How to buy stuff that doesn’t suck from 1800Flowers (Mother’s Day is coming!)

1800FlowersMothersDay2016DeliveryCalendarMother’s Day is almost upon us.  We don’t have much time left to get something for mom.  And, if you don’t live near your mom (or you simply don’t want to see her), you’re probably thinking that it’s time to visit one of those websites like 1800Flowers.com…

You may have seen my posts showing how to buy miles cheaply using 1800Flowers promo codes.  The trick is to buy gift cards cheaply and to use a great promo code.  If you sign up for the free shipping plan, and if you find a way to buy gift cards for half off (but don’t buy from a reseller, Living Social, or Groupon since many such gift cards have restrictions against being used with promo codes), and if you are able to use a promo code offering 1750 miles per dollar on a $30 order, then you can effectively buy miles for less than a penny each (and, incidentally, get flowers too).  For full details, and current promo codes, please see: 1800Flowers Extreme Stacking promo codes, portals, gift cards, and more.

That’s all great if your goal is to buy miles.  But, what if you actually want to send someone a gift?  And, what if you actually want them to get something nice?  You do love your mom, right?

Most 1800Flowers promo codes have a couple of huge restrictions:

  1. Promo codes can only be applied to specific items (and probably not the items you really want)
  2. You cannot use promo codes in conjunction with gift cards purchased from deal sites such as Living Social, Groupon, or gift card resellers (since many of the gift cards sold by resellers are originally from Living Social or Groupon).

The first restriction is huge if your goal is to send something nice.  The second restriction is huge if you want to save money.  A solution to both problems is to use a portal instead of a promo code (you can’t do both unless the promo code is listed within the portal).

Portal Solution for big savings

Rather than using a promo code, use the portal offering the best rates for 1800Flowers or 1800Baskets.  You can find the best options here and here.  At the time of this writing, the best option is EBates 22% cash back:

1800Flowers suck

By going through a portal, you can stack savings and choose whatever you want to buy, without restriction.  Remember that it is also important to sign up for the Celebrations Rewards Passport program to get free shipping for a year.

Here’s one way to stack savings:

Amex Offers Staples 1800Flowers[7]_thumb

  1. Check your Amex credit card account for the Spend $50, Get $15 1800Flowers Offer (shown above) and load it to your account (if you have multiple Amex cards, use the multi-tab trick to load it to all accounts).
  2. Browse to EBates and click through to 1800Flowers for 22% Cash Back. If this is your first time using EBates, you’ll get $5 back for signing up (and I’ll earn a referral bonus if you use my link).
  3. If you haven’t done so before, sign up for 1800Flowers’ Celebration Rewards program to earn rewards while shopping.
  4. If you haven’t done so before, sign up for 1800Flowers’ My Celebrations Passport program.  For $29.99 you’ll get a year of free shipping from 1800Flowers and it’s affiliated brands.
  5. Shop at any of the 1800Flowers brands: 1800Baskets, Fruit Bouquets, Cheryl’s, Fannie May, The Popcorn Factory, Stockyards, Wolferman’s, or Harry & David.
  6. Do not use a coupon code unless you found it on the EBates site (or it will invalidate the cash back).
  7. Pay with your Amex card enrolled in the above promotion.

If you have signed up for EBates and Celebrations Passport in the past, and you spend $50 on gifts, you should get back $11 from EBates and $15 from Amex for a total rebate of $26.  Your final cost for $50 worth of gifts should be about $24.

If you’re new to both EBates and Celebrations Passport, and you spend $50 on gifts and $30 on Celebrations Passport, you should get $22.60 back from Ebates and $15 from Amex for a total rebate of $37.60.  Your final cost for $50 worth of gifts plus $30 worth of free shipping for a year, should be about $42.40.  Thanks to the Celebrations Passport program, your savings will be greater with future purchases.

The above steps do not require 1800Flowers gift cards.  If you’d like ideas for how to get greater savings through the use of gift cards, please see: 1800Flowers Extreme Stacking promo codes, portals, gift cards, and more.

