Guide to maximizing Black Friday holiday purchases

Nov 29, 2019

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Black Friday is one of my favorite days of the year. While I used to be one to get to the stores in the wee hours of the morning before the turkey was even fully digested, I have transitioned to online shopping. And, if the trend from the past few years continues, most Black Friday deals will be available all week long (if not longer). While Black Friday deals can save you a good amount of money, knowing how to maximize your savings and point earnings along the way is equally important. Here are six tips to maximize your purchases.

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Use an online shopping portal

If you are making any purchases online, my No. 1 tip is to make sure you go through an online shopping portal first. These portals will earn you extra points, miles or cash back for purchases you were going to make anyway

For Black Friday many shopping portals are offering increased bonuses, like TopCashBack, which is currently giving 20% cash back on Macy’s purchases. A single $50 purchase can put an extra $20 back into your pocket. Some of the more popular shopping portals allow you to earn airline miles, credit card points or cash back.

Other increased offers at TopCashBack include 15% at Bed Bath and Beyond, 15% at Neiman Marcus and 13% at Dell.

Another excellent opportunity to earn cash back or American Express Membership Rewards is currently live on Rakuten, which is offering an 8% return on Amazon devices like the Echo.

Earn airline miles

Be sure to register at these shopping portals, log in and then link to the store where you want to shop. If you’re not logged in to the shopping portal and you don’t click through the portal’s store link, you won’t earn any rewards.

Earn credit card points

Just like the above-mentioned airline programs, these banks also offer shopping portals that can earn you extra points per purchase.

Earn cash back

If the store you want to shop at doesn’t appear in any of the airline or bank shopping portals, see if you can earn cash back on the purchase with these outfits:

And, TPG answers the age old question” Can I get both points/miles and cash back on a purchase?

Find the biggest payout

Many of these programs, such as Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Shopping and United’s MileagePlus Shopping, offer Chrome extensions that will notify you when you visit a website that’s eligible for extra rewards and let you activate the mileage bonus without even clicking through the portal’s website. However, if you want to get the best bang for your buck, use a shopping portal aggregator like CashbackMonitor.com or Evrewards.com to search for the store you want and quickly compare the current bonuses, since payouts change day to day and vary between programs. During the Black Friday time period, there is also a high chance that we will see some of these portals offering increased payouts. 

Utilize Amex Offers

If you have any American Express credit cards, you can take advantage of Amex Offers. This includes both cobranded cards, such as the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and cards that earn Membership Reward points, such as the American Express® Gold Card.

You will need to log in to your online Amex account to see which offers you are eligible for. Make sure to add the offer to your card if you see any you like because they can disappear. Some popular Amex Offers that can save you money on your upcoming Black Friday shopping purchases include:

  • Intermix: Spend $250+, receive a $50 statement credit
  • J.Crew: Spend $50+, receive a $10 statement credit
  • eBags: Spend $125+, receive a $25 statement credit
  • Sunglass Hut: Spend $150+, receive a $30 statement credit
  • Best BuySpend $300+, receive 3,000 Membership Reward points or a $30 statement credit
  • WayfairSpend $125+, get a $25 statement credit
  • Select Home Improvement & Furnishing Stores: Spend $75+, get a $10 statement credit
  • Macy’s: Earn an additional point per dollar spent
  • Neiman Marcus: Earn 1 additional Membership Reward point per dollar spent
  • Bloomingdale’s: Earn 1 additional Membership Reward point per dollar spent
  • Dell.com: Earn 1 additional Membership Reward point per dollar spent
  • Staples: Earn 1 additional Membership Reward point per dollar spent
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

There are slightly different terms for every Amex Offer, so check the details of each promotion. Some offers require the minimum spend to be a single purchase while others are for cumulative spend. Some offers are for purchases made online only or in-store only so make sure to know which purchases will trigger the statement credit. The best part of Amex Offers is that you can combine them with any other coupon you might find or bonus from an online shopping portal — this can allow you to double or even triple dip your savings.

