Kmart “Rewards” TAKES YOUR MONEY (or, not)

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Update, guys — this post is getting a lot of traffic and comments. Since I originally ranted back in April 2010, and it is now almost 2014, and I haven’t been to a Kmart in at least a couple of years, I don’t believe Shop Your Way Rewards still works this way.


Original post

So. You know how you had to get that silly Kmart “rewards” card in order to do double coupons this last round? And that the card is supposed to accrue $ back based on your purchases?

Guess what I’ve been reading today! If you use coupons at Kmart (and if you’re shopping at Kmart without coupons, you’re reading the wrong blog), they deduct the value of those coupons from your rewards card balance. If you use coupons on a double coupon day, they deduct the double coupons from your balance. Some people’s balance has been going negative after shopping doubles — no, they don’t bill you, but you have to earn it back before anything else accrues. Check your own balance and see what you see. Here’s the email they’re sending out:

Dear [foolish person who shopped at Kmart],

Thank you for contacting Shop Your Way Rewards regarding your rewards balance. Rewards are earned based on the amount a member pays for an item, prior to taxes. However, when coupons are used, the amount of the coupon is then deducted from the rewards account due to the discount taken off of the item.

We apologize for any frustration this may have caused. We value your business and look forward to serving you in the future.

Shop Your Way Rewards Member Service

I just don’t even have the words to describe the ridiculousness of this one. Dear Kmart: A coupon is a form of payment. You get the money. Penalizing your customers? Bad move.

Tell you what — I don’t think that “shop your way rewards” is an appropriate name for this program. Any suggestions?

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  1. Sherry says

    The manufacturer pays for the q’s… not Kmart (unless it’s a Kmart q). I used to work in A/R and know for a fact that Kmart (and dominick’s and jewel… all of them) deduct the value of the manf. q from upcoming invoices as a way to get reimbursed. So it’s not like these coupons are hurting their bottom line!! (the $10 off $20 is another story :)

  2. says

    Completely not surprised. Yet another dumb move by KMart. The $10 off $20 coupon was awesome, but beyond that, I see no reason to step foot into Kmart again.

  3. says

    I actually stopped giving them my card when I was going in to use the $10/$20 coupon since I saw that this was happening. Pretty ridiculous

  4. Heather says

    Good grief. I don’t shopt at Kmart anymore anyway. I didn’t even bother going for doubles. To many rules. Too frustrating. This is just one more thing to add to the list.

  5. Teri says

    Why would anyone waste their time shopping at Kmart? The deals offered are not worth the headaches. I have to say whoever their head of marketing is, must be a real genius! HA!

  6. Kate G says

    I stopped bothering with them too… they are ridiculous with their details, lies and rules. I hope they get sued and lose!

  7. Angela says

    This is outrageous! I did take advantage of the Kmart double coupon deals and got some great steals!

    I don’t depend on my Shop Your Rewards monies because I don’t shop that often at any of those stores and my rewards are minimum, less than $2. However, I just checked my balance and sure enough … they deducted $0.17. Has to be related to Kmart and the double coupon event.

    I just tried to call customer service to express my disgust. I was on hold for too long before I got impatient. Maybe the Shop your rewards hotline is already getting an earful. But I promise to express my discontent via phone or email with the whole principle of reward deduction. It’s not the 17 cents – but the principle. They will hear from me!

  8. Sara D says

    Well now I have another reason to not shop there. I was thinking about starting to pay attention to the “deals” but I guess I won’t.

  9. GMoney says

    1 more reason to never step foot in that store….no thanks, get in line behind CS Dominicks for my money…

  10. CIndy says

    OMG!!! That is about the stupidest thing I have heard in a while(and if you knew some of the people I work with…that is a big feat!!) That is why they are slowly sinking, wonder who is running this department. Someones kid who has no idea(reminds me of a Sponge Bob where Mr Krabbs daughter takes over..ha can you tell we atch a little too much cartoons!!) is probably running this program.

  11. Heidi says

    Ridiculous. I tried to use my rewards and they told me I only had $.07 when I should have had $3. So I said FINE, just give me my $.07, and she said she couldn’t. Never going back.

  12. barb says

    KMART “S……” that all anybody should have to say. oh yea and bye bye KMART it won’t be long and you guys will and you are closing your own doors.

  13. Amanda says

    Toys R Us/babies r us does the same thing with their rewards card- any sale/clearance merchandise or items you use a coupon/any kind of discount on are only awarded half the points. I have stopped shopping at both places unless it is a super good deal at TRU.

