Monday, February 28, 2011

Merchant Cashback Strategies:

   Each week, I hope to feature an article detailing the best strategy I use for getting the maximum cash back from a particular merchant.  I have decided to start with, one of, if not the largest retailer on the Internet. During the holidays, Amazon's business soars, and so remember to bookmark this post for when you do your holiday shopping.
   Amazon is one of the few major Internet merchants for which there is not a cashback discount offered through any of the cashback portals that I recommend. 

So what options are there? 

   Basically, one has 2 options.

  1.  You can apply for the Amazon Rewards Visa credit card.  If you qualify, you will receive 3% cash back on all of your Amazon purchases, a $40 signup bonus, 2% back on gas station, restaurant and drugstore purchases and 1% back on everything else.  There is no annual fee, and the card carries a variable interest rate of 13.24% to 21.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.  Surprisingly, in my opinion, Lifehacker readers just last week voted the Amazon Rewards Visa as the best cash back Rewards credit card available in the market.  Perhaps it was because of the demographics of their readership, but I find the card relatively unremarkable.  To read the Lifehacker article, click here.

2.  The 2nd option is to purchase an Amazon online gift card Ecode through one of the gift card resellers I have recommended in my earlier blogs, such Cardpool or Plastic Jungle. My experience has been that Cardpool seems to more frequently offer the Ecodes and their discount runs 3%.  There are two other benefits to using this option.  First, if you use the Mr. Rebates portal to reach Cardpool and purchase your card or cards, the Mr. Rebates cashback discount brings the total savings to 4%.  The 2nd benefit is that you receive your gift card Ecode within a couple hours, and if you buy the gift card with a cashback credit card, the total savings can go up to 5-6%, depending on your cashback credit card.  A side benefit is that you do not have to ding your credit rating by having one more credit card in your wallet.  The one negative is that one does not get the onetime $40 signup bonus that the Amazon card offers. As I have recommended before however, do not buy more gift cards than you can use in the short term.  There will always be more available for purchase at a later date.

   The choice is yours, but I recommend using Cardpool via the Mr. Rebates portal.

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