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Note: This article has been updated to incorporate the latest coupon code data from 2022.
Since 2009 CouponFollow has tracked tens of thousands of different promo codes shared on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as emails and the web, doing the heavy lifting of sorting out just the good stuff for consumers. Retailers use various promotional text phrases during the checkout process to offer a discount or incentive to entice a consumer to make a purchase, commonly known as a promo code. There are many redundancies across different retailers in the actual phrase used for these promo codes. While a promo code is usually somewhat secretive, it often has to be easy enough for a consumer to remember and there are plenty of strategies to uncover online codes.
Today we wanted to share some tips that just might lead you to uncovering a secret pot of (shopping) gold! We analyzed tens of thousands of promo code phrases used over the years and today we reveal 10 types of common promo code phrases that you should always give a try at checkout (and the last one will truly surprise you)!
SAVE10 or SAVE20 are two super common coupon words used during checkout by retailers. We’ve tested and had success with these pretty often without even knowing they were a real code. Enter it and it just might be your lucky day.
The value of the coupon followed by the word OFF is a frequent favorit for retailers. Makes sense right? 10OFF is one of the most commonly used promo codes we’ve seen, followed closely by 15OFF and 20OFF. Less common, but still very frequently used discount code terms are 25OFF and 30OFF.
Sometimes you just need to settle for Free Shipping rather than a specific dollar off or percentage off discount.. If the retailer doesn’t always offer Free Shipping, they’ll frequently use the term FREESHIP or FREESHIPPING. Common spin offs include the minimum spend threshold to activate the free shipping. The top 5 most common are: FREESHIP50, FREESHIP49, FREESHIP75, FREESHIP25 and FREESHIP20.
Nothing like celebrating a new season with a big discount. The terms SUMMER, SPRING, FALL, and WINTER are all solid during those times of year, especially at the beginning of a seasonal change. You can also try appending a value like 10 or 20 after the word to see if that works.
We’ve coveraged general seasons, but “Back to school” is its own thing. This is a very popular time for retailers to offer big discounts in hopes to further entice chaotic parent spending choices. Popular back to school codes include BACK2SCHOOL or BACKTOSCHOOL as well as just the phrase SCHOOL. The good news is that anyone can take advantage of these savings, but they usually don’t last long. August through September is the best time to try these codes.
Depending on the holiday, it’s always worth literally typing the holiday on the day off, or days leading up to it. For example, with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner we expect many retailers will use codes like LUCK, LUCKY, or even just STPATRICK. Often they may combine the savings amount (eg. 20 for 20% off), or the year trailing the code phrase like LUCKY19.
The most popular days of the year for retailers to offer a coupon code is on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Most of all retailers have some type of promotion and many have codes going on. Frequently the codes used on these popular shopping holidays are not that inventive... try the code CYBERMONDAY on Cyber Monday, and Black Friday on BLACKFRIDAY. Other days during December you can try code: HOLIDAY.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular Holiday related codes:
Similar to Holiday phrases, some retailers often partake in large events. For example, the Super Bowl is a major sporting event (some may consider it a holiday!) and leading up to this event you can try a variety of online codes like BOWL, SUPER, or even just FOOTBALL.
Often retailers will tweet out a discount, and simply use the promo code phrase TWITTER. Same goes for Facebook pages, often a merchant will mention a discount and use the term FACEBOOK. We’ve seen hundreds of retailers offer these as coupon codes over the years, many still run them. It’s truly amazing how many retailers use these codes, often on an ongoing basis.
A ton of online retailers encourage their new customers with a promo code during email signup. This often happens when you first join their newsletter or become a member. Most often we’ve seen codes WELCOME, WELCOME10 or WELCOME15 used, and trying one of these randomly yields a decent shot at working.
Yep, that’s right… we’re saying you should actually enter the code TEST at checkout. We’ve manually tested this code on several hundred websites in the past few years. Honestly, most often the code has not worked, but when it does it is very gratifying. For example, your search for a Casper promo code (for a discount on the popular mattress company), may not yield this TEST code anywhere. However, just watch the animated GIF pictured below to see it working for a cool $50 off your purchase. While you may find better discount codes for Casper periodically, this seems to be running all the time… any perhaps forgotten about.
Another example is the popular ticketing website, we found a SeatGeek coupon (pictured below), where we found $20 off your ticket purchase with the code TEST that seems to have no expiration.
We also found some total outliers. We scored 100% off on Ugg boots when testing last year (which was promptly fixed, but we did get the boots) and have seen it work on several sites for 50% off.
We suspect sometimes this is enabled by default by the e-commerce cart platform, or perhaps it was used by a developer during testing of the e-commerce software and never removed. Thus, the promo code TEST sometimes remains as a money-saving bug in the retailers’ cart. YMMV on whether or not they’ll honor your discount.
Pictured below, a lesser known retailer in the UK which has 70% off with code TEST.
Of note, most of the mainstream sites this won’t work on, but if you’re on a small-medium sized retailer, give it a whirl! We’ve seen this code work on over a hundred sites. You should also probably do the right thing and let them know there’s a bug in their cart!
If you’re too lazy to enter these codes yourself, grab our Chrome app: Cently, which automatically tries and applies the best coupon codes automatically!
Wondering how often coupon codes work, and where you’ll have the most success? Check out our coupon industry report in which we dive into the websites with the largest discounts and highest frequency of success. Or, check out our guide to coupon stacking to learn more ways to use coupons to get the best deals.
Any savings hacks, tips or tricks? Email us at email@example.com.