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When doing your holiday shopping, try to combine as many of the following as possible. By “stacking” deals, you can save money while generating points.
- Sales periods: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or early December discounts
- Shopping portals
- Active coupon codes
- Store loyalty programs
- Store-based offers from banks
- Spending on the best card
- Spending for a signup bonus
Some of these things will help you save money, others help generate points which can be used for future travels. A few of these involve creating logins or using a desktop computer so feel free to skip whatever steps you want.
In this post, we will explain a few of these in detail, using our example of shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Most retail stores during this time of year hold annual holiday sales. By waiting until this period you will be able to save on your favorite items and hit minimum spends on your path to accruing points.
Most stores partner with third party affiliate marketing to drive traffic to their website in exchange for commissions when the click-through leads to a purchase. Some of these websites share this money with savvy consumers like you!
Right now Ebates is offering a whopping 14% back at Saks Fifth Avenue! Looking in the “Sitewide Sale” section, you’ll see a coupon code for a $75 gift card with a $150 purchase!
Active Discount Codes
Our favorite website for active coupon codes is dealspotr. Just go to their website and search. When you find your store, look for the “Verified Promo Codes” section. Click on any of the codes where it says “Get Code,” then immediately close the popup window redirecting to the store. After you do all that, you’ll see all the possible coupon codes to try.
The same $75 gift card offer shows up there:
We value store gift cards at 75% of face value, which would give us $56.25 in value after spending $150, or at most 37.5% back.
Store Loyalty Programs
We have had success with store loyalty programs such as Columbia, eBags, Dunkin Donuts, and Starbucks.
As far as we can tell, Saks doesn’t offer a loyalty program unless you have their store card.
Store-Based Offers from Banks
Banks make deals with retail partners in their mutual interests of increasing your spending.
Our Amex Platinum Card comes with a $50 Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credit.
The credit expires every six months on January 1st and July 1st, and if you don’t use it, you lose it. Needless to say, we were inspired to make a purchase.
In addition, American Express has their personalized Amex Offers, with deals for Starbucks, Shutterfly, Etsy, many hotel chains, and many other retail stores.
While preparing this post, we discovered that an offer for one additional point per dollar spent at Saks!
We also like Bank of America’s program called BankAmeriDeals.
The deals on this section are automatically applied after making qualified purchases, so you won’t have to complicate the checkout process with print coupons.
Spending on the Best Card
Somewhere around a third of Americans use debit cards for retail purchases, earning no cash-back at all. Of those who use credit cards, many are not earning more than 1%.
Here are a few options we have at Saks that are substantially higher:
- Chase Freedom: 5x points worth 10%
- Citi AT&T Access More: 3x points worth over 5%
- Citi Dividend: 5% cash-back
- Amex Platinum: 2x points (including Saks bonus) worth 4%
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5x points worth 3%
Because of the $50 credit, we are using our Amex Platinum Card. The 2x points will be worth an additional 4% (including the taxes & fees.)
Spending for a Signup Bonus
Most people don’t have the Amex Platinum card, but when all else fails, a new card bonus is usually enough to seal the deal.
We are still working towards the bonus on our shiny new Rose Gold Card: 50,000 points after $2k in spend. If you value Amex points at 2 cents each and subtract the annual fee, you stand to gain $750 in value, or 37.5%, just from the signup bonus!
We still plan to use the Amex Platinum Card because of the $50 credit, but a signup bonus is great too!
Total In Theory
Here is a summary of what we expect to see with all these stackable offers.
|Black Friday||?? %|
|Gift Card||$50 (33.3%)|
Added up, we are looking at 88.8% equivalent cash-back on our theoretical purchase of $150!!!
This savings does not include any additional Black Friday markdowns we’ll see.
We will have to make sure that we do four things:
- Click-through from Ebates
- Use the THANKFUL discount code
- Signup for the SaksFirst program
- Use our Amex Platinum Card
Happy Thanksgiving to our readers! Enjoy Stack Savings on Black Friday!