Triple Dip Shopping at Barnes and Noble

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Through a variety of tricks, it is possible to stack three discounts when shopping at Barnes and Noble! 

Last week I wrote about how I was going to attempt to “double dip” at Barnes and Noble by buying a B&N gift card through an online shopping portal (Ultimate Rewards) and then using the gift card through other portals (Big Crumbs, Mr. Rebates, and EBates).  You can read the full story here.  Well, the results are in!  And, despite the title of this post, it didn’t really work.  On the plus side, the Ultimate Rewards points posted almost immediately!  On the other hand, the cash back portals have listed my B&N purchases as “$0 dollars” which makes me confident that I won’t get cash back from them.  Don’t feel too bad for me, though: I did use 20% off coupons so I really came out well ahead anyway!

Due to the information above, I was going to title this post something like “No double dip at Barnes and Noble”.  But then I read Gary’s post “The Enduring Value of the Starwood American Express Card“.  That post reminded me about the American Express OPEN discounts that are available to people who hold the business version of certain Amex cards.  Most Amex cards have both a personal and a business version, and if you get the business version you will qualify for a special discount program that Amex runs called OPEN. When you use your Amex business card with certain merchants, you will automatically get a discount credited back to your card.  It so happens that Barnes and Noble is one of those merchants!  It only works when you buy online, though.

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If you happen to have the right mix of credit cards, here is how to triple dip at Barnes and Noble:

Step 1: Figure out how much you want to spend

Step 2: Buy a gift card

  • Go through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall to Barnes and Noble in order to buy an e-giftcard for the amount you want to spend.  You will get 8 points per dollar by buying the gift card this way.  If you do not have access to Ultimate Rewards, then go to EVReward.com to find the best alternative.
  • If you have one, make sure to use a business Amex card that is part of the OPEN program.  If so, you should get 5% back from your gift card purchase!

Step 3: Find the best coupon code

  • For online purchases, you can use code T3N9N3L until the end of the year to get 20% off your purchase.  Otherwise Google for the best promo code you can find.
  • If you want to make purchases in person, consider getting a B&N membership.  They’ll send you coupons that can be used in store.

Step 4: Buy what you want using your gift card

Savings Listed

  • From the Ultimate Rewards mall, you will get 8 points per dollar.  Since the fair trading price for Ultimate Rewards points is 1.31 cents, this amounts to a 10.48% rebate (on everything, including shipping and taxes).
  • From Amex OPEN, you will get another 5% rebate (NOTE: I haven’t tried this yet, so there is some risk that they won’t award this for gift card purchases, but I think the risk is very small).
  • From B&N promo codes or coupons you will hopefully get about 20% off.

Not bad!


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