How I Made My First Million

Shop Your Way Rewards

You probably guessed it, I’m not a real millionaire, but I was a Sears millionaire, that is I earned over a million Shop Your Way Rewards points (SYWR).  The currency is 1,000 to 1, so this is how I made over $1000 in rewards.

The backstory

I earned my first points in August 2015 when we moved into a new condo and needed a refrigerator, washer, and dryer.  Sears frequently had sales and their prices were generally a bit lower than other stores.  Don’t worry, it gets better.  Using my Discover card I was able to get 10% back through the Discover Deals portal, which will be 20% after doubling at the end of my first year.  In addition, Shop Your Way is a program through Sears that offers points back on purchases through coupons and other promotions.  I used a coupon for $25 and 10% back in points.  The $2800 purchase became $2240 with 305,000 in SYWR ($305 value at Sears or Kmart).  This means I saved over $800 which is fantastic for my first Sears purchase.

A seed is planted 

I thought this was such a great deal and now had $305 to use a Sears.  Since I didn’t need anything, I naturally found some items that I could resell.  After selling them I realized that I ended up with more than $305 and again had some left over SYWR.  Since I was profiting, I continued the cycle and by the end of the year I hit platinum status.  More recently my sales are down to a trickle as the Discover portal is at 5% and others may have discovered that Sears is cheaper than Amazon for tools.

The program

SYWR was created by Sears to try to generate customer loyalty.  Sears also owns Kmart so points can be spent and earned there as well.  There are additional ways to earn points through their partners such as Nike, Gap, Budget, and many more as well as promotional deals.  If you remember me saying I used Pure Talk it was actually because I got rewarded for doing so.  I paid $15 for the phone and $5 for service for 3 months and received $100 worth of SYWR.  As you can see there are many ways to earn, but if you are uncomfortable reselling or have no use for Sears/Kmart products you could probably avoid SYWR.

Becoming a millionaire

So back to the million, how did I get there when you usually get 2% back in points on purchases?  Well, the secret is in the bonuses earned through promotions and coupons.  Sears will have some crazy deals, so crazy you question how long they will be in business.  The deal that made me a millionaire was when Sears was offering 50% back in points on tablet purchases.  I bought a dozen.  They were full price and taxed so I didn’t make 50% profit but closer to 20%.  It was was fun opening them, offloading them, and becoming a millionaire.

 Shop Your Way VIP status

Sears really rewards high rollers like me with VIP status.  After $2,500 in spending you get Silver status, $5,000 for Gold, and $10,000 for Platinum.  Every quarter there is a bonus you are awarded based on status, the higher your status the more valuable the award choices are.  Recently I chose a pressure washer which I sold for $130.  You don’t need to chase the status, but it is an additional perk.

Sears’ health

Remember what I said about questioning Sears’ health because of their deals?  The company’s health is a serious concern as your points could become worthless if they go bankrupt, so I tend to spend them quickly after receiving them.  I am conflicted how to view myself.  On one hand I am a fantastic customer who spends thousands on merchandise, especially Craftsman which is a Sears brand.  On the other hand I am getting such good deals I feel that I am leading them to slaughter.  Hopefully Sears can figure it out, maybe they can make a move toward fewer stores with a greater online presence which would be fine with me because I can get everything delivered.

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