Formally known as Recreational Equipment, Inc., REI is a popular retailer most known for its own brand of high quality outdoor sporting gear. Technically a co-op, the brand prides itself on maintaining a positive corporate profile and a fervent dedication to conservation.
In order to save outdoor lovers as much cash as possible on REI’s award-winning merchandise, Dealspotr has created a list of the best ways to get deals at REI. Take a look below for these simple but effective cost-saving strategies.
The first thing anyone who plans to shop at REI should do is join the store’s membership club. While the initial one-time $20 fee may sound like a deterrent, it should not be. After becoming an REI member, consumers are rewarded with a host of perks like exclusive member deals, in-store discounts, discounts on outdoor trips and classes, and the option of applying for the REI MasterCard.
Once signed up for an REI Membership, shoppers are given the opportunity to earn a “member dividend,” which is usually 10% cash back on eligible purchases made the previous year. This dividend is essentially the co-op's members’ share of the annual profits.
Every year during the month of March, a dividend notice is sent to REI members. There are some restrictions on the kinds of items which apply towards the member dividend. Restricted items include merchandise marked down 15% or more and all items sold at the REI Outlet webstore.
While the Member’s Dividend is sent in coupon form, members are able to exchange the dividend for its cash value. Simply head to your local REI and present the dividend to the cashier to complete the exchange. If your dividend is extremely large, the store may decide to handle it as a check request.
As mentioned in the section above, the REI MasterCard is only available for REI members. This credit card has a generous rewards program on purchases made at REI, or anywhere for that matter.
Cardholders earn 5% back on purchases made at REI's online store or physical locations, 2% back on their grocery shopping trips, and 1% back on all other purchases made with the MasterCard.
MasterCard offers all of its cardholders some standard benefits. These cardholder benefits include travel assistance, trip cancellation, lost luggage coverage, car rental collision damage waiver insurance, price protection, and more. There is no annual fee on the REI MasterCard.
In addition to this cash-back program, cardholding members earn a $100 REI gift card after their first purchase. However, that purchase must be made within 60 days of your approval, and you must make the purchase with your REI MasterCard.
REI makes it easy for consumers to find discounts, coupons, promotions, rebates, and other savings at the store by offering a “Coupons” page. On this page, customers can browse REI Coupons, REI Deals, Discounts & Free Shipping Offers, REI Volume Discounts, and Manufacturers’ Rebates.
Don’t fret if a recently-purchased item suddenly goes on sale at REI. The store offers a fairly standard price adjustment policy, honoring sales prices within 14 days of the purchase. The item must be the same item number, color, and size. Unfortunately, REI Outlet purchases are not covered under the price adjustment policy.
Raise.com is a website that facilitates the buying and selling of partially-used or unwanted gift cards from brands such as REI. By giving sellers the ability to choose their discount percentage, there are often excellent opportunities to save a great deal of cash through the site.
Raise.com makes it easy for shoppers to find gift cards at the stores they want. All gift cards are organized by store and listed in order by discount percentage. At the top-left corner of the site is a search bar where you can enter “REI” into the field and the results for the store will be displayed.
Cards are either sold as a physical gift card, a voucher, or an e-gift card, and this information is displayed next to each listing. Physical gift cards are shipped for free while the vouchers and e-gift cards are sent to your Raise.com account within a 24-hour period. These “digital” gift cards are perfect for catching the last few days of a sale.
It pays to set up an account at Raise.com. Cards that are sold at the most generous discount percentages are extremely competitive. Set an “alert” on your account so you can be among the first to know when new discounted REI gift cards are available.
When shoppers hear “outlet,” they tend to think of enormous big-box shopping centers on the outskirts of town. REI sells outlet merchandise exclusively through an online store, however. This strategy limits operating overhead, and REI passes that savings along to consumers.
REI Outlet merchandise is broken down into several categories: closeouts, overstocks, seconds, blemished, and special buys. Closeouts include discontinued colors, styles, or sizes that have been removed from the vendor’s product line; overstocks are off-season REI-branded items that were over-bought; seconds are items that have issues like minor blemishes, imperfections, or discoloration; special buys are REI-specific items made by an outside manufacturer which are sold in-season.
On top of offering everyday rock-bottom prices, REI Outlet also has sales from time to time. Seasonal and holiday sales are a great time to stock up on out-of-season items.