Real world extreme stacking in-home dining and more

I often write about ways to extreme stack deals for huge rewards or savings.  In this post I’ll document one approach that I use regularly to treat my family to great steaks, seafood, treats, and more.  First, here are some real world examples of what is possible…
1800Flowers Stockyards Filet Mignon

Stock Yards sells four 6 ounce Filet Mignon cuts for $99.99.  After stacking, I would pay $30.46 (or less), delivered.

1800Flowers Harry & David Maine Shore Seafood Bake

Harry & David sells their Maine Shore Seafood Bake for $99.99.  After stacking, I pay $30.46 (or less), delivered.  I’ve ordered this one several times.  The seafood comes in a tinfoil container which can be put directly into the oven.  We found that there was plenty of food to feed 3 of us.  And, it was delicious.

1800Flowers Harry & David Wild Salmon Trio

Harry & David sells their Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon Trio for $49.99. After stacking, I would pay $15.23 (or less), delivered.

1800Flowers Wolfermans Bagels

Wolferman’s sells 10 bagels for $24.99. After stacking, I would pay $7.62 (or less), delivered.

1800Flowers Wolfermans Cheesecake

At the time of this writing, Wolferman’s has their Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake on sale for $14.99 (Usually $29.99). After stacking, I would pay $4.56 (or less), delivered.

How to, Step By Step

Here are the steps for recreating the savings shown above…

1) Get multiple Amex cards

Amex business cards are best, but personal cards are good too.  To get more than one, you can sign up for new cards, or you can request free authorized user cards.  My wife and I have more than 20 Amex cards when you count our primary and authorized user cards.

2) Enroll your Amex cards in the latest 1800Flowers Offer

The key to this Extreme Stack is the regularly recurring Amex Offer for 1800Flowers.com: Spend $50 or more, get $15 back.

1800Flowers Amex Offer Expires 3-31-17

You can add this offer to multiple Amex cards by using the multi-tab technique.  For details, see: Complete Guide to Amex Offers.  If this offer doesn’t show up on your account, try tweeting #Amex1800Flowers to enroll in the offer.  Refer to the Complete Guide to Amex Offers to learn how to sync multiple cards with Twitter.

Unfortunately the latest Amex Offer is about to expire (3/31/2017), so hurry if you’re already enrolled in this offer!

3) Enroll in Celebration Rewards

Celebration Rewards is the 1800Flowers rewards program.  It is free to join and definitely worth doing.

4) Enroll in ShopRunner

Anyone with an Amex card can enroll in ShopRunner for free (here).  As long as you do not use a promo code when checking out, ShopRunner will give you free shipping and handling for almost anything available through 1800Flowers and its associated brands.  If you want to use promo codes, you’ll have to pay for an annual subscription to Celebrations Passport ($29.99) in order to get free shipping.  Note though that using promo codes also invalidates portal rewards, and are not available for all items, so for the purpose of the extreme stacks shown in this post, I recommend against using promo codes.

5) Find the best cash back portal opportunity

Use CashBackMonitor to find the best current cash back rates.  1800Flowers is almost always available for 15% cash back, but it is not unusual to see 20% or more.  You can also check 1800Baskets and Cheryl’s to see if they have better rates (since they are really part of the same company)

6) Go through a portal to buy by-mail gift cards

Use each Amex card that is registered with the 1800Flowers Amex Offer to buy physical, by-mail, gift cards from 1800Flowers.  First click through the cash back portal each time, then use your Amex card to buy a $50 gift card.  You can buy one $50 gift card with each Amex card that you have registered to the offer.

One automatic bonus is that if you use Amex Business cards, you automatically get 5% cash back from 1800Flowers purchases!  Also, you’ll earn Celebration Rewards points when you purchase gift cards, but not when you use them.

7) Go through portal to 1800Flowers to buy stuff from Harry & David, Wolferman’s, Stock Yards, etc.

