December 10, 2011
Once again Sears is offering 10 Aadvatage miles per dollar through the Aadvantage eShopping Mall. Read on to find out why I’m staying away.
Several readers have pointed out that the Aadvantage eShopping Mall is now offering 10 points per dollar for Sears’ purchases. The mall also has a special where you can earn up to 1,000 bonus miles by spending $1000. The question that people have asked is whether the “double dip” I’ve written so much about would work here as it does with the Ultimate Rewards Mall. That is, could you go through the Aadvantage eShopping Mall to buy Sears’ gift cards and then go back through the mall to purchase items in order to effectively get 20 points per dollar and get the bonus 1000 miles? Read below for three answers (yes, I’m feeling generous tonight so I’ll give you three answers for the price of one!):
Answer 1: Yes, the terms and conditions allow it.
If you read the terms and conditions, it looks like the purchase of Sears gift cards would work. It says (in a backwards way) that items with the “Add to Cart” button are eligible. And, I can tell you (from lots of experience) that gift cards do have an “add to cart” button. Here are the listed terms:
“Not eligible on Sears auctions, Landsend.com, PartsDirect, Craftsman, Kenmore or Outlet purchases. Sears Marketplace products with “Go to Site” button and services are not eligible. Only products with “Add to Cart” button are eligible. Great Indoors & Kmart products are eligible. Kmart orders will be listed as a Kmart.com purchase with a Kmart.com reward.”
Also, note that there is no text to exclude the use of gift cards. So, technically, the double dip should work.
Please read on, though, if you’re thinking of doing it!
Answer 2: No, history tells us it won’t work.
Back in September, the Aadvantage eShopping Mall offered the same 10 points per dollar for Sears and so I wrote a post saying that you can “Buy American Airlines Miles for less than 1.6 cents each. No limit.” In that post I suggested buying Sears gift cards through the Aadvantage mall and then reselling them at a loss. In return, you would get enough AA miles that the result would be that you would have paid 1.6 cents per mile. Well, it sounded good, but no-one who tried it reported receiving any miles… including me. Some of us are still fighting that battle, so I don’t know how it will turn out in the long run, but I’m pretty sure that you don’t want to join the battle by buying gift cards in this way!
Another thing to point out is that the mall is specifically setup to send you to GiftCertificates.com if you want to buy gift cards. Take a look at the tab shown below. If you click on “Online” you see the 10 points per dollar offer, but if you click on “Gift Cards” you see a 3 point per dollar offer. If you then click on “Shop Now” you are taken not to Sears, but to GiftCertificates.com.
Click “Online” and you see this:
Click “Gift Cards” and you see this. Click on “Shop Now” and you are taken to GiftCertificates.com
Answer 3: Yes, you can double dip, but not the way you thought
I’m pretty sure that the Aadvantage eShopping Mall will give you points for purchases made for things other than gift cards at Sears. You should be able to use gift cards to make those purchases. If I’m right, then you can double dip by buying gift cards not in the Aadvantage mall, but in the Ultimate Rewards mall at 6 points per dollar and then use them in the Aadvantage Shopping Mall at 10 miles per dollar. In that way, you’ll effectively get 16 miles per dollar. If you make $1000 of purchases, you’ll get another 1000 miles thanks to the current promotion. And, don’t forget that you’ll also get miles from using your credit card to buy the gift cards. So, in total, you can get about 18 miles per dollar for $1000 in purchases. A potential downside to this is that your miles will be in two different programs and Ultimate Rewards points don’t transfer to AA miles.
If you really want to earn just AA miles, you might want to double dip by buying gift cards at GiftCertificates.com for 3 miles per dollar and then use the gift certificates for 10 miles per dollar. However, GiftCertificates.com charges a $2.95 service fee for gift cards! So, the extra 3 miles you would get here come at a cost. To me, the added cost plus complexity of the double dip is not worth the extra 3 miles.
The double dip I describe above in Answer 3 is untested. I would only recommend trying it if you have Sears’ purchases to make anyway and you highly value AA miles. Otherwise, stick with the Ultimate Rewards double dip which is pretty well proven (I’ve done it several times). Right now you can get 12 points per dollar in the Ultimate Rewards mall by double dipping. Or, better yet, wait until the 10 point offer comes back so that you can get 20 points per dollar with the double dip. I’ll be surprised if we don’t see that offer again in early 2012.