April 10, 2013
This quarter, everyone wants us to shop at Home Improvement stores. Below are the deals I’ve been offered. Some are targeted to specific individuals, some are not. If you qualify, don’t forget to register!
This quarter, Chase offers 5% cash back on up to $1500 in spend with the Freedom card at restaurants, movie theaters, and Lowe’s.
If you have a premium Ultimate Rewards card in addition to the Freedom card (such as the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus) you can transfer points to one of those cards and then transfer points to select airline miles or hotel points. This is a great way to get even more value out of your Freedom card rewards.
This quarter, Discover offers 5% back at Home Improvement stores for up to $1500 in purchases.
I received this targeted offer for my Citi Forward card. Citi is offering me 5X for purchases in the following categories: Clothing, Home Improvement, Home Furnishing, and Department Stores. I can earn up to 2500 “additional points”. I interpret this to mean that I get 1X normally, so the additional 4X is counted as the “additional points”. I think that means I can earn 5X for up to $625 in these categories (625 X 4 = 2500).
Barclays’ US Airways
Barclay’s sent me this targeted offer for one of my two US Airways cards. They’re offering 5 bonus miles for Restaurant, Gas Station, and Home Improvement store purchases. Since they are offering 5 bonus miles per dollar, I will still earn the base 1 mile per dollar and get a total of 6 miles per dollar for these purchases. I can earn up to 2,500 bonus miles, which means I will get 6X on up to $500 in spend in these categories.
My Barclays’ US Airways card offers the best miles per dollar offer at 6X, but for only $500 in spend. This is also the only offer that includes gas station purchases, so I’ll use this card to buy gas and maybe buy gift cards at a gas station.
The Chase Freedom card is possibly the best offer overall because it offers extremely valuable Ultimate Rewards points. Also, thanks to my Chase checking account, I qualify for a 10% annual bonus on all Freedom card points earned (see “The new king of the Ultimate Rewards Mall“). So, I’ll earn a total of 5.5 points per dollar within the bonus categories. This will be my go-to card for restaurants, movie theaters, and Lowe’s this quarter.
I’ll use my Citi Forward card for clothing, home furnishing, and department stores. And, I’ll continue to use it for bookstores (such as Amazon.com) since it always earns 5X there. I usually use this card at restaurants and movie theaters for 5X, but I’ll wait until I tap out the Freedom card 5X before I go back to the Forward card for those purchases.
My Discover It card will probably sit in a drawer unless I figure out a great way to manufacture Home Improvement spend.
Maximizing Home Improvement Spend
With so many cards offering bonuses for Home Improvement spend, many people have asked me for tips for maximizing spend in that category. I’ll present some ideas tomorrow on this topic, but first I’d like to turn the question around. Do you know of good ideas for maximizing spend at Lowes or other Home Improvement stores?
Here are some potentially helpful nuggets of info (that I believe to be true):
- Credit card bonus points are stackable with shopping portal bonus points. For example, if you use the Chase Freedom card this quarter and go through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Lowe’s, you’ll get 5X from the credit card and another 5X from the shopping portal.
- The AAdvantage eShopping portal is offering 6X for Home Depot this week.
- In past experiments, people did not receive points for buying Home Depot gift cards through online shopping portals.
- In past experiments, people did receive points for using Home Depot gift cards through online shopping portals to buy Home Depot merchandise.
- Home Depot does not sell gift cards to other merchants (neither online nor in store).
- The Ultimate Rewards Mall currently offers 5X for Lowe’s
- In past experiments, people did receive points for buying Lowe’s physical gift cards through online shopping portals. I do not expect this to work for e-gift cards since they are not sold directly by Lowes.com (Lowes.com sends you out to another URL when you select e-gift cards).
- In past experiments, people did receive points for using Lowe’s gift cards through online shopping portals to buy Lowe’s merchandise.
- Lowe’s sells a large selection of merchant gift cards in-store. Dan’s Deals lists the following: AMC Theaters, AT&T GoPhone, Aeropastle, Amazon, Applebees, Barnes & Noble, Bass Pro Shop, Bath & Body Works, Bed Bath & Beyond/Buy Buy Baby, Boost Mobile, Build, A, Bear, Cabela’s, Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s, Claire’s, Coldstone Creamery, Cracker Barrel, Darden Restaurants, Fandango, Finish Line, Foot Locker, Game Stop, Gap Inc (Gap, Banana, Old Navy, Athleta, Piperlime), Golfsmith, Ihop, iTunes, JCPenney, Jiffy Lube, Jo, Ann Fabric, Justice, Kohl’s, Lane Bryant, Lowe’s, MLB.com, Macy’s, Marriott, Marshalls, Michael’s, Nascar Superstore, Nike, Nordstrom, OfficeMax, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, PFChang’s, Panera, Petco, Petsmart, Pizza Hut, Red Lobster, Red Robin, Regal Cinemas, Ruby Tuesday, Sephora, Shell, Southwest, SpaFinder, Sports Authority, Staples, Starbucks, Subway, TGIFriday, TJMaxx, T, Mobile Prepaid, Tracfone, Verizon Prepaid, Virgin Mobile, Xbox
- I’ve seen additional gas gift cards at Lowe’s besides Shell, so the particular gift cards available at any one Lowe’s store may vary.
- Lowe’s does not allow you to buy gift cards with Lowe’s gift cards.