What Can Families Buy to Get 21x at Sears?

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I wrote yesterday about a really good very limited time opportunity to earn up to 21x miles and points per dollar for purchases at Sears.  In order to get the full 21x you need both a co-branded United card in order to get 16x via the United MileagePlus Shopping portal (12x for non-cardholders) and you need a Chase Freedom that is registered for the 4th quarter 5x bonus of department stores (up to $1,500 max).  If you have both of those cards and shop via the United shopping portal and pay with the Freedom card then you are earning an insane 21x on purchases at Sears through today.  If you don’t have a Freedom card, you can still pay with any card that you want, that is just a good choice thanks to the 4th quarter 5x department store category.

Sears 16x Mommy Points

I know many people want to take advantage of this deal, but don’t know what Sears sells that they may actually need.  Truthfully it had been a while since I had shopped at Sears myself for anything beyond a grill or appliance, so I wasn’t even all that certain.  I spent some time yesterday doing some online shopping to see what I could buy for 21x that we actually need, and not for things that were extra purchases that we didn’t really need.  If you take advantage of this promo only to buy stuff you don’t really need then you likely are not coming out ahead. You can simply buy miles for cheaper than this if that is the sole goal.

While I won’t buy things we don’t need (and I also won’t buy stuff to re-sell as I don’t have the time for that game), I will buy things a bit ahead of schedule based on big mileage payouts.  For example, I have shoes for the next couple of sizes for Little C that I bought when some shoe retailers had some mega payouts.  It has been super handy to have things like that on hand during growth spurts!

To give you a couple ideas, here are a few things I found for sale at Sears.com that may be “needed” items for families:

Toys for Christmas/Hanukkah/Birthday/etc.

Many of the toys via the Marketplace resellers are massively overpriced ($100 for a My Little Pony?!), but the ones sold by Sears are regularly priced, so we picked up a few things for C and her cousins for Christmas.  Exciting things like Rescue Bot Transformers, a DVD, recycle trucks, etc.  We’ll hold all of these items back until December, and I am thrilled to have already now scratched a few things off the shopping list!

Sears Dump Truck

Keurig and Coffee Maker Supplies:

If you are a family that is not yet addicted to coffee I commend you.  For the rest of us, they had some coffee supplies for the Keurig we needed to restock on.  Not exciting, but functional.

Socks and Underwear:

If a member of your family is running low on socks and underwear, then this is a chance to stock up on those basics.  My husband seems to go through work socks at a record pace, so a few more are now headed his way.


They carry many different sheets and towels if it is time to replace some around your house.

Large and small appliances:

If you need something little like a toaster, a coffee maker, vacuum, a blender, or something big like a refrigerator, washer, or dryer, you are in luck.  Sears is pretty big on appliances!

The prices for the things I bought were similar to what other retailers were charging, but make sure to check for the items you are interested in.  I did use a coupon that was listed on the United MileagePlus Shopping portal for $5 off a $50 purchase (SEARS2013) and I earned Sears Shop Your Way Points.  You can also earn Plink points, but I haven’t taken the time to do that yet myself.

One thing I don’t recommend for most families is buying gift cards with no plans for what you want to eventually do with them.  The terms online do indicate that gift cards are eligible to earn miles (in recent history physical gift cards have earned points while e-gift cards did not), but I do not think it is a wise strategy for an everyday family to load up on Sears gift cards with no clue on how they will be  used.  I have heard too many stories of families still sitting on those gift cards years later, still not knowing what to do with them.

All in all we spent about $200 on birthday and Christmas presents, a few clothing basics, coffee supplies, etc.  That means we earned 3,200 United miles (actually a bit more if our e-gift card experiment worked) and 1,000 Ultimate Reward points for paying with the Freedom.  Not bad for some socks, underwear, and coffee supplies!

Did your family find anything useful at Sears?

This opportunity ends today, so don’t delay if you want to take advantage and remember go logged in via the United shopping portal!  Did your family find anything you needed at Sears?


Here are the terms for Sears purchases via the United MileagePlus Shopping Portal:

Not eligible on purchases made with coupon or discount codes that are not found on this site.  Only products with “Add to Cart” button are eligible.  Gift Cards eligible as of 10/4/13. Not eligible on Home Delivery Charges, Auto Services, PA and Installation, Master Protection Agreements, Take With, Protection Plans, Sears auctions, Landsend.com, PartsDirect, Sears Canada, Portrait, Craftsman, Kenmore or Outlet purchases. Sears Marketplace products with “Go to Site” button are not eligible. Not eligible on Sold by Kmart items or any other licensed partners. Any return, exchange or other adjustment made at a physical store location for an on-line purchase may result in your purchase being deemed ineligible.