Name / LinkOfferFrequent Miler Notes
EBatesYou'll earn $10, and I'll get a $5 bonus when you make your first purchase of $25 or more. I may earn additional bonuses when EBates runs special refer-a-friend promotionsThis is a well-established and reliable cash back portal.
TopCashBackBonus rates vary. In general you and I will get either $5 or $10 after your first purchase of $20 or more through the portalDespite many problems several years ago, my experience with TopCashBack has been very solid.

Stuff that doesn’t suck

When I write about 1800Flowers, readers often respond with stories about how awful the service was or how bad the flowers or other items were.  While I can’t help with the service, I’ve been poking around 1800Flowers for a while now and have some strategies that may help you find non-sucky items.

If you want to send flowers…

Look for flowers that are marked as “Same-Day Local Florist Delivery”.  Despite their name, you can still schedule these for later delivery.  The good thing is that a local florist will prepare them.  In my experience the result is usually much better than flowers shipped in a box.  In the image below, the flowers on the left are marked for local florist delivery whereas the flowers on the right are shipped in a box (and probably won’t look very nice when they arrive).

1800Flowers suck

Caution: A reader named Robert says that he is a florist and has something to say about this.  Here’s an excerpt (full comment can be found here):

When you place an order with 1-800-Whatever –  if you are lucky enough not to have the flowers sent in a box –  it will be called out to a local florist in most cases. After sticking you with a bunch of B.S.handling charges, they take 30 – 50% off the top for themselves and have the florist fill for that amount. So you now have a florist with a decision to make – do I fill this order to look like the photo-shopped picture on the website – and lose money – or do I fill the order to the amount that was sent to me, that will look nothing like the customer ordered? Either way – nobody wins this game except the call center that took the order.

If you want to send chocolates or other types of food….

1800Flowers has many sub-brands.  After you click through from a portal, you can select any of the tabs for the other brands to shop within their selection:

1800Flowers Brand Tabs

When you click to another brand, the URL remains with 1800Flowers.com (which preserves the portal click-through tracking) or 1800Baskets.com if you started there.  For example, if you click over to Wolferman’s, the URL changes to: 1800flowers.com/wolfermans-home.  Also, when you check out, the purchase shows up on your credit card as 1800Flowers (or 1800Baskets).  This is important for discounts driven by credit card charges such as with Amex Offers.

Given that you can buy from any of these sub-brands, here are some suggestions:

  • Chocolates: Try Fannie May
  • Cookies: Cheryl’s
  • Cakes, Breads, Pastries: Wolferman’s
  • Meats, cheese, seafood: Stock Yards or Harry & David (we especially liked the Maine Shore Seafood Bake)
  • Other gifts: 1800Flowers has a large selection of “Keepsake Gifts”.  I’ve only bought one (The Personalized Bon Appetit Cutting Board), but it was pretty nice.

Reader suggestions

Have you tried out products from 1800Flowers and its many sub-brands?  Which were good and which were bad?  Please comment below.

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. I prefer the ceesecakes by Junior’s. We have tried all the varieties and found them all to be above average.

  2. Just go buy thru Discover Deals with your 2x cash back. Pro flowers is 20% off and 1800flowers is 15% off.

    Be careful when you do this though. Discover has 20% “instant savings” and then “20% cash back”. Instant savings do not double at end of year because those are usually coupon codes.

    • Yep. I started writing many different options, but finally decided just to pick one option that should be available to most readers, and then I referred readers to the overal 1800Flowers stacking post for other options.

  3. I accidentally bought Egiftcards from a reseller… Doh! Will I get cash back if I click through a portal first and obviously I can’t use a Promo code but I will use theEGC?

    • You can still try applying a promo code since it’s not 100% certain that it started as a Groupon type of thing. And, if not, yes the cash back portal should still work.

  4. Is there any way to tell where the gift card originated from? I imagine 100 physical cards are NOT from Groupon or LivingSocial…

  5. I had a reminder go off to buy flowers. Then I cruised on over here to see what the current best deals were before I started and lo, you wrote me a whole post! Thanks, Greg.

  6. Or… go back in time to a few days ago where gift cards were over 50% off on Raise.com – and combine that with a portal.

    $60 of flowers = $30 for the gift cards – $12 for portal at 20% = $18 for $60 of flowers.

