February 15, 2013
For my wife’s last round of credit card sign-ups, I picked up a Kohl’s charge card in her name (see “My wife’s 305K churn“). The reason for getting the card was simply to get access to the 30% off coupon codes that Kohl’s frequently offers only to charge card account holders. And now, a 30% off code is available: Until Feb 20th, charge card holders can use the code CUPID30 for 30% off their entire order. Here’s how to take maximum advantage of this discount…
Step 1: Buy Kohl’s gift cards
There are many ways to get extra points or cash back when buying Kohl’s gift cards. Here are a few of the best options:
Credit Card Category Bonus
This is not the most lucrative of all options, but it’s probably the easiest. Many stores, such as office supply stores, drug stores, grocery stores, etc. sell Kohl’s gift cards. Use a card that offers extra points or cash back at such stores to buy Kohl’s gift cards (see “Best Category Bonuses“). If you buy the gift cards at a grocery store, you may qualify for extra fuel points as well (see “What is a fuel point worth?“).
A simple example is to use a Chase Ink card at Staples to buy the gift card. Since the Chase Ink card offers 5 points per dollar at office supply stores, you will benefit immediately by buying Kohl’s gift cards there.
OfficeMax.com & Amex business cards
American Express business cards are automatically part of Amex’s OPEN Savings program. One of the current offers in this program is that if you use your Amex business card online at OfficeMax.com you’ll automatically get 5% back for orders $250 and lower or 10% back for orders above $250. OfficeMax.com now sells third party gift cards including Kohl’s gift cards, but with a 99 cent fee for each one. The best deal here is to buy at least 3 $100 Kohl’s gift cards using an American Express business card. That will cost you $302.97, but you’ll automatically get back $30.30. So, your total cost will be $272.67 which is a 9.11% discount.
GiftCardGranny.com is a site that aggregates data from a number of gift card resellers. At the time of this writing, GiftCardGranny shows a number of resellers offering Kohl’s gift cards for 12% off. Many of these are small denomination cards though. It’s important to note that Kohl’s will only allow you to apply up to 4 gift cards to a single order.
You can sometimes bump up this discount a bit more by starting in a cash back portal. For example, if GiftCardGranny identifies PlasticJungle as having the best price for Kohl’s gift cards, then you can go to TopCashBack and click through to PlasticJungle in order to get 2.5% back from the gift card purchase price which is, itself, sold at a discount.
Staples.com offers $50 and $100 Kohl’s gift cards via email with no extra fee. I’ve had success buying these by going through TopCashBack to Staples for 5.5% cash back and then paying with my Chase Ink card to get 5 points per dollar. Gift cards are usually delivered by email the next day after ordering.
Ultimate Rewards Mall
The Ultimate Rewards Mall usually offers 10 points per dollar for purchases made at Kohl’s. The Terms and Conditions exclude gift card purchases, but some people have had luck getting points when buying gift cards anyway. Different readers have had different results with this. I’ve launched an experiment in which I bought a Kohl’s e-gift card and a Kohl’s physical gift card in separate transactions to see if either results in points from the Ultimate Rewards Mall. I’ll report back once those results are in.
If you you have a Chase Ink card, and you’re wiling to risk using TopCashBack (lots of people have reported frustration working with them), then I think 5.5% back plus 5X points is a great deal, especially since you can get the gift card by the next day via email. Otherwise, look to GiftCardGranny for about 12% off the purchase price.
Step 2: Click through the Ultimate Rewards Mall
The Ultimate Rewards Mall currently offers 10 bonus points per dollar when shopping at Kohl’s. You need a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points to access this site (Chase Sapphire, Freedom, and Ink cards all qualify).
- Go to ultimaterewards.com/mall and log in with your Chase account. If you have a Sapphire Preferred card, log into that account since points earned will qualify for the annual 7% dividend bonus.
- Find Kohl’s and click through to shop.
The terms & conditions say “Not eligible on Kohl’s credit card sales made with coupon codes that are higher than 15%.” However, many past experiments have shown that points are awarded even when using 20% and 30% off codes. Of course, this could change at any time, so there’s always a risk of not earning points.
Step 3: Buy stuff
Load up your cart with whatever you want to buy. You can get free shipping by spending $75 or more, after discounts. So, if you plan to use the 30% off coupon, you’ll have to load the cart with $107.15 or more worth of stuff in order to qualify for free shipping.
- When you go to checkout, you need to first put in your Kohl’s charge card as the credit card for payment even though you don’t plan to use it.
- Next, put in the coupon code (currently, CUPID30) for 30% off.
- Then, enter up to four gift card codes and PINs to pay for the total.
Kohl’s is currently offering $10 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent. This is a nice bonus, but you shouldn’t think of it as being worth $10. Kohl’s cash is only valid for about two weeks. Plus, it is always applied before discounts. So, you cannot get 30% off the portion of your purchase paid for with Kohl’s cash. Further, using Kohl’s cash can reduce the total to below the free shipping mark which would further reduce your savings. People have also reported various issues with dealing with returns of items purchased with Kohl’s cash. Overall, I think its best to think of Kohl’s cash as a nice bonus, but don’t factor it in to your overall savings.
Add it Up
Let’s assume that you successfully buy Kohl’s gift cards for 12% off, and that you successfully earn 10 points per dollar through the Ultimate Rewards Mall, and that you get 30% off your entire order. The gift card discount comes after the 30% off discount so they combine to equal 38.4% off. The 10X points from the Ultimate Rewards Mall are also based on the amount paid after the 30% discount, so if we treat Ultimate Rewards points as being worth just a penny each, this is like a 7% rebate. So, in all, you can get 45.4% off everything at Kohl’s! Personally, I value Ultimate Rewards points much higher than 1 cent each, though, so this deal is even better!