Published on October 9th, 2015 | by Chuck19
Discover Deals Adds Gift Card Exclusion for Sears, Joins Other Portals
Gift Cards at Sears
We’ve written about the fantastic opportunity to make purchases from Sears and double dipping through a shopping portal by purchasing Sears gift cards and then using those to make the purchase. This is especially lucrative when Discover is offering 5% back on Sears due to a category bonus, see 10% Back on Sears Purchases Through Discover Deals, Double-Cash, & How to Maximize.
A while back, the Cartera portals – United, Southwest, AAdvantage, Delta – updated their terms to exclude gift card purchases from earning portal cashback. Discover also added an exclusion against gift card redemption.
Discover has now added an exclusion against the purchase of gift cards for Sears and Kmart. (HT: Paul)
This is terrible news since purchasing Sears gift cards at 30% discount (10% + 10% + 5% + 5%) was really an awesome deal.
List of Major Portals
- Discover Deals Excludes both purchase and redemption of gift cards
- Topcashback Explicitly includes the purchase of gift cards but excludes the redemption
- Befrugal Excludes the purchase of gift cards but does not exclude the redemption
- Ebates Doesn’t exclude either purchase or redemption of gift cards
- Shopathome Excludes gift card redemptions. Gift card purchases should be okay and worked for me
- Upromise Excludes gift card redemptions. Gift card purchases should be fine
- Southwest, United, Delta, AAdvantage (All Cartera Portals) Exclude the purchase of gift cards and purchases made using SYW points, but does not exclude the redemption of gift cards
Is it actually enforced?
The big question remains if these terms are actually enforced. When the Cartera portals added the gift card exclusion, FrequentMiler did some testing and concluded that the tracking is all coming through fine (with the exception of one purchase made with SYW points at Kmart).
Since the Cartera portals are working for gift card purchases despite the terms, and since other portals still clearly allow gift card purchases, it appears more likely that Discover just doesn’t like these gift cards purchases and wants to stop them but nothing actually changed in the internals of the system. Of course, we’ll have to wait for confirmations to come in on this to know for sure. I recommend checking out FrequentMiler’s Laboratory for updated results.
The biggest impact this will have, in any case, is that it will make purchasing Sears gift cards more risky; in the event something goes wrong with the portal tracking, you won’t be able to file a claim with Discover.
Update: One data point in the comments on FrequentMiler is indicating that the gift card purchase exclusion is being enforced while the gift card redemption exclusion is not being enforced. We’ll have to wait to hear more data points on this.