If you’ve run out of ideas, or if you simply hate shopping at the mall, let your credit card help you find that perfect Valentine’s Day gift.
You might even earn yourself a discount.
But you’ll have to play by your card’s rules, which means shopping through their websites. And you’ll have to be careful that you’re actually scoring a deal. I found, for example, it’s much more difficult to figure out if I’m getting a valuable discount when credit card points are required for purchase.
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The best sites spell out clearly what your discount is — or how much of a bonus you’ll earn with your purchase.
Here are some of the best deals I found for Valentine’s Day.
American Express: Spend $50 or more, get $15 back at 1800Flowers.com (Note: AmEx deals may be tailored for individual cardholders.)
Chase: Earn 15 points per dollar spent at ProFlowers.com on eligible Chase credit cards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.
Discover: Save 15 percent at select online floral retailers through Discover Deals.
Visa: Save 25 percent on all purchases from FromYouFlowers.com through Visa Offers + Perks.
American Express: Spend $150 or more, get $30 back at Swarovski.
Chase: Earn three points per dollar spent at Blue Nile.
Discover: Earn 5 percent cash-back bonus at Bloomingdale’s.
Visa: Save $60 on a purchase of $300 or more at Zales.com.
Food and wine
American Express: Spend $50 or more, get $10 back at Wine.com.
Chase: Earn 12 points per dollar spent at Shari’s Berries.
Discover: Save 15 percent at Harry & David.
Visa: Buy one, get one free wine tastings at dozens of wineries throughout the country when using select Visa credit cards.
American Express: Spend $175 or more, get $35 back at Hampton by Hilton or Hilton Garden Inn.
Discover: 5 percent cash-back bonus at Atlantis & More Bahama Resorts.
Visa: Save 25 percent when you stay four or more nights at the Conrad London St. James hotel.
CARD SEARCH: Planning a vacation? Now’s the time to look at hotel credit cards.
If flowers aren’t enough
If you’re looking for a unique gift, some credit cards also offer “experience” packages for their members.
Here are a couple of examples:
- World Elite Mastercard holders can book a nine-course tasting menu for two at Kingsley in New York City’s East Village. The $259 meal includes wine pairings and dishes like charred octopus or skate with butternut squash.
- If sports are more your thing, you can buy a four-ticket package to a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards website, which includes lower bowl seats and a Zamboni ride on the ice between periods. The package costs $2,160.
“You don’t want to give your Valentine a gift card,” says Beverly Harzog, a credit card expert and author of “The Debt Escape Plan.” “You want to do something a little bit more personal.”
3 things to watch
All online credit card shopping deals are going to differ in some potentially significant ways, so you’ll need to check the policies of your card issuer, but here are three key questions I had that Maureen Powers, vice president of rewards at Discover, answered via email:
1. Do purchases through the online card portal qualify for price protection guarantees?
Forgive my skepticism, but when I see steep online discounts I wonder if I’m really getting a good deal. Many cards offer price-protection policies that will refund you the difference if you find another merchant selling the same item you purchased at a lower price.
Powers says Discover’s price guarantee covers items purchased through Discover Deals. You’ll need to find a lower advertised price, though.
2. If an online deal includes an enhanced cash-back bonus, does that replace the standard rewards the credit card offers?
“When shopping on Discover Deals, cardmembers will receive the standard cash back based on their card’s rewards structure, in addition to any available cash back or discount from the Discover Deals promotion,” Powers says.
3. Could the discounts change as we get closer to Valentine’s Day?
“These deals and offerings are regularly updated within the portal, so we recommend our customers review the details of the reward to ensure they don’t miss out on a great offer, and that they regularly check back for new offers,” Powers says.
Most, if not all, of the deals I found online had expiration dates attached to them. Be on the lookout for those dates when doing your shopping.
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I wrote earlier this week about new data that shows a pretty big uptick in identity fraud. The study has been getting a good bit of media attention.
I argued that the 16 percent increase in the number of adults victimized by identity fraud wasn’t the most important number in the report, put out by Javelin Strategy & Research.
The most important number was the one that showed almost no victim winds up with out-of-pocket costs because of the consumer protections put in place covering credit and debit card liability.
But there’s another important number I didn’t write about. That number is two, as in the median number of hours it takes victims to resolve their fraud claims.
These low-impact numbers show, I think, that fraud is a nuisance for consumers and a big and growing headache for businesses.
Still, in most cases, there’s little need to fear that someone stealing your credit card could turn your life upside-down.
"When my first wife lost her credit card, I made no attempt to get it back because the thief was spending less than her." – Warren Buffett 😂
— Steve Burns (@SJosephBurns) January 28, 2017
When Steve Burns, a stock trader and author of a number of investing books, tweeted this quote a few days ago, I had a difficult time believing that it came out of Warren Buffett’s mouth.
It’s kinda sexist, and the stereotype it reinforces is wrong.
Turns out the world’s third-richest person indeed made this comment in 2014. He was properly corrected at the time in at least one story that highlighted data showing that women manage money better than men:
Men incur 4.3 percent more debt and use 2 percent more of their available credit than women do. They also fall behind on their mortgage payments 7 percent more often, and trail women when it comes to credit scores — according to Experian, women have an average score of 675, which is one point better than their counterparts who carry a Y chromosome.
So fellas, if your significant other asks you what you want for Valentine’s Day, it might not be a bad idea to say this: Your financial advice.