Five Deals for Your To-Do List This Week (and Beyond)

As your sort through your summer to-do list, here are some deals you may want to know:

  • This Tuesday, July 21st, Starbucks is giving a free pastry from opening until 10:30am with the purchase of any beverage.  Of course this is a good deal for those who usually purchase a coffee and/or pastry on your way to work [if all you want is a pastry, you could theoretically get a discounted pastry by buying a coffee that is cheaper than the pastry].  Check out the official announcement for more information.
  • When we first wrote about Borders Rewards, we noted that the rewards program itself is quite skimpy though the coupons that come with it are great.  Well, until the end of this month, Borders is making up for it – through July 31st, they are giving $5 in Borders Bucks for every $50 you spend in-store or at  That’s essentially 10% back, which you can redeem and use in any future purchase.  This should be a good time to restock your summer reading books!
  • A while back we also wrote about the GapCard, which can be a great deal for those of you who shop at the Gap frequently.  It gives you 5 points per $1 you spend at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and, and you receive a $10 gift card for each 1,000 points you earn (basically 5% back).  If you were waiting for the right time to sign up, this may be it: until August 9th, besides the standard 500 bonus points for being a new member, you also get 20% off your first purchase online and double points until the end of the promotion period.  If you are already a GapCard or Gap Silver member, you are also eligible to earn double points through August 9th.
  • If you are a United Mileage Plus member and frequently shop at Safeway, Dominick’s, Vons, Genuardi’s, or Pavilions, register your store card (get one if you don’t have one yet!) with Mileage Plus to get 125 miles for every $250 miles you spend.  Once you register your store card, all you have to do to earn miles is use it when shopping – a pretty easy process to bring you closer to a free trip!  Click here to register.
  • With the recession, more people are going to movie theaters.  As you get ready to check off some new summer blockbusters from your list, you may want to sign up for the Regal Crown Club if there’s a Regal Cinema close to you.  It is a free membership program that awards 1 credit per dollar spent on ticket purchases (up to 15 credits per day) and another 2-4 credits for concession purchases.  And even if you use a corporate discount ticket such as the Super Saver you can still get credits when you redeem them for admission.  With this membership, you can participate in offers such as $1 candy on Mondays and $1 popcorn on Tuesdays as well as earn free popcorn, soda, and movie ticket rewards (rather than redeeming points, you get a reward as you reach each tier).  Click here to see the rewards schedule and sign up.

While not all deals are for everyone, I expect that participating in some of these deals has gotten on your to-do list, maybe next to repotting the plants and visiting local museums.  Good luck!

Gas It Up, At Least for this Quarter

For those who carry the Discover More credit card in their wallet, remember to sign up for this quarter’s 5% cashback bonus award (if you haven’t yet).  From now until September 30, 2009, you can earn 5% from purchases at stand-alone gas stations, hotels (booked directly by you via the phone or the hotel’s website, not through other online travel websites), zoos, theme parks, and bookstores.  These are the perfect categories for your summer activities.  Just remember that Discover is capping the cash back bonus at $300 in purchases (or $15 in cash back).  After that, any more purchases made within these categories will only earn you 1% cash back.

Tip: Per our post yesterday, one way to triple dip, for example, is to use your Discover credit card with your Borders card and a Borders weekly coupon when you make purchases at Borders.  This week, Borders is offering a coupon for 25% off your entire store purchase.  Thus, you will be able to earn a discount off your purchase, Borders Bucks for future purchases, and 5%  cashback on whatever amount you pay.

A Subsidy for Your Summer Reading

Store loyalty cards usually provide access to special discounts and sales and/or allow customers to accumulate points.  In general, the main benefit of grocery and pharmacy cards lays in the former while other retail cards, such as the BananaCard or GapCard, tend to have a stronger rewards program, being a good deal mostly for customers who shop at the respective store frequently enough to redeem points before they expire.  Not so with the Borders Rewards card, which has an arguably skimpy rewards program but offers great discounts on books, CDs and DVDs at virtually any Borders or Waldenbooks store.

In short, the Borders Rewards program awards $5 for every $150 spent over a calendar year, or 3% for every $150 (if you have accumulated less than $150 over the year, your balance starts back at $0 in January).  While this isn’t a terrible deal, the coupons the program offers via email make it much stronger.  This morning, for example, I got a “Super Coupon” in my inbox, which is essentially a set of 18 different coupons ranging from $20 off Rosetta Stone software to $5 off a DVD and $2 off a magazine.  And last week I got one for 25% off an entire in-store purchase (even if I only bought a $10 book, I would already get $2.50 in savings).  These offers tend to last only a few days, but new ones are sent to your inbox every week.  All you need to redeem them is a print-out of the coupon and your Borders Rewards card – the coupons don’t scan unless you show your card. While most of their coupons can only be used in store, every so often there may be one that includes online purchases as well (a good deal considering the free shipping on orders over $25).

And unlike the Barnes & Noble membership, Borders Rewards is free.  You may want to sign up before you stock up on your summer reading.