I have this rule when shopping at certain retailers, like QFC, Banana Republic, or Crate and Barrel. Never, EVER pay full price. There’s no reason to. Most grocery stores will put everything on sale at some point, so rotate your purchases and buy in bulk. Gap brands and Macy’s are horrible at charging full price. With a coupon and patience you can get most things for 20-50% off. Crate and Barrel and Williams-Sonoma will let you create a fake gift registry for your dog’s birthday next weekend and then send you a 10% off coupon to buy anything still on it.
While I like to think American Airlines is in a slightly better category than Old Navy or Macy’s, I don’t see any reason to leave money on the table. To continue my series this week on travel discounts at Costco, you can buy $300 American Airlines gift cards for only $270, a 10% discount. I know many long-time points hoarders know this, but it is surprising how many are still in the dark. Keep in mind that not all Costco locations sell them, and those that don’t might not even know what you’re talking about if you call. In the Seattle area, the only one I’m aware of that does is Costco #1, the original location on 4th Ave S.
You can’t use Visa or MasterCard at Costco stores, and although I have SPG and Hilton AmEx cards I like to take a different approach. Buy a pre-paid AmEx using your Chase Ink Bold at an office supply store so you can get 5X Ultimate Rewards points. Valued at 2 cents each, that’s like getting a 10% rebate on top of the 10% discount! In fact, do this for all of your Costco purchases so you can get a 10% rebate on this and the other deals I share with you this week. Consider using my link to sign up for the Ink Bold or read more about it on my card comparison page.
Furthermore, combine the 10% savings on your gift card with a 5-10% discount by using publicly available group discount codes. American makes these pretty freely available, and most groups will publish them online. They are generally good for travel to a particularly destination from any origin during a particular date range.
Just do a search for something generic, like “Seattle American discount code” and check the results to find one that works for your travel plans. Actually, Seattle may not be the best choice because these can’t be used on codeshares, and most American Airlines flights to Seattle are actually operated by Alaska Airlines. Oh, well.
If you get stuck searching, you can check out this forum on FatWallet.com and a Google Docs spreadsheet created by one of the members to see codes that other people have already found. Please, contribute some of your own to help the community!