Month: January 2015

PayPal Extras MasterCard Special Offer

PayPal Extras MasterCard credit card is not really popular because of low value of reward points. And it’s capped at 50,000 pts (≤$500) annually. Click PayPal Extras MasterCard reviews to see details. I have a cardholder for a year, and I got to know that they occasionally send a special offer. I’m satisfied with the offers. They give you statement credit or e-gift card, so it has nothing to do with reward points. Even if you have earned 50,000 points, you can get these offers. Here are some examples:

paypal extras mastercard offerpaypal extras mastercard promo

You receive an email that has a link to activate the offer. You must activate the offer by clicking a link before you use the card. I was really surprised that there were four offers in December, 2014. I received new offers almost every week that month.

It’s much easier to redeem the offers than Amex Offers. Amex Offers are similar, using the card and receiving statement credit. But for PayPal offers, you can use the card to redeem the offers in any stores.

There is one minor problem. Unlike Amex Offers, you can’t tell if you redeem the offers properly until you receive statement credit. So, it’s better to keep a record. I decided to keep a record here in this blog. The following is the first offer I received in 2015:

paypal extras mastercard 1st offer 2015

It’s very easy! I’m going to buy $50 e-gift card on eBay. $20 statement credit is 40% back. I will also earn eBay Bucks and 2X reward points.

Credit of Chime Card Posted with Delay

Several days ago, I paid cell phone bill with Chime card to redeem the offer, “Get $5 instant cash back when you pay with your Chime Card.” I made an transation, but no credit was posted. And today, I see the credit posted in my account. If you don’t know about Chime, click here to see details of Chime Prepaid Card.

I use Boost Mobile. It’s prepaid phone. Every month, money is deducted from your account. By a due date, you need to add money (it’s called Reboost) with debit/credit cards, cash in-store, or by purchasing prepaid cards and redeem them online. Minimum amount for Reboost is $10. So, I paid $10 + tax with Chime card on January 18th. (read the post “Six Chime Offers for Your Cell Phone“)

From my experience, Chime credits were always posted at the same time as checkout. However, the credit wasn’t posted this time. I thought it was not a qualifying purchase and just gave up on the $5.

And today, I had a chance to redeem the other offer and glanced at the transaction history of my Chime card. Then I found that $5 credit for Reboost had been posted. I checked emails, but I couldn’t find “Chime Time! You just saved $xxx” email. So, I don’t know when it was posted.

credit of chime card posted in delay

It’s not really good manner because you can’t tell if a transaction you just made is qualified for the offer or not. But at least, it’s good to know that Chime credits are not always posted right away.

How to Save Money on Gas with Fuel Rewards Network

Fuel Reward Network (FRN) is a reward program. It is redeemable at Shell only, but you can earn FRN rewards in lots of places and various ways. FRN rewards are given in the form of cents-per-gallon. You can redeem for up to 20 gallons at the pump. For example, $0.35 in FRN reward can save up to $7.00 (=0.35*20.) The rewards you earn in different times and places will be combined in your account, and then you can redeem all at once. If you have lots of rewards, let’s say $5.00, you can use it and get 20 gallons of gas for almost free. Due to some kind of rules, you can’t make it completely free. You still have to pay a few cents per gallon. It’s free to join.

Ways to Earn FRN Rewards

Shop Online – FRN has an online shopping portal. Shopping through the portal lets you earn the rewards. The rates of reward vary by merchants. Basic rate is 5¢/gal on every $50 purchase, and it’s described as “1X.” Since 5¢/gal is worth up to $1.00 (=$0.05*20), “1X” is equivalent to 2% cash back. There are over 700 merchants. You may find your favorite merchants. However, the rates of most merchants are not as good as other major shopping portals, such as Befrugal, TopCashback. For that reason, I don’t buy through the FRN portal now.