    • Yep. I started writing many different options, including discount gift card buying, but finally decided just to pick one option that didn’t involve the nefarious world of gift card resellers. I then referred readers to the overall 1800Flowers stacking post for other options.

  7. I own a local, independent florist and garden center and have to weigh in here with my perspective on the “1-800” flower situation. Just for the record I am a hardcore miles junkie, but sometimes you just have to let it go – and I think ordering flowers is a perfect example.

    When you place an order with 1-800-Whatever – if you are lucky enough not to have the flowers sent in a box – it will be called out to a local florist in most cases. After sticking you with a bunch of B.S.handling charges, they take 30 – 50% off the top for themselves and have the florist fill for that amount. So you now have a florist with a decision to make – do I fill this order to look like the photo-shopped picture on the website – and lose money – or do I fill the order to the amount that was sent to me, that will look nothing like the customer ordered? Either way – nobody wins this game except the call center that took the order.

    We refuse all “order gatherer” orders – I did not go into this business to lose money or disappoint customers. I would encourage your readers to google a local, brick and mortar florist for Mother’s Day. You’ll get more for your money and have a happier mom – trust me on this. Just my two cents.

    • Robert,
      Thank you for this input! I did not know that local florists weren’t paid a reasonable amount for the product. I’ll add a warning to the buying flowers section.

      • None of this is surprising. Unfortunately, for gamers, it’s usually possible to game the big impersonal retailers with discount codes and such — but it’s not possible to game mom and pop retailers. So the choice is get a good deal on mediocre-at-best product or pay retail for good quality merchandise. In this valuation equation, sometimes the big retailers win, even if that’s not fair.

      • I don’t think that’s wise, as Robert clearly states that he does not use 1-800-Flower’s service. I take that to mean that his statements are, at best, hearsay.

        You can’t caveat every deal that you post because one person makes an appeal to authority and says not to use X because of Y.

        • C’mon, man. I’ve been in this business for 20 years. It doesn’t take a genius to know you are being screwed when 1-800 calls and offers you $39 for an arrangement that is on their website for $70, plus whatever crap shipping and handling fees they got from the customer. It’s not a matter of using a 1-800 “service’ – these people call us daily – entirely unsolicited – to fill these orders.

          I will admit that a large part of the problem is some older florists that are – I will be kind – maybe a little mathematically challenged. They think that because they are busy, they are making money. They are filling these orders, losing money and dropping like flies. I’m the last one in town.

          It’s sad and frustrating to watch this industry die.

  8. 1-800-Flowers now does ShopRunner, so I don’t feel like buying into their doofy club is as valuable. There are caveats, but, if you put effort into getting discounted gift cards, I think that’s better use of your time.

  9. I always purchase flowers when the big bonus come around on holidays. I follow Greg’s advise for the most part. As he points out you can end up getting miles for a good price, I usually end up right around 1cent/mile. The flowers are a bonus. I have found the Peruvian Lillies to be the best. They actually look pretty good, don’t come from a local florist so they aren’t getting the shaft, are usually priced at or near the minimum amount to get the bonus, and they last a couple weeks usually. If I really need flowers for a special occasion or event I still go local brick and mortar.

  10. All: check your email for a 1800Flowers deal from PayPal: $15 off any $15+ order. I just did the following:

    1) Clicked through Ebates to 1800Flowers (22% cash back)
    2) Clicked the Fannie May tab
    3) Bought 2 bags of chocolate covered almonds for $7.99 each
    4) Used ShopRunner free shipping (make sure to select a date that has no shipping fee — for me it defaulted to $3.95 at first) — I just did this to prove that it works rather than use Celebrations Passport which would also give free shipping.
    5) Paid with Paypal

    Results:
    1) Paypal sent receipt showing the $15 discount (it wasn’t shown when checking out). I paid a total of 98 cents.
    2) Ebates sent me confirmation that my purchase qualified for $3.52 cash back
    3) Next week I should get the chocolate covered almonds, which I actually like.

  11. I am actually a 1-800-flowers priority agent and we do not allow airline miles to be given on anything using gift cards or promo codes and yes we can tell if you used in, just a helpful hint guys.

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