The surprising drugstore.com triple dip

My failed Drugstore.com experiment revealed a nice deal.. 

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The Experiment

Last month, drugstore.com offered 10 points per dollar for purchases made through the Ultimate Rewards Mall.  I was tempted to try to double dip by buying drugstore.com gift cards and then using them in order to get to 20X.  I didn’t try it, though, because of the terms and conditions:

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However, I noticed that Beauty.com and Drugstore.com are the same company and that Beauty.com gift cards are available for extra points in the Ultimate Rewards Mall:

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My hope was that I could get 15X by buying Beauty.com gift cards for 5X and then spending them through Drugstore.com for an additional 10X.  So, I bought a $50 Beauty.com gift card by going through the Ultimate Rewards Mall, and then I spent it by going through the Ultimate Rewards Mall (and a few other portals). 

Well, I did get 5X points for the gift card purchase, and I now get lots of Beauty.com emails that I really don’t need, but none of the drugstore.com purchases using the gift card resulted in any points or cash back.  I tried the Ultimate Rewards Mall, Big Crumbs, Aadvantage eShopping, and BeFrugal.  None of these purchases resulted in additional points or cash back.  I now think that the Drugstore.com T&C statement “Not eligible on gift cards” means “not eligible on purchases made with gift cards.”  I’m guessing that buying gift cards at Drugstore.com probably will result in points from the Ultimate Rewards mall.  Currently, though, Drugstore.com is down to 5X in the Ultimate Rewards Mall so there is no advantage to buying gift cards through Drugstore.com as opposed to Beauty.com, but it might be a good experiment to run in case Drugstore.com goes back to 10X.

The Triple Dip

Drugstore.com and Beauty.com offer an automatic double dip:  when you make purchases, you are automatically given 5% back in the form of “Drugstore.com dollars” that can be used in the future.  The surprising discovery was that I was given Drugstore.com dollars for both the purchase and the use of the Beauty.com gift card!  In other words, by first buying a gift card and then using the gift card, I got 10% back to be used for future purchases!

Obviously this won’t help you much if you just want to make a single purchase, but if you regularly buy from Drugstore.com (or Beauty.com) you can maximize your savings by doing the following:

Step 1: Go through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Beauty.com to buy gift cards.  Currently you will get 5 points per dollar.

Step 2: Use the gift cards to buy what you need.  For most items you can get free shipping by putting at least $25 of items in your cart or by using your ShopRunner membership if you have one.

Step 3: Make sure to use your drugstore.com dollars when they become available and before they expire.

If you follow the above steps, you will get a 10% rebate on your Drugstore.com purchases, free shipping, and 5X Ultimate Rewards

Note: some products are mysteriously not available for free shipping.

Happy shopping!


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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Do you think drugstore.com prices are a little bit inflated or its just me and if I am right then what do you buy? I went to drugstore.com many times and then was turned off as I did not see it quite competitive

    • caveman: Yes, their prices do seem to be inflated on some things. However, I compared prices on some random items with Amazon.com and found that were quite a few where the prices matched. So, it is worth doing some comparison shopping. If drugstore.com has less than a 10% premium over Amazon then it is probably worth buying from them.

  2. You’re timing is excellent as always; I was just looking at buying some things on Drugstore.com last night. I’ve been running you’re experiments, as well as my own, on the Hawaiian Airlines shopping portal (I’m on the West Coast so it actually makes sense), and I will see if this triple dip works with them as well.

    You’re site rocks, btw! Been following you since the beginning and I really appreciate your analytical, as well as ethical, approach to this game. Thanks for the inspiration (and free miles/points)!

  3. I actually find there prices to be pretty competitive. This is partly due to:

    1. Free 2 day shipping on almost everything compliments of ShopRunner
    2. 10% cashback from BigCrumbs. See here http://home.bigcrumbs.com/Haplo859 🙂
    3. 5% back in drugstore.com dollars
    4. Frequent sales and promos that they run

  4. I have done my own experiments and have not received UR miles for purchasing gift cards from drugstore.com. But
    on 11/11/2011 I was successful in purchasing a gift card from drugstore.com from the Continental portal when it was 10 miles per dollar. I also purchased another when cont. had a promo where you earn bonus miles for making a $75 purchase. So far I have received the GC miles but not the bonus yet.

    Regarding the prices, they aren’t great, especially when you compare to Vitacost, but I needed to purchase a 3DS game for my son. I did lots of research and because of a coupon I got via email I was able to purchase it $5 less than anywhere else, including Amazon.

  5. I too have found drugstore.com to have competitive prices on many items. Vitamins and baby food are equivalent or better than what is found on amazon.com. Add free shipping and high cashback/point rewards, and drugstore.com is one of the few sites that can put up a fight with amazon.com when it comes to price.

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