September 17, 2012
Every now and then I’m terribly jealous of Freedom cardholders. This is one of those times…
As I reported earlier (see “Ultimate Rewards Mall September Edition”), for the month of September, Chase is offering 10 points per dollar at Sears to Freedom cardholders who shop through the Ultimate Rewards Mall. Last month, they offered the same deal to Ink and Sapphire cardholders. One of the great things about this is that it’s possible to double-dip with this offer: buy Sears gift cards for 10X, and then go through the mall a second time to use those gift cards for another 10X. Please see “Sears 10X: Leveraging the Deal” for more details about how to take advantage of this great opportunity (note that that post was written last month for Ink and Sapphire cardholders, but the same tricks apply for the Freedom card).
The waiting game
Historically, when shopping through the Ultimate Rewards Mall I’ve usually seen points post within about a week (see “Ultimate Rewards Mall: When and where do points post?”). However, points from Sears for large purchases have been taking much longer lately. My assumption is that large purchases go through some sore of manual verification process before points are awarded. In August, I made 6 Sears orders (two were purchases of gift cards and four were purchases using gift cards). Three of the orders were under $1000 and all three posted within 5 days. Of the orders larger than $1000, two took about 3 weeks to post, and I’m still waiting for the third order that was placed on August 31. I’ve heard many similar stories from readers. Personally, I plan to wait 4 weeks before I worry (too much) about the points.
In case you don’t know how to see whether points post, please read “Ultimate Rewards Mall: When and where do points post?”
Can one really get points when using a gift card?
There are two issues here: whether the merchant awards points for gift card purchases, and whether Chase awards points for purchases made without your Chase card. In the first case, yes, Sears is known to award points for both purchases of gift cards and purchases made with gift cards. Not all merchants do the same. To see which merchants this works with and which it doesn’t, please take a look at the Frequent Miler Laboratory. As to whether you can get points in the Ultimate Rewards Mall when making a purchase without a Chase card, the answer from experience is unequivocally yes. The answer most Chase representatives will give you, though, is “no”. They are wrong. Trust me. For more, see “Ultimate Rewards Mall T&C,” and “Ultimate Question.”
Will points really post?
There are many things that can go wrong when using a shopping portal. Before making large purchases, please read my post “How to ensure your portal points.” Ultimately, if your points don’t post, you’re at the mercy of Chase’s support team. If you purchase gift cards using your Freedom card, then you should have no problem getting Chase to credit your points since they will be able to see the transaction on your account. For purchases made with other cards or with gift cards, you will have more trouble. Many agents will refuse to help, but you may be lucky enough to find one willing to credit your points. I’ve known people to call Chase 6 or 7 times before finally getting awarded courtesy points. When this happened to me (months ago), it took me only two calls to get a friendly agent.
Some readers write in to me in frustration. They say they’ve followed all of the above advice, but still haven’t received any points (or haven’t received all of the points they are due). This is a real risk with all shopping portal deals. Consider this risk before jumping in.
Yes, I plan to get the Freedom card eventually. There are just so darn many great Chase cards…