Earning 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points via the Home Improvement Card

A few days ago I mentioned that my wife and I are moving to San Antonio. With moving come lots of expenses and one of the things we needed to buy was a new washer and dryer for our new place.

I quickly looked online and found out that the product we wanted was the cheapest at Lowe’s, and they also had a promotion for a gift card rebate based on the amount of your purchase, ours qualifying for a $60 rebate. Once we made up our mind as to which product we wanted, we moved on to the next step of the purchasing process:

Office Depot sells a Home Improvement gift card that can be used in several home improvement retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, Sherwin Williams, and even Sears.


The total purchase price including shipping was approximately $1,000, so I headed to Office Depot and picked up two $500 Home Improvement gift cards and paid with my Ink card and earned 5x per dollar. I then went to the Ultimate Rewards portal and linked up to Lowe’s. Ultimate Rewards pays 5x per dollar spent at Lowe’s, so by going to Lowe’s through the portal, making the purchase and paying with the Home Improvement gift card I earned an additional 5 points per dollar, so for a $1,000 purchase I earned a total of approximately 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points, good enough to transfer to Hyatt for a free one-night stay, or to Southwest Airlines for a free flight for both me and my wife using my Companion Pass.

A few important things about the Home Improvement Gift Card, which I found out as I was trying to make the purchase online:

– If you are trying to make a purchase for an amount larger than your gift card balance, you cannot apply a second gift card to the balance. This can potentially be a big inconvenience in some cases. I got around this issue by placing two separate orders, one for the washer and one for the dryer. If you’re making purchases at the physical store, this doesn’t apply and you can use as many gift cards as you need.

– The Home Improvement Gift Card has no fees, and it has the flexibility of being accepted at several retailers. You can find the entire list of retailers at www.homeimprovementgiftcard.com. Essentially, you can use your card at any home improvement store nationwide where Discover cards are accepted.

– When you’re buying a product this way, you are using a gift card, so any disputes need to be settled directly with the vendor. You won’t get as good of a purchase protection if you purchase the product with let’s say, your American Express card, so earning more points comes with its risks. Losing the gift card is also a problem, so don’t buy one unless you’re ready to use it.

– I tested the card at a Sears location and it worked just fine, ringing up as a Discover card purchase, so the card is flexible if you want to use it to buy at Sears instead (even though it isn’t a home improvement store).

Note that I could have done one extra step for additional points as detailed in this very useful article by Frequent Miler, but I just chose not to do the extra step for the sake of convenience and limited time availability.

For other tips on how to use the card, you can also refer to the FAQ’s section of the website. Remember, this method might not be for everyone, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the features of the card and take some precautions to protect it. Used in the correct way, the payout is definitely worth it.



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