Quadruple Dipping at Sears for up to 47% off everything, even sale stuff!

Warning: This is an advanced post, but don’t be scared! Just try to understand it step by step. The savings are worth the trouble!

A unique opportunity has presented itself for the next few days that I wanted to share with you. By combining the following, you can save up 31-45% off every single thing that Sears sells:

  1. Plink is having a sale until August 25, where for every $50 you spend at K-Mart, you get 600 Plink points which can be redeemed for $6 in Amazon.com gift certificates (or others). Sears.com gift card purchases get billed as K-Mart which works for this special.plink kmart I have used this site for the past few months and it has been reliable.
  2. AAdvantage Shopping through August 17, 2013 is offering 9 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent which also works if you order physical gift cards.aadvantage sears
  3. Once you get the gift cards, if you have a Discover It® Card (like the Discover It card we told you about last week), you can go back to Sears using the ShopDiscover Portal and get 10% cashback.discover sears
  4. You can get an additional 1-15% by signing up for sears Shop Your Way Rewards and shopping on the right day.  You can get 1% all the time, but if you are a VIP you can get up to 15% on one day a quarter.Shop Your Way Rewards VIP

For those people who aren’t really into this it might seem a bit confusing so here is an example.

Start at AAdvantageshopping.com and use the credit card you have registered with Plink to buy a $50 physical gift card.  You will get $50*9=450 AAdvantage Miles and 600 Plink points.

Then log into your ShopDiscover account and click back through to Sears to earn 10% on whatever you buy.  Assuming you buy something that is $50, you will get another $5 from Discover.  By putting your shopyourwayrewards number in when you purchase, you will get another 1%-15% depending on your VIP level.

So for every $50 gift card you buy, you will end up with:

  • 450 AAdvantage miles (worth at least $5)
  • 600 Plink points (worth $6)
  • $5 in Discover cashback
  • 1%-15% in ShopYourWayRewards points.

This adds up to 32-47% off anything Sears sells!

So if you wanted to buy a $1000 TV, you could buy twenty $50 gift cards in separate transactions and end up with 9000 AAdvantage miles, $120 worth of Plink Points, $100 in Discover Cashback, and $10-$150 in ShopYourWayRewards points.

Awesome, huh? Act fact though because this perfect storm only lasts until tomorrow.  You can replace Step 2 with the cashback from Discover though until August 25th if you would rather have cash than AAdvantage miles.

Feel free to comment if you have any questions and I will try to answer them!

Reader Question: Best Card for a Balance Transfer?

A reader contacted me recently and said while it is great that I am showing them how to get lots of miles with our Easy Quarter Million program , they had a $3000 balance that had been hanging around for too long making minimum payments!  They wanted to get rid of this balance before they could really focus on getting miles for their dream vacation. They weren’t paying a horrible interest rate, 12.9%, but it could be a lot better!  The $32 in interest that they were paying each month could be going to principal instead!

We have negotiated a special TWM link with Discover It for 0% for 18 months on balance transfers.  You can’t get this offer by going directly to their site.  This is the very best offer on the market right now for balance transfers.

Discover It also has no annual fee which is always important in addition to giving you a free FICO credit score every month right on your statement.  This means you can watch your score go up as you pay down your balance!  There is a 3% transfer fee, but that fee will be added to your balance and from that point on you will pay no interest for 18 months as long as you pay on time. This is great idea for anyone paying on a balance and the transfer will pay for itself quickly depending on your current interest rate. Here is a chart that shows you how quickly you will profit depending on how much your current interest rate is.

Current APR Months before profit after transfer fee
5% 7.2
10% 3.6
15% 2.4
20% 1.8
25% 1.4

So for most people as long as you aren’t going to pay the whole balance in the next 3 months it make sense to go ahead and transfer the balance to a 0% card.

Discover It is also one of the more lenient cards when it comes to past credit history so it makes sense to apply even if your credit isn’t 100% perfect or is still somewhat new.  The amount you save in interest can be a lot! Make sure to use my link to sign up by clicking here or on the banner above because the standard offer at the Discover site is only for 14 months instead of 18.

After you get the balance paid off, Discover It also has a great CashBack program that gives 5% cash back in rotating categories such as gas, home improvements, restaurants, and holiday shopping.  Their ShopDiscover shopping portal is also one of the most generous with 5-20% cash back.  I just used it today for a K-Mart purchase I made to get 10% cash back so it can really add up.

I hope this helps you get your balance paid down so you can focus on earning some miles!

Reader testimonial I received last month. This stuff works!

I got an unsolicited text message a while back from a friend I haven’t seen in a while.  I had no idea he was even following my site.  This made me so happy.   Check it out!

