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If you like to wear higher-end clothes, shoes, purses, etc. but don’t enjoy paying retail prices, then Nordstrom’s much-anticipated anniversary sale needs to be on your radar. It only comes around once per year, and today marks the first day of this year’s sale for those with early access.

What makes this sale unique is that it isn’t a markdown of this season’s items, it offers a substantial discount (often up to about 40%) on items for upcoming seasons and on things you can use all year round that rarely go on sale. It doesn’t take any skill to go to Nordstrom’s website or stores and buy these sale items, but we want to help you take the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale to the next level with a little strategy.

Related: Best Credit Cards for Clothing Purchases

Shop Early With the Right Credit Card

This annual sale is very popular and hot items can and do sell out relatively quickly, so getting in on the sale as early as possible is important for the best selection — this requires early access.

To shop today before the general public, you need the Nordstrom Credit Card. Otherwise, you have to wait around until July 19. Think of this special access as a preboarding benefit, but instead of receiving 15 minutes of extra glory sitting on the plane before everyone else, you get more than 150 hours of advance shopping.

There are actually two different Nordstrom Cards available — there’s a Nordstrom retail store card that can only be used at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, HauteLook and Trunk Club, and the Nordstrom Visa that can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted.

There’s often a welcome offer that won’t get you a free ticket to Europe, but you will usually receive some bonus credit (aka Nordstrom Notes) to shop at Nordstrom.

While there are many differences between the two cards in regard to the number of points you’ll earn and where the card can be used, one major difference is how the cards count toward Chase’s “5/24” rule. The Nordstrom Retail card has a leg up where it might not count against your 5/24 number because it is a retailer specific store card.

The Nordstrom Visa, on the other hand, will allow you to maximize your point earning on all Nordstrom purchases at 3x points per dollar spent at the store, but, your approval on the card will almost certainly count toward that coveted 5/24 number. We say might not count as there are reports that store cards have increasingly counted toward Chase 5/24, so we can’t promise that it won’t bite you.

If you are looking to apply for more Chase cards within the next 24 months and this would tip you over 5/24, you might want to skip early access to the sale to play it safe.

Earn Double Points

If you have a Nordstrom card or access to your own personal “double points days” by having status with The Nordy Club, the day you place your big sale order is a good day to use that bonus.

Get a $10 Nordstrom Note

From July 12 – 14, if you make an online purchase using your Nordstrom card and choose in-store pickup, you can get a $10 Nordstrom reward to use in stores and online from Aug. 5–29.

Get a Statement Credit with Amex Offers

Perfectly timed, American Express just launched a new Amex Offer which will give you a $10 statement credit when you spend $75 ore more at a U.S. department store. There are a total of 14 stores included, with one of them being Nordstrom. This offer is valid for online purchases only and does not include order online, pick up in-store purchases. Unfortunately, this offer is highly targeted, so you’ll need to check your AmericanExpress.com account to see if you are eligible, and if so, enroll in the offer. This is a great way to receive an extra $10 in savings with your Nordstrom purchase.

Ensure the Best Price With Price Protection

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is typically one of the better sales we see throughout the year, but that doesn’t always mean that every single item sells for the lowest price possible. When making your purchase, it is important to use a card that offers price protection in case the price goes down at a future time — either at Nordstrom or another retailer. With select credit cards, you can receive the difference in price if it drops within 30 to 120 days, depending on the card used.

Although Citi is getting rid of its Price Rewind benefit, that change doesn’t kick in until Sept. 22, 2019. That means that any purchase made before this date is still entitled to this benefit. For now, your purchases are still eligible for a claim up to $200 per item and $1,000 per calendar year. You have 60 days after the purchase is made to find a lower price, although you have a full 180 days to actually file the claim.

Another set of popular cards that include price protection are the United cobranded credit cards. Although Chase got rid of this benefit more than a year ago with most of its other cards, the United cards still carried on with offering one of the better benefits of the bunch. With both the United Explorer Business Card and the United Club Card, for example, you can be reimbursed up to $500 per item and a maximum cap of $2,500 per year. You also have 90 days to find a lower price, which is an entire month longer than the Citi credit cards.

Earn Bonus Points With Gift Cards

Normally, we would tell you to be sure and shop via an online shopping portal to pick up extra miles for your purchases, but it has been years since Nordstrom.com was listed in an online shopping site. However, you can earn miles purchasing Nordstrom gift cards in the United MileagePlus X app or at retailers that sell gift cards, such as office supply stores or grocery stores. For example, if you purchased a $200 Nordstrom gift card at a US supermarket with your American Express® Gold Card, you should earn four points per dollar on that purchase (up to $25k per year; then 1x).

(Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Bottom Line

For those who fall into the online shopping obsessed world, or simply want to bite the bullet and stock up quality items while the prices are reduced, this is a great sale. Year after year, I fully take advantage of this sale for my family. I won’t try to convince you that Nordstrom is an economical merchant, but its return policy is one of the best in the business. If you purchase clothing for the winter that doesn’t end up working out, or if an item does not hold up to your standards, you can return the item at any point.

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale goes lives today at 12:30pm eastern, so get your shopping fingers ready and enjoy the Nordstrom packages showing up at your doorstep in the coming days.

Featured image by Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images

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American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at restaurants worldwide, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
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Regular APR
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Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
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Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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