Home Improvement Gift Card = Vanilla Reload?

Here is the anticipated trick I promise to share. A few of you emailed me in the last few days and I thought why not sharing with the world so that we and our families can travel more for less

Here is the background about the Home Improvement Gift Card from Frequent Miler who discovered and introduced that to us

The big deal about this card is that you can double dip or triple dip at Sears and Lowe’s. In his post, he didn’t specify how to convert Home Improvement Gift Card into “Cash”.

The key is the ability to convert Sears Gift Card into Visa Gift Card at Sears/Sears Grand Stores

Here is the math that we are talking about

1. Go to Office Depot to buy $500 Home Improvement gift card with your Chase Ink credit card (earn 2,500 Ultimate Reward Points)

2. Go through online shopping portals to buy Sears physical gift card paying with Home Improvement card. At the moment Ultimate Reward is giving 4 points/$ and US Airways portal is giving 6 points/$ (this will become AA points soon so rack it up people)

    • Sears put $1 hold on your Home Improvement card therefore you can order a maximum amount of $499 from your $500 card
    • Remember to buy Sears physical gift card to earn points – electronic card might not earn points
    • This trick will give you either 1,996 Ultimate Reward points or 2,994 US Airways points

3. Go to Sears store to buy Visa/Amex/Master gift cards with Sears physical gift cards. Instruction is in this post. This will depend on your hard work and your luck since some Sears stores don’t sell Visa gift cards or don’t let you buy them with Sears gift card. I believe with hard work, you will be able to find your gold mine

    • Sears sell $100 Visa gift card with $5.95 fees
    • I don’t think you earn Shop Your Way Award (Sears loyalty program) points with Visa gift card purchase. But feel free to prove me wrong

4. Buying $500 Visa gift cards at Sears will cost $30 but will give you 2,500 Ultimate Rewards + 3,000 US Airways points. Assuming these two points are the same, cost per point = .54 cent/point

How to get your money out:

5. According to this thread on Flyertalk,  it seems like from 04-01-2013, you can create a PIN with your Visa/Master gift card and use it to load Blue Bird at Walmart for $1000 free per day or $5000 free per month. Or you can use Visa/Master gift cards to buy money order with PIN at many grocery stores or USPS stores

    •  This is huge since there is no cost involving cashing out Visa/Master gift card for $5,000 per month

6. Use Amazon payment to liquidate $1,000 of Visa gift cards per month for free. Alternatively, use American Express at Target to load a $1,000 at a time for $3 fees.

    • $3 per reload in-store
    • $3 per ATM withdrawal after the first free withdrawal each month.  Note that ATM owner fees apply as well.
    • Number of cards: Each person is allowed up to two cards.  Only one may be purchased in a day.
    • Maximum balance: $2500 per card
    • ATM withdrawals: Limited to $400 per day
    • You can load up to $5,000 per month (potentially $10,000 per month)

You can also buy Vanilla Reload at Valero, Dollar General and Family Dollar with Visa Gift Cards

Some parting words, I love this trick because you can earn a lot of miles with less manufactured spending. Right now, you earn 11 points/$ however when Sear award 10 points/$, it will become 15 points/$. I try not to manufacture spend more than $10k per month so that the banks won’t ever question my income and ability to cover bills.

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14 thoughts on “Home Improvement Gift Card = Vanilla Reload?

  1. Have you actually bought VR from Valero or the dollar stores with Visa GC? They all say debit or cash by me.

    • I just saw Daraius’s post on it this morning. If only OD still sold the $500 GCs we’d all be golden! Or if Chase would do grocery stores as a bonus category for Freedom but they’re not this year. Or if the Home Improvement card were like this it would be better than VR.

      • I updated my post, The Home Improvement card will work out very well with new PIN gift card. Since now you can do all of the things I suggest and then reload everything into Blue Bird at Walmart
        I actually figure out another way to cut cost as low as $500 GC at Office Depot, I will publish it soon too

      • If Sears sold $500 Visa/MC GC instead of only $100 GC it would be less hassle and less fees. But if the HI card had a PIN we could cut out buying the GC from Sears and just load BB at WM for free.

      • Ha ha yeah that would make the point and mile game a no-brainer. I am happy at the moment with .54 cent per mile though. I also just went to Walmart to load my Blue Bird and Master GC works perfectly

  2. does kmart have visa gift cards? i think u can use sears gc at kmart. have u had a chance to go on any trips lately w/ all ur miles? i just see u posting about getting miles and none about spending. lol.

    • yes, you can use Sears GC at Kmart. There is no Kmart within 100 miles from my house for me to use though.
      I actually have been on a lot of trips recently, I just stop writing about trips and feel like I am better at points earning scheme then. In two weeks I will go to Hawaii thanks to an airline loophole so I am pretty excited

  3. Does still work? I tried entering the improvement card but it won’t accept it. Thanks. Btw I am entering the card at sears.com to purchase a gift card.

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