The Rube Goldberg approach to buying miles and delivering flowers [Update: ShopRunner not stacking with promos]

UPDATE 1:20 PM ET, 1/28/16: It turns out that ShopRunner free deliver does not stack with mile-earning promo codes.  I’m sorry for this mix up!  I will publish an updated post shortly.

UPDATE 2;30 PM ET, 1/28/16: I’ve updated this post to indicate which deals require investing in Celebrations Passport ($29.99 per year).

I can’t help myself.  Every now and then a bunch of deals come together in a wonderful, but ridiculously complicated way.  And, of course, I just have to write about it.  This time, it’s for Valentine’s Day…

Rube Goldberg buying miles and delivering flowers

The Deals

First, I’ll introduce a bunch of stackable deals.  In the next section, I’ll show how to put them all together.

1) iConsumer portal: 32% cash back (plus shares of stock) at 1-800-Flowers, through Jan 30:

iConsumer 1800Flowers buying miles and delivering flowers
Exceptions

  • Use of a coupon code not provided by iConsumer will invalidate the Cash Back rebate.
  • Use of a Flash Sale Voucher will invalidate Cash Back rebate.
  • 1-800-Baskets.com has a shared cart with 1-800-FLOWERS.com. Please note that purchases from either site will result in Cash Back.
  • The store where you began your iConsumer shopping will show in your shopping report.
  • No Cash Back rebate on the purchase of Gift Cards.

2) Amex Offer, Spend $50, get $15 back

Amex Offer 1800Flowers buying miles and delivering flowersLog into your Amex account and check to see if you have this offer.  If the offer is available on more than one card, then view each credit card in a different browser tab before loading the offer to your account.  This way, you can add the offer to each eligible card.

Details:  Get a one-time $15 statement credit by using your enrolled Card to spend a minimum of $50+ in one or more transactions online at 1800Flowers.com by 3/25/2016. See terms for exclusions.

3) Amex OPEN Savings: Get 5% back from 1-800-Flowers

Amex Open Savings 1800Flowers buying miles and delivering flowers
If you use an Amex business card to make a purchase from 1-800-Flowers, you’ll automatically get 5% cash back credited to your account.

4) ShopRunner: Free shipping at 1-800-Flowers (and more)

ShopRunner Partners buying miles and delivering flowersLook for this when shopping:

1800Flowers ShopRunner Eligible buying miles and delivering flowers

5) Amex card members get ShopRunner for free

ShopRunner Amex buying miles and delivering flowersYou might as well sign up.  It’s free!

6) Earn miles: 30 AA miles per dollar, or 1000 Southwest Rapid Rewards per order

1800Flowers AA 30X buying miles and delivering flowers

1800Flowers Southwest buying miles and delivering flowersRapid Rewards® Members can send luxurious floral arrangements and gourmet gifts with 1-800-Flowers.com® and earn 1,000 Rapid Rewards Points for each order of $29.99 or more.

7) Celebration Rewards: Earn up to 10% back towards future orders

1800Flowers Celebration Rewards buying miles and delivering flowers

Stacking the Deals, straight up

Most of the deals shown above can stack together without any special shenanigans.  One big exception is that you can’t directly earn portal cash back (deal 1) and miles (deal 6) from the same order.  At least, every time I tried to do so in the past, the portal initially showed that I had earned cash back, but later the cash back was withdrawn.

So, the straight up approach to stacking the above deals is to choose whether you want cash back or miles, then place your order:

Cash back:

  • Go to iConsumer, find 1800Flowers.com and click through
  • Add stuff to your cart. Make sure it is ShopRunner eligible
  • Try to make one or more orders total to exactly $50
  • Pay with an Amex card enrolled in in the Amex Offer for $15 back when you spend $50
  • Even better: Pay with a business Amex card enrolled in that same offer

If all goes as planned, with a $50 purchase, you can get back the following:

  • $16 from iConsumer + stock
  • $15 from the Amex Offer
  • $2.50 from Amex OPEN
  • 50 Celebration Rewards points
  • Total rebate on $50 purchase: $33.50, plus stock, plus 50 Celebration Rewards points

CAUTION: I do not know if portal cash back stacks with ShopRunner free shipping.  There is a chance that the iConsumer cash back will be “clawed back” by 1800Flowers later on.

