Why does this matters to engaged couples or newlyweds?
Choose your registry shops wisely! If you’re in the market for products carried at multiple vendors (Sears, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macy’s…) do you research and see if there are extra benefits at a given store. There is no harm in asking for gift cards and priority-shopping based on what you receive. Plus, this allows you to accumulate the benefits – your family and friends will probably get a kick out of your creativity!
If you’re buying appliances or outfitting a new home, read on to learn how our household earned VIP Status at Sears – you can, too. It’s a benefit that comes along for free, so use it or lose it!
Shop Your Way VIP Status
Since we aren’t homeowners, we don’t run into a lot of large expenses at Sears/Kmart (or other home improvement stores, for that matter.) It’s a good thing! But, it makes it really hard to reach the VIP tiers in their Shop Your Way Program. From the Shop Your Way site:
“To reach each level, there is a minimum annual spend.
- VIP Silver: $2,500.00 annual spend
- VIP Gold: $5,000.00 annual spend
- VIP Platinum: $10,000.00 annual spend
(Just so you know we define “annual spend” as Total Qualified Spending between January and December of a calendar year. Basically, it’s everything you spend on qualified purchases for the whole year).”
Reaching a $2,500 spend threshold seemed unattainable, given the scarcity of resale opportunities; Sears offers “Surprise Points” and discount coupons in their Deal Center, but the rules are convoluted and I usually give up my search. The folks over at SlickDeals have discussed the program at length in this thread, if you’d like more information.
However, our newest residence was lacking a washer and dryer. I ended up buying a more expensive set than I ever anticipated without a lot of sale shopping (gasp!) – but I anticipate getting around 20% back via the Discover Deals portal (purchased gift cards and received 5% back, which will double in a few months per last year’s awesome promotion…then redeemed gift cards again for 5% back which, too, will double. Should.) I’m starting to see the 5% earnings roll in, but I’m not going to hold my breath. We needed the darn things and we needed them right away.
After that, in mid-March, I started to think about accumulating another $1,000 in spend to reach the VIP Silver Status. Much like the Southwest Companion Pass, the status is valid for the remainder of the year plus the entire following year. Also from their site:
“You will be in your VIP level until December 31 of the following year, unless you advance to a higher level. VIP levels get reviewed every week, so in case you qualify for an upgrade, we’ll be checking. Also keep in mind, once you achieve VIP status, at the beginning of each subsequent calendar year your Total Qualified Spend will reset to zero and you will need to achieve the minimum spend requirements to re-qualify for VIP status the following year.”
So, even though I missed out on Quarter 1, I’d still be eligible for 7 of the 8 possible quarters. I’ll pretty much chase after any challenge that’s in front of me. As luck would have it, Sears is wrapping up their April Black Friday promotion (what?) tomorrow – I happened to find an item that I could sell on Amazon for a small profit, plus earned a handful of points to apply toward more household items we actually need (outfitting three bathrooms instead of one, for example, means more shelving and organizers.) While I won’t tell you exactly what I purchased, the Black Friday list isn’t too long! Even better, I put $1,000 on my shiny new American Express business card (it even says “Unveiled Savings” on it!) I’ll be 35,000 SPG points richer in no time!
How do you check your VIP Status?
What are the benefits?
Each quarter, VIPs get a “choice benefit” (among other benefits you can find here, such as two $4.99 oil changes w/tire rotations per year.) Some are “free,” such as the watches you see in the photo below. Others are 100% back in points – so the $200 set of pots and pans will earn 200,000 Shop Your Way Rewards points.
I’ll probably select the NutriBullet or the Keurig. I’ve sold these on Amazon in the past and know they move quickly. I might only get a fraction of the cash I spend, but it’s worth it. Here’s an easy example:
- Spend $125 on Keurig
- Receive $125 worth of Sears credit
- Sell Keurig for $75 in proceeds
- Redeem $125 worth of Sears credit for a second Keurig
- Sell Keurig for $75 in proceeds
In doing so, I’ll put $125 on my credit card (inching toward that SPG bonus!) I’ll come out at least $25 ahead. I’ll also get $125 toward my Gold Status (only $2,375 to go…) I’ll probably buy via Discover or another portal, earning me at least 5% back (another $6.25.)
If you’ve got gift cards that really were gifts, this is a great way to turn them into more cash than you started with!
Are you in the market for any of the items shown? Do you have VIP status?
I would be happy to sell you any of the items listed for the same amount I’d get from Amazon.
Leave a comment or email me!