With a week to go before Valentine’s Day, love is certainly in the air. Too bad it’s not alone. For many of us, the countdown to February 14 brings with it an increasing level of stress as we struggle to find a great present, make a reservation at the right restaurant, and most importantly figure out a way to pay for it all. In order to help support the cause, Card Hub today released its annual list of Valentine’s Day spending tips, which could collectively produce hundreds of dollars in savings for any love-sick romantic who plays his or her cards right.
Card Hub’s advice can be broken into the three following categories: 1) The Best Credit Cards for Valentine’s Day – based on a comparison of more than 1,000 credit card offers; 2) Existing Cardholder Discounts – as identified through a survey of the largest credit card companies in the U.S.; and 3) Other Ways to Save – an assortment of other useful strategies for showing that you care without breaking the bank.
You obviously won’t be able to get a new credit card in time for Valentine’s Day, but if you’ve been planning to go big with your present this year, you can certainly set yourself up for savings down the road. Whether it’s a balance transfer deal that prevents Valentine’s Day interest from haunting you for months to come or an initial rewards bonus that enables you to give the gift of a spring or summer vacation, these cards will score you major points with both your Valentine and your bank account.
- Slate Card from Chase: This card offers 0% on balance transfers for 15 months and doesn’t charge either a balance transfer fee or an annual fee. You can therefore transfer any debt that you incur in the coming days to this card in order to avoid interest in the holiday’s aftermath.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Charging $3,000 to this card in the first three months will get you a 40,000-point initial rewards bonus, redeemable for $500 in travel accommodations or a $400 statement credit. That means you can use it to either effectively subsidize what you spend now or better afford a promised present down the line.
- Hilton HHonors Surpass: This card provides the perfect recipe for a Valentine’s Day getaway that you “give” now and actually go on later. It offers a 60,000-point initial bonus (40k after first purchase; additional 20k after spending $3,000), which is redeemable for 1-8 free hotel nights, depending on the type of hotel you wish to stay at.
- British Airways Card: This card offers a 50,000 – 100,000-mile initial bonus, depending on how much you spend during the first year. You get 50k in return for spending $1,000 during the first three months, an additional 25k for spending $10,000 in the first 12 months, and 25k on top of that if you reach the $20,000 spending threshold during the first year. Altogether, those miles are worth one free round-trip transatlantic flight or 2-4 cross-country domestic flights (given the company’s partnership with American Airlines) – either of which would be great to look forward to.
Card Hub surveyed the nation’s largest credit card issuers to determine how they plan on expressing their love for their dear customers this Valentine’s Day. Here’s what we learned:
- American Express Cardmembers enrolled in Membership Rewards can redeem Membership Rewards points for great Valentine’s Day gifts from retailers like 1800 Flowers and receive at least 20% off the points price.
Bank of America:
- Bank of America has an ongoing program called BankAmeriDeals that provides cash back deals at a variety of stores and restaurants, such as Redbox. Through Online Banking or Mobile Banking, customers choose the deals that they want, shop and dine as they normally do using their Bank of America credit or debit card and get cash back automatically credited to their account each month.
- Capital One’s deals program delivers personalized, money-saving offers from select merchants (year-round). The deals are refreshed on a weekly basis, and as we get closer to Valentine’s Day, Capital One will offer specials from merchants like ProFlowers, FTD, 1-800-Flowers, Cherry Moon Farms (gift baskets), Red Envelope, Shari’s Berries (gift baskets) and Personal Creations.
- The deals are integrated into Capital One’s mobile banking app. The best part – you don’t have to search or clip coupons and present them at the point of purchase. Just download our mobile app (at no cost), and you’ll receive weekly deals via email or access them on your smartphone. Make the purchase and the discount will be AUTOMATICALLY be credited to your account.
- If you’re looking to save money on great gifts this Valentine’s Day, Chase has you covered. For Chase cardholders there are an abundance of Valentine’s Day offers that allow you to buy the perfect Valentine’s Day presents while earning rewards.
- Save on Starbucks: Chase Freedom cardholders can start Valentine’s Day morning with their favorite Starbucks coffee and earn 5 percent cash back at Starbucks stores from now through March 31.
- The best deal on flowers: Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 12 percent cash back and Chase Sapphire and Ink from Chase cardholders can earn 12 extra points per dollar spent on all gifts from 1-800-Flowers when they shop online through Chase Ultimate Rewards.Save on jewelry, chocolate or customized gifts: Other Valentine’s Day specials for cardholders shopping through Chase Ultimate Rewards include 8 points for every dollar spent at Red Envelope, 6 points for every dollar spent at Blue Nile and 4 points for every dollar spent at Godiva.
- Books, electronics, movies and more: Chase Ultimate Rewards members shopping on Amazon.com can now pay with Ultimate Rewards points directly at checkout through Amazon.com Shop with Points, providing Chase cardholders with millions of items to choose from.
- Earn rewards on dining: Chase Sapphire cardholders can earn 2 points per dollar on that special Valentine’s Day dinner. Cardholders can also check out the dining recommendations from Zagat and make their Valentine’s Day dinner reservation with Open Table directly at ChaseSapphire.com.
