Here are a few ways to maximize at Macy’s, either by minimizing money or maximizing miles/points. The idea is to use coupons as much as possible, while using your miles/points credit cards in order to buy Macy’s gift cards and use the gift cards for your purchases:
– have a Macy’s credit card
– use coupons from their flyers or the ones sent specifically to you, because you have a Macy’s credit card
– buy discount Macy’s gift cards online using your mileage credit card
– buy Macy’s gift cards at an office supply store, like Office Depot, using your Ink Bold card and get 5x points
– use your Macy’s credit card for any balances not covered by the gift cards
This type of logic works for other stores, as well, but it isn’t always a great idea. For example, my daughter wants a Patagonia fleece for Christmas. As far as I can tell, I can buy it at Patagonia or at REI. Today, there’s a $200.88 Patagonia gift card online at a 19% discount. But the fleece is “only” $99 and I’d be stuck with a balance on the Patagonia gift card that I don’t really need. I can probably find REI gift cards online, or maybe at a store like Lowe’s, but if my daughter changes her mind and wants to return the fleece, we’re stuck with a gift card from a store (REI) we rarely shop at.
The reason the strategy works for stores like Macy’s and Target and Bed Bath and Beyond is because I shop at those places consistently and gift card balances will always get used up within a reasonable time period.
UPDATE: the following is incorrect. I forgot that you cannot use a gift card to buy a gift card!
– buy discount gift cards online for a store, like Lowes or Office Depot, that sells Macy’s gift cards, then go that store and buy gift cards for Macy’s using the gift cards you bought online. This sounds more complicated than it is. I can get Lowe’s gift cards online at a 10% discount, which is better than the 7% discount I can get Macy’s cards for. Once the Lowe’s cards arrive, I can go to Lowe’s and buy any gift card they sell (eg. Macy’s), thereby transferring the 10% discount to my Macy’s purchases.