Since I began blogging over 4 months ago, I’ve frequently written about variations of “double dip” opportunities in which you can earn points or miles for buying merchant gift cards, and then earn more points or miles for using the gift cards. This post will give you an overview of the current opportunities to double dip with Sears. Sears is a particularly good option for this trick since they sell such a huge range of products.
The Aadvantage eShopping mall is currently offering 10 points per dollar for Sears’ purchases. Theoretically you could go through this online mall to Sears to buy yourself gift cards (there is no tax or fee for the cards) and then go back through the mall to use those gift cards. By doing this, you would get 1 mile per dollar when using a miles earning credit card, and 20 miles per dollar from the Aadvantage eShopping mall. Aadvantage miles have a fair trading price of 1.56 cents each, so this would amount to a 32.76% rebate in the form of AA miles!
Unfortunately, the Aadvantage eShopping mall is notoriously bad about crediting purchases like these to your account. When I’ve written about similar deals in the past, I found that the only way readers were able to get miles was by emailing, calling, complaining, and stamping their feet. Even then, some haven’t yet received miles. So, go this route only if you’re willing to take on the fight!
Ultimate Rewards Mall
Several times in 2011, the Ultimate Rewards mall offered 10 points per dollar for Sears purchases. Unlike the Aadvantage eShopping mall, the Ultimate Rewards mall has been very good about crediting most purchases within a week or two. If you hold the Chase Sapphire, Chase Freedom, or Chase Ink Bold card you should have access to this mall. With the Chase Sapphire, points accrued through the mall are particularly valuable because the Sapphire will award you with a 7% annual bonus. So, by doing the double-dip at 10 points per dollar, you will get 1 point per dollar from your credit card, 20 points from the double dip, and 1.47 points from the annual bonus for a total of 22.47 points. At the fair trading price of 1.31 cents, this amounts to a 29.4% rebate in the form of points!
Unfortunately, the Ultimate Rewards mall is currently offering only 4 points per dollar if you log into your Sapphire or Ink Bold account, and 5 points per dollar if you log into your Freedom card account. Personally, I plan to wait until they (hopefully) bump the offer back up to 10X before I go this route again.
Ebates.com currently offers 6% cash back for Sears’ purchases. Theoretically, you could double dip and earn 12% cash back. I haven’t tried this and, frankly, I haven’t had great luck with EBates cash back offers so I don’t especially recommend this route.
Mix and Match
While I know that the Aadvantage eShopping mall is stingy with crediting miles for gift card purchases through Sears, it is quite possible/likely that they will award miles for purchases using gift cards. So, you can go through the Ultimate Rewards mall or EBates to buy gift cards and then go through the Aadvantage eShopping mall to use the gift cards. In this way you will earn 5 or 6 Ultimate Rewards points (or 6% cash back) and 10 AA miles. Based on fair trading prices, this amounts to approximately a 23% rebate.
My Experiment: I recently made a Sears purchase in the Aadvantage eShopping mall using gift cards I had bought earlier. Hopefully I’ll receive 10 points per dollar for this new purchase! I will report back later with results.
If you try any of the schemes listed above, make sure you are a member of Sears’ Shop Your Way Rewards program. With this program you will earn 1% back from your purchases (not counting purchases of gift cards) that can be applied to future purchases. If you make over $2500 of purchases you will become a Silver member and will be able to earn 5% back on certain days of the year. Bigger spenders can achieve Gold or Platinum status and earn even more.