Awesome Text 1

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This could be you!  He followed my Credit Repair 101 article to get these results and you can too!  A good card if you are just starting out or are rebuilding you credit is the Discover It for Students card.  This might be even easier to get than the Chase Amazon Visa he received.  Once your credit gets good again, you can get the juicy Chase Sapphire Preferred card that we reviewed here.

What are you waiting for people, fix your credit, get the right cards, and let’s travel for free!?

Holiday shopping for miles and profit via online shopping portals!

You should be getting miles or cashback for every single purchase you make this holiday season.  There.  I said it.  If you play your cards right, you could get earn enough miles for a free vacation just by spending what you were going to spend anyways! Wouldn’t you rather get 10,000 miles for that LCD TV you are going to buy for $1000? Well, pay attention, because I’m going to write about four different ways to get miles or cashback today.  After that will go over some advanced ways to combine the options to really kick things into high gear!

  1. Miles Earning Credit or Debit Cards
  2. Cashback Credit Cards
  3. Online Shopping Portals for Miles
  4. Online Shopping Portals for Cashback

1. Miles Earning Credit or Debit Cards

This is one you should be familiar with if you have been reading this blog for a while. At a minimum you should be getting 1 mile or point per dollar spent. Almost every card on our Top Credit Cards page that lists miles or points as its type will give you this. You get miles for every dollar spent so you should be putting everything you buy on one of these credit cards (and then paying it off right away of course).  Some of my favorites are:

  • SPG American Express (25K sign on bonus) which gives 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent.  For hotel stays these are some of the most valuable points and I have been getting at least $0.05 per Starpoint when I redeem them for Cash and Points stays.
  • Amex Premier Rewards Gold (25K sign on bonus) which gives 1 Membership Rewards point for ever dollar spent. This are great because of the flexibility to be able to transfer to several different airlines and hotel programs.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K sign on bonus) which gives 1 Ultimate Rewards point for every dollar spent.  These points I would value even higher than the membership rewards points due to their flexibility via a higher number of transfer partners (airlines and hotels).

But you can do better than 1% a lot of times!  The Chase Freedom card gives 5X Ultimate Rewards points on Best Buy and Kohl purchases for example The Chase Ink Bold gives 5X UR Points on Office Supply purchases (OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples) so it can add up quickly on computers or tablet purchases.

Even if your credit needs work, you can still get 1 miles per dollar spent by using the Suntrust Delta Debit Card I wrote about.

2. Cashback Credit Cards

These cards don’t give you miles, but instead give you cold, hard cash.  I started with cash back, but realized that there is much better value in the miles cards if you want to travel the world.  Not everyone is the same though so cashback might be a better option if you hate to fly or something. Some of my favorites are:

  • Discover It Card: Up to 1% cashback on all purchases.  They have an additional bonus for the 4th quarter for 2012 of 5% at all online shopping and department stores up to $1500 in purchases which can be combined with shopping portal earnings.
  • Amex Business Simply Cash Card: 5% in Office Supply Stores, 1% at most other places.
  • OPEN Savings from Amex Business cards such as the SPG Business Amex: If you have a business Amex, their OPEN program gives you almost instantaneous cashback with a few key vendors.  The one that I have used multiple times is 10% back on purchases of $250 or more at Officemax.com.  It is only the total purchase amount that matters so gift cards, clearance items, and coupons all work in conjunction with this. Other choices are some Marriott properties, Hertz and Hyatt.

3. Online Shopping Portal for Miles.

This is where the big miles earning opportunities come into play.  The way this works is instead of going directly to a merchant, like for example, Homedepot.com, you would instead log into your shopping portal first then click on their link to Home Depot.  By the power of cookies the site can tell that you came from the shopping portal and the merchant gives the shopping portal a referral fee, that they rebate to you in the form of miles.

Some of these portals you can use any credit card you want, such at the Southwest Rapid Rewards Mall. I used this mall to get 189,000 miles by shopping earlier this year! Other examples are the American AAdvantage Shopping Mall, the United Mileage Plus Shopping Mall and the Delta Skymiles Mall.

One of the best malls that I have made hundreds of thousands of miles with is the Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall. Due to the flexibility of the Ultimate Rewards points, this is often my top choice for purchases even if another site has a slightly higher multiplier.

Some merchants even allow you to buy gift cards and get points, then to go back through and get points again on the gift card use.  I took advantage of this strategy at Sears when I got double dipped to maximize my miles and got a companion pass in the process.

Two great sites for comparing the miles (and cashback) are EVReward and Cashbackholic. You just have to put the store name in the search box and it will come up with an array of miles and cashback sites.  Keep in mind that when you redeem airline miles, you will often get at least $0.02 per mile and Hotel Points closer to $0.01 (except for Starpoints which I value around $0.03.)

