Why Kohl's Cash May Not Be the Great Deal You Think It Is

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KEY POINTS

  • You can snag Kohl's cash during promotional periods by making in-store or online purchases.
  • Because Kohl's cash has an expiration date, there's only a limited window of time to use it.
  • It may not be worth it to head to the store for the express purpose of spending your Kohl's cash.

Don't get too excited before you read the fine print.

One of the benefits of using a credit card in the course of your shopping is getting to earn cash back on your purchases. You might, for example, be eligible for 2% cash back on gas or groceries, so for every $100 you spend, you get $2 to use as you please.

If you shop at Kohl's a lot, you can enjoy a similar arrangement. That's because the department store chain commonly offers shoppers the ability to accumulate Kohl's Cash.

The way it works is simple: You make purchases and generally get $10 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 you spend (though you might receive more during certain promotional windows). To be clear, you can't always rack up Kohl's Cash -- you have to shop during a time when it's being offered. But that commonly happens several times a year.

If you do your Kohl's shopping in person, you'll get a physical Kohl's Cash coupon when you check out. If you order from Kohl's online, you'll get a Kohl's Cash coupon with a code in your email. You can then redeem your Kohl's Cash during a limited window either at a store or online.

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At first, the idea of getting Kohl's Cash might really excite you. But it may not end up doing you much good.

The downside of Kohl's Cash

Last year, I managed to snag $10 in Kohl's Cash for making purchases during a promotional window. And I remember having a couple of weeks to use up that store cash.

The problem, though, was that I didn't have time to head to the store to pick out a free item in the $10 range. And using my cash online wasn't worth it, either.

Kohl's commonly offers free shipping when you spend $49. My problem was that I didn't want to spend $49 because I didn't really need anything from Kohl's, and I didn't want to rack up a credit card charge just to spend my free money.

But when I tried adding a $15 item to my online cart, I got hit with a $9 shipping charge. So I didn't complete the order and instead let my Kohl's Cash expire.

That's a problem you might run into as well. If you don't have a lot of Kohl's Cash to spend, then it may not be worth it for you to make a trip to the store (and spend the money on gas) for a free $10. But if you have to practically pay $10 in shipping for an online order, then you're not coming out ahead, either.

Take that Kohl's Cash with a grain of salt

It may very well work out for you to use your Kohl's Cash before it expires. But that may not happen. And one trap you don't want to fall into is spending extra on an online order simply to snag your store reward.

Thankfully, it's a trap I managed to avoid the last time I was in that situation. But it also meant letting my Kohl's Cash expire without getting any use out of it.

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