The Best Luxury Sales and How To Work Them To Your Advantage

If you shopped online recently at Shopbop, Saks, Barney’s etc. you will have seen sales galore on brand new Spring launches. They are a different type of sale from your regular end-of-season sale and as such, I wanted to help you guys navigate them to the best of your advantage and plan for them!

There are two styles of mid-season sale in the luxury market: Buy-more Save-more, or Gift Card promotions! They are effectively the same just how your discount is given is different.

So, here is how they work: The store will set out a series of thresholds of dollars values, where if you spend above that threshold you will either get a percentage off, back on a gift card or a dollar value back on a gift card.

With a percentage, it’s pretty easy to map out your spending because you know that if you spend $500, for example, you’ll get 20% off and if you spend $1000 you’ll get 25% off and if you spend $3000 you’ll get 30% off (just as an example). So you know that anything spent above the $3000 bracket you are getting $1000+ off and that’s the best deal you can possibly get.

However, when it comes to getting a dollar value back on a gift card. The more you buy doesn’t actually mean you are going to save more. The trick with the dollar value back on a gift card is to spend just over the threshold. Let’s say that if you spend $1000 you get $150 back on a gift card, you want to spend $1005 or $1015 so your $150 is as close to 15% back as possible. The difficulty is that it’s a fixed rate returned to you, so it won’t grow or adjust the more you spend within the threshold. The real stickler about these types of sales is that depending on who your salesperson is, they will ring it all together and just give you the highest threshold return instead of breaking the transaction down to get you the most gift cards possible.

ex. Major Designer Retailer X does this sale in the fall of each year, and their thresholds are usually similar to the following – spend $500 get $50 back (10%), spend $1000 get $150 back (15%), spend $3000 get $750 back (25%). You can see that off of the whole number you do indeed get the stand 10% off or 15% or 25% etc. and that the percentage is increasing as you spend more. BUT don’t be fooled. It’s not the best deal and there are ways of making the most of it.


Let’s say I’m shopping and I buy a pair of shoes for $500 exactly (before tax) worth of product. AMAZING! I get my $50 back. Oh! But I’ve now seen a pair of jeans that I like that I want to get to. So I get my shoes and my jeans totalling let’s say $850 (just for the sake of the example) but I still only get $50 back. All of a sudden I go from getting 10% of my purchase back to 5%!

At Designer Retailer Y they give you the percentage back instead of the dollar value. So with just my pair of shoes I’d still be getting $50 back (as that’s 10% of 500) BUT on my $850 spend, I’m getting back $85.


You’ve decided to treat yourself during the Retailer X Sale, you’ve been trying to be more frugal and said that you’d get the majority of your winter shopping done at this one sale so you can get the new launches at a cheaper rate. You go nuts and spend $7500.

There are two ways your sales associate will approach this, and if they don’t approach it the second way you need to advocate for yourself. The first way is that they will ring it all up and just give you $750 back. You’ve spent above the highest threshold, and they have no obligation to actually help you save money. They’ve done their job and saved the company some $$$ in the process.

If you have a gem of a sales associate (aka. mine at Holt Renfrew, I love her to death), they will break the purchase down into segments to get you the most money back.

So – with the criteria, we’ve outlined above, you need to break down your purchase the following way (obviously it won’t be so even IRL cause brands don’t like whole numbers but it’s a gist):

Total Spend = $7500 – Break it down into the threshold = $3000 + $3000 + $1000 + $500

Purchase 1 $3000 Gift Card #1 = $750

Purchase 2  $3000 Gift Card #2 = $750

Purchase 3 $1000 Gift Card #3 = $150

Purchase 4 $500 Gift Card #4 = $50

Total Gift Card Amount = $1700 or 22.67% back on your purchase

That is the only way to get the best value… it’s obviously still not as much of a discount as the percentage back, where you would receive $1875 back (25% off $3000+). But it’s preeettttyyyy close with only $175 difference.

The other thing with the gift card sales that you need to remember is after you have the gift card you need something to purchase as the gift cards usually are only allowed to be spent during a specific time period.

One thing that needs to also be considered when shopping these sales, especially from Canada, is that the sale will be advertised online BUT THEN THEY WON’T OFFER IT TO CANADIAN ORDERS… SO. What you need to do here, is go into your local branch of the store and either get the in-store sales associate to order what you want to the store OR find someone who will honour your purchase and in good faith give you a gift card with proof of dollar value spent. This is when it pays to be a loyal customer throughout the year, as the sales associate won’t mind doing these favours for you if they know that you are going to be purchasing from them regularly.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post on how to work luxury sales to your advantage!

xoxo Steph




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *