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Making a Great Deal Even Better
Yesterday I wrote about Best Buy’s Black Friday in July sale on iPads. Specifically I mentioned the 64GB iPad Air 2s which seem to be a sweet spot in the lineup. Those particular iPads sell on Amazon for about $550-$560, but Best Buy was selling them for $474.99.
The deal did go away yesterday, but came back this morning so I think you might see them return tomorrow as well for a brief time. This morning when the deal returned, I decided to use some ninja trickery to make the deal even better. Lets take a look.
Staples 110% Price Match Guarantee
Last month Staples introduced a new 110% price match guarantee as part of the back to school season. While it sounds better than it is, they basically will match the price of a competitor plus add 10% to the price difference. So lets look at the iPad Air 2 64GB Space Gray on Staples.
With the price being $474.99 at Best Buy, the difference is $64.01. With the 110% price match, the price of the iPad at Staples should be $468.59. Great deal so far, but lets see how we can make it better. First off, by ordering from Staples, I will receive 5X Utimate Rewards points with my Chase Ink card and 5% back in Staples Rewards. (You may get as little as 2% in rewards depending on your membership tier.)
Of course, there is also portal cashback. While Staples isn’t currently listed on Discover (for double cashback), I noticed that the United MileagePlus portal is offering 4X points per dollar today. But wait, it gets better! They are also offering a “Back to School” promotion with a bonus of up to 4,000 miles. The bonus is tiered:
- 500 bonus miles for qualifying purchases of at least $125
- 1,750 bonus miles for qualifying purchases of at least $600
- 4,000 bonus miles for qualifying purchases of $1,500 or more
Getting the Price Match
Update: Best Buy’s sale has come back into stock, but Staples is now denying the price match, because it is considered “Special Event” pricing. It seems this example won’t work (although it was dead when I published this), but the overall strategy is good any time you find a sale at a retailer that Staples will price match to.
So now that I had my portal strategy, it was time to get going. Before making the purchase, I decided to hop on Staples chat to verify they would honor the price match. This is the best way to go since you can confirm everything before ordering and then keep the agent on chat while you place the orders. Once the orders are placed they will instantly adjust the price.
After getting on chat I submitted a price match for both the Gold and Space Gray iPads. I explained that I wanted to purchase two of each. Unfortunately they denied my request for the gold iPads and only approved the match for 2 of the grays. I would have fought them a little harder, since I wanted to hit the $1,500 threshold for the United portal bonus, but just after approving the match, the iPads went out of stock on Best Buy’s website.
Since I didn’t want them to change their mind, I asked the chat agent to wait while I placed the order. After going through the portal, I signed in, placed my order, went back to chat and told him the order # and I received an email for the price adjustment within a minute. The new price per iPad was $468.59 or $506.55 including tax. Perfect!
This version of the iPad currently resells on Amazon for about $560. I have been doing some selling through Amazon lately and know that iPads sell quickly. If it goes for $560, then I would net about $525 after fees. It is more than likely that the price will drop. At $541 I would break even cash wise. That is what I am expecting to happen. Even at a slight loss I still make out. Lets look at why.
Add Up the Rewards
Lets look at the rewards earned on this transaction:
- Ultimate Rewards: $1013.10 (price after tax) x 5 = 5,066
- United Miles Portal: $937.18 x 4 = 3,749
- United Miles Bonus: 1,750
- Staples Rewards Earned 5%: $46.86
So on a $937.18 purchase I made 5,066 Ultimate Rewards points, 5,499 United miles and $46.86 in Staples Rewards to be used later. Lets try to quantify that, although I know values are a bit subjective. For the values, I say Ultimate Rewards are worth 1.7 cents each (a value I have been personally using for a long time) and United miles are worth 1.5 cents each.
- Ultimate Rewards value: $79.66
- United miles value: $82.49
- Staples Rewards value: $46.86
- Total value: $209.01
- Rebate percentage: 22.3%
Wow! That is efficient. Especially for something that I am expecting to sell at cost. Also, keep in mind you could do even better by purchasing Staples gift cards at a discount. This past weekend discounted cards were available on eBay and I have purchased them for as much as 40% off.
I know this all sounds a bit complicated, but I spent about 15 minutes on chat purchasing these iPads. If I decide to resell them, it will take about 15 more minutes to pack them up and ship them off to Amazon and then they do the rest. I am hoping the deal returns so I can get at least two more to max out the United portal bonus, but even with things as they stand, I did pretty darn good.
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