Last week, sitting on top of a delivery from Macy’s was a $160 voucher to purchase 15 bottles of wine for $89.99 and free shipping. Two days later, Alaskan Airlines sent a voucher for $130 for 15 bottles of wine. But it included 2,000 bonus miles, and the cost was $69.99 with a shipping fee of $19.99.
Clearly, somebody sensed my wine cellar was shrinking. But before I could decide what to do, my United Airlines card hit me with an offer of 5,000 bonus miles with a purchase of 6 bottles for $41.94, plus 1 cent shipping. Possibly sensing my dilemma and weakness at basic math, it explained that these “hand-picked wines” would save me $117.
Flush with 3 potential savings opportunities, I did something unusual: I read the fine print and did heavy-duty research based upon what I read. I then checked out 20 other wine clubs.
Happy to share what I learned.
First of all, these are introductory offers, teasers of sorts, and enticements to get us to join a wine club. Typically, wines are shipped to members’ door several times a year, depending upon your preference. And of course, the per bottle price is 2-3 times higher than that of the introductory offer. Shipping is another add-on.
Knowing that, it becomes important to be able to cancel your membership anytime. Of the two dozen wine clubs I researched, they all had a cancellation clause. However, some, as you discover from the Yelps, are easier to drop out of the others.
What I soon discovered is that the key point to all of these tempting, money-saving offers is the actual source of the wines. That turned out to be far less complicated than it sounds because there are three major suppliers used by most of the airlines, most corporations, major newspapers, and most organizations from AARP to the NRA offering a wine club.
It is like companies presenting a wine club basically outsource to another company to supply and service their wine clubs.
The three are Laithwaiteswine.com, vinesse.com and tastingroom.com also known as Lot 18.
Over the past year, I’ve reviewed all three in great detail on my website and follow them on a daily basis. Check out www.bestonlinewineshopping.com for more details
Spoiler alert: the best offers are Alaskan if you want the bonus miles and Macy’s if you don’t and prefer free shipping.
Why the tie? Well, they both use Laithwaites and the wines offered are basically the same. Sure there are some minor differences if you select all reds, or whites, or a mix. But the deals are the same.
The more important answer: of the big three, Laithwaite simply has better quality wines and a much wider selection for those who remain members. It is strong in French, Spanish and Italian wines, and shows some depth in its California selections.
Continue reading “INSIDER’S GUIDE TO WINE CLUBS OFFERING POINTS AND/OR MILES”