First, my apologies for publishing this so close to Valentine’s Day. For many or most of you, this post will be too late to help. However, for those who waited until the last minute, and for those willing to do some long term planning, this might still be of use…
I recently posted “Easing the sting of Valentine’s Day flower purchases” where I showed how to stack multiple savings and point earning opportunities together for flower and gift purchases. Through reader input in that post and in others, I’ve learned that its possible to do much better. Specifically, let’s look at 1-800-Flowers. Forget what I wrote in the previous post and take a look at the following points and savings opportunities:
Free shipping (sort of)
Heels First Travel writes about the 1800Flowers Passport program. For $29.99 you can get free shipping for a year. Considering the fact that they often charge as much as $19.95 for a single order, this certainly makes sense if you plan to use 1800Flowers for multiple gifts. Note that unlike other free shipping offers, this one is combinable with discount and mile-earning codes.
Personally, I went ahead and bought the Passport subscription. I paid for it with a gift card that I had bought for half price (more on this later).
Instead of going through standard shopping portals to 1800Flowers, use a specialty link for increased earnings. Again, Heels First Travel has the scoop. Here are the promos that they list for 1800Flowers:
- 25 US Airways Dividend miles per $
- 30 American Airlines miles per $
- 30 Alaska Airline Mileage Plan miles per $
These rates require entering a promo code at checkout and are far better than most rates available through shopping portals. One weirdness to look out for is that some items aren’t eligible for promo codes. The website tells you so when you try to put such an item in your cart.
For those who prefer cash back, the portals ShopDiscover and ShopAtHome currently offer 20% cash back.
Pay with an American Express small business card and you’ll automatically earn 5% cash back on top of all of the other savings and rewards mentioned here.
More great savings
In my previous flower-related post, I detailed the following, still in-play, 1800Flowers opportunities:
- Plink: Sign up for Plink, add 1-800-Flowers to your Plink wallet, and register the card you will pay with in order to get up to 750 points (worth $7.50 in gift cards).
- Amex Sync: Register your American Express cards for the current $15 off $50 promotion.
Discover Extras: Check to see if your Discover card has the $10 off $39.99 Discover Extras promotion.UPDATE: It looks like this is just a coupon code and so won’t stack with the 30X offers.
You can always save a bit more by buying 1800Flowers gift cards from a reseller (check GiftCardGranny.com, for example). However, if you have time, you can buy gift cards through an online portal to save even more. Thanks to MilesMath for pointing out to me that this works. I tested the portal approach by going through ShopDiscover for 20% cash back at 1800Flowers. I bought a $50 physical gift card and paid with my synced Amex card. As expected, I received a $15 statement credit from Amex and $10 cash back from ShopDiscover. If I had been a bit more on my game I would have also earned 400 Plink points and 5% back from OPEN Savings, but I let those two opportunities slip by this time. Anyway, the point is that I saved 50% off the purchase price of the gift card and could have saved even more! Unfortunately, my gift card took about 5 days to arrive, so this technique is definitely too late for Valentine’s Day.
Last minute savings
If you still haven’t bought flowers or other presents for Valentine’s Day, then your best bet is to run out to a local store to pickup something. But if you need delivery, this combination of discounts may work for you:
- Decide whether you’re likely to use 1800Flowers more than one time in the next 12 months. If so, it will pay to signup for Passport. The airline links shown above won’t work for your Passport purchase itself, but there’s a chance that a shopping portal will work. So, go through ShopDiscover or ShopAtHome to 1800Flowers to buy the Passport subscription. If you’re lucky you’ll earn 20% cash back.
- Decide which airline miles you need the most: Alaska, AA, or US Airways and shop through the appropriate link (see above). Note that the landing page will show you a code to enter at checkout. You must remember to enter that code or you won’t earn miles!
- If you have a business Amex card, make sure to use that so as to get 5% OPEN Savings (as an automatic statement credit).
- Make sure to sync your Amex card with the 1800Flowers promotion in order to get $15 off $50 in purchases. If you have multiple Amex cards, sync all of them. See “Maximizing Amex Sync offers. Part 1: sync multiple cards”.
If you have a Discover card instead, log into your account to see if 1800Flowers is in your Discover Extras promos.
- Whichever card you choose, sign it up with Plink and add 1800Flowers to your Plink wallet.
- Pay with either your Amex
or Discovercard for automatic savings.
Let’s assume that you do all of the above and you pay a total of $70 with an Amex business card. $30 is for the Passport program and $40 for flowers. Let’s assume that you don’t get cash back from a portal for Passport, but that all of the other things stack. You should get back:
- 1200 miles ($40 x 30 miles per dollar with AA or Alaska)
- $15 via Amex Sync
- $3.50 via OPEN Savings
- 350 Plink Points (worth $3.50 in gift cards)
So, your total cost after savings is $48. And, if you think of the miles as being worth 1.5 cents each, that’s another $18 back, for a total cost of $30. That’s pretty good, but the real savings come from your additional orders now that shipping is free.
Long term savings
My plan is to maximize long term savings by using multiple synced Amex cards to buy multiple $50 gift cards. Even without OPEN Savings or Plink (its hard to sync Plink to multiple cards), my total cost for each gift card will be only $25. And, when it comes time to buy a gift for someone, there will be more than just flowers to choose from:
When its time to use the gift cards, I’ll look for the best available portal or promotion, and I’ll most likely buy a gift listed at or around $50. The one Achilles heel of 1800Flowers gift cards is that you can apply only one per order. Anyway, now that I subscribe to Passport, I don’t have to worry about shipping charges, so the price advertised on the website, plus sales tax, is the price I’ll pay. But since I’ll be paying with gift cards that I got at a discount, I’ll get at least 50% off everything they sell.
And, hopefully, my friends and family will enjoy the gifts! As blogger Ghetto IFE pointed out, flower delivery doesn’t always go without a hitch.