This morning, we posted a quick deal for a discount coming up tonight on Hotels.com gift cards at Amazon.com. There will be a lighting deal at 8pm that offers a $50 Hotels.com gift card for $40. This deal could potentially be stacked to increase savings:
Amex offer at Office Max / Office Depot
There is currently an offer for $10 back on $50 or more in purchases at Office Max or Office Depot:
If you have this offer synced to your card, you could go to the store today and buy $50 in Amazon.com gift cards. Your net cost would be $40. Assuming you value Amazon gift card money the same as cash (I shop plenty at Amazon to do so),that’s like 20% off anything you buy with that $50 at Amazon.
Buy Hotels.com gift card at 8pm tonight with your discounted Amazon gift card
At 8pm this evening, the lightning deal will go live for a $50 Hotels.com gift card for $40. Using the Amazon credit that you bought at a 20% discount will yield you a bit more savings. This isn’t a perfect stack since you will be left with $10 in Amazon gift card money, but if we imagine the 20% discount uniformly across the money you have into the gift card, the new Hotels.com gift card will have “cost” you just $32 net — for a savings of $18 off of $50 (36%).
Another way to look at it is this: for $40 net cost (after your Amex Offer), you will get both a $50 Hotels.com gift card + a $10 Amazon gift card. That’s still not bad.
Is this repeatable?
Not exactly — the Amazon lightning deal is going to be once per account. That said, if you have multiple Prime members in your household, maybe you can each get the deal once. If you have the Office Max/Office Depot deal across multiple Amex cards, it may be easier to have a friend load Amazon gift card credit to buy you a Hotels.com gift card (especially if your store sells Amazon gift cards in packages of $10 gift cards — making it easy for you to keep your $10 “profit” gift card). I haven’t bought Amazon gift cards at Office Max / Office Depot in a while and can’t recall exactly which quantities they sell. If you do buy multiple Hotels.com gift cards, they can easily be combined via the website.
Are discounted Hotels.com gift cards a good deal?
They certainly can be. Hotels.com often has discounts — for example, right now there is a promotion for $50 off of a hotel booking of $300 or more if paying via PayPal. The problem with Hotels.com discount codes is that they typically exclude chain hotels and are not eligible for Welcome Rewards (essentially 10% back on Hotels.com bookings once you’ve booked 10 nights). Gift cards, on the other hand, can be used at most properties on Hotels.com and can be combined with Welcome Rewards or many coupons. The PayPal promotion probably can’t be combined with gift cards since you must pay via PayPal (I did not try this) and only nets a discount of 16.67% (and works at limited properties), whereas discounted Hotels.com gift cards give you both a higher discount now and future rewards if you will eventually book 10 nights through Hotels.com. If you prefer coupons over Welcome Rewards, you might do even better as there are frequently email offers for 15 or 20% off at non-chain properties — which could stack with your discounted gift cards.
Of course, if you’re booking at chain hotels, you will not receive elite benefits or stay credit. Whether or not this is worth the trade really comes down to the amount of cost savings. However, I find Hotels.com most useful in locations without chain hotels. For example, my wife and I recently drove up the Australian coast from Melbourne to Sydney. There just aren’t many chain hotels along that route — but we found a great Bed & Breakfast in Kiama, Australia (I think it’s the only one in town, and it was a great pick). We booked the day of arrival and they were friendly and accommodating. I find discounted Hotels.com gift cards very useful in that type of situation.
This could be a decent stack for the right situation if you have the chance to pick up Amazon gift cards at the store today. I’m not sure whether or not I’ll make it to OM/OD this afternoon, but I will be buying a Hotels.com gift card tonight for the random situation where I know they come in handy.