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  1. Regarding sox for men, whether purchased at Sears or anywhere else: Find a pair that you like (keep the tag with the SKU), then go back and buy a dozen more pairs of the exact same type (same SKU).

    Donate all your other sox to Goodwill. Now you won’t have any orphan sox, and you won’t need to spend time pairing them up because all will be identical.

  2. Thank you MP. This post is very helpful to me as a mom trying to balance a family budget with efforts to maximise points earned. Kerp up the good work!

  3. Lively, very true!
    Miles, good thinking. 😉
    Susan, glad it helped! It is totally possible to balance a family budget while maximizing points earned, so keep it up!

  4. My husband is a big Craftsman tool fan. Seems the easy way to get around the Craftsman exception is to just buy gc and then later use those for the desired Christmas tools!

  5. I bought a set of tires, and paid for them with gift cards that I bought at an office supply store. I’m thinking about buying some gift cards for future purchases, but I’m still a little chicken that I won’t get points for the gift card purchases.

  6. I really am tempted to go all in with $1500. I like the idea of sock, underwear, etc. Then I may buy gc’s to equal $1500. My husband buys tools and he occasionally buys tires, etc.

  7. Scott, the terms say gift cards work and there is a very good track record with the physical gift cards. Nothing is guaranteed, but good chance you would be fine.
    Kathy, if you have the cash and know you will use it then go for it! My husband would love if I handed him a $1,500 Sears gift card for tools, but didn’t quite fit in the budget this month. 😉

  8. Choi, I don’t recommend buying gift cards without a plan of how you will spend them as I have heard too many stories of folks “stuck” with gift cards that bought during similar promos and they effectively wasted their money as they don’t need anything from that store. I also don’t recommend buying e-gift cards unless you are willing to take a gamble that they may not earn points. I bought a $50 e-gift card and then used it back in the portal mostly as an experiment, and I am okay if it works or doesn’t work.
    Clay, yes. 😉

  9. I plan on buying Sears physical gift cards and then using them this fall for Lands End purchases. I always buy lots of stuff online at Lands End every fall/winter and this will help!

  10. I don’t have the Chase Freedom card (next app-o-rama) but am happy with 16X on a new range, microwave, and fridge.

    Enough miles for one-way business Europe!

  11. With two birthdays and Christmas coming I tried to buy a bunch of toys, but found all of them a lot cheaper on Amazon. It’s 5X but the savings were far more significant. Oh well.

  12. MP,I want to try using the e-giftcard so off I went to MP Portal and search for Sears. The page came back with 16 miles/$
    Once i am in Sears portal but I do not see option to buy e-giftcards. Can you point it to the right direction?

  13. What really stinks about some of these promotions is that they only run for a day or two. I love to see that some folks jump on them and are able to take advantage of them and get the miles or points. How awesome! Today we looked at a piece of investment property. It will need light fixtures, paint, and possibly appliances and all to get it up and running. Ofcourse, we won’t know all of this until we make an offer, inspect it, etc. See why I wish this promotion would run atleast a week? I could get gc’s if I knew for sure that I could go in and find visa gift cards to buy in store if that property didn’t work out. Good luck to those who get in on this 🙂

  14. Tiara, when you are on the Sears website, right above the search bar it says “gift cards” and that should get you started if you click on that.
    Kathy, I wish it lasted longer! Hopefully something else good will come along!

  15. It looks like the terms have already changed when going to Sears.com through the MileagePlus Portal. The “Gift Cards eligible as of 10/4/13” portion is now gone when I just checked a few minutes ago even though I saw it there this morning. That didn’t take long.

  16. FYI, I just used the UA portal and my Freedom Visa to buy from Sears.com. Although SEARS2013 is listed as a coupon on the UA portal page, I could not get it to work. It claimed a better offer had already been applied.

    I had not applied any better offer so I don’t understand the message. Maybe it doesn’t work when coming from the UA site.

  17. Geet this – I go in last night to buy some stuff before the deadline. Everything goes through and I’m looking forward to the 21x miles. Then later in the night, Sears emails me and cancels part of my order, Water Filter for our fridge ($50) because it was out of stock at my local sears for pickup. They give me an option to reorder it with free shipping to my house. So when I go in, mind you I’m in CA, the bonus had dropped back down to 3x, and I had to click on the link in my email to reorder it with free shipping, couldn’t go through a portal. I’m thinking my reorder will not be included for the 16x because the deadline had passed? Grr I had a hard time sleeping last night, only fellow points enthusiasts can relate…

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