Posted: 9:13 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014
This is an update of a post I wrote nearly a year ago. What was once a time-limited offer is now free forever. Woot!
I'm addicted to free shipping. I can spend hours in the virtual aisles of an online store, padding my cart with just the items I need, then scouring for a discount code--but if I get to the checkout page and find there's a big ol' shipping charge, forget it.
This is especially aggravating when you're buying a single, inexpensive product, and the shipping costs nearly the same as the item!
That's why I like having a subscription to ShopRunner, a nifty service that, among other things, assures you free shipping at more than 80 stores. Even better than that, free 2-day shipping.
For average Joes, the service costs $79 annually--a price I probably wouldn't pay, in all honesty. But check this out: If you have an American Express card, you can get a free ShopRunner subscription. Forever.
In case you're not familiar with it, ShopRunner automatically upgrades you to free 2-day shipping at stores like Beauty.com, Newegg, Shoes.com, and Toys R Us.
Interestingly, there's no minimum purchase, so you can score that fast, free shipping even if you buy only a single item or spend only a couple bucks.
If you typically order a lot of clothes, shoes, and other apparel, you'll especially appreciate this: ShopRunner also includes free return shipping. That's great not only for sending back stuff that doesn't fit (or flatter), but also a huge plus if you've ordered something big and heavy like a TV and decided you don't like it. (Note: Restocking fees may apply, so although return shipping is free, the return itself may not be.)
Finally, the service offers members-only deals like "10 percent off your order" and "save $15 on $75 or more." These aren't exactly earth-shattering, though, nor are they always the best discounts you can find.
For example, ShopRunner is currently offering $25 off an order of $200 or more at Chefs, but you can find a better offer with 15-percent discount code on all orders.
That's not to say you shouldn't check ShopRunner's deals, merely that you may find similar or better ones elsewhere.
No, the big attraction here is the free two-day shipping. And now that you can enjoy it free for life, you've got nothing to lose by signing up. Good time to be an Amex customer, I'd say.
Veteran technology writer Rick Broida is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC World and Wired.
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