  14. Bonnie says

    When I went in during “double coupon days” I had such a horrible experience I vowed never to go back.

    *You couldn’t use double Qs AND the 10/20 Q
    So I had to rethink my whole purchase

    Then they wouldn’t let me do double Qs AND use my rewards I built up
    So I had to void that purchase

    Then they wouldn’t let me do the 10/20 Q and my rewards
    So I had to void that purchase

    Then when I went to use JUST the rewards on a seprate purchase with no Qs
    They told my my “card” had frozen because I did too many transaction. I did 3 transaction, and then voided out the two orders. So my reward $ was being held hostage by them and it would “take two to three days” for it to work again.

    So that whole thing took 1 1/2 hours because the cashier had to ask the manager about why such and such was not working with the rewards, and doing the different Qs together.

    ERG!!!!! They are frustrating!

  15. Stephanie says

    This is unbelievable. They’ve done some stupid things in the past, but this definitely takes the cake. I don’t have a negative balance, but I have been shorted. I went through my receipts and the amounts that were listed in the purchase history in my rewards account online and figured out exactly how they do it. Take what you paid, subtract the sales tax, and then subtract the value of any coupons that have “-T’ after the amount. That will give you the amount they use to figure your rewards. I have an e-mail in to customer service to see what they say. I went over every inch of the site as well and didn’t find anything saying this.

  16. I hate welfare says

    You all are completely right, everybody that posts here should shop only at wal mart and never shop at kmart again. Kmart will go out of business and wal mart will have no competition. Then wal mart will have to get rid of their rewards points cards and stop having double coupon days…….oh wait….sh!t….dumb ret@rted shoppers, you would complain if wal mart gave out free cigarettes and lottery tickets.

  17. BNB says


    • Melissa says

      i can understand why you want to say that, but still, this is a help thread not a thread for you to vent onto others

  18. Karen says

    I worked at K Mart for 4 years, while I was completing college. Thank God I am out of that hole.
    It is a bad place to work they treat you like SH–.

    No I am not on welfare and never was. I am 50 years old.
    I would like to say sorry to all the customers I had to tell NO to because of there stupid rules.

    They have alot hidden on the sales and rewards rules.
    K Mart doesn’t do anything that benifets the consumer or the employees.

    I shop Walmart and Target :)

    • Jake says

      If they get rid of the SYWR gimmick then they can bring down the prices and pay their employees more. It is one cent on a dollar. Customers have to spent a lot of money for the SYWR to pay off. This is designed to put people in debt. What is so wrong with the good business. The business has a product that the customer wants or needs and money is exchanged. Quality products at a good price is all the incentive needed.

  19. Really? says

    So you buy something for $6 after coupons and expect to get more than $6 in rewards? Just be happy there is a rewards program

    • says

      LOL — are you guys as amused as I am by the comments that keep popping up on this post from APRIL? Here’s the deal, angry “nothing is free” people: Manufacturer coupons are _a form of payment_. If I buy something and use $6 in coupons, it’s just like I gave the store $6 in cash. So yes, I do expect with any reputable rewards program that it will work that way — Kmart gets the $6 in cash plus the handling fee for the coupon, then takes your rewards away. There’s something wrong with that business model.

  20. bryan taylor says

    grow up people it’s free money they give you, it’s not like you are putting your own money into an account and they are taking that. they give you points for things you were going to buy away. go shop at wal-mart with and get crap service and junk there then.

    • mad at this queer says

      Shut up spoiled little brat. Spending less is an incredible thing…and I’m sorry if you are not capable of performing basic mathematics tasks that COULD save you tons of money if you weren’t a complete moron. Kmart is an awful place, I only go in there when I want food poisoning from their disgusting cafe. I gave them a chance and I have never had so much trouble in my life. That place is ran by a bunch of ignorant, good-for-nothing, Marlboro chain smokers who could give a crap less about themselves, let alone the people that shop at their stores. So go take your little anger somewhere else buddy…not one person here wants to listen to your garbage…and you are obviously a spoon-fed cry baby with not one interest in their life, and that is why you find it necessary to act like a jacka** on someone’s blog who is doing nothing more than trying to help consumers and keep them from getting screwed out of their very hard-earned paychecks.

  21. linda cannon says

    its not fair u dont get all your points look online its one thing go to the store nothing i had points that i know i didnt spend i will never shop there again

  22. v jennings says

    Don’t bother emailing or writing them ,they don’t respond to complaints,the rewards program is a way for k-mart to get consumers to spend money they don’t have ,to try and gain sells ,promising points toward your next purchase.Than you have to fight to get the correct points your due.Also don’t bother calling customer service ,all you will receive is a song a dance around your inquiry ,as if customers are stupid…Terrible customer service in hard times ,not very smart.

