Last 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 (Stock Yards, Harry & David, Wolferman’s, etc.). The numbers in that post, though, were based on 15% cash back portal rates. Today, the uPromise portal is offering 20% cash back through May 14th.
Even though uPromise is intended to be a way to save for college, they’ll let you redeem portal cash back as a check, so you don’t have to use the funds for college. Further, Mother’s Day is coming up and I expect that we’ll see other portals meeting or beating the uPromise offer.
In this post, I’ll show how the same stacking techniques can lead to an 80% discount off anything within the 1800Flowers family of brands, based on 20% cash back portal rates. Note one big caveat: One reader reported that 1800Flowers had cancelled her $50 gift card purchases due to people stacking with Amex offers. This hasn’t happened to me, but it would certainly be annoying:
I ordered 2 $50 gift cards from 1800Flowers back on 3/31 and noticed that the amex cards had not been charged yet. I called them and they said the order was canceled because of too many people using the Amex offers, with multiple cards.
Anyway, assuming that they’ll let gift card purchases go through again, here’s what’s possible…
Perhaps your mom would prefer a ready made dinner instead of a bunch of flowers? Harry & David sells their Maine Shore Seafood Bake for $99.99. After extreme stacking, you can pay $20 (or less), delivered.
Good Deal or Bad Deal?
If you’re ordering stuff as gifts to be delivered, this is likely a fantastic deal. If you’re comparing to buying similar items from your local discounter or warehouse store, then these may be less “deals” than headaches. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide. Personally, I love having ready access to good deals for delivering last minute presents to family and friends. And, sometimes portal rates increase enough to make this an incredible deal even when compared to warehouse stores.
In time for Mother’s Day?
The following steps work only when you buy physical by-mail gift cards. These can take up to a week to be delivered. If you start now, it’s certainly possible to go through the steps to get presents delivered by mother’s day, but I can’t guarantee it.
How to, Step By Step
Here are the steps for recreating the 80 percent savings…
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.
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.
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 (Check this web page for discounts and/or a free trial). Note that using promo codes 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. For the purposes of this example, we’re looking for 20% cash back or more.
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.
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. 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.
The Math (80% 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 20% = 20% of $200 = $40 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 $90 ($200 – $60 – $10 – $40).
B) Buy $220 worth of stuff with 1800Flowers credit (up to 2 gift cards at a time)
- Via 20% Cash Back Portal: Spend $220, Get $44
Total out of pocket spend: $90 – $44 = $46.
Out of pocket cost = 20% of the retail price ($46 / $220).
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.
- 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. One reader has reported that the bug has been fixed (I haven’t yet verified this), but its still good to know what to watch out for.