Good afternoon everyone, I have another guest post from my buddy Nigel. You might remember him from such great blog posts as Guest Post: 5 Card App-O-Rama (Diners Club, Club Carlson, US Airways, Southwest Airlines Plus, and Citizens Bank). Without further ado, take it away Nigel!
Hello TWG readers, I wanted to share my experience with the recent 1-800-Flowers promotion to help qualify for the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. The inspiration and instructions for this endeavor came from Frequent Miler’s post: How to Feed the Hungry and Fly for Free.
In brief, through February 14th, 1-800-Flowers was running a promotion where every qualifying order of at least $29.99 with promo code RR36 or RR43 would earn 1,750 Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward Points. In November, there was a similar promotion and many people reported that the points posted as Companion Pass qualifying points. Rather than further depleting my Chase Ultimate Rewards Points or Hyatt Gold Passport account balances, I decided to go for it.
Recently, I signed up for the Chase Southwest Airlines Plus Credit Card and transferred 50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points into 30,000 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points, thus I was only 26,280 points shy of the Companion Pass. (Editor’s note: check out Southwest Airlines Companion Pass – Part 2: Hyatt and Chase Ultimate Reward Points Game Plan).
To calculate how many orders I would need to place, I divided 26,280 by 1,750. The result was 15.017, rounding up I was looking at a total of 16 orders.
Before I started, I created a Shop Your Way Rewards (SYWR) account with Sears and registered a handful of Visa and MasterCard credit cards that I planned on using (you cannot register American Express or Discover credit cards). After that, I proceeded to purchase the Celebrations Passport Shipping program by going through the Discover shopping portal to earn 20% cash back.
A few days later, I received the following confirmation email.
With the free shipping program in hand, I begun my shopping spree. After numerous attempts at purchasing worthy products, I kept getting the same message, saying “this special offer cannot be combined with Promotion Codes.” Over at Frequent Miler’s site, Greg and other readers suggested several other products, but almost as soon as they were mentioned on the blog, the items became ineligible (someone at 1-800-Flowers must have been monitoring that blog post). After about an hour of trying with nothing to show, I gave up looking for donation-worthy items and ended up ordering a bunch of chocolate covered strawberries for my friends and family. (Editor’s note: if you have a few boxes left, send them to me).
After using one of my American Express credit cards for two orders, I received an email from American Express alerting me that I had fulfilled the following AMEX Offer: spend $50 or more at 1-800-Flowers.com and receive a $15 statement credit.
I also used my Bank of America Alaska Airlines Credit Card to take advantage of the following BankAmeriDeal: receive 10% cash back on 1-800-Flowers.com purchases.
Roughly an hour later, I successfully placed all 16 orders across five different credit cards to avoid receiving any fraud alerts on my credit cards. My total costs were:
- Celebrations Passport Program: $32.50 after tax
- 16 orders from 1-800-Flowers.com: 16 x $32.50 = $520.00
- Total amount spent = $552.50
A day or two after I placed my orders, people began reporting that 1-800-Flowers and Southwest Airlines had changed the terms of the promotion to specifically state that the points earned would *not* be Companion Pass qualifying points. UH-OH! A few days later, people began to verify the unfortunate news that their orders where not counting toward the Companion Pass. At that point, I knew I was dead in the water. Now what am I going to do with all these boxes of chocolate covered strawberries? (Editor’s note: send them to me, Nigel!)
I anxiously logged into my Southwest Airlines account 2 to 4 times a day to see if the points posted. Eventually, 11 days after I placed my orders and roughly a week after the orders were delivered, my Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points posted. Unfortunately, the bad news was confirmed and the points did not count toward my Companion Pass :(
Despite the setback, all was not lost. Here are my earnings from my 1-800-Flowers experiment:
- 16 orders x 1,750 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points: 28,000 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points (28,000 x 1.4 CPP = $392)
- 16 orders x $5 perceived value of goods: $80 (value of chocolate + strawberries)
- 1-800-Flowers AMEX Offer: $15 (statement credit)
- 1-800-Flowers BankAmeriDeal: $3.25 (10% cash back)
- 1,000 Celebration Points: $100 (credit toward future 1-800-Flowers purchase)
- 62,000 Shop Your Way Rewards (SYWR) Points = $62 (credit toward future Sears purchase)
- Value of credit card rewards: $12 (value of miles + points + cash back)
- Passport Shipping from Discover shopping portal: $6.00 (20% cash back)
- Celebrations Rewards Elite Status: $3
- Total value received: $673.25.
Even though the 1-800-Flowers Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points did not count toward my Companion Pass, I still came out “roughly $120 ahead.” Of course, some of those are subjective valuations, even though I was quite conservative with the value of the chocolate cover strawberries, I still perceived a profit. Would I order a bunch of chocolate covered strawberries if I didn’t expect them to qualify toward the Companion Pass, probably not. Was it worth a shot? Sure, that’s the game we play, we win some and we lose some.
Now that the dust has settled, I need to decide what to buy with my $100 credit at 1-800-Flowers and my $62 credit at Sears (62,000 SYWR points). Any suggestions?
Oh, and I’m still short 26,280 Companion Pass Qualifying Points.
Did you participate in this promotion? What was your experience? If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Have a great day everyone!