23 Jun 4 Tips to Save Up to 25% at Amazon
If you are anything like our family, Amazon continues to grab a larger share of our wallet given the convenience of having products delivered right to our doorstep – within two days using Amazon Prime (or within a couple of hours if you have access to Prime Now!). In fact, nearly half of US households are now Amazon Prime members – wow! While Amazon already tends to have great prices, they don’t really have coupons, so there isn’t really an opportunity to stack savings…..or is there? Here are a few ways to save even more money on your Amazon purchases.
1.) Buy Amazon gift cards at your grocery store and earn fuel rewards points
Most grocery stores have a fuel rewards program that offers fuel savings at a.) their own gas station or b.) a local or national gas station. For example, here in Minnesota, one of the larger grocery store chains, Cub Foods, has a program called My Cub Rewards where you normally earn 10 cents off a gallon of gas at Holiday gas stations for every $100 you spend (up to 20 gallons). However, if you buy gift cards (Cub and Visa/Mastercard/Amex gift cards excluded) you double your rewards points, so you get 20 cents off for every $100 you buy in gift cards. Thus, assuming you were able to max out your fill-up at 20 gallons, you would save approximately $4 on your gas purchase for every $100 in gift cards you buy. While grocery chains are highly regional, most seem to have a similar fuel rewards program whereby you earn 2x on gift card purchases. Thus, you should have an option to take advantage of this no matter where you live in the United States. One chain, Kroger Foods, which is prevalent in several regions of the country often has double points on weekends, so you can turn your normal 2x earnings on gift cards into 4x! While the maximum redemption at Kroger is $1 off per gallon, you can use it on a fill-up of up to 35 gallons. Under the 4x points promotion, a $250 gift card purchase would net you 1,000 points, or enough for $1 off per gallon. If you drive a large truck or SUV and were able to utilize all 35 gallons eligible for discount, you would save $35 on a $250 gift card purchase, or 14%! Some other well known chains with fuel rewards programs include Safeway, Giant, Winn-Dixie and Stop & Shop.
My recent fill up – about $0.26 per gallon – nearly 20 gallons for $4.94 thanks to buying gift cards at Cub and earning fuel rewards!
Obviously this can get quite tedious if you keep going to the grocery store to buy $100 or less Amazon gift cards just to save a few bucks on gas. Fortunately, most grocery stores sell Amazon gift cards in $25, $50, $100 denominations and then you will find a variable load card that will allow you to load $25-500. To keep things simple, I would recommend buying gift cards in the $100 denomination or loading a $25-500 card with whatever amount you prefer. With two kids we can often burn through $500 on Amazon in 2-3 months, so I will usually just go and buy one $500 card and end up saving $20 on my next fill up ($1 off per gallon up to 20 gallons, unfortunately no Kroger near us). Amazon makes it fairly easy to load as many gift cards to your account as you want and use the balance over time, so no need to keep track of a bunch of gift cards laying around the house. It’s essentially like another bank account, except you can only use it at Amazon. Here is a link to a tutorial if you need help adding a gift card to Amazon.
I recommend buying either $100 cards or $25-500 and just loading them to your Amazon account.
2.) Use a credit card with a category bonus at a grocery store, gas station or home improvement store to buy Amazon gift cards
This is most effective when combined with fuel rewards at a grocery store. There are a couple of credit cards with no annual fee that offer quarterly 5% rotating cash back categories, the Discover It card and the Chase Freedom card. Both of these cards usually include gas stations, grocery stores and home improvement stores (i.e. Lowe’s or Home Depot) in their quarterly 5% bonus categories. In general, most of these stores sell Amazon gift cards. To make things a bit easier during part of the year, both cards pay 5% back on Amazon during the fourth quarter holiday shopping period (the Discover It card actually includes a 5% bonus on Amazon for both the third and fourth quarter for 2016), The downside is that spending eligible for 5% cash back is capped at $1,500 per quarter (which equals $75 in cash back). One big advantage for first-time cardholders of the Discover It card is that all of your cash back for the first year is DOUBLED! That means with a little creativity you can get 10% cash back on your Amazon purchases for a full year! If you are interested in signing up for the Discover It card, drop us an email and we will send you a referral link where we both get a $50 bonus!
In addition to the Discover It and Chase Freedom cards, several cards earn bonus cash back at grocery stores and cash stations year-round. For example, the new Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi offers 4% on gas stations up to $7,000 per year. With gas prices between $2-3/gallon, if you drive the average 12,000 miles per year and get 25 MPG, you would only spend about $1,200-$1,500 on gas per vehicle, per year. So buying Amazon gift cards at gas stations to earn the 4% cash back bonus may be a good way to max out the $7,000 category limit each year. If you aren’t a Costco member, another option to consider is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. This card earns 6% cash back at grocery stores, up to $6,000 in spending per year. It also earns 3% cash back on gas purchases, with no spending caps. The downside is this card has an annual fee of $75 (increasing to $95 later this year), but it can still be well worth it if you can maximize the 6% grocery bonus by spending close to $6,000. Here is a breakdown of the top cards that offer bonuses on gas and grocery spending:
Note: all cards earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
If you stacked the 14% fuel rewards savings at Kroger with 6% cash back from the Blue Cash Preferred card you are saving 20% on your Amazon purchase. And the best part – the process is fairly repeatable and something you can take advantage of time and time again!
3.) Get the Amazon.com Store Card
If you want to keep things simple and easy (and have a Prime membership), you can sign up for the Amazon.com Store Card, issued by Synchrony Bank. This card is similar to a Best Buy, Kohls or Target card wherein it can only be used at Amazon.com. It offers a healthy 5% statement credit on all your Amazon.com spend. In addition, you have the option to forego the 5% statement credit and choose 12, 18 or 24-month interest free financing for certain products.
4.) Use Amex Offers
If you already have an American Express card and aren’t familiar with Amex offers, I recommend you start using them soon. You can find your Amex Offers by scrolling down to the bottom of the main page for each card you have. As you can see from the screenshot below, I currently have 63 offers available to me – don’t get too excited, though, most of them are lesser known brands I have no intention of buying anything from. However, there are usually some attractive offers and many can present ways to save significant money on Amazon. You can usually count on a “Spend $60, save $15” on Amazon around the holidays along with some other offers (sometimes targeted to a limited cardmember base) throughout the year. However, with some “outside the box” you can utilize some other offers you might not normally think of to save money on Amazon. Here are some examples of recent and/or frequent offers that all could be utilized to save money on Amazon by buying gift cards at that particular store:
–Spend $100 at Staples, save $25 – buy a $100 Amazon gift card and basically get 25% off on the next $100 you purchase at Amazon.
–Spend $200 at Best Buy, save $20 – you can usually count on this one around the holidays every year. It’s pretty easy to spend $200 at Best Buy (especially at Christmas) , but if you’re at a loss at least buy a $200 Amazon gift card and get 10% off! You could also use this method if the product you want at Best Buy is cheaper at Amazon to get the best of both worlds!
–Save 5% at Home Depot on $100 or more – As you can see from my picture above, right now I have an offer to save 5% on purchases of $100 or more at Home Depot. While not as lucrative from a pure percentage savings perspective, this offer is good on total spend up to $2,000! Assuming I don’t need to buy a new refrigerator, I could stock up on some Amazon gift cards at 5% off.
Some of these methods require more effort than others, however, with a little extra work you can create some nice additional savings for your everyday Amazon.com shopping. Do you have additional ideas on ways to save at Amazon? Let us know in the comments below!