Deal-stacking for cash back, discounts and maximizing rewards points earnings lets you put the gifts you want under the tree while putting money back into your pocket.
It’s shopping season, and millions of us who aren’t out shopping in stores right now are sitting in front of our computers buying out the internet. It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for groceries or gifts – if shopping is on your to-do list this month, you’re in luck.
With retail stores scrambling for shoppers, the cash-back craze gone wild and banks offering up to 10 points per dollar on some purchases to entice consumers to use their credit cards, the opportunities for stacking deals upon deals has reached fever pitch.
Right now, there are more stackable offers for online shopping than I’ve ever seen in all my years of points wrangling. There are so many offers, in fact, that some days I find myself in shopping paralysis trying to decide which credit card to pair with which offer and accompanying points or cash back portal to get the best return. These are the good kinds of 2020 problems that put money back into your pocket.
Getting started with deal-stacking
If you’ve never heard of deal stacking, it’s just a fancy term for using multiple coupons or deals to maximize your savings or earnings on one purchase. In the travel-rewards world, we also like to call it the double or triple dip.
Getting started with deal stacking is as easy as considering each and every one of these three steps or ‘stacks’ anytime you make a credit card purchase.
Stack 1: Check for credit card offers and register if needed
Always choose the card that will earn the most points per dollar spent in your purchase category. And don’t forget to register for any special offers from your credit card to earn bonus points or discounts. These offers are usually easy to find by logging into your credit card account.
Stack 2: Shop using cash back- or points-earning portals
Before you buy online, always access the online store via a shopping portal like Ibotta or Rakutan rewards if you’re looking for cash back. If you’re collecting points, try the portal of your favorite airline, hotel group or bank program.
A tool like Cash Back Monitor can help you decide which portal will offer you the best return for each purchase you’re planning to make.
Stack 3: Scan your receipts for more rewards
After you make your purchase, scan your receipt into an app like Fetch Rewards or CoinOut to accrue points that can be turned into gift cards for more shopping – and even more savings.
Deal-stacking in practice
My friend Angel Trinh over at Pennywise Traveler is a rock star on deal-stacking and loves to share tutorials on her stacking successes. Because points-stacking is best explained through example, here’s how she’s stacking up deals for her Amazon purchases this month using her American Express® Gold Card.
Putting into practice the first stacking principle, when Trinh checked her American Express Gold Card account this month, she saw that she was targeted with an offer to earn 8 Membership Rewards points per dollar on Amazon purchases (up to 3,000 points). She registered her card for the offer, then set out to spend $375 – the amount it would take to max out the bonus to earn the full 3,000 points.
“For American Express, the best way to maximize deal stacking and to save money is to add AmEx offers to your account,” Trinh explains. “You can add a maximum of 100 offers to your account for discounts.”
For the next part of Trinh’s deal stack, she wasn’t able to take advantage of an additional bonus by using a cash back or shopping portal since Amazon doesn’t participate in any of these programs. She was, however, still able to stack additional savings by taking advantage of discounts offered within Amazon through their pay-with-points program.
Because Trinh had her American Express Membership Rewards account already linked to her Amazon account, she saw that she was targeted to get a 10% discount when using points to pay for all or part of a purchase.
In checking out, Trinh acted on this offer and opted to pay 1 Membership Reward point (a single cent) towards the cost of the items in her cart. Even though this was a single cent, it triggered a 10% discount on her full purchase! This offer added an additional savings of $37 back on the $375 spent to max out her 8x American Express offer – stacked on top of the 3,000 Membership Rewards points already earned.
After maxing out points and saving 10% using steps one and two, Trinh’s final deal-stack for her Amazon shopping was to check for additional cash back returns using Fetch Rewards.
Because Amazon receipts are only digital, no physical scanning is even required. You simply link your Amazon account to Fetch Rewards, and after you’ve completed your online shopping, use the app to trigger an automatic scan for your Amazon receipts. The number of points earned varies based on what you’ve purchased and from which store and allows you to cash out your accrued earnings with gift cards.
Deal-stacking is easy to start, not too hard to master and can certainly help you put more money back in your pocket – while also putting presents under the Christmas tree this year. Happy holiday shopping!