No Mega Deal at Kohls


In a prior post I wrote about a few strange things in the Chase Ultimate Reward mall having to do with Kohls. I speculated that it might be possible to double dip at Kohls by buying Kohls gift cards through the mall and then using those gift cards to buy merchandise through the mall. In that way, I suggested it might be possible to double your Ultimate Rewards earnings for Kohls purchases. I also pointed out that Kohls was advertising a special holiday deal in which they would give 10 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar, but only on November 21. The weird thing about that was that they were already giving 10 points per dollar. So, I wondered if maybe on November 21 they would give even more?

Since I wrote the post, a few things have changed. First, I still haven’t received any points from buying a Kohls gift card. The Ultimate Rewards mall is usually quick with these things, so I’m ready to throw in the towel on that one. Also, while Kohls used to show up in the list of stores for which you can buy gift cards through the Ultimate Rewards mall, as of today they do not:

a screenshot of a gift card

Another change is that they no longer say “Only Nov 21” for the holiday promotion. They’ve changed the text to “Nov 21 – Dec 31 EARN 10 EXTRA POINTS”. This is still confusing since the current rate is already 10 extra points, but I think it’s enough evidence to suggest that 10 points is the highest they’ll go:

a white price tag with black text

Oh well. Ten Ultimate Rewards points per dollar is still quite valuable, so it’s still a good deal, but it’s not the mega deal I was hoping for. Sigh.

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Hii I’m Nico
I like this place


“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.”
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[…] back through the mall to use the gift cards and in that way earn points twice. Later, in the post No Mega Deal at Kohls, I posted evidence that I was wrong on both counts: double dipping wouldn’t work and Kohls […]


lol No problem, blogger in training? I posted a few details in your new post as well, to help clarify as well as straighten out the rewards posting time (better than I put down above). Now if I could come up with a PPM that is less manual!

[…] In the comment section of a separate post, reader Steelsnow described a working perpetual point machine (PPM). The following are Steelsnow’s words quoted exactly with the exception that I’ve expanded a few acronyms and abbreviations: So here’s a slow but working Perpetual Point Machine…. All the Staples items in this have been well tested and documented on SlickDeals (posted bvph is terrific at the details), I am just adding the hypothetical points twist with Ultimate Rewards (UR) Mall and the gift cards. […]


So here’s a slow but working PPM…. All the Staples items in this have been well tested and documented on SD (posted bvph is terrific at the details), I am just adding the hypothetical points twist with UR Mall and the gift cards.

Join Staples Rewards (Office Max & Office Depot have similar points programs and could be used for this at their points rates).

First, going through UR Mall, purchase Staples gift cards, earn 5 total points/$1.

Check Staples ads for items with 100% rewards – they are usually posted weekly on SD as well – these items (Sharpies, post-its, reams of paper, occasionally other better items too) earn 100% of their cost in rewards points.

Going through UR Mall, purchase 100% rewards items, making sure to enter your member #. Earn 4 more UR points from mall, and 100% of purchase cost will be earned in Staples rewards.

Staples rewards are paid out quarterly, the time lapses are the weak point of this PPM. So a purchase now would not result in a Staples rewards check until January, etc…

When rewards check is received, check Staples ads for software that is free after rebate(s). You have 90 days to use the rewards $’s, but it has been reported that there has not been a problem finding the software deals in the past. Big news as of yesterday was that rewards checks are currently allowed to buy gift cards while they are available.

Purchase FAR software with Staples rewards $’s. Submit rebates and keep a copy of rebate documentation.

When the rebate check is received, your $’s will be back to the beginning. In the process (if the gift card portion works), you earn 9 UR points per $1, a whole bunch of free office supplies, and free computer software. Downside is that with rewards cycles and rebate turnarounds, this is likely a 6 month cycle. Otherwise it would be (and is) a working PPM model….


Steelsnow: thanks for writing my day’s post for me!!!


Free after rebate. Staples often has software on sale that could be purchased with the Staples giftcards, and then you’d submit for the rebate and get the cash back (ala, they had Peachtree accounting software FAR last month, purchase price was somewhere around $119 with rebates back making it free) while earning the UR points. A few folks on slickdeals were even making a few bucks then selling the software on craigslist….


Steelsnow: Thanks for that info. Yep, I can see how Free after Rebate offers can be lucrative!


And then you could rinse, wash & repeat for $.012 a point. Another take would be to use Staples gift cards to buy FAR software deals and use them to convert back to cash…. No fees but the long lag time for the rebates, and limited to the possible amount of FAR software available.


What are FAR software deals?


Good to hear your Kohl’s gift card purchase posted, too bad the listing for it is no more… It was a pretty nice find since it worked even with the conflicting language on UR Mall. I am guessing you will be testing #2 (if you haven’t already)
by making a Kohl’s purchase with the gift card thru UR Mall.

Good point on the Visa gift cards as well. I saw them on there and was thinking about it – those do change the game around meeting minimum spend as well. Most of the mile blogs have the AMEX gift card + 1.6% back + fee through Big Crumbs posted as a prime way to meet spend. With this v
Visa card, some problems are solved… Such as you can use an AMEX card now to purchase these Visa gift cards without an AMEX flag going up – the purchase will show up as Staples! Still have the extra fee per card added on, but with these you can use them anywhere Visa is good (wider than AMEX). I did see a few people note that the gift cards through Staples might only be available thru Christmas though….


Steelsnow: Yep, I’ll go online shopping at Kohls soon. Regarding the Visa gift cards, yes exactly — nice analysis. I would add that we might be able to get UR points from buying the Visa cards which depending on how much you value UR points can more than recover the 5.95% fee (on a $100 card). Another option is to buy the Staples Visa cards through Big Crumbs for 3.2% back so that the cost of buying them is down to 2.75% (which coincidentally is the same % that Square charges).


UPDATE: My Nov 1st purchase of a $50 Kohls paper gift card, posted to my Ultimate Rewards account yesterday! I am 500 UR points richer! Next test: what happens when I use the gift card through the UR mall? Will the double dip work after all?


It does look like that Staples did add gift cards to their site today, and included in the available ones are gift cards for Kohls.

According to the UR Mall fine print, it looks like gift card purchases at Staples are eligible for the 4 points per $ from Staples. Kohl’s does allow gift cards to be used through UR for purchases. This would conceivably kick up the points to 1 (card spend) + 4 (Staples gift card purchase) + 10 (Kohl’s purchase)… Sweetens the pot to 15 points per $1 spend for now, plus the current Kohl’s cash $10 for $50 offer and the other % off code(s) around (must be under 15% discount per UR fine print to earn UR points).



Steelsnow: Very clever! We need to do some experiments to see if this really works: 1) test whether purchasing gift cards via Staples gives extra UR points as advertised; 2) test whether using Kohls gift cards through the UR mall really results in extra points they we know it does with Sears. Luckily the Kohls 10 points per dollar will last at least until the end of the year so there is some time to work this out.

Aside from this particular Kohls scheme, I’m intrigued that Staples allows purchases of non-Staples gift cards (including a Visa gift card!) through their online store. Most online stores I’ve looked at don’t allow that. There might be a Staples PPM on the horizon… 🙂