Options for Rocking the Amex Wine Deal

31

Remember the Martha Stewart Amex Offer?  Spend $50 or more, get $40 back.  Absolutely awesome.  I loaded the offer onto 18 of my Amex cards, and have used just two of them so far (most of the Amex cards are authorized user cards — I don’t have that many separate accounts!).

The first time I ordered, I found two bottles of wine that added up to $50.02 after including shipping and sales tax:

After the Amex rebate, my total cost was $10.02.  I also expected a rebate from Top Cash Back, but that never happened (remind me to file a claim!).  Martha Stewart Wine has since disappeared from all portals.  Still, $10.02 for two very good bottles of wine ($5.01 each) was a deal.

My next order was for 3 bottles of wine that were on sale for $12.49 each.  With $9.99 shipping and sales tax, the total came to $50.55.  After the $40 rebate, I paid $10.55 or $3.52 per bottle.

There were other even better deals that I didn’t take advantage of.  There was a stackable Groupon deal.  Then there was a $25 off $50 deal with free shipping that I somehow missed.  Unfortunately both deals have since expired.

Other Options?

I’m pretty happy with buying wine for $3.52 per bottle, but I’ve wondered about other options.  Can I do even better with currently available offers?  Here are some that I explored:

Half-Case Wine Club

One option is to join the half-case wine club.  With this club, you will be charged just $49.99 plus tax for your first 6 bottle shipment.  As long as you are charged sales tax, the total will be enough to trigger your Amex Offer.  If your sales tax is 10%, you would pay $54.99 for the first order.  With the $40 rebate, that would be just $14.99 for 6 bottles of wine ($2.50 per bottle).

Unfortunately, with future shipments you would be charged $87.99 plus tax.  Plus, the Amex Offer would be over by then.  So you’d have to remember to cancel your membership before the second shipment in order to maximize this deal.  Here are the details from the website:

With your membership purchase of 6 bottles every 6 weeks, you receive a special introductory selection of 6 wines for $49.99 plus tax based on your shipping address. Shipping is free with your club membership. Every 6 weeks thereafter until you cancel, you will receive 6 bottles of wine, and your credit card will be charged $87.99 plus tax. We will curate the selection of wines based on the preference you selected. There is no obligation to continue your membership and you may cancel at any time by calling (888) 212-8197.

I have no doubt that some schemers will create multiple accounts and try to join the club multiple times in order to maximize the deal.  To me that crosses the line.  Martha Stewart Wine is offering an amazing promotion to get their name out there.  I don’t think it’s wise or fair to push it that far (and yes, I get the irony but please go ahead and comment on it anyway).

Split Payments? Nope

If your wine order includes 12 or more bottles of wine, shipping is free.  An ideal approach would be to place a single large order that is as close to a multiple of $50 as possible, after taxes, and then to split the purchase $50 at a time across multiple Amex cards.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to do this.  The online order form only allows for a single credit card and there’s no option to buy gift cards.  I even tried online chat to ask about splitting payments, but was told that they didn’t allow it.

$30 off $100

A website called offers.com has a deal to get $30 off $100 or more at Martha Stewart Wine Co (found here).  The trick to maximizing this is to add 12 bottles that add up to just over $100.  That way you get free shipping and $30 off.

In theory, if Martha Stewart sold a 12 bottle case for exactly $100, then it would ring up as $70.  After 10% sales tax you would pay $77.  And after the Amex $40 rebate, your out of pocket total would come to $37 for 12 bottles of wine.  That amounts to $3.08 per bottle.

$3.08 per bottle is a little bit cheaper than ordering $50 at a time, but not by a wide margin.  Plus, I don’t think it’s really possible to get that close to $100.  The best I could find was the 12 bottle Discovery Case for $119.98.  After the $30 discount and Michigan sales tax the total would be $97.40, or $50.97 after the Amex $40 rebate.  That amounts to $4.25 per bottle and no ability to pick and choose your wines.  That’s still a great deal though!

20% off 6

On Friday I received an email from Martha Stewart Wine Co offering 20% off orders with 6 or more bottles.  Unfortunately the discount did not work with their Discovery Half-Case pack.  And adding bottles individually did not result in good per-bottle prices.

Final Answer

Those of us who loaded this deal to our Amex cards have until September 30th to take advantage of it.  With the deals that I’m currently aware of, I think that the best bet is to try to structure each order so that the total equals or barely exceeds $50.  If you only have one offer loaded, then you might want to go with the half-case wine club so as to get 6 bottles of wine instead of only 2 or 3.  Just remember to cancel your membership after the first shipment unless you decide that it’s worth keeping.  It may also be worth doing the 12 bottle Discovery Case which results in a similar price per bottle, but only if you really are interested in each of the bottles that the company has chosen for you.

And, finally, we do still have time.  It’s possible that Martha Stewart Wine Co will unveil new discounts that will result in even better value.  If you don’t think that $2.50 to $5 per bottle is a good enough deal, then you can always wait and see what happens.

Delivery Tip

One big downside to ordering wine online is that you have to be available to sign for the shipment when it arrives.  Going forward, I plan to place many separate orders on the same day.  That way, hopefully they’ll arrive at the same time and I’ll only have to wait by the door once.

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