1800Flowers Brands

Once again, use CashBackMonitor to find the best current cash back rates at 1800Flowers, 1800Baskets, or Cheryl’s and then click through.  Once there, you can switch tabs to other brands.  Note that if you started at 1800Flowers, the beginning of the URL remains 1800Flowers.com.  That’s a good thing for ensuring you earn portal rewards.

Many of the brands have a sale section so that you can see products that are discounted at the moment.  That’s a great way to stack savings further, as shown above with the Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake example.  But, even when things aren’t on sale, savings through extreme stacking make most of the prices quite reasonable.

8) Pay with gift cards

1800Flowers will let you use up to 2 gift cards per purchase, so its best to keep your shopping cart down to $100 or less so that you can pay entirely with gift cards and/or Celebrations Rewards certificates.  Make sure to sign into ShopRunner on the shopping cart screen so that you’ll get free shipping.

Depending on what you buy and what state you ship to, you may or may not have to pay sales tax.

Using two gift cards is not well supported. Make sure to keep track of gift cards that you think are fully spent (they might not be).  For full details, see: 1800Flowers: How to apply 2 gift cards per order, and a big bug to watch out for.

The Math  (69.54% off everything)

Suppose you buy $200 worth of gift cards using the above steps, then you use those gift cards and your earned Celebration Rewards certificate to buy stuff such as the things shown above.  Here’s how the math works out:

A) Buy $200 worth of gift cards ($50 at a time)…

  • Amex Offer (Spend $50, Get $15) x 4 = $60 back
  • Amex Business OPEN Savings 5% = 5% of $200 = $10 back
  • Portal Cash Back at 15% = 15% of $200 = $30 back
  • Celebration Rewards: Spend $200, Get a $20 certificate back

We now have $220 worth of 1800Flowers credit ($200 in gift cards + $20 in Celebration Rewards).

Our net cost is $100 ($200 – $60 – $10 – $30).

B) Buy $220 worth of stuff with 1800Flowers credit (up to 2 gift cards at a time)

  • Via 15% Cash Back Portal: Spend $220, Get $33

Total out of pocket spend: $100 – $33 = $67.

Out of pocket cost = 30.46% of the retail price ($67 / $220).

You may do better than this if you happen upon better than 15% portal cash back, or slightly worse if you do not have Amex Business cards to use.

Cautions and Notes

Please read these important cautions and notes:

  • Amex Offers for 1800Flowers (and associated brands) come and go regularly, but there’s no guarantee that they will return.
  • In my experience, you can earn portal rewards both when buying and using 1800Flowers by-mail gift cards, but that can change at any time.
  • 1800Flowers e-gift cards will not work with the above steps.
  • Even though 15% or better portal rewards has been standard for 1800Flowers for a long time, it is always possible that the best rate will drop.
  • I recommend subscribing to Frequent Miler’s Portal Alerts so that you can see when portal rates go up.  Found here.
  • Please read this: 1800Flowers: How to apply 2 gift cards per order, and a big bug to watch out for.

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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26 Comments on "Real world extreme stacking in-home dining and more"

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iahphx
Guest

Thanks for the reminder — I do have some of their gift cards lying around from my previous stacking efforts. I’ve got friends visiting this weekend, so I’ve just ordered the cheesecake. Cheaper and easier than picking up a cake at the store. I hope it’s good!

I will try the seafood bake soon. Would it feed three?

iahphx
Guest

We got the cheesecake and tried it. The product is certainly tasty. Given that it’s peppermint-chocolate topped (a little like “bark”), I’m guessing it’s been in their freezers since Xmas. The cake is a little smaller than I might have expected, but you get 8 medium-sized slices. I don’t think it makes the best gift, though, because it tastes better than it looks: the packaging and presentation isn’t very pretty.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Thanks for reporting back. Glad to hear it was decent.