4. Online Shopping Portal for Cashback.

This is even more simple than the miles portals.  You sign into the portal, then click through to the merchant and then get a % back in cash in usually 4-6 weeks, but it can sometimes be longer. EVReward and Cashbackholic are still the best spots to compare all of the options in one place.  My favorites for cashback are:

ShopDiscover: Has 10% for Groupon that I use all the time, and during the holiday season it bumps up the cash back on a lot of its sites to 3-4 times what everyone else is offering (think 15% instead of 5% cash back for instance). I make several hundred dollars per year just on Discover Cashback so with no annual fee, this card is staying in my wallet.

UPromise: Has a larger selection of stores than almost any portal and the tracking of your clicks is rock solid.  Even though it bills itself as cashback for education, there are several ways to get the cash back into your hands.

TopCashBack: This cashback site has some of the highest cashback out there, including a whopping 21% recently at Intercontinental Hotels. In my experience the points are a bit slow to post, but eventually it pays out as it should. I use Upromise if the rate is about the same, but will still use this site if it is the highest %.

Advanced Strategies.

Once you have the basics above down, you can combine them to find the best option.  When I got almost a quarter million Ultimate Rewards points and $1000 cash, I bought gift cards for 10X points using the Ultimate Rewards mall (from section 3) and my Chase Sapphire Preferred card for 1X points (from section 1) and then used those gift cards after clicking through UPromise for 5% cashback (section 4).

You can buy $500 Visa gift cards at OfficeMax or Office Depot getting 5X Ultimate Rewards points (from section 1) then go through Southwest’s Shopping Portal (from Section 2) to get 7X miles from Shoes.com

You can buy $1500 in gift cards at Sears.com on your Discover card getting 5% back on online shopping (from Section 1) using their ShopDiscover portal for 10% cashback (from Section 4) then use those gift cards through UPromise (from Section 4) for another 5%.  That is a whopping 20% off of anything total up to $1500 at Sears!

You can go through UPromise to OfficeMax.com (Section 4) to get 5% cashback then use your Amex with OPEN savings to pay for your purchase of $250 or more and get 10% back in a statement credit. (Section 2).  15% off any total at Officemax and that is after any coupons or sales!

Conclusion

If you can’t see the value after reading this article, then go back and read it again!  Or ask any questions that you have in the comments.

I have a Discover Card and maybe you should too!

Discover It is definitely not a card you hear a lot about in the points and miles game, but I have had one for a long time, and lately it has been making me a lot of money.  This card is definitely easier to get than some of the other cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or other premium cards so if you are still building (or rebuilding) your credit it isn’t a bad way to go. It doesn’t have any annual fee so it isn’t going to cost you anything to keep it year after year which helps both your credit utilization and your credit file age (which are both important factors for your credit score.)

But the reason that I use mine is their CashBack program.  The normal cashback is 1% but I don’t use it for that.  I use it for promotions they have for certain periods (such as their 5% Cashback Calendar) on things such as Restaurants, Gas, and Groceries.  They also have random promotions they give out like in my birthday month they gave $1 cash back for each transaction up to $10.  So I put 10 small transactions on the card when I was out shopping like $1 of gas or a pack of gum for an easy extra $10.

The best use for me has been their ShopDiscover online mall.  The way this works is that when you are shopping online, you first log onto your Discover account, then click on the ShopDiscover link.  Then you find the merchant you want to buy something from and use the link provided.  It sends you onto the store and you get a % of your purchase back in Cashback!  During the holidays ShopDiscover cranks up their cashback on many other of their merchants so keep an eye out. If you are looking for a great site to compare all the online shopping sites for a particular vendor, check out evreward.

And when you are ready to use your Cashback, you can either request a statement credit or check when you get at least $25 or you can use it towards any purchases on Amazon.com regardless of amount.  They also have gift cards you can get at a discount (like a $50 gift card for $45 for Applebees for example) that can give you an additional boost on redemption.

And the last (and best) reason might be if you have a high rate balance you are currently paying on on another card.  With their 18 month 0% interest rate balance transfer and purchase offer, it is a good way to get any balances you have paid down without any interest.  There is a 3% balance transfer fee, but if you have a balance on any other card that is at a high interest rate then the fee will usually pay for itself in 2 months or so.

So while there are definitely better travel cards out there since it doesn’t have a sign on bonus, this card deserves a place in your wallet.  Especially if your credit is just getting started, you have a high interest rate balance or if you are a groupon junkie like me. 🙂  If this sounds like a good match, Apply Today!