Yesterday, I wrote about the discounts you can essentially receive by using shopping portals and credit cards. Today, I am going to take that a little further and demonstrate how you might be missing out on savings opportunities that may be hidden within your credit card, virtual wallet, or other savings program. As you will see, the relationships and agreements among retailers, credit card companies, and other discount programs vary widely.
First, some background here. The research I did was not to indicate what the “best program” is as I only chose three stores and only six different savings sources (American Express Offers, Visa, Master Pass, Pay Pal Shopping, AAA, and Discover Card Deals) that are widely available and I have used, except Master Pass. There are many other “wallet” apps and tools out there which offer deals, too, such as Google Wallet, Softcard, and Apple Pay. I will discuss these in future posts to compare how their offers stack up.
For simplification, I choose relatively large, mainstream stores to illustrate the potential discounts you might receive just for using the corresponding card or savings program. Each program has their upsides and downsides, but if you are able, get all of these cards and memberships and you should be covered pretty well. Except for AAA, which does have a membership fee, these programs are free and available to debit card users, too.
The discounts offered by program
|Store||Credit Card Savings Offers||Other Program Savings Offers|
|Visa||Master Card Master Pass||Discover Card Deals||American Express Offers||AAA Discounts and Rewards||PayPal Shopping|
|Target.com||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||1x WOW Points||$5 off of $50|
|FTD.com||N/A||$50 off (next purchase)||20% off (limited time)||25% off (limited time)||20% off||25% off|
|ACEhardware.com||$20 off $100 (limited time)||N/A||10% off (limited time)||N/A||2x WOW Points||N/A|
|JOSBANKS.com||20% off||N/A||5% cash back||N/A||N/A||No interest for limited time|
From the table, it is evident that there are discounts to be had if you use the right credit card or other savings program. And, you also need to check out the nuances of each offering for their terms and conditions. Where I indicate that something is for a “limited time,” the deal really isn’t around for a long time, a few months at best. This is the case with Discover Deals and American Express. Others, such as AAA, have essentially on-going deal offers for a particular retailer. They may say expires Jan 1, 2016, for example, which for a year’s time, I consider relatively permanent and there’s a strong possibility that these relationship will be renewed. Target has been a partner of AAA’s for years, but they changed their deal terms. In the past, one could receive a 10% off discount for shopping with them. Now, one earns WOW Points that can be redeemed for merchandise and other products/services.
The lesson here, as mentioned yesterday, is that it does pay to scan these your card’s offers before making a purchase. Search engines aren’t always going to pick up these deals when you are trying to make a straight price comparison among stores. Which card you use does make a difference in receiving discounts or not when you shop. Be armed with the right tools and you will be in a better position to snag the maximum deal.