Ron
Guest

Just seems like an awful lot of work to purchase overpriced items at a more reasonable price. I realize that resources vary depending upon where one resides, but I can buy prime steaks, if I wish, and great seafood locally for less expense and far less hassle … without worrying if portals track correctly.

iahphx
Guest

If you don’t need to send gifts (like flowers on Mother’s Day), you’re right — this 1800Flowers thing is probably not worth your time. That said, if you do the stacking as Greg explains, there are some crazy good gift deals here. I probably send a dozen or more gifts a year from these guys (like Harry & David pears at Xmas) and it winds up costing me very little. Heck, I just got PAID to send flowers to my wife for Valentine’s Day! And then you can do fun stuff like order yourself $5 cheesecakes when you need one. Seems worth the trouble to me, and probably to many other folks who enjoy “gaming” these types of things (and I assume that’s Greg’s primary audience!).

NG
Guest

I generally like your approach to things, but I think you’re being fooled by the ridiculous list prices for these items into thinking you’re getting a good value through “stacking.” The filet mignons are graded USDA Choice – since that’s a standardized, government grading system, we can easily compare prices here. Four 6 ounce steaks is 24 ounces, or 1.5 pounds. 1.5 pounds of meat for $30.46 works out to ~$20.30 per pound.

I can buy USDA Choice filet at WalMart — literally the exact same product — for $11.98 per pound. No complicated 8 step process, no lost sleep over portal rewards not posting, no time wasted tracking all of this. Your local supermarket probably offers USDA choice beef as well (ask the butcher) and is likely under $20 per pound for filet even when not on sale.

(Any sucker who pays the full $99.99 for this is paying a ridiculous $66/pound!).

Nick Reyes
Editor

I probably shouldn’t speak for Greg, but I doubt he’s being “fooled” by the prices. I’ve never gone shopping with him, but fear not — I’m betting he stacks a mean coupon at the grocery store as well. No doubt you can do better at WalMart than you can when ordering meat online — there is no debating it, you’re right. But when sending a gift to distant relatives that live across the country, this is more cost effective and efficient than flying to their city and renting a car to drive to Walmart and pick up their gift :-). The technique here isn’t to replace your weekly grocery shopping, but rather to get a big discount on something you might order for one reason or another.

And while I agree that $99.99 isn’t a good deal for six steaks compared to the grocery store, I’ve certainly eaten at my share of steakhouses where six of us would have spent a good deal more than $99.99 on filet mingon. Of course, in that case, we were paying for someone else to cook it and for someone to serve it and for the ambience of the restaurant — just like in this case we’re paying for someone else to gather it and ship it and deliver it, etc. And again, I’m not trying to argue that you’re getting an extra 18 bucks a pound in real world value there — just that there are situations where we may be willing to pay different price points to fit our needs/desires. And for $30, six filets mignons delivered to someone’s door isn’t a bad gift.

Renee
Guest

I’m sure not going to say that those steaks are worth the price, I’ve never tasted them, however even when the label says USDA Choice, there can be a huge difference in taste. I will not purchase or eat a steak from Walmart. They taste like crap, to us. No, we are not Walmart snobs, we shop there, we do not buy meat there, though. Is the steak aged? How it is aged? Is it grass fed or raised in a cattle lot? Makes a huge difference, so just the choice label alone, does not mean it will be a good steak, it just means it meets a certain criteria, which is mostly based on the amount of marbling and there are actually three grades for choice from choice – to choice+ but we don’t see that on the package.

Larry
Guest

I like this post because of the description of the techniques, which have some general applicability, but I agree with the others that these items are still overpriced. $8 for a ten bagels that have to be mailed to you? I’d rather pay $8 for a dozen fresh bagels. I also prefer to buy seafood at a place I can see (and smell) it.

There’s a reason these companies give so many bonuses and pay so much in cash back. Their business model is the “oh crap I need a gift” guy who has his secretary pay full price for a Harry and David “tower” worth a tenth of the price. But they also need some of the other stuff too, and so they have to get these prices lower for the rank and file customer through promos and portals.

