Apr 24

Amex and Staples

Amex and Staples Offer

I previously wrote about that I’m a fan of Amex Offers. And recently browsing through the app I found an offer for $25 off at any purchase over $100 through Staples’ website:
Amex and Staples

Now not to be a snob, $25 is $25, but a lot of times I can find better and cheaper things on Amazon and I don’t really have a large shopping list of office supplies valued at $100+ that I need to go out and buy.

Thinking out of box

Thinking out of box when you’re doing credit card scheming usually involves gift cards, so gift cards is definitely something I could use. I started looking around Staples’ website and they do offer a large selection of gift cards that are available, anything from debit Visa/Amex cards to other retailer’s gift cards.

Some are definitely better deal than others. The most straight forward way would be to purchase a $100 Visa gift card and get $25 off on it, which is essentially $100 cash for $75, not too shabby. But… the Visa/Amex card come with a $5.99 loading fee and also have shipping costs associated with them, so while you’re still coming ahead on the $25, you’re coming up really short.

I started poking around gift cards to retailers that we actually use. My wife is a big fan of Banana Republic and we buy a lot of stuff for our toddler at Baby Gap — so imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out that Staples is actually running a %20 off promotion on Gap cards. Another great aspect of these cards is that they’re e-cards, there is no shipping charge for them and they simply get mailed to you:
Amex and Staples

I ended up buying $125 worth of Gap gift cards for $100 on my Amex card and immediately got an email notification from Amex saying that I’ve successfully used my $25 rebate offer and it’ll be showing up on my credit shortly.

So long story short, I got $125 of Gap Gift cards for $75, an incredible value. As a matter of fact, we already used $60 of that Gap cash today on some new clothes for our boy 😉

Happy dealing out there

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Apr 05

Amex Offers – Target and Best Buy

Amex Offers

Amex has recently been on a roll — I already wrote about a great offer where you can earn double points with Amazon. Now it seems like other vendors are signing up with Amex to try to take some of the business away from Amazon, and they’re Target and BestBuy. Each of the merchandisers have rolled out their own 2x points.

Amex Offers - Target and Best Buy

Fine Print

The interesting part is that these offers are not available for in-store purchases, they’re only available on the .com versions of the vendors. I think this is a smart strategy for Target and BestBuy because in a sense they know that they can’t compete with Amazon in the overall marketplace, but in order to bolster their on-line businesses they’re trying to get free exposure.

Is it a good deal?

Double points/miles are always great, but ultimately is it a good deal? That actually depends on a few factors:

  • What are your typical redemption rates?
  • Do you have a Target Red Card?
  • Do you have Best Buy rewards credit cards?
  • Product Selection & Preference

I actually don’t have the answer on the last point, as I very rarely shop at Best Buy and their FAQ about the rewards seems super lengthy and involves multiple tiers, etc. But, here’s a link in case you’re looking for some extra reading.

Redemption Rates

As I wrote about it here and here, you should be targeting about 2cent/point redemption rate. In this case, with double the points you’re getting about 4% off your purchase. For Amazon, if you’re not using their own Amazon card that’s a great reward. It’s even better if you’re able to redeem points for first class, where you can get high single digits awards, double them and you’re looking at 10-20% off. And, considering that if you have Prime you can get free shipping essentially on anything this is a great deal

Red Card

If you have a Red Card you get 5% off your purchases. So you’re stuck in the dilemma of putting your spend on Amex or your Red Card. Target doesn’t offer free shipping, at least not without some threshold levels, so this is an associated cost that directly diminishes the value of this proposition already. At this point I’d say that an average person, when shopping on Target’s website, is better off using the Red Card than an Amex card even with double the points promotion

Product Selection (and preference)

I absolutely love Amazon, we have Prime Now in our city and we buy everything from diapers, to yogurt to milk to whatever on Amazon. There just isn’t that much selection at Target or Best Buy, and I usually have to travel to suburbia to actually go to one of those stores so I automatically ignore them. So for me, even though I may be getting an extra 1% off on my purchases if I shopped at Target the simple convenience of not stepping a foot in their store is completely worth using my Amex Card on Amazon.

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Mar 31

Easy Miles with AMEX Offers

Sometime ago I wrote about my favorite credit card company,  and today I wanted to talk about how one gets even more value out of it: AMEX Offers

 

AMEX Offers

 
If you’ve enrolled your AMEX card in an online account, or if you’re using AMEX mobile app you should already have “Offers” be available to you.  There is no cost of adding these offers to your card, think of it as simply cutting out a coupon and AMEX remembers when to actually apply it for you.  Next time you make an eligible purchase, AMEX will award you the benefit at the next billing cycle.  As you can see in the example above, I have over $400 in savings, and I’m probably a rookie compared to some other people.  These offers included everything from discounts on iTunes cards, Target purchases, etc.

One of the best offers going around right now is double points on Amazon purchases and the offer is available on any purchase made between now and July 31, 2016.  We buy a lot of stuff on Amazon, from cat stuff to baby stuff and everything in between, and now that my city has Prime Now we can even have all these and more items delivered to us, for free, within 2 hours of ordering.   So, this is a perfect opportunity to rack up easy AMEX points, especially if you’re using something like the Everyday card this essentially would mean that you’re getting 3 points for every $1 spent on Amazon, pretty much a 6% rebate at my current evaluation.

What are some of your most sucessful offer stories?

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Mar 10

How To Maximize Grocery Store Bonuses

Credit Cards

There are a few cards out there, specifically from American Express, that offer substantial bonus on your spend at grocery stores. For example, the EveryDay card gives you up to 4.5 points for every $ spent in a grocery store, considering that I value my Amex points at about 2 cents, it’ss like getting 9% off for anything that you buy at a grocery store. Amex also offers straight 5% cash back a card like Blue Cash, if you wanted to supplement your mile-earning cards.

Rules

There are always rules, or the small print. In this case, if you’re from mid-west and you love your Target, this won’t work. Amex limits “grocery stores”
to major national chains that primarily sell groceries, not department stores that also happen to have a grocery section. Another negative, is that your local corner grocer may not be applicable simply because they’re too small.

Another rule is the cap how much awards you can get. Amex limits these great bonuses to about $6000-6500 per year, depending on the card. Still, if you get both of these cards you’re essentially looking at getting close to $1000 back on all your grocery purchases for the year.

Maximizing Spend

If you’re a single person it may be really difficult to rack up $600/mo in groceries, even for most small families this may be too much to spend purely on groceries. But, the great thing is that all grocery stores sell gift cards to places that you inevitably shop at anyways: BestBuy, Netflix, Amazon, etc., etc.. I would suggest from staying away from small demonination Visa, MasterCard and similar gift cards as you’ll be paying 4-6$ fee on top of that, where’s the other cards that I mention come with absolutely no fee.

My Choice

We shop at Amazon, a lot. I buy pretty much everything on there, and with Prime, it gets delivered within 2 days. My city also has Prime Now — so I literally can get items delivered to my house within 2 hours for free. This is great when you wake up in the morning and realize we’ve run out of milk or yogurt or dipers and you really don’t want to leave the house because it’s snowing or raining. So everytime we go to a grocery store I pick up a $50-100 Amazon gift card, load it to my account and spend it — This way I easily hit the limits imposed by Amex.

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