  23. v jennings says

    Kmart your going down ….if enough people complaint ,something will be done ,we all cant be making things up ,as if we have nothing better to do with our time ..

  24. derek says

    I’m pretty sure half of the people complaining can’t do simple
    6th grade math. Where does a coupon say the manufacturer
    Pays double the face value? If you get to take advantage of a
    Double Coupon Kmart makes up the loss from what the difference
    Is between the double and the actual value they will redeem.
    Its like getting unlimited unaccrued reward money. You know,
    Money back you didn’t earn, by just being a member. No wonder
    the US is lacking critical thinkers, we can’t even logically think
    About a simple math problem.

  25. Paul says

    Kmart’s Rewards program is the best program of it’s kind. I have 7 kids, and last Christmas I wound up accruing 27 bucks on my Rewards card. That is 27 dollars, free and clear, for stuff I was going to buy anyway. I prefer to shop at Target, but this is a good program with the kinks now worked out of it. You want crap, use Toys R Us crap card. All kinds of rules and limits. Or Big Lots.

  26. Holly says

    If you have to give out personal info to get a good deal and remember to bring a card well you can go the same way as CVS …hello Target and Walmart and never again to be seen at k mart, besides their stupid sales tactic buy one get a second 50% off. Shop somewhere else that only makes you buy one item to get a discount and they dont make you feel like a second class customer because YOU DONT HAVE OUR CARD.BA-HUMBUG to kfart

    • Dienscure says

      They need some of your information for sending you special offers via email/text messages, and you don’t need to “remember to bring your card.” They are able to look up your information by computer.

      Though I don’t understand the problem remembering your card, I would assume it’s kep in your wallet/purse, and I’m sure you don’t forget that?

  27. JULES59 says


  28. Eve says

    I’ve never had any issues with the rewards program, but I don’t use coupons. It’s paid off better than the Best Buy points program. I buy games at Kmart when there is a good deal and when COD Black Op came out I got $25 worth of points for buying it. Took the money I’ve gotten from buying things with extra rewards and w/e else I had something like $50 worth of points to use. I don’t spend that damn much money either.
    I seriously doubt the issues discussed about negative rewards are intentional seen as how that HURTS them in more than one way to do that intentionally.
    If the problem came up at the store I go to I think they would’ve fixed it or reimbursed the customer in some way. Not all of the stores are that way though.

  29. sally says

    Wow, I work at Kmart which is now combined with a bigger corporationcalled the Sears Holding Corp, If no one ever explained to you haow the rewards program worked, that is ashame, Kmart is not going anywhere, they are actually making good money believe it or not, and the rewards program works if you know about it, its 10 pts for every dollar you spend, so you spend $10 you get 100 pts but 1000 pts =$1 you can not start using your points until it reaches a monetary value,

    • Tim says

      Sally, I think you may be mistaken. Kmart is doing very poorly, hence the store closings across the United States. Also Sears just closed MANY stores. I am glad you have pride in your company, but Kmart is the minority in ways of discount chains, and soon they will be a memory. Ed Lampert knows he is the captain of a sinking ship!

  30. Dawn says

    I agree that free is free, but if they are shady enough to hide the details, & be sneaky about taking your rewards points, what else are they capable of?? Kmart should disclose ALL rules of their “rewards” program if they are going to do it this way. They are WAY too expensive, even w/ double coupons! After you minus their double coupons, it just brings the product down to what walmart charges anyway! I HATE KMART!

  31. says

    whats the use of having a rewards card if you make it so hard find the site on line .ishop alot at kmart its about timeistop shopping at kmart for good

  32. Brit says

    OK, wait. So you’re throwing away your cards and not shopping at Kmart because you lost 8 cents, 16 cents, etc. from coupons? You’ve got to be kidding me!

    Yesterday, I had to get a couple of prescriptions filled and went to Kmart because it was on the way home. I also picked up a bag of dog food that was on sale at a great price. For three prescriptions and the dog food, I received over $2 in rewards points; add in the fact that the dog food sale saved me at least $3 compared to what every other store charges for that brand, and that’s over $5 in my pocket.

    Twice in the past month, I’ve gotten coupons that gave me 3,000 points ($3) if I spent $10 on their store brand products — toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues, stuff I buy anyway, added up to that easily. Another $6 in my pocket.