TCCQuest
Guest

Thanks Greg for this. @NG has a good point on the steaks but, I think the more general theme can still find good a value with other products. For me particularly being from NY, the bagels appear to be pretty legit and a good deal for getting proper bagels. I would consent that at WM or my local grocery I could find a sleeve of bagels at similar or cheaper cost but, it would be a different bagel style.

Thanks for the detailed write up.

mike
Guest

So only $200 worth of the food will not get very many points. If you have to freeze it and the electricity goes out then you will loose all the food.

Tom
Guest

If losing your electricity and having the good go bad is a major concern for you, consider that you can also order 10 5-lb bags of bulk ice for only $109.99. If you assume a savings of about 70%, you’d only wind up paying about $33 for those 10 bags of ice. What a good deal! That should be sufficient to keep your steaks frozen even if you lose power.

Christine B
Guest

Nurses week is in May…I have 14 nurses on my team, which can add up quickly. Almost 70% off works great for buying 14 identical Cheryl’s cookie gifts, delivered.

Plus flowers for Mother’s Day (or just because) for my Mom, Grandmother, and sister-in-law who all live out of state.

Now you have me wondering if anyone I know needs a dark chocolate peppermint cheesecake…

i totally LOVE your extreme stacking series. Take me shopping with you!

Derek
Guest

Both BeFrugal and Splender (the only two current 15% portal options) have restrictions in their T&C’s on redeeming gift cards. Splender T&C’s may restrict the purchase of gift cards as well.

BeFrugal:
No cash back on the redemption of gift card value.

Splender:
Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents.

Does anyone have recent data points confirming that cash back for purchase and redemption of gift cards is posting?

I’m going to buy 2x$50 because the seafood basket looks pretty good and it’s worth a shot. If the 15% cash back doesn’t work when redeeming the gift cards, it won’t be nearly as good of a deal. We’ll see…

iahphx
Guest

BeFrugal has given me 15% cashback on my cheesecake purchase paid for with 1800Flowers gift cards.

FLL
Guest

Waaaay too much work to save a little bit of money.

This would only work to save money when sending a gift. For daily life at home? No thanks.

However on the similar vein, if you live in a city where there are Bloomin restaurants (Carrabba’s, Bonefish, Outback and Flandago)
https://www.bloominbrands.com/home/index.aspx

You sure can save 40% or more using GCs whenever AMEX has $10/$25 offer on Carrabba’s, or 25% on $10/$40 Bonefish. Buy those AT THE RESTAURANTS when there are bonus cards offered, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and X’mas time. (last year they had 5x $10 bonus card when you bought $50 GC).
Signed up their Dine Reward program – probably the most generous in the industry. You will then realize 60% saving each time you dine at these restaurants,.

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[…] we kept you up to date on how to save on everything from cookware at Bloomingdale’s to in-home dining while keeping you updated with all of the latest quick […]

KL
Guest

Completely agree with the others. This is a lot of work to save a little bit of money compared to actual fair value (not retail) price. If you have a costco membership, you can get USDA prime fillet for similar prices when you buy in bulk. I agree that for delivering gifts to others its not a bad deal but otherwise, no thanks.

Alex
Guest

Looking at the Celebrations Rewards, they issued a $60 Savings Pass to me about 3 weeks ago. Problem is, I never received this pass. Is it possible to find it in my online account or should I call? I’d love to avoid calling if possible, talking to 1-800-flowers isn’t much fun from my previous experience.

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[…] month I posted “Real world extreme stacking in-home dining and more.”  That was a step by step guide to extreme stacking 1-800-Flowers and its associated brands […]

Alex
Guest

Have you been able to avoid the shipping charge with Stock Yards? It’s trying to charge me $16.99 without the Celebration Passport and $10 if I add Celebration Passport to the cart (currently I don’t have one). I logged into ShopRunner but it didn’t do the trick. Is it possible to avoid the shipping fee entirely?