going under will be determined by the “Maximum Pain” strategy, i.e. when the last doubting sucker joins in holding their bag. 😉

PG
Guest
PG

I bought $800 worth of Sears e-gift cards with my Discover It card. They coded the purchases as something other than dept store and didn’t give me the 5%,(Sears online, coded as online warehouse or some such). Is there a best way to contact them to request the cash back be applied?

yy
Guest
yy

Don’t bet more on Discover because many people’s cards got closed since last year with all cash back gone.

Kris
Guest
Kris

“Dear MY NAME,

On January 14, 2016, we sent a Discover Deals notification(s) stating, “Your recent purchase at Sears online earned you Cashback Bonus.” Unfortunately, this email was sent in error and the designated Cashback Bonus reward referred to in the email(s) will not be applied to your Discover account.

All Cashback Bonus from qualified purchases, including Sears online, will still be applied to your account within the regular time frames. Stay tuned for future email updates about your Cashback Bonus rewards earned through Discover Deals.

We sincerely apologize for any confusion the January 14, 2016 email(s) may have caused. If you have any questions, please call 1-800-DISCOVER (347-2683).”

That is the email I received on Feb 15th, stating that the emails I received on Jan 14th were errors. The cashback info in a bunch of emails on Jan 14th were tracked to my purchases on Dec 6th. Not sure if I should expect a significant negative cashback amount on my next statement. The online chat agent said there will be no clawback, just no more cashback would be credited. I saved the screenshot, but still, what should I do to the missing cashback from DiscoverDeals?

JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

I got 2 sets of tires outfitted on my cars in the fall and essentially paid 50% because of the various Discover/Sears deals. Then when their Apple Pay promo started they suddenly seemed to stop communicating the validation of your bonus. So I have responded in kind and stopped using the Discover except for toll booth pre-pays as I just got Too Damn Weary chasing the confirmation of my deals…………I’ll hang around for the annual bonus and then the cards will go in the sock drawer……….TOO DAMN BURDENSOME to deal with Discover…………..that’s my perspective from an already busy life…………

Dave
Guest
Dave

I dont get it. This has been going on for a good minute. Is Sears asleep at the wheel here? How do they keep dropping the ball on this? How many more idioms can i use before they get it together??

Wesley Jackson
Guest

As soon as they said you must use your Discover card I played it safe and got ONLY 20% after doubling, but guess who is a Platinum VIP member now. I also wrote about it on my blog. Did anyone pick up the tablets at 50% back in points? Those were my best deal.

jon
Guest
jon

I recently didn’t receive bonus points for several 100% points back purchases from sears/kmart, and they brought out a ‘2 per member clause” that definitely didn’t apply in the past. Anyone else run into this?

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[…] Sears Quintuple Dip Results, and why I should have bet more on Discover – Stacking a number of offers to achieve a significant savings at Sears. […]

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[…] contrary to some of the other discussion (and my own anecdotal experiences), Frequent Miler believes he should have bit bigger on Discover Deals. Still, it is hard to argue against a quintuple […]

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

So how many statements did it take for it to post? I used the discover deals portal for the Apple Store and 1 statement is down with no cash Back. How long should I wait?

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[…] “Sears and Kmart Extreme Stacking.”  For an extreme example of Extreme Stacking, please see: Sears Quintuple Dip Results, and why I should have bet more on Discover.  When Extreme Stacking is taken to extremes, it’s theoretically possible to get all of your […]

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[…] That’s just one simple example.  To see an extreme example of how I took advantage of overlapping deals in the past, please see: Sears Quintuple Dip Results, and why I should have bet more on Discover. […]

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[…] this realistic?  Is there any chance of this really working?  Well, I did even better last year on my way to buying a new set of car tires, clothes, and household stapl….  So, yeah, I think its worth a […]