American Express Gift Card – Sometime in 2014, FRN portal offered 2X on American Express Gift Card purchase. It was the best rate of all back then. One day, the offer was downgraded from 2X to 1X, and after a little while, it disappeared. It came back once and disappeared again. At the time of writing this article, The best offer for AmEx GCs is 1.5% cash back from Befrugal. If FRN offer for AmEx GCs returns, and even if it is 1X, I will buy through FRN portal because the rate is slightly better.

Dine Out – Link your credit/debit cards to FRN account. When you pay with them at participate restaurants, you will earn 10¢/gal for every $50 you spend. You don’t have to spend more than $50 in a single transaction. FRN track your expense and accumulate. Once it reaches $50, they give you the reward. If you have a credit card that offer bonus cash back or point for an expense at restaurants, link and use it. You can earn not only FRN rewards but also bonus rewards from your credit card.

Grocery Stores & Other Participants – You can earn FRN reward with your everyday purchases at participating grocery stores and other participants. Basically, the offer for a grocery store is 5¢/gal for every $50 you spend. But some stores and participants offer the reward differently. So, you should check what stores is FRN participants in your area and how they give you rewards. Even if you don’t find any stores in your area, you still can earn the rewards in other ways.

Promotions – There are always some promotions to earn additional rewards. Those rules vary, but most of them are MasterCard offers. When you use linked MasterCard in-store or online where a promotion is ongoing, you will earn additional rewards. I like MasterCard promotions because you could earn multiple rewards in a single transaction. For example, the promotion, “Earn 20¢/gal for every $100 you spend at Toys R Us,” 20¢/gal is already a great deal. It’s like 4% cash back. And you will earn credit card’s rewards, too. On the top of that, if you shop online, you will also earn the reward from shopping portals. You don’t have to use FRN shopping portal. As I mentioned, FRN shopping portal’s rate isn’t great. offers only 1X (=2% back.) If you shop through Upromise, you will earn 5% cash back. As long as you use linked MasterCard, you earn FRN rewards even when you shop through any shopping portals.

3¢ FRN Member Rewards

Even when there is no reward in your account, you will get 3¢/gal discount with the FRN card. If you have $0.01, $0.04/gal is available. If you have $0.02, $0.05/gal. If you have $0.03 or more, you will redeem the same amount you have. This offer plans to end in December, 2015.

Sign Up Bonus

Sign up through this link. You will earn 20¢/gal bonus after you first use an FRN card to fill up at Shell or earn the first FRN reward through the programs. Offer ends on March 1, 2015.

Six Chime Offers for Your Cell Phone

There are currently 6 Chime offers for your cell phone. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Boost Mobile, and Metro PCS. All of them offer $5 store credit. This type of offers don’t require minimum spending. When you spend $5, $5 will be back to your Chime account. If you don’t know about Chime, click here to see details.

six chime offer for your cell phone

I use Boost Mobile. You can pay monthly payment online with debit or credit cards. You can also purchase prepaid cards (called “Reboost” cards) in stores or online and then add money to your account at

First, I tried to add $5, but the amount have to be between $10 and $200. So, I typed $10 and proceeded. On the next page, it showed that I would be charged sales tax. They always charge sale tax. What you buy a Reboost card in stores, such as Staples and Target, it’s also subject to sales tax. Basically, you have to pay sales tax for Reboost, except for this way.

reboost with chime

I paid the total $10 + tax. I expected an instant notification from Chime that tells me I earned $5 credit. However, the notification I received was that simply I paid $10.89, and there is no $5 credit. It seems that “Reboost” is not a qualified spending for Chime Offer.

reboost with chime2

Similar thing happened to the offer for Best Buy. It was “$5 back when you spend $50 or more.” First, I purchased an E-gift card, but there is no credit. Then I checked out a physical gift card. And I instantly received $5 credit.

best buy e gift card no chime credit

I hope Chime would make detailed terms and condition of each offer.

My First Discover Deals Experience

ShopDiscover now Discover Deals

On January 8th, ShopDiscover became Discover Deals. Discover Deals also combined Discover Extra with it. My first impression was that it was a little hard to navigate in the website pages. But I will get used to it. My first purchase through Discover Deals was It’s 5% cash back now. Several days ago, it was 10%. It seems that it was a promotion for the holiday. Since sometime in 2014, ShopDiscover stopped displaying promotions clearly. It used to be like that picture below.

additional bonus at shopdiscover

You were able to see clearly that a promotion was ongoing and which merchant offers additional 5% cash back. I think Discover Deals still offer the same types of promotions, but they don’t show clearly. So, you will need to pay attention. I expect the next one will be Valentine promotion, and it will start in a few weeks.

Terms and conditions of cash back seem the same. I was worried that they would get strict about a type of payment. ShopDiscover paid cash back even when I used other credit card or merchant gift card for purchases. My first transaction after January 8th was at I used GCs, and two days later, I received email from Discover that informs I earned cash back. So, I believe that it’s OK with Discover Deals. I think that changes are only a name and design of web pages.

In fact, the statement of my Discover card, which closed on November 11th, 2014, already shows “DDEALS #% CCB – merchant name + $####.” I used merchant gift cards for all transactions, and they paid cash back anyway.

The statements of my Discover card says, “DDEALS 10% CCB – SEARS” since November. However, now you can’t find SEARS in a list of Discover Deals. Come to think of it, some merchants had “Discover Deals” tag or frame for the last few months in ShopDiscover pages. I don’t remember how they were for all merchants, but I do remember Kmart had the tag and Sears didn’t. It’s not a big problem, though. I found 5% cash back at ShopAtHome. And depending on categories you are going to purchase, TopCashback offers up to 7% cash back on Sears purchases.

One more thing. I had expected that Target would come back to the list on this occasion. But, it didn’t come back. ShopDiscover’s offer for Target was so special that I longed for its coming back. However, it seems that Target was not temporarily removed from the list but permanently.

Discover Extra was merged into Discover Deals. There are other types of deals you can browse, “Statement Credit” and “Instant Saving.” I checked all of them, but I can’t find anything interest to me. I guess these types of deals require you to use Discover card for the transactions.

It’s kind of disappointing that Sears is no longer partner. That’s about it. The changes are not much impact on me. And I hope Discover Deals will continue to offer an additional 5% cash back of a seasonal promotion. (Valentine next?)

You need to be a card holder to use Discover Deals. My card is Discover it. In addition to an access to Discover Deals, it offers 5% rotating category. Please click here to see details of Discover it card.

Maximize the Benefit of Sears Credit Card

sears credit cardSears credit cards, including Sears MasterCard and Sears Store Card, are issued by Citibank. Sears MasterCard can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. Sears Store card is used at Sears or Kmart. Neither of them has an annual fee. Although Sears MC can be used outside of Sears or Kmart, they don’t give you any points or rewards. Sears CC gives you the benefit on the purchase at Sears and Kmart only.

The basic benefit of Sears CC is that you earn extra 1X base point (of Shop Your Way Rewards) on Sears purchases, extra 4X base point on Kmart purchases when you pay with the cards. Base point is worth 1% of the price of an item, and you can earn it with any type of payment except for SYWR point redemption. So, extra 1X base point on Sears purchase isn’t great at all. If you use your reward credit card, you still earn SYWR base point and 1% or more cash back from credit card. How about Kmart? Extra 4X sounds good. But, you can find around 10% discounted Sears/Kmart gift cards. If you buy GCs and pay with them, you still earn SYWR base point. And you had already got around 10% discount when you bought GCs.

So far, you may not see any benefits of Sears CC. And you don’t know the reason to apply although there is no annual fee. However, I will tell you in advance. If you purchase at Sears (not Kmart), especially online, you’d better have one of these cards. You may not actually use the card. But, it’s important to have the card. I will explain.

Instead of Kmart’s extra 4X, Sears offers 5% discount on selected items when you pay with Sears CC. These items are found in all categories. For my business, I purchase a lot of items in Tools category. Most of the items in Tools category I buy are eligible for 5% discount. The point is that 5%-discount is applied on your purchase even when you pay with GCs.

sears credit card discount

It’s easy to do. If you set your Sears CC as a default payment method, 5%-discount will automatically apply on eligible items. If you don’t see the discount, proceed checkout. And choose Sears CC as payment method. (You may need to enter 3-digit security code.) And then click “Review Order.” After making sure that the discount appears, go back to the Payment page and choose GC and enter GC numbers. Now, you can place an order, but it’s better to review the order again.

It doesn’t matter if you partially or fully pay with GCs. The discount is reflected on a list price of items. It also works with SYWR point redemption. Let’s say you have enough points to pay the entire amount of your purchase. After you make the discount show up, go back to the Payment page and redeem points. Review an order to make sure that everything looks good, and then place an order.

You should click through shopping portal sites on every online order at Sears and Kmart. Surprisingly, portals don’t see the 5%-discount or SYWR point redemption. It means that cash back is reflected upon a price before the discount. Even when you entirely pay with SYWR points, you still earn cash back from portals.

And, it may work in store purchases. But you have to tell a cashier that you will use Sears CC. Then a cashier presses a button on a register and rings up 5% discounted price. There is one problem, though. Unlike online orders, you can’t tell if items are eligible for 5% discount.

What about Kmart? Kmart offers 5% back in SYWR point when you pay with Sears CC. Let’s try. 5% in points stay even after GCs are applied. But, when you review the order, points are reduced from 5% to 1%. And don’t bother to place an order without reviewing. It won’t work.You will earn only 1%. For Kmart, you can get 5% back only when you use Sears CC. However, some items at are marked “Sold by Sears.” These items may be eligible for 5%-discount, and you may use the strategy.

On some holiday season, Sears CC offers 10% back in point on up to $500 Sears purchases. Except the period of this promotion, I don’t actually pay with my Sears CC. Sears CC doesn’t have many promotions. But, it’s a great benefit that just having the card qualifies 5% discount on selected items. If you often buy products at Sears, you should apply for one.

The Benefits of Shop Your Way MAX

shop your way maxShop Your Way MAX is an annual paid membership program for Shop Your Way Rewards (SYWR) members. SYWR is free loyalty rewards program for Sears and Kmart shoppers. SYW MAX offers free shipping on many items at and But, large or bulky items are excluded. Items that cost less than $10 are MAXELIGIBLE. They don’t qualify for free shipping by themselves, but they do when total purchase is $30 or more. Depending on items, they send them either 2-day or standard shipping. You can upgrade standard shipping to 2-day shipping for 99¢ and next-day shipping for $3.99. Annual membership fee is only $39. A few years ago, I was $79. It’s a great reduction.

90 Days of Free Trial

They offer 90 days of a free trial. You don’t need to tell them your credit card info. You can just use the program for 90 days. You may think that it’s better to use a free trial for the full 90 days. However, depending how often you shop online, you should pay $39 and become a MAX member as soon as possible. That is because of extra benefits you will get as a MAX member.

Benefits of SYW MAX

In addition to getting free shipping, you will get more benefits when you become a member. One of them is that base points of SYWR will double. When you buy at Sears or Kmart, you earn SYWR points, 10 points on every dollar. 10 points are worth 1¢. So, it is like a 1% cash back. After you become a MAX member, base points will be double on all purchases. It is like a 2% cash back.

Another benefit is that they just give you 3000 points (=$3) on the beginning of every month. It makes the membership fee only $3 in last month of annual membership. Please note that these points expire in 14 days. You need to redeem them within the first 14 days of each month.

During 90 days of a free trial, you don’t get these benefits. If you purchase something online at least once a month, it’s better to pay the annual fee as soon as possible and get the full of MAX benefits.


There are some reasons you should be a MAX member. First of all, $39 of an annual fee is relatively cheap. Without being a MAX member, Sears and Kmart still offer free shipping on the total purchase of $59 or more (as of 2015.) However, the benefit will give you back more than a membership fee in the form of SYW points. (Free 3000 points (=$3) every month & double base points on all purchases.)

