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Citi CashReturns: Our Wedding Spending 5% Discount Secret Weapon

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Citi CashReturns(SM) MasterCard® This offer has expired.

I actually feel kind of stupid for not thinking of this earlier but my friend mentioned the Citi CashReturns card the other day and how he used it to take a 5% discount off his entire wedding. He took the CashReturns promotion of 5% cashback (no annual limit), put all of his wedding spending on it, and got himself a nice fat check for 5%. It was so easy that I felt stupid for not having thought of it first. I dismissed the card entirely from my mind when I heard it was 5% for only 3 months, I’ve written in the past about how those types of time limited cashback promotional offers suck but this time it’s different.

Why is it different? It’s because it’s 5% on everything and because we’re going to have a tremendous spike in spending for the next three months as all the wedding expenses get combined with all sorts of honeymoon expenses for a wonderfully expensive quarter. Let’s say the wedding catering costs approximately $15,000. On a conventional credit card, that’s still a nice fat $150 (not fat compared to the cost of course) cash back which is nice. At 5% that amount blossoms to $750! While it won’t replace typical wedding cost cutting strategies, it’s certainly nice to get a little off the top just for using a credit card.

The fine print says “Your Citi CashReturns Card account (“Card Account”) will receive a rebate based upon eligible transactions appearing on your current month’s billing statement.” Which reads to me like you can charge the maximum, pay it off mid-month, then charge some more, pay it off; and have every transaction count towards cashback. The credit limit we have on the card simply isn’t enough to cover all the charges in the short period of time so our mid-billing period payments still have to go if we want to maximize the returns. Lastly, another thing we’ve done is consolidated all of the Citi accounts into that card to increase the credit limit to the max.

There you have it, a slap-my-forehead-its-so-obvious type of idea my friend suggested that should help us out just nicely.

Incidentally, I find it amazing that vendors aren’t willing to cut you a price break to work with cash or check considering the fees they have to pay, oh well, our gain anyway.

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9 Responses to “Citi CashReturns: Our Wedding Spending 5% Discount Secret Weapon”

  1. Al says:

    You should be aware, if you are not already, that the link shown on this message goes directly through a tracking cookie. If that’s what you want, at least advise readers. I don’t want tracking cookies on my machine!
    The Citi card would be great for a one time event.

  2. FMF says:

    How much are you planning to spend on the wedding?

  3. Frank says:

    I had very good luck with our vendors accepting cash and giving a discount. Our photographer took cash and slashed her price by a 50%. The venue and catering people (one bill) actually groaned when I whipped out my Citi Card. They at first told me that I would have to pay and extra fee to use the card, but when I reminded them that they can’t do that, they changed their tune and offered up a 5% discount to put the card back in my wallet. The DJ liked the idea, but wanted a MO instead of the cash.

  4. k says:

    There is no way I am paying cash for anything wedding related. Consumer protections are so much better with credit cards. Especially when you’re booking things a year in advance, even though the people we’re dealing with seem honest and trustworthy, their businesses may fold, they may be seriously ill and unable to perform under the contract, they may screw up or forget something. In those cases, it’s much easier to get your money back from the card than from a cash payment.

    Our wedding expenses are all going on my AmEx Blue–we’ll be over the 6,500 threshold due to a furnace replacement, so we’ll get a hefty amount back.

  5. Scott says:

    Our wedding expenses are going on the Starwood AmEx to help cover the honeymoon first class flight upgrades. A lot of our expenses have been early on and the reception hall only accepts credit card for the deposit not for the payment (cash, cashier’s check, or money order only). Otherwise this card would be nice.

    By the way, is offering a discount to use cash or check different from adding a fee to use a credit card? Seems the same to me but maybe Mastercard and Visa are more lenient when it’s a “discount”.

    And speaking of credit card rewards, I’ve been recently amazed by some banks allowing you to open an account funded by a credit card (Jim – new post idea!). I’ve done this recently with at least five banks. I opened with the maximum amount allowed by credit card (varied from $100 to $2000) and then just paid off the credit card out of that bank account to get free rewards points. Seems just silly for the banks, especially in the case of Chase: opened Chase bank account for $75 reward and funded with maximum $2000 opening deposit by Chase Freedom credit card that gets me an extra $20 in rewards and then immediately paid off that credit card using the account just opened. WAY too easy.

  6. jim says:

    The merchant agreements don’t allow charging a fee but they do allow offering a discount, is it the same? Sort of but not really, by offering a discount instead of a fee, the “full price” is listed and is then used to compare with other stores. I would imagine a tacked on fee at the point of sale is less desirable for the card since you’ve already made the buy decision at that point and using a card is seen as a negative but ultimately I feel like it’s like six or one half dozen type of thing.

    I think banks just want you to open an account, taking on an extra fee hardly matters to them but it’s a thought. :)

  7. MoneyNing says:

    Ha! Perfect since I’m having a wedding too! I will have to look into this!

  8. MoneyNing says:

    Oh btw, the vendors don’t want to cut us a break because the salesperson you deal with don’t care about what the company cares about his/her commission and not the company’s profit.

  9. denon says:

    Many vendors do offer a discount for paying by cash or check. As a consumer, you’ll find that there are tons of places that do – they may not be up front with you about it, as most of them assume you don’t care. I was at the dentist a couple weeks ago. As I walked out, I went to pay my bill (there’s a discount for paying the day-of). I pulled out my Amex Blue, started to run the transaction, then asked “Oh, is there a discount for paying by check?”. Turns out there’s an additional 5%, in addition to the same-day payment of like 10%. Nice!

    Also, those of you in the business world probably already know – but most distributors/wholesalers offer substantial (2-3%) discounts when you pay by anything but credit card. If you have a good working relationship, you’ll probably also be able to get net 30 terms. So, you save the 2-3% actual, plus you’ve got 30 days of float interest @4-5% APR.

    Long story short — always ask if there’s a cash discount. Anyone with a clue will probably offer you the 2+% they’ll save. As retailer, it’s not like we enjoy giving money to merchant services. :)


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