The value of shopping portals – not just points but cash & big discounts!

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My Lisa wears contact lenses for astigmatism. When she went this spring for her yearly routine eye exam the bill at the end of it was outrageous at nearly  $300  with no replacement contacts, no new glasses, just the eye exam. When she questioned it she was told the exam was “coded” as a medical exam and that’s why it cost more (grrr – sounds familiar). The reason for the medical exam was there were possible pre-indicators of possible risk of glaucoma. Not actual signs of glaucoma, no diagnoses of glaucoma, just one little tiny thing the doctor thought might, potentially, someday, perhaps, maybe develop into glaucoma. Thus the change in coding and monster jump in price for a routine eye exam!

Needless to say, she was not happy about all of this by the time she got home and was in no mood to order new contacts from what we once thought was a trusted vision center. She called to request a copy of the RX for her contacts and began looking into ordering them herself online. The price quoted by the vision center was $220 for a 1 year supply of disposable contacts.

I have trained Lisa well so she started checking the various sites, 1800contacts.com, visiondirect.com, lens.com, etc. she found that Vision Direct had the best price. So all set to place the order now? Not if she wanted max points!

The first thing she checked was discount codes (gotta be careful with these), and found one through RetailMeNot for 25% off first orders. She automatically got the free shipping offer since the order was over $99. Then she found a rebate on the lenses for $10. After all of this she checked EVRewards.com & TopCashBack but found going through ShopDiscover shopping portal (you see the reasons you really should HOLD a DiscoverIt card) she would also get 15% back on the purchase even when NOT paying with the Discover card. So, bottom line, how did she do?

  • Contact lenses price $ 231.96
  • Shipping FREE
  • Volume Discount $ 28.00
  • RetailMeNot 25% off $ 50.99
  • Rebate $ 10.00
  • ShopDiscover 15% Cash Back $ 23.24
  • Net Cost $ 119.73

Paying almost  50%  of what our local vision center wanted for the same product is why you should always think points before you pay in person. Also, it will also be shipped directly instead of to the vision center where she would then have to go to pick them up. Oh, and she did earn some points too for paying with a points card; that’s my girl – René
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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7 comments

  1. If it coded as medical, try filing it with your medical insurance. My opthalmologist does that for me.

  2. Even being self employed with high deduct you might get negotiated pricing at a cheaper rate plus meet some of that high deductible.
    There is also a difference between Ophthalmologist and and an Optometrist. Usually the first being an MD which would charge more typically of course. They are also much more skilled with the medical end of things. I think regardless of the situation you are better ordering them online if you have had the same RX for years. If it changes you may be better ordering from them as they can check the fit.

  3. Really impressive. Haven’t really focused on using cards to help me but I may have just been converted!

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