Try Chase Offers

Similar to Amex Offers, Chase also offers statement credit opportunities when you use your registered credit card to make a purchase. These offers aren’t necessarily as lucrative as Amex Offers, but every extra savings can help.

You will need to log in to your Chase account either online or on the app to see which offers you are eligible for. (Note: Some accounts will show more offers than offers and some might not even display any offers).

Know which credit card gets you the most points

Using the best credit card is important when you are looking to spend a good amount of money. Why earn 1% cash back, when another card will give you a whopping 5% cash back (or more)?

Best cards for Amazon

  • Discover it® Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back (up to $1,500 in cumulative spend on purchases for the quarter at Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com after activating the offer). Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card: 3% cash back

Best card for Target

Best cards for wholesale clubs (Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club)

Best cards for department stores

  • Chase Freedom: 5% cash back (up to $1,500 spend for the quarter at select US department stores; must activate the offer by Dec. 14)

Best cards at office supply stores

Even if you aren’t gifting someone a new office chair, remember that many office supply stores sell third-party gift cards — like Amazon, Delta or Disney — that you might want to gift to someone.

  • Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card: 5% cash back (up to $25,000 in combined spending with all 5% cash back categories each card membership year)
  • Chase Ink Business Plus Credit Card: 5x points (up to $50,000 in combined spending with all 5x point categories each card membership year) *This card is no longer available to new applicants.
  • SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express: 5% cash back at US office supply stores (up to $50,000 in combined spending with all 5% cash back categories each card membership year) *This card is no longer available to new applicants.

Use a card with price protection

Price protection is a great credit card benefit and, at times, can be more worthwhile than the points and miles you earn with the card. The number of cards that offer this benefit is definitely dwindling — American Express, Bank of America, Discover and Citi do not offer this benefit. However, there are still a handful of cards that will provide you with this protection on your next purchase. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday pricing are typically very competitive, they are not always the best deals you’ll find as prices can dip at various points in the holiday season.

As long as you made the purchase with a card that comes with the price protection benefit, you might be able to get the difference back if the price drops within a set number of days. Keep in mind that all of the price protection benefits listed below are only for U.S.-issued cards for purchases made within the U.S.

Chase

Unfortunately, Chase recently removed the price protection benefit from most of its cards last year. Although a few cards, at least for now, have been salvaged:

The information for the United TravelBank, United Club, United Club Business cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

With this benefit, with only these Chase cards, you can be reimbursed up to $500 per item up to $2,500 per year. You have up to 90 days from when the purchase was made to file a claim.

United MileagePlus. Photo by Alexandr Bognat / Getty Images
United MileagePlus (Photo by Alexandr Bognat/Getty Images)

Capital One

If you have a Capital One Spark business credit card, then you are in luck, as price protection is still a benefit on these four cards. These cards include:

With this benefit, with only these Capital One cards, you can be reimbursed up to $500 per item up to $2,500 per year. You have up to 60 days from when the purchase was made to file a claim. Just remember that the competitor’s price must be in a printed advertisement as Internet advertisements are excluded.

U.S. Bank

Only the U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express Card is eligible for the price protection benefit — which it actually refers to as “Best Value Guarantee.” This card has the weakest benefits compared to all the other banks as a lower price must be found within 30 days of the date of purchase. The caps are also lower than some of the other cards as you are only able to receive up to $250 back per item, up to $1,000 per year.

The information for the U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. 

Wells Fargo

The Wells Fargo Visa Signature® card also offers a price protection benefit as long as you find the item at a less expensive price within 60 days from when the purchase was made. With this benefit, you will be reimbursed the difference up to $250 per item and up to $1,000 per year.

The information for the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. 

Bottom line

With Black Friday Week upon us, now is the time to put a shopping plan into action. Check the online shopping portals, add the Amex and Chase Offers to your credit cards, use the cards that offer the most points/cash back for your purchases and note the cards that come with price and purchase protections. By following these tips, you will save a good amount of money on your Black Friday purchases. Happy shopping!

Featured image via Shutterstock.

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