Miles:

  • Make sure to enroll in Celebrations Passport first so as to get free shipping.
  • Browse to 1800Flowers.com and add stuff to your cart.
  • Try to make one or more orders total to exactly $50
  • Pay with an Amex card enrolled in in the Amex Offer for $15 back when you spend $50
  • Even better: Pay with a business Amex card enrolled in that same offer
  • Make sure to use one of the promotion codes shown above when checking out (A54, for AA miles, RR22 for Southwest miles)

If all goes as planned, with a $50 purchase and the selection of AA miles, you can get back the following:

  • $15 from the Amex Offer
  • $2.50 from Amex OPEN
  • $50 x 30 = 1500 miles
  • 50 Celebration Rewards points
  • Total rebate on $50 purchase: $17.50 plus 1500 miles plus 50 Celebration Rewards points

If you want to collect Southwest miles, you can earn more miles per dollar by placing two $30 orders.  If so, you’ll get back the following:

  • $15 from the Amex Offer
  • $3 from Amex OPEN
  • 2000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
  • 60 Celebration Rewards points
  • Total rebate on $60 purchase: $18, plus 2000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points, plus 60 Celebration Rewards points

Sales tax

With deliveries to some states (but not all) you’ll be charged sales tax.  To simplify this post, I’m assuming that no sales tax is charged.  If you are charged sales tax, then some of the assumptions in this post will be incorrect.

Extreme Stacking

What if you want miles and cash back too?  That’s possible, but requires an additional step.  You would need to go through the cash back portal to buy a 1800flowers gift card first.  Note that the portal terms state “No Cash Back rebate on the purchase of Gift Cards,” so this step is risky.  In the past, with other portals, I’ve always received (and kept) cash back when buying these gift cards, so I expect the same to be true here.

As a test, I purchased a $50 gift card from 1800Flowers a few days ago after clicking through from iConsumer and the purchase tracked correctly:

1800Flowers iConsumer Cash Back

It appears that I will earn $16 cash back from iConsumer for this purchase, but it is certainly possible for 1800Flowers to claw back the rebate (you’ve been warned).  Also note that Amex has already credited my account with $15 back thanks to the Amex Offer I had signed up for.  No word from Amex yet on the additional 5% rebate from Amex OPEN Savings.

Cautions aside, here are the steps for buying each gift card:

Buy gift card

  • Go to iConsumer, find 1800Flowers.com and click through
  • Find their gift cards (look at the tiny links at the bottom, right side of the page)
  • Buy one $50 gift card
  • Pay with an Amex card enrolled in in the Amex Offer for $15 back when you spend $50
  • Even better: Pay with a business Amex card enrolled in that same offer

If all goes as planned you can get back the following from the purchase of the gift card:

  • $16 from iConsumer + stock
  • $15 from the Amex Offer
  • $2.50 from Amex OPEN
  • Total rebate on $50 gift card purchase: $33.50, plus stock
  • 50 Celebration Rewards points
  • Total gift card cost (not counting value of iConsumer stock or Celebration Rewards points): $16.50

Buy miles (and flowers)

Now that you’ve bought a $50 gift card for around $16.50, you can buy flowers or other gifts and get miles.  Here’s an example:

  • Make sure to enroll in Celebrations Passport first so as to get free shipping.
  • Browse to 1800Flowers.com and add stuff to your cart.
  • Try to make one or more orders total to exactly $50
  • When checking out, apply promo code A54 to get 30 AA miles per dollar
  • Pay with your gift card

If all goes as planned, you’ll earn 1500 miles for a total cost of $16.50 (not counting the cost of enrolling in Celebrations Passport).  That comes to just 1.1 cents per mile.  Oh, and you get flowers or other gifts too!

With Southwest, using code RR22, it’s a bit more complicated since the sweet spot in miles per dollar is with $30 orders (you get 1000 miles per order, for orders of $29.99 or more).  While there are more advanced ways to approach this, let’s keep it simple and assume that you place two $30 orders.  In the first order, you pay entirely with your gift card.  In the second order, you pay $20 with your gift card and $10 with your credit card.

If you place two $30 orders, as described above, using code RR22, you’ll earn 2000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points for a total cost of $26.50.  That comes to 1.3 cents per point.  Since Southwest points are generally worth about 1.5 cents each towards Wanna Get Away fares, that’s not bad at all!  Plus, in the past, points earned from this promotion (RR22) have counted towards Southwest Companion Pass eligibility.

More gift card caveats

  • 1800Flowers does not currently offer egift cards so you need to order soon to get the gift cards in time for Valentine’s Day orders
  • 1800Flowers only allows one gift card per order when orders are placed online.
  • If you buy too many gift cards, you may have your Celebration Rewards account suspended.  I ordered $1000 worth of gift cards during a similar opportunity last year and they froze my rewards account.  Every time I call they say they’ll expedite releasing the account, but that has yet to happen.
  • As mentioned above, you might not earn portal rewards when buying gift cards since portal terms state that gift card purchases do not qualify for rebates.

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.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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Comments

  1. Question on stacking the Southwest points and the Amex Offer…. In order to get the $15 back from Amex, you have to spend $50 or more, but to get 2000 SW RR points you have to make 2 $30 orders. How do you get both? Do the 2 $30 purchases have to be separate, or can it be 1 order, with 2 $30 items?

