Reminder: double dip with portals & cardholder promotions

Today I was reminded of an old marketing aphorism: "I know half my advertising budget is a complete waste. I just don't know which half."

I was reminded of this because I'm in the market for a pair of running shoes.

Whenever I log into my Bank of America online account, I'm reminded that one of their current BankAmeriDeals® (I kid you not) is for 10% cash back on one purchase of up to $175 at the Sports Authority.

If you're not familiar with BankAmeriDeals, they work exactly like (most of) American Express's "Offers For You:" you "add" them to your card, and then if you make an eligible purchase you automatically receive the offer amount as a statement credit.

The cool thing about these offers is that since they're triggered solely by the amount of your purchase, you can combine them with online shopping portals. That enables at least double dips, and sometimes triple or quadruple dips if a merchant also participates in a marketing program like Plink.

Anyway, back to my running shoes. Bank of America is offering 10% cash back, which is nice, but American Express is also offering an "Offer For You" (Offer For Me?) at the Sports Authority (in-store only): $10 back on a purchase of $50 or more – a 20% discount on a purchase of exactly $50!

Let me guess: you already see where this is going.

That's right, by buying a $50 gift card in store, then using it on an online purchase (paying the balance with a BankAmericard), you can earn between 10% and 20% cash back on your entire purchase (up to $175, at least).

But wait: there's more. As I mentioned, since these deals are triggered by your credit card activity, you can combine them with shopping portal bonuses, like the one currently offered by ShopDiscover:

I know what you're thinking: who cares, right? I'm the one buying the running shoes, after all, not you.

But I'm also the one who had some free time this afternoon to put together this table:

This isn't totally exhaustive since I may not have been selected for every linked offer. But it's probably pretty close! I didn't verify most of the evreward portal payouts, although I did check the ones that seemed way out of line (15 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on berries!).

Are you starting to pity the company whose marketing department got the brilliant idea of running simultaneous, stackable promotions? Don't bother. After all, to get a full 25% off at Crate & Barrel, for instance, you'd need to buy something that cost exactly $50. And the markup on Crate & Barrel objects that cost exactly $50 is probably close to 100%.

Biggest Discounts

Here are a few of the biggest discounts. Enjoy your shoes, jeans, flowers food?

  • iTunes: 100% off $5
  • 39% off $60
  • 39% off $150
  • Personal Creations: 38.6% off $49
  • Shari's Berries: 35% off $50
  • FTD: 35% up to $175
  • Henri Bendel: 30% off $200
  • Sports Authority: 30% off $50
  • Petco: 30% off $25