Do you love getting rewards for shopping?
The Shop Your Way Rewards program allows you to do just that, but there is so much more to the program than some measly points on each purchase. So fasten your safety belts and keep your hands inside the compartment, because once you learn how to maximize your points it’s a wild money saving ride.
Understanding Shop Your Way Rewards
On its face the Shop Your Way (SYW) program is pretty simple. You make purchases at any of the stores that are part of the Sears Holding Corporation and receive 1% cash back in the form of points.
The points stay on your account until you decide to use them. The varying stores can look up your account using your phone number and they can apply your points to any purchase. This includes sale items and clearance.
Ways to earn
- Shopping – the most obvious, but you need to know which store give and accept the points. The stores include: Sears, KMart, Lands’ End, MyGofer, Sears Auto Centers, Sears Grand, Sears Hardware, Sears Home Appliance Showroom, Sears Home Services, Sears Hometown Stores, and Sears Outlet.
- Online Portal – ShopYourWay.com is actually an online portal where you can purchase items. This gives you extra points if you click through there.
- Link Your Credit Card – Just like using the online portal, if you link your credit card to your Shop Your Way account you can get points by shopping at participating partners. You can see the whole list on the SYW website but the amusing partners to me were: Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy. This means you can shop at KMart and sears competitors and then go use the rewards.
There are three main categories of Membership in the SYW program:
- Base Member – You get this level just for signing up to the program. You get your 1% and pretty much nothing else.
- Bonus Member – Fill out your information and include your cell phone number and email address and you move up to a bonus member. Bonus members get surprise points offers and bonus points offers (covered below). You want these so fill out the info.
- VIP Member – There are actually three levels of VIP status that are based on your spending for the year. You reach silver level when you spend $2500, Gold when you spend $5000, and Platinum when you hit $10000 of spending. I have yet to hit any of these levels and still get amazing deals at all the stores. if you do a lot of shopping then the perks of these membership levels are worth going for, but I wouldn’t overspend just to reach the VIP level. You can see all the extra perks of being a VIP HERE. The one really cool one is they give you coupons for $4.99 oil changes.
Bonus points are offers that come to your email that have very specific parameters. They usually come as a result of signing up for something new at one of the many stores in Sears Holdings (SHLD).
Surprise points are magical points that just appear in your SWY account. You have to be signed up as a Bonus Member to get them and they are why it is completely worth it to give Shop Your Way your email. 99% of the time these points can only be used at the main line Sears and KMart stores. They can frequently be used with clearance and sale items and are a great way to boost your savings. My most recent one was $10 off a $20 purchase and that worked on sale and clearance items.
Multiple surprise points offers do not typically work together and you have to guess which offer will trigger first. In my experience usually the best offer does trigger but you should pay attention. The surprise points do work with your normal rewards points.
You should get an email for your surprise points but they frequently get sent to junk. The best way to check is to log into your account and go to the surprise points section. I do this about once a week.
Shop Your Way MAX
This is a free shipping program similar to Amazon Prime. It is $39 a year and gives you free two day shipping. On top of that you get double base points (2% back instead of 1%) and $3 in point every month to use during the first two weeks. You can check it out and get a free 90-Day trial before making the purchase.
SIGN UP HERE for the Shop Your Way Rewards Program
Hacks to the System
There are several things you need to know to maximize your points. By doing these you will have a better chance to roll over points from one purchase to the next.
- Never Use Points to Pay the Whole Bill – I know this seems crazy coming from a guy nicknamed The Saving Freak, but you should never pay your whole bill with your Shop Your Way points. This is because if you do the system will not reward you with points on the current purchase.
- Gift Cards – Shop Your Way attaches to a credit card. Link your SYW account to a rewards credit card. Now when you buy a gift card do it from a partner store like Target (who has a ton of different gift cards you can purchase). So now, instead of getting just the rewards credit card cash back, we also get an additional 1% in SYW rewards. If you do this at Macy’s you can get both SYW and Plenti points
- Shop For Small Stuff – If you need something small stop in at KMart instead of the other big boxes. This is because each shopping trip is an extra chance to get surprise points. There is almost no difference in price on most items. Last time I stopped at KMart I got $7 off Men’s clothing.
Triple Dip Your Rewards at KMart
That’s right I said triple dip. Here is the real kicker with KMart, they are a part of three different rewards programs. Since this article is a review of Shop Your Way Rewards, that is the obvious one. What is amazing is that KMart also participates in the Plenti Points program from American Express, and the Fuel Rewards Network. Whenever you purchase anything from the grocery section of your KMart store you should get rewards from all three of these programs.
I will be the first to tell you that getting Fuel Rewards and Plenti hooked up to your Shop Your Way account is a real pain in the backside. It has taken me more than five tries on each one to get it right, but once you have it all synced up you get a magical mix of three rewards programs at once. Throw in a cash back credit card that specializes on Groceries and you could be getting as much as 8% cash back.
How I use Shop Your Way Points
I like to roll my points. That means I wait for the right bonus offer to come around where I can use my points to make a purchase that generates more SYW rewards points. If you partner that philosophy with the three hacks above you can really maximize your savings. To give you an example. I just used my surprise points and rewards points to purchase two pairs of jeans for my four year old for $4.50. I then received my $7 off Men’s clothing coupon and a couple of other offers that didn’t apply to me.
Overall Shop Your Way Rewards has become one of my favorite programs and has saved my family a ton of money on purchases for stuff we really need.