- Citi is running a promotion with Blue Nile for the first two weeks in February (2/1 – 2/15) where cardmembers who shop through the ThankYou Bonus Center can earn 5 ThankYou points per $1 to get their loved ones anything from bracelets and money clips to engagement rings. For example:
- A $165 Heart Bracelet = 825 ThankYou points
- A $85 Pin-Striped Money Clip = 425 ThankYou points
- A pair of $1,300 Diamond Hoop Earrings (18K White Gold) = 6,500 ThankYou points
- Citi cardmembers can also enjoy 6 points per $1 in purchases at Red Envelope, and 3 points per $1 on BestBuy.com.
- Red Envelope: a $80 Pearl + Heart Necklace = 240 ThankYou points
- BestBuy.com: a $500 Apple iPad (16GB) = 1,500 ThankYou points
- Additional merchants found in the ThankYou Bonus Center that may be of interest for Valentine’s Day shoppers include:
- FTD – 10 points / $1
- ProFlowers – 10 points / $1
- Shari’s Berries – 10 points / $1
- 1800 Flowers – 9 points / $1
- Godiva – 3 points / $1
- Harry & David – 6 points / $1
- Ice.com – 8 points / $1
- Omaha Steaks – 6 points / $1
- Discover cardmembers can take advantage of dozens of rewarding cash back opportunities leading up to Valentine’s Day. For example, cardmembers going to dinner and a movie will earn 5% Cashback Bonus at all restaurants and movie theaters now through March 31 on up to $1500 in purchases when they enroll through the Discover.com account center, meaning more savings on date night.
- ShopDiscover.com, Discover’s exclusive online shopping portal, offers 5% to 20% Cashback Bonus on purchases from over 200 top retailers. For Valentine’s Day, 12 retailers have increased Cashback Bonus:
- 1-800-Baskets (20%)
- 1-800 Flowers (20%)
- Avon (10%)
- Bliss (20%)
- Godiva (15%)
- Jewelry.com (15%)
- The Limited (10%)
- Nordstrom (10%)
- SaksFifthAvenue (10%)
- Sephora (10%)
- Shari’s Berries (15%)
- Zales (10%)
- Cardmembers have plenty of opportunities to earn Cashback Bonus by going through this popular portal, including:
- Flowers: Cardmembers can surprise their significant others with a bouquet of flowers and earn 20% Cashback Bonus from 1800flowers.com, ProFlowers.com, FTD.com and Teleflora.com. If you do the math, that’s pretty significant — if a typical bouquet costs $60, Discover cardmembers will earn an extra $9-$12 in Cashback Bonus.
- Jewelry and watches: Cardmembers can also save on jewelry or a new watch with 15% Cashback Bonus through Jewelry.com and 10% through Zales.com.
- Unique gifts: For those interested in unique gift options, ShopDiscover offers 10% Cashback Bonus when shopping through Hammacher.com, SharperImage.com and RedEnvelope.com.
- Gourmet fruit and chocolate: Cardmembers will also find a wide assortment of chocolate-dipped fruits for 15% Cashback Bonus through Berries.com, Godiva.com and FannieMay.com.
- Additionally, cardmembers can earn Cashback Bonus on purchases of electronics, health and beauty products, casual and sports apparel, and travel booking. To earn Cashback Bonus on any of these purchases, all cardmembers have to do is log into their account, enter the ShopDiscover website and click through to the retailer’s page, which will lead them to the retailer’s website and on to their shopping. ShopDiscover allows you to filter by retailer’s deals for a tailored shopping experience and additional savings.
- Of course, while ShopDiscover gives cardmembers a great way to earn extra rewards, they can also redeem their rewards for the perfect partner gift card for Valentine’s Day. Discover has over 100 brand-name partners and cardmembers can always redeem for gift cards that offer extra value (for example, redeem $40 in Cashback Bonus at Bath & Body Works and get a $50 gift card). Cardmembers can also redeem their Cashback Bonus directly at Amazon.com through our Pay with Cashback Bonus program, so the perfect gift is only a few clicks away through the world’s largest online retailer.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union:
- PenFed Visa cardholders can take advantage of two great Valentine’s Day merchant deals with Shoebuy.com or bluenile.com when they enroll in V.me by Visa.
- While USAA didn’t highlight any Valentine’s-specific deals, its members can always earn additional points or cash back when they use their credit card at one of over 700 online merchants at USAA Member Shop.
- Wells Fargo offers a variety of special Valentine’s Day rewards earning and redemption rates through its online shopping portal.
Note: U.S. Bank did not respond to our request for comment. Barclaycard US replied that they are not offering any special Valentine’s Day promotions for existing cardholders.
- Cash in Your Rewards: If you’ve got a treasure trove of rewards stowed away (and I don’t just mean credit card rewards, by the way), now might be the time to put them to use. In exploring this option, make sure to determine which method of redemption offers the most value. For example, you’ll typically get more out of your points or miles by redeeming them for travel accommodations or gift cards than you will by putting them toward electronics or other specific goods.
- Buy Discounted Gift Cards: You can buy gift cards at discounts of up to 25% (sometimes even more) through an online gift card exchange, like the one Card Hub operates. You just might be able to get what you need in time for the big day too, since some of the gift cards will inevitably be sold by individuals in your area or will be available via e-mail.
- Comparison Shop: Unless you’re in the market for something extremely rare, the odds are good that more than one merchant will offer whatever it is you’re looking for. One of the easiest ways to save money is therefore to shop around for the lowest price before proceeding to checkout.
- Look for Daily Deals: While you might be growing tired of endless e-mails from sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, paying especially close attention to them for at least one more week could really pay off. Countless Valentine’s specials are going to be offered; you just need to be decisive when the right one catches your eye.