Briefcase by AppSumo – Review in 2019
Briefcase is a quarterly membership that saves you money if you buy a lot of deals over at AppSumo. The key word here (or at least in its current state) is “quarterly”. You’d try to maximize it in every three months of your membership.
Unlike the usual limited time offers of AppSumo, Briefcase is always open for membership. That will continue perhaps as long as customers find it useful.
(So, there were Facebook group discussions lately regarding the fate of Briefcase, considering the issues that users experience as mentioned here. But fret not! Fresh updates are coming! Scroll down to the bottom of the article for details about these updates, including the Black Friday sale.)
Puzzled by Briefcase? This review shares the pros and cons of being a Briefcase member, as well as tips and tricks to take with you.
Briefcase’s Bottom Line Deal
On the surface, the offer is fairly clear. You pay $147 and in return AppSumo will give you a code. You can use this code up to four times during that quarter (or three succeeding months) as an active user.
The code lets you redeem deals from the main AppSumo website. As you may already know, these are lifetime deals and you’ll get to keep them forever. However, there are some details and fine print when it comes to those codes, which we’ll discuss a bit later.
The Advantages to Enjoy
There are some other perks when you become a Briefