Sears Offers 10% Bonus To People Who Convert Stimulus Checks Into Gift Cards

Sears is pretty desperate for that stimulus check money. They’re offering a 10% bonus to anyone who converts their stimulus check into a Sears Gift Card.

Customers can present their checks at a cash register at Sears and Kmart to convert it into a gift card at the full value of the check, and to receive a bonus gift card worth 10% of the check.

The cards can be redeemed at any Sears, Kmart or Lands’ End retail stores, as well as and, Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears (SHLD, Fortune 500) said.

The promotion is scheduled to last between May 14 and July 19. The gift cards have no expiration and no fees.

Sears representative Kirsten Whipple said details for shoppers who elect to receive the fiscal-stimulus check by direct deposit are still being worked out, but they will likely be able to register online to receive a coupon to bring to stores.

Does this tempt you? Or will your rebate check go towards paying off some debt?

Sears offers bonus to stimulus check shoppers [CNNMoney]


Edit Your Comment

  1. bloodhound96 says:

    After that reading about that fiasco with the 1000 dollars never being returned, I don’t want sears withing shouting distance of my stimulus check.

  2. Norcross says:

    Too much debt to be buying anything, but that’s not a bad idea….if it were anyone else but Sears.

  3. Tonguetied says:

    Overall not a bad plan for a store wanting to build up their business. I’m not tempted because Sears’ markup is greater than the 10% and there are no K-Marts near me any more (not that those tempt me too much either). All in all though I’ll either spread the wealth to more than one store or I’ll pay off the debt on my credit card…

  4. petrarch1608 says:

    gift cards seem like a pretty poor investment right now, unless you’re already planning on a big ticket item at sears.

  5. jmschn says:

    Great marketing idea and im sure some people will jump on it.

  6. Mr. Gunn says:

    Wow, gain 10% and lose 100%? Sounds like a great deal!

  7. ianmac47 says:

    Sounds like a desperate attempt to not go bankrupt, which would make the whole gift card worthless, assuming that you don’t consider a gift card to sears worthless anyway. Besides, isn’t all that money going to buy Federal Savings bonds anyway?

  8. azntg says:

    Tempting indeed. I’ll give them my stimulus money so that they can go bankrupt the following day and I’ll never see my money again.

    Nice one, Sears!

  9. Buran says:

    @azntg: And get shitty service at the same time!

  10. warf0x0r says:

    Why don’t they just have a 10% off sale during that period. They’d probably get more business.

  11. crabbyman6 says:

    I’ve gotta hand it to them, this is a great idea on Sears’ part. They tempt people with ease and a little bonus to spend that “free money” in a non cash refundable way. Nothing can part me from my free money, but this is a great idea in any case. I wonder if anyone else will do something similar.

  12. IphtashuFitz says:

    I wonder what the total percentage of hidden fees is on Sears gift cards these days…

  13. Bladefist says:

    not a bad idea. this was the purpose for the stimulus check, to spend it. Although obviously you can do whatever you want with it. Basically they are giving you 10%, and that is an awesome deal if you are planning to use it on appliances, or stuff like that. I know this place breeds sears haters, but I rise above the politics and get a good deal. I use companies for my benefits, and typically dont ban going to them out of principal.

    @Mr. Gunn: you must have done amazing in all your math classes.

  14. huadpe says:

    @Bladefist-미국사람: Well, he’s not wrong in saying you lose something in buying the gift card. Gift cards are less valuable than money, because you’re limited in where you can use them.

    Also, Sears is in very real danger of going bankrupt, which would cause you to lose all your money that was tied up in gift cards.

  15. parliboy says:

    @Bladefist-미국사람: This isn’t a bad deal, IF I can get the gift card on-site. But given consumer protection under bankruptcy law, and given Sears’ currently tenuous state, I really can’t see myself doing this.

    Now, I don’t have a problem with Sears in general. The last time I made a semi-major purchase from them (about $300), the upcharge was actually moot, because the person on duty was willing to pricematch the best price I could find around town. Didn’t even ask to see an ad — I just told them and she said, “OK, we’ll do that price”. Earned brownie points, it did.

    But since I put the odds of a bankruptcy declaration next year at over 10%, it doesn’t make since to invest money for a 10% return, unless I can spend it immediately.

  16. Bladefist says:

    @huadpe: if you go and get a gift card, and leave the store w/o using it, then you deserve to lose it lol.

  17. Bladefist says:

    @parliboy: I must have not communicated that well. I would highly recommend using the whole sum of the gift card, in that 1 sitting. Have them price match, then use your 10%, then add a few extra dollars, and write bush a thank you note for the free refrigerator.

  18. silver-spork says:

    No chance – Roth IRA all the way.

  19. Coder4Life says:

    It’s desperate but a good idea for someone that is looking to spend some money there…

    someone is offering you a 10% instant reward and you guys are bitching..

    Does anything make you people happy?

  20. dripdrop says:

    If you were in the market for new appliances or something similar, this might not be a bad idea.

  21. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I have debt I will pay instead (the check should cover 90%), but with a 10% bonus gift cards don’t seem quite so evil, if it weren’t a company circling the drain.

  22. littlemoose says:

    If I needed a new washing machine or dishwasher, I’d be all about this. But I don’t, so I’ll just be saving my check instead. I agree with the folks above, if you get a gift card this way, use it up right away!

  23. moe1upyours says:

    gift cards are 60 bucks if your single……..130 if your married.

  24. dmolavi says:

    this could work out to a shopper’s advantage, if they have a big-ticket item that’s on sale (and they belong to the craftsman club if it’s a tool item).

    that being said, i’m using mine to pay off debt, specifically, home improvement debt. no, i don’t count new tools as home improvement :)

  25. prameta1 says:

    don’t pay off your personal consumer debts with those checks you stupid deadbeats! that money isn’t there for you to convert your credit card debt into a new national debt. go buy a new microwave, go buy some new shoes, go spend that money out there in the economy. go buy american-made products with it. do you want a recession?

    this isn’t “your money” to do “anything you want with it”. do you know what a disaster it would be if every moron put his stimulus check towards his dumb wife’s visa balance?

    that money isn’t taxable income, that money isn’t an advance on next year’s return, that money isn’t yours to “do with as you please”, it’s there for you to spend out there in the hurting economy. stop shooting that country in both feet you stupid morons!

    and if you’re so smart, why are you carrying an 18% credit card balance to begin with? “i’m gonna pay my debt with the stimulus check”. wow, how responsible and disciplined. you have the discipline to pay off your unnecessary consumer debt with money that fell out of the sky? wow, that’s discipline. how about cancelling your cable and throwing that $50 towards your credit cards every month? ever thought of that? stupid fools.

  26. Lambasted says:

    This is like one of those $19.95 infomercials. Only a sucker would buy into it. You would have to luv you some Sears really badly to hand over all your money to them. But I’ve got to hand it to them though. They’ve sure got balls to ask. Can’t blame them for trying.

  27. howie_in_az says:

    @prameta1: You forgot to mention that anyone not stimulating the economy (shut up, pervs) with their stimulus check is a terrorist and an enemy of freedom.

  28. QuantumRiff says:

    Damn you direct deposit. No Craftsman tools for me!

    Seriously though, only do this if your going to buy right then and there. Remember what happened to all those gift cards at Sharper Image when they declared bankruptcy.

  29. BSAKat says:

    I’m using my stimulus check essentially to pay my taxes. Probably not what the feds had in mind.

  30. BSAKat says:

    You, sir, are a masterful troll. I can’t wait to see how that works out for you.

  31. ludwigk says:

    in some states, you are required to be able to redeem gift cards for cash under specific circumstances, like a remaining balance under a certain amount. That could make this even hotter. Buy your ~$600 worth of widgets, then get cash back for dinner afterwards.

  32. tomok97 says:

    Could you use the gift card to pay off your Sears Card? It’d be like getting a retroactive rebate. :)

  33. WraithSama says:

    I’m about to buy a new house and we should finish closing right around the time the rebate check is deposited. Since we’ll be needing new appliances, I’m actually somewhat tempted by this offer.

  34. Southern says:

    Too bad that (when they go bankrupt) people won’t have the option to stop paying on their Sears Credit Cards — but you can bet that any money you have on their “Gift” cards becomes so much worthless plastic..

    Funny how that works.

  35. backbroken says:

    What’s 110% of nothing?

  36. mike says:

    I might be more inclined if the bonus was 30% or more.

    10% doesn’t cut it anymore.

  37. Blueskylaw says:

    Get a 10% bonus on your money, Sears declares bankruptcy, you lose 100% of your 110%. Easy math.

    Is that you Bernanke?

  38. Blueskylaw says:


  39. NotATool says:

    This is definitely a good deal for people who have things they will immediately buy at Sears.

    I don’t, however, and I would not be willing to put $2,100 on a gift card and risk losing it to Sears’ bankruptcy.

    Furthermore, if unsatisfied with your Sears purchase, you can’t do a chargeback with your gift card.

  40. WraithSama says:

    If the bonus was 30%, I’d definitely go for it. Bear in mind, though, that even if you only get a $1,200 rebate, a 10% bonus is $120. A hundred and twenty bucks for free? Still sounds pretty decent for me, who is in need of new appliances to begin with. People in a similar position are likely the major targets of this promotion, so your mileage may vary.

  41. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I agree with Bladefist and QuantumRiff: it’s a good idea if you spend the whole thing immediately.

    I’m not tempted though. I can’t think of that much stuff I’d want/need from Sears and I did direct deposit anyway.

  42. WraithSama says:

    While Sears is hemorrhaging money, I’m not too worried about them going bankrupt before I close on my house. Your final point, however, is a valid one.

  43. DeafChick says:

    Fuck you Sears. That is all.

  44. ShadowFalls says:

    The only remote value this would have to somebody, is if they wanted to buy a game console. Figuring they are the same prices everywhere, you would get savings, and the store would lose money in the process too.

    Not a very good business decision here is it?

  45. The other problem is, if you check, people who do NOT elect direct deposit won’t get their checks until sometime in June.

    Besides that, fuck off, Sears. That money is better off in my MattressFund (TM).

  46. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Things you can buy at Sears with your Stimulus Check plus 10%:

    A broken water heater:

    An invisible HD tv:

    An obsolete analog tv:

    A jigsaw instead of the air blow gun you ordered (and bonus! get charged the wrong prices on sale items):

    A tipping stove:

    A Golden Parachute for an incompetent doofus:

    Imaginary auto service:

    A pretend vacuum:

    Dinnerware tainted with delicious, tasy lead:

    Warranty service that, surprise!, doesn’t actually warranty anything:

    A leaky refrigerator:

    A dryer that you didn’t order:

    And don’t forget to sign up at “My SHC Community” so Sears can vomit spyware all over your computer and expose your private information on their insecure website:


    Gee! The line for those Sears giftcards will probably circle the earth two times!

  47. Lambasted says:

    Touche! The best response of the day.

  48. ClayS says:

    I’d be running of to Sears with my rebate check, but since I have direct deposit, it looks like I’m out of luck.

  49. Youthier says:

    We’re using our money to redo the decaying deck off of our bi-level and if Sears sold lumbar, I would definately do that.

    Definately smart on Sears part – I know plenty of people* who are planning to use their money to buy appliances and big screens with their stimulus money so I’m sure this will sway them from Lowe’s and Best Buy.

    *They aren’t Consumerist readers.

  50. Saboth says:

    I dunno, I can still go online and buy that tv, grill, shirt or whatever 20% cheaper than at Sears, and get better service.

  51. weezedog says:

    Now Meg, didn’t you just tell us yesterday to avoid gift cards under the article “Retail Bankruptcies Threaten To Wreck Economy, Empty Your Local Mall [Economy]”

    Quote “All this means that gift cards are an increasingly risky investment. Changes to the bankruptcy laws in 2005 may force retailers to pay suppliers before honoring gift cards or even paying employee salaries. Give cash!”

    Just giving you a hard time!

  52. justbychance says:

    NPR, IRS and my local grocer have all told me that:

    The Stimulus Rebate is NOT an advance on next year’s refund. Is NOT.

    It’s one of those wife’s tales like the Easter Bunny or Republicans that work to help the poor.

  53. TPK says:


    Applause!!! Excellent post!

  54. BigElectricCat says:

    If you add a 10% bonus to the fecal mass that is Sears, you just get a bigger pile of poop.

    I’m not really seeing the value-add for the customer in that.

  55. kpfeif says:

    Menards is doing the same.

  56. Broncoskip says:

    This would be a good offer if sears actually had anything worth buying.

  57. ibleedgreen says:

    well if you think about it. thats a free $60.

    Dont use the money to pay off debt. Use the money that you WOULDVE used for clothes and stuff for paying off your debt, that way you get a free $60

  58. plim says:

    why did they bother starting the promotion in may? paper checks won’t be mailed out until later this year.

    and do you have to convert the entire check into their gift card?

    and will you actually be able to take home and/or use whatever you buy from them =)

  59. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    This is PERFECT for Sears*.

    1. Take all the money (Stimulus Checks) from people and convert them to Gift Cards. As we know on Consumerist…Gift Cards = Unsecured Loans (in bankruptcy court).

    2. When enough people have the cards but haven’t used them…file bankruptcy, or some enact some action to no longer accept the gift cars.

    3. PROFIT!

    They should have offered to DOUBLE the stimulus check, they would have made a killing.


    *I reserve the right to this idea. If Sears/K-mart/ does anything similar in the upcoming 36 months, I am entitled to 5% of the revenue.

  60. plim says:

    oh, i stand corrected. paper checks will start mailing on may 19…

    my other points/questions still stand

  61. KarmaChameleon says:

    @Broncoskip: LOL, really.

    Hey Sears, if you want to get people in your stores, sell things people actually want, and hire staff that didn’t come from special ed.

  62. forgottenpassword says:

    10% isnt enough! Even on a big-ticket item that could probably be bought somewhere else cheaper or at least at the same price. Sears is just bad bad bad! I havnt bought anything from them since I bought one offroad tire (on sale with free balance & installation) maybe 10 years ago. And even THEN I had to wait forever while the automotive tech screwed around for a couple of hours. Like I said…. sears = bad bad bad.

  63. mammalpants says:

    too bad all their shelves are empty!

    hmm i have been needing some new shelves…

  64. FightOnTrojans says:

    @WraithSama: If you favor frugality and practicality over cosmetics, I highly recommend finding a Sears appliance outlet center. We bought our fridge from there. Regular retail was $1,799, but because it had a small ding on the front bottom and another on the side, it was marked down and I was able to purchase it for $913, including tax. That is some ridiculous mark-up. We figured we’re gonna ding it up anyways and can cover the dings with the kids’ drawings and pictures, so what the hell.

    Also, check with your utility company to see if they offer some sort of rebate plan. Mine (SCE) does and they gave me a $50 rebate for the new fridge, plus another $50 for recycling my old fridge with them. I will probably never buy an appliance from anywhere else.

  65. StevieD says:

    OMG what a fucking stupid idea.

  66. cerbie says:

    If it were Fry’s, it would be tempting, but still not worth it. Sears? Nope. I intend for my rebate and stimulus checks to get me in the black.

  67. fuzzymuffins says:

    wow. 10%. how generous.

    a majority of economists say we’re in a recession. george bush rejects that idea because his great summer ‘tax rebate’ is going to pull us out of it.

    i’m glad sears is doing their job to pull us out too.


  68. G_L says:

    I’m going to do the [seemingly] irrational thing and take them up on that offer. I have quite a lot of savings and I don’t have any debt (and I’m a college student – yes, I know it’s rare), so the stimulus check isn’t such a big deal for me.

    *dodges bricks and bottles* Let me finish! [kudos if you caught the reference lol] By giving me an extra 10% – or $60 – the Sears is basically giving away free money. There are only 2 things to keep in mind:
    1. Use the gift card ASAP, in order to avoid monthly fees, and
    2. Buy something that will not lose its value.

    In my opinion, the best thing to buy would be postal stamps. They are as good as money, and the “Forever” stamps are even better, because you’ll only need 1 “forever” stamp to mail a letter, regardless of the price increases on stamps. So, basically, it’s an investment, a bonus and a smart purchase all in 1. ;)

  69. loueloui says:

    This reminds me a lot of the scammy car dealers near me who advertise that they’ll do your taxes for free if you spend your refund on a down payment. Riiiight.