Unfortunately, I have been away from the blog for awhile. Last fall, my day job was eliminated and I spent three months looking for a new position. After accepting that position, I had to prepare for returning to work. I thought that after my first day arrived I would be back to posting articles here, but with my new long commute, moving and prepping my home for sale, I always seemed to be behind on everything. Sadly, Debrian Travels seemed to pushed to the bottom of a long list of pressing items.
The good news, is that I am finally substantially "caught up." Not only have I moved out of my house, sale prep is complete and I had a sales contract within four days of listing! While I am awaiting closing, the to-do items for me at this point are much, much shorter! Time to get back to blogging! I want to share my experience this week of stacking Amex Rewards and shopping portals.
Start with Amex Rewards
Earlier this week was the first anniversary of my first date with my girlfriend. Being the great boyfriend that I am - yes, a bit of shameless self-promotion! - I decided to have flowers delivered to her office. Given that Mother's Day is this weekend (and I still need to order flowers for Mom!) I had multiple Amex Offers for flowers across my collection of American Express cards.
The most attractive offer was from FTD.com for 30% off an order. On top of that, I found, via CashbackMonitor.com that I could also earn 35 SkyMiles per dollar via the Delta SkyMiles Shopping portal. Not paying close attention to the Amex Offer details, I quickly selected and ordered a bouquet. In the past, Amex Offers have normally posted to my account immediately. When I did not get a prompt notification from my Amex iPhone app that I had used an offer, I thought i should check my account.
When I looked closely, I noticed that the credit was not automatic, but that I had to use a coupon code. I contacted customer service about either adding the coupon code or canceling the order so I could place it again. I received a quick response telling me they had cancelled the order. However, they also informed me that to use the Amex coupon code, I had to go to a specific link. Uh oh. (It says that right there on the offer, but I was doing this at lunch one day and was rushing - lesson learned!) In order to get the SkyMiles, I needed to get to Teleflora.com via the Delta portal. I tried the coupon code after going through the Delta page and, sure enough, it did not work. While 30% off was attractive, without being able to double up on miles or cash discounts via a portal, I decided to continue shopping before reordering.
FTD.com also had an offer for 25% but was similar to Telefora in that you had to access it via a specific website. Continuing to look, I found a promotion from 1-800-Flowers for a flat $15 off a $50 order. Since the flowers I was looking at cost around $90, that only amounted to a discount of approximately of 16%. However, this was a typical Amex Offer - make a purchase and a credit gets posted to your account. That was what I was looking for.
Save cash or earn travel rewards with shopping portals
Going back to Cashback Monitor, I found that 1-800-Flowers had far less attractive mile and points portal promotions compared to its competitors. Fortunately, it was on my favorite cash back site, eBates.com, at 22%. Between, the two, I saved over 38%! Not too shabby! The best part, more than any savings, was that my girlfriend was very surprised and thrilled with the roses!
The key is that you should look at the total savings between any Amex Offers and shopping portals. Even going with a seemingly less attractive offer, stacking it with eBates.come made it my most lucrative option. Being able to leverage a shopping portal can make the different between a good overall discount and great savings.
With Mother's Day this weekend, I still need to order flowers for my mom. I will check to see if there are any new deals since earlier this week, but, if not, I have a second 1-800-Flowers $15 offer on my Amex Starwood Preferred Guest card. If you have multiple Amex cards, but sure to check and see if an offer is available on multiple cards. Sometimes that is of limited use, but others it can result in big savings or more points toward that next big trip!