Shop Your Way Rewards Review

shop your way rewardsSears or Kmart are probably not offering the cheapest price when you compare with the other major department stores. However, Sears and Kmart’s common loyalty program called Shop Your Way Rewards (SYWR) is a great program for giving you back in store credit called SYWR points. You will be able to use SYWR points for future purchases at Sears and Kmart. It is free to join. When you take a full advantage of it, SYWR has a potential to beat the best price of other stores.


Earn 10 points on every dollar you spend on qualifying purchases. The purchase of gift cards is not eligible for earning points. 1000 points is worth $1. So, it is 1% back in store credit.

Double or 5X base points with Sears credit card

You can easily double or 5X the base point by paying with Sear credit card or joining Shop Your Way Max (SYW Max.) Sears MasterCard and Sear store card (Sears CCs), these credit card’s benefits are almost the same. One of the benefits is that paying with Sears CCs doubles base points on Sears purchases, multiplies base points by five on Kmart purchases. (it’s like 2% back on Sears, 5% back on Kmart purchases.)

Double base points by joining Shop Your Way MAX

Sears and Kmart offer a free-shipping program called Shop Your Way Max (SYW MAX.) Most of the items are eligible for free shipping. Some large or bulky items are excluded. Once you become a member, base points you earn will be double. As of 2014, an annual membership fee of SYW Max is $39. But somehow, they just give you free 3000 points ($3) every month. $3 x 12 months =$36 will be back in points!

You will receive bonus points from both Sears CC and SYW MAX in the same transaction. For example, if you are a member of SYW MAX and buy $100 merchandise with Sear CC at Kmart, base points will be 1000. And bonus points for using Kmart CC will be 4000. Plus, bonus points for being SYM MAX will be 1000. Total points you earn on this purchase will be 6000 (=$6.) It’s like 6% cash back.


Basically, there are two types of coupons, “Discount” and “Point.” It’s simple. You can get discount with “Discount” coupons, so you will pay less. With “Point” coupons, you pay the same price, but you will receive bonus points. Coupons have restrictions to apply. Some coupons can apply to items in a specific category, some coupons can’t apply to clearance, sale items, etc. It is important to review your order before placing an order. Online, on the final page, there is “Review Order” button right next to “Place Order Now” button. Check the price and the details of SYWR points to see if a coupon is applied. In store, you can load coupons to your SYWR account and then purchase in store. Coupons may apply automatically. To make sure of it, you have to ask a cashier before paying. If you think it’s bothersome or shameful, you’d better avoid purchasing in store.

VIP Status

There are three VIP status, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. To obtain VIP status, you will have to spend $2500 for VIP Silver, $5000 for VIP Gold, and $10,000 for VIP Platinum in a calendar year. The purchase of gift cards and SYWR point redemption are not qualified spending for VIP status. Your account will be automatically upgraded when your total spending reaches each minimum spending requirement. Once you obtain VIP status, you will keep the status until the end of the following year. If you spend $2500/$5000/$10000 in the following year, you will be in VIP Silver/Gold/Platinum next year. Total qualified spending for VIP status resets to zero on December 31. For example, if you spend $6000 in total in 2014, you will be VIP Gold until the end of 2015. And if you don’t spend more than $2500 in 2015, you will be no longer VIP in 2016.

Benefits of VIPs

Here are the basic benefits of VIP Status

  • You automatically receive 20% in Points on all computer accessories
  • Exclusive VIP Member offers throughout the year.
  • Enjoy a 5%/10%/15% points special bonus day each quarter. (Silver/Gold/Platinum)
  • Treat yourself to 5%/10%/15% points on all qualifying purchases during your birthday month. (Silver/Gold/Platinum)
  • $4.99 oil change with free tire rotation at Sears Auto Centers twice/3 times/4 times a year. (Silver/Gold/Platinum)

The higher VIP status is, the more points you can earn on special bonus days and in your birthday month. Please note that in order to receive 5%/10%/15% points, you need to load a coupon that is sent to you by email and apply it at checkout. You can use the same coupon many times during the promotion period. Special bonus day is only one day long, but you can use a birthday coupon over and over during your birthday month!

