Extreme Stacking Dell

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Yesterday, I wrote about discounts available to anyone via Spring from Capital One (no Capital One card necessary). In that post, I noted a discount doe Dell computers that offered “Member” pricing and 12% off — but that it didn’t excite me all that much. In response, Greg suggested a post about ways of Extreme Stacking Dell, which sounded like a great idea since there are so many ways to stack deals at Dell. Here are the ways I’d stack it. Have you stacked something additional? Let us know in the comments.

Business Platinum Dell Credits

The Business Platinum card from American Express ordinarily comes with a $100 credit for Dell purchases that can be used twice annually (once from January to June and once from July to December).

One nice thing about Dell is that they allow for easy split payment online. This can be useful if you have more than one Business Platinum card in your household: you could easily split payment over two or even three cards in order to use Dell credits from multiple cards on a single purchase.

Split payment can be particularly useful if the items you really want at Dell cost $200 or more. Keep in mind that you could take this approach with a friend who you trust will reciprocate: between January and June you split payment with a friend to buy something he or she wants and then between July and December the two of you split payment on something that you want. This team-up technique is going to require sharing your credit card numbers though, so I’d only recommend doing this with someone you trust.

Of course this year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amex has increased the Dell credit by adding an additional $100. That means cardholders each have $200 in total credits to use from July to December (if you have two Business Platinum cards in your household, you could therefore split tender to spend $400 that is rebated).

Amex Offers for Dell

If you’re planning to make a Dell purchase, keep a close eye on your Amex Offers – particularly on your Business Platinum card if you have one. Since Amex Offers can now only be synced to a single card, you’ll want to be strategic about syncing them.

For example, at the time of writing, I have multiple Dell offers synced to my wife’s Business Platinum card (all of which can be found in our Current Amex Offers database):

There is additionally a current offer to spend $599 or more and get 12,000 Membership Rewards points (also scheduled to expire 7/31/20). Unfortunately, I didn’t get that offer on the same Business Platinum card.

The good news is that these offers can stack and you can earn multiple offers on a single purchase. See the next section for a caution on stacking them.

Caution on stacking Amex Offers

I noted in the previous section that multiple Dell Amex Offers can be stacked, but there are some instances where cardholders have seen a clawback associated with this.

In 2019, there was also an offer good for 10% back that many people found on a Business Platinum card. It was therefore possible to make a small profit on a Dell purchase in a scenario like this:

  • Make a purchase totaling $105 on a Business Platinum card synced with the 10%-back offer
  • Get $10.50 back from the Amex Offer
  • Get $100 back from the Business Platinum credit
  • Totals: $105 paid, $110.50 rebated

Amex eventually decided that they didn’t like that scenario, and long after Amex had credited accounts for these offers (and in some cases even after cardholders had closed their accounts), Amex clawed back the $10.50 from the 10% offer. According to Dan’s Deals, this only happened on orders where the rebates turned a profit — in other words, if you spent more than $111 (and therefore Amex hadn’t given you back more than you had paid), there was no clawback.

I think that type of clawback is ridiculous given that it is entirely out of a cardholder’s control as to which credits Amex provides and that cardholder shouldn’t be faulted for buying an item that happened to cost $100. But it is worth keeping in mind that an offer that works out to be slightly profitable might cause a clawback down the line.

It’s worth noting that Dell even advertises several of these promotions together as being available to American Express Card Members with no explicit indication that they wouldn’t be stackable. This graphic comes directly from the Dell website promotions page:

I therefore think it is relatively safe to use offers together.

Stack a shopping portal

One nice thing about all of the above is that those Amex credits and offers stack nicely with a shopping portal. While Amex Offer terms sometimes suggest that you need to use a specific Amex-dedicated link to start your shopping trip, that isn’t true in practice. In fact, I’ve never visited that link they specify in the fine print and I’ve always triggered my Amex Offers by simply checking out through Dell.

Current shopping portal rates are very low at the time of writing. However, looking at the past 15-month history via CashBackMonitor, we see that rates have reached as high as 16% cash back or 10 miles per dollar in that time:

As you can see with one date that I moused over in that screen shot, some of the peaks on the cash back side have been from Rakuten. The nice thing there is that it is possible to earn Amex Membership Rewards points through Rakuten. The highest Rakuten payout I saw during the 15-month history above was 15% back — which could alternatively mean 15 Membership Rewards points per dollar. I noted above that I currently have a Business Platinum card that already features offers for +4 Membership Rewards points and +1 Membership Rewards point per dollar spent. Those offers together with the 1x ordinarily offered for purchases on the Business Platinum make for a return of 6x. Combined with Rakuten, I could therefore get 21x if that increased shopping portal rate were available today (it isn’t). Stacked yet again with Business Platinum credits — or the offer noted above for 12K points on $599 spend – this could be an incredible deal.