  2. Thanks so much for explaining this. I have been following your blog for a few months now and have learned quite a bit. Just took my 3 girls to Texas for the weekend on the Southwest Points I earned 🙂

    Anyway, I just tried to sign up for iConsumer through your referral link and it keeps giving me an error saying that the referral email is not valid.

    Any advice? I would really like for you to get the referral credit since you took the time to write this out for us.

  3. My question is about delivery dates; the earliest date it will let me select for the gift card I’m ordering is Feb 8th. If I have to wait for that to come before I can order, what’s the likelihood that the flowers can actually be delivered on Valentine’s day? Does anyone have experience with that?

    • There are two types of things you can order: stuff that is delivered via mail and stuff that is delivered from a local florist. For the latter, you can order as late as Feb 13 and still have delivery on the 14th. However, you may not qualify for free delivery if you wait that long so there is some risk.

  4. Thanks Greg. I can’t wait to put this to use. As always great article. B/t/w I used your link to iConsumer and had no problem. (on a side note, I can’t make the Las Vegas seminar can you let me know if there will be a meet-up in the Michigan area?)

  5. when entering the AA promotion code when i checkout online, i got an error msg “Promotion codes cannot be used in combination with the ShopRunner program.” Could you advise? thanks.

  6. I can’t find 1800flowers.com on iConsumer (not U.S., at least), just 1800baskets.com. The cash back is listed at 16%. Has something changed recently?

    • Nevermind – found it now. Don’t know why it wasn’t showing up in the search feature, but I did find it in the “Today’s Top Stores” section at the bottom.

  7. I Found the Southwest Rapid code RR22 cannot combine with the shop runner, which means it will cost a large amount shipping fee.

  8. I guess you could also go through the portal 2x once for gc and second with gc for 32$ total cash back + 16$ = $48 which makes the flowers basically free if you’re more interested in the flowers than the miles.

    Also note that even though those AA codes say they expire, I’ve used them year around with success.

    Didn’t know they support shoprunner. Guess I don’t have the reup my passport account next month. Is the shoprunner just as good as the paid passport account for free delivery? I’m in a long distance relationship so I actually use 1800flowers and its sister sites fairly often and pick up some good miles in the process.

  9. I use 1800-Flowers a lot to send flowers and gift baskets for birthdays, funerals, Harry & David at Christmas, so the $29.99 Celebrations Passport is worth it to me. Anyone who thinks they’ll use the site often might think about it, since shipping is crazy expensive and Shoprunner negates any other offers. I found that out the hard way a few years ago when I thought I was getting a huge multiplier of AA miles.

    If you didn’t get the Amex offer on any of your cards, but have Discover cash rewards, you can buy $30 gift cards for $25. I “bought” a few last week to help my son top off his Southwest account for his companion pass. 1800 Flowers has a $29.99 box of fruit that works with the Southwest RR22 code. Our local food bank was thrilled to get the fruit. I used Ebates for 20% cash back. I wish I had known about iConsumer.

    Can you use a Discover gift card to buy the $29.99 Celebrations Passport? My renewal is in November, so I can’t test it.

    • Dee, yep, I agree that Celebrations Passport can be well worth the price. Unfortunately, last time I tried to buy it with a gift card, it wouldn’t let me do so (I know it worked in the past). So, instead, people should click through a cashback portal to buy Celebrations Passport, and pay with an Amex card enrolled in the offers.

  10. New update:
    A reader named Carol has let me know about another Southwest promo code:
    RR82: Get 1750 Southwest points per purchase, for purchases of $29.99 or more
    BUT: Points earned from this promo do NOT contribute to companion pass eligibility.

    So, if you want to earn points, but not a companion pass, this code is way better than the one shown in the post. If you want to earn a companion pass, stick with RR22.

    More details in this Flyertalk post: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/26085030-post293.html

  11. Just to be clear, there is zero harm in buying a gift card via portal if you’re looking to get miles, correct? I’m going after AA miles, so if I buy a gift card and the cashback gets clawed back, the worst case scenario is I’ve spent as much money as I was originally planning. So anyone wanting the miles should give gift cards a shot, right?

    • I think that’s mostly right, but there is the risk that the 30X offer may be dead by the time your gift card arrives. Also, in the past there have been times where some promotions haven’t stacked with gift cards but I haven’t seen that problem in a long time.

  12. I don’t have any 1800-flower offer in Amex on any card on website or app 🙁 Doesn’t add up for good deal without it!

  13. When I bought a gift card on Raise, 1-800Flowers wouldn’t let me use that and the RR22 promo code. Every time I tried to put in one or the other, it gave me a message that it would have to remove the other (and did I want to continue).

    • Yeah, here’s what I think happened to you: When sites like Groupon sell 1800Flowers gift cards they have restrictions against using them with promo codes. So people buy them for half off through Groupon, Living Social, etc. then resell them through Raise or other means.

      For that reason I now recommend against buying 1800Flowers/1800Baskets gift cards from resellers.

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