VIP member always gets more. Here are other useful coupons.

  • Get $10 back in points (10,000 points) when you spend $50
  • Get $20 back in points (20,000 points) when you spend $75

I don’t know the requirement to receive these coupons, but they send me every 2 or 3 weeks. And, unlike regular coupons, VIP coupons (above two, special bonus day, and birthday month coupons) can be applied to almost all items.


This is a new one. I believe it just started in 2014. Here is how it works. You can select one of the exclusive offers. And then you will receive VIP CHOICE Benefits certificate by email. Print for in-store purchase or load and apply at checkout for online purchase. It sounds like the same as VIP coupons, but the offers are so special, such as 100% back in points when you purchase Dell Laptop Model# xxx or $40 back in points when you spend $50 or more in apparel at Kmart.

I don’t how many times a year they release new offers. According to their website, they say, “CHOICE Benefits change seasonally.” They also say, “CHOICE Benefits are limited in quantity, so choose your favorite today before it’s gone!” That is true. Popular offers become all taken very quickly. You will receive an email when the next VIP CHOICE release date is close. Visit the VIP CHOICE page on a release date and choose your favorite. You don’t have to check out at that moment, but just click and claim your benefits so you can get it later.

How to Become VIP effectively

Since the purchase of gift cards are not qualified spending for becoming VIP, I don’t think there is a special easy way to obtain VIP status. However, there are items that help you obtain VIP status. SYWR program offers a lot of points when you purchase some items. There is always something. You can find in their websites. Look for a link “Member Exclusive” or “ShopYourWay Exclusive.”

sywr member exclusiveFor example, Kmart sells this headphone for $12.50, and SYWR gives you $10 back in points. The base point is 125 points. If you are a MAX member, you will get another 125 points. And if you pay with Sears CCs, you will get 125 x 4 = 500 points. Plus, let’s say you clicked a link of shopping portal site that offers 10% cash back. The cash back will be $1.25. So, you pay $12.50 + tax and earn $12 in points and cash back. If you use Sears gift cards instead of credit cards, it could be a better result. You can easily find their gift cards with around 10% discount. When you use the gift card for the purchase, you may as well get $1.25 discount in advance. You won’t receive 500 point, but will receive base points and MAX bonus (125+125 points.) The total of cash back and points will be $12.75! (And don’t forget that headphone is yours!)

Redeem Points

You can redeem your points both in-store and online. You can’t redeem for the purchase of gift cards. In-store, you will need a PIN to redeem more than 10000 points ($10). You can choose any amount in 10 (points) increments. Point redemption is applied pre-tax total. So, if you pay the whole amount with points, there is no sale tax. Please remember you should click through a shopping portal site on every purchase. It doesn’t matter if you redeem points partially or fully, portal sites use list prices to calculate the cash back.

When you pay the whole amount with points, you earn zero points. If you buy lots of “Member Exclusive” items (such as the headphone’s example above), you may have lots of points and probably want to redeem them. Let’s say you buy another headphone. To earn $10 bonus in points, you will need to pay at least $10 out of your pocket. So, redeem 2500 points and pay $10 + tax with GCs or CC. Again, shopping portal sites use $12.50 to calculate the cash back. If a portal site offers 10% cash back, you earn $1.25 no matter how many points you redeem.

Please note that SYWR points have expiration dates. They are various. In general, base points and MAX or Sears CC bonus are valid for one year. Points earned through promotions and by using coupons are valid for 90 days from the date you earned them. And some points are valid for much shorter period. You can check the expiration date of your point at

sywr points details


I think Shop Your Way Rewards is the best loyalty rewards program because of the volume of points you can earn. None of other programs don’t give you back that much. Some “Member Exclusive” items give you back enough points to make items virtually free. It is fun to buy only those items over and over. And you may obtain VIP status before you know it. And the benefits of VIP makes the program even greater!