Again, as an example, let’s imagine you stacked everything noted so far (including a 15x payout from Rakuten that isn’t actually available right now) on a $599 purchase. You would spend $599 and get:

  • $200 back in Business Platinum credits
  • $59.90 back from the 10% Amex Offer
  • 12,000 Membership Rewards points from an Amex Offer
  • 599 Membership Rewards points from base earning at 1x on the Business Platinum
  • 599 Membership Rewards points from the +1 point per dollar Amex Offer
  • 2396 Membership Rewards points from the +4 points per dollar Amex Offer
  • 8.985 Membership Rewards points from 15x at Rakuten
  • Total: $259.90 cash back + 24,579 Membership Rewards points

That’s an amazing return on a $599 purchase. If you value the Membership Rewards points at just 1.25c each (the value at which you can convert them to cash with the Schwab Platinum card), the points are worth $307.24. That makes the purchase nearly a total wash.

And you might do a bit better yet.

Possible coupon stack

Dell occasionally offers coupons that may stack with a shopping portal. Using a coupon does create a possible conflict: if the coupon code is not listed on the shopping portal site, you may not earn shopping portal rewards.

Your safest bet is to use a coupon code you see listed on your shopping portal of choice (some popular Dell coupons can often be found listed on shopping portals). Sometimes these coupons can be good deals.

Another good deal, albeit one that may invalidate portal rewards, is a new email coupon. Dell offers a coupon worth 10% off to people who sign up for its email list. In the past, that coupon has arrived pretty quickly upon sign up. I tried to sign up an email address or two last night and my coupon had not arrived by this morning Update: The coupon did eventually arrive this morning. Note that the gmail trick worked.

The email list gives you a coupon good for 10% off. You can find that email sign up link on this page. You have to scroll down to the section about extra savings with Dell Coupons.

I used such a coupon last year and I can’t remember for sure whether the purchase initially tracked through Rakuten. I ultimately returned the laptop I bought, so I can’t be sure exactly how it would have turned out. If you have stacked this new email coupon with a shopping portal (or tried and failed to receive rewards) let us know in the comments so that other readers can plan accordingly.

Also note that in yesterday’s post, I showed how anyone can get a coupon good for 12% off via Spring.

Can you stack that 12% off coupon with shopping portal rewards? Again, I wouldn’t count on it unless someone chimes in to note that it has worked. However, if shopping portal rewards are low (as they are right now), it may be worth trying to stack it since the downside is small.

Stack with “Dell Deals” bundled savings

Dell has a “Deals” page here that is worth monitoring: https://deals.dell.com/en-us

It’s worth keeping tabs on that page because they sometimes have offers where you can earn a bonus Dell promotional gift card with purchase. Better yet, they sometimes offer a bonus Visa Gift Card with purchase. In my $599 laptop example above, you may luck out and find one bundled with a $100 Visa gift card. Here is an example from Slickdeals last year with one laptop that was $538.99 and $587.99 that each came with a $100 Visa Gift Card. It would probably be easy to find a filler item or upgrade the RAM or something in one of those laptops to reach the $599 order threshold for the stack noted above.

As a reminder on the math, here is how that would work out if you could stack it as noted above:

  • $200 back in Business Platinum credits
  • $59.90 back from the 10% Amex Offer
  • 12,000 Membership Rewards points from an Amex Offer
  • 599 Membership Rewards points from base earning at 1x on the Business Platinum
  • 599 Membership Rewards points from the +1 point per dollar Amex Offer
  • 2396 Membership Rewards points from the +4 points per dollar Amex Offer
  • 8.985 Membership Rewards points from 15x at Rakuten
  • Total: $259.90 cash back + 24,579 Membership Rewards points + $100 Visa Gift Card

That would be a really sweet deal.

Dell Member Purchase Program

As noted in yesterday morning’s post about the Spring business deals (the program is administered by Capital One, but no Capital One card is required), Dell has a “Member Purchase Program” that offers slightly better pricing in at least some circumstances.

You can indeed stack those better prices with a shopping portal, so you can save a bit further with deals like these.

Dell Rewards

Dell also offers a rewards program. They made some negative changes to the program this year and now you only earn rewards if you spend $800 in a 12-month period. If you do, you’ll earn 3% back. You can learn more about the rewards program here.

Dell chat reps

It’s worth noting that you can often score a small discount by chatting with a Dell representative during your shopping process. Discounts here can range from a couple percent up to 10%, so there may be times when it is worthwhile. Unfortunately, chatting with a rep or calling someone on the phone to modify or help with your order will almost always invalidate any shopping portal rewards. A user from reddit claimed a few years ago that it was possible to stack both by claiming missing cash back after the fact, but I have no idea whether that still works and definitely wouldn’t count on it.

Bottom line

There are a lot of ways to stack a great deal at Dell. I love the Dell credits on the Business Platinum card, particularly the increased credits available this year, because they enable further stacking for a better deal — though most of the stacking noted within this post is independent of which credit card you use and makes for a solid deal whether or not you’ve got a Business Platinum card. While a couple of Amex Offers mentioned in this post are scheduled to expire today, it’s worth keeping your eye out for new ones as we often see Dell offers pop up around the holiday shopping period — which is a time when portal rates also typically increase. If you’re looking for a deal from Dell, you’ll want to keep your eye out for the times when increased portal rates and discounted product pricing converge, which can make for a great stack.

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