    Some of you are quibbling over a few cents and missing the bigger picture, it seems. If you’re really wanting to save money, then you should be using these Rewards programs to their fullest potential. The savings can be very SUBSTANTIAL.

    But if you want to moan and complain about a coupon deficit that amounts to less than a quarter or 50 cents, go for it. I’m happily racking up the Rewards points in DOLLARS and will be able to buy a new TV in the Spring, paid for almost entirely in Rewards points. (I got $52 in points alone when I bought the special edition Wii for Christmas.)

  33. Lynda Kosydar says

    The last time I shopped at K-Mart was the last time. What a joke that place is. When I handed my card to the cashier he told me that if I don’t use my reward points soon I’ll lose them. I had no idea there was a time frame involved so I will spend the $12 I accrued but at Sears not K-Mart. Talk about a frustrating experience! When I took out my debit card to pay for my purchase he grabbed it out of my hand to check my signature which wasn’t even required and then he asked me for my zip code. To top it all off I tried to retrieve my “anniversary date” but couldn’t get into the web site because they don’t support my browser.

    • Kaylie says

      Wow, that cashier was wrong for telling you that you would lose your points if you don’t use them. I work at Kmart and recommend the card everyone customer that comes through my line, because it does pay off and I don’t ever recommend a program to someone if I don’t believe that it’ll save them money, just as an individual. The points NEVER expire. Shame on that cashier!

      I have seen people come into my line and have NO clue how to use their Rewards Card, and when that happens, I assist them with scanning their card and asking them if they would like to see how many points they have on their card. And them when I find out how much they have on their card, I ask them if them would like to use their points on the current purchase. People are actually amazed to see how many points they have and are very pleased when they find out that their points can pay for some OR the whole purchase, while there can still be points left on their card that they haven’t used.

      • Lynda Kosydar says

        Thank you so much for that reply, Kaylie. I really didn’t want to give up my Reward Card so knowing that there’s no expiration date to use your points has helped me make the decision to keep it. Now if I can just get my K-Mart to stock the Wholesome Goodness cat food that’s so hard to find…..but thanks again!

        • Lynda Kosydar says

          Ally, Thanks for this update. I thought they expired in a year but wasn’t sure since I can’t find out my balance or starting date online and I can’t reach anyone on the phone. They have me on hold for 15 minutes at a time. Do you think someone could look up my expiration date at the store? I think it’s in May sometime but I wish they would send me an email or something to be sure.

      • Kaylie says

        “The points NEVER expire.” Okay, as far as I knew, I have been told they never expire. But this is due to lack of communication on management’s or corporal’s part. And since this seems to be the case, you can also say the same thing when it comes to training their staff and new staff. Which is poor indeed.

  34. brook says

    I work at k mart and as much as I hate the dumbasses that can’t seem to read what the signs say I have a card and love it

  35. tinafabulous says

    new to the rewards program so i figured i would register and check my balance etc. The site tells me the email doesnt match, the member number isnt valid etc. Then I get a message I have to call customer support. Like wth this is way more effort than its worth.

  36. says

    i always liked kmart but find that they do not carry as much, also, the cashier never asked for my rewards card….when i told her i had the card, she said it was too late! makes me not want to go back there

    • Kaylie says

      Tina, it’s the cashier job to ask for your Rewards Card each and every time! And in case that you don’t have one, to ask you if you would like to sign up for one. Most people say “no” and even though they do, we still need to tell them about the program. Though, I take different approach with this when a customer doesn’t have a card. lol. Anyways, it’s never too late to use your card and your points.

      If the case was the cashier had already checked you out, without completing the sale, the cashier could still scan your card.

      If the case was that the cashier didn’t scan your card and you wanted to use your point, than there isn’t anything (I know of) that the cashier can do. Mostly, we could try to void the previous sale and ring you out again. It’s IMPORTANT to know your pin. (the silver scratch off part) when you don’t have your card on you, and you want to use your points on a purchase.

      If the case was you wanted to use your card on the purchase to gain more points and the cashier already completed the sale without your card, than you can still earn your points by calling customer service’s 1-800 number on the back of the card. Make sure you have your receipt, so you can earn points on that purchase. In case you don’t want to call the 1-800, managers of the store will help assist you to the best of their ability. Of the best one to call upon is the store manager for assistance if he or she is available.

  37. Tina says

    I am going to stop using my rewards card as they are always taking away points when i use coupons, also when i returned something they took away all the points on they receipt that included other items. our local store manager has just told us that if you dont use your points you will lose them at the end of each quarter.That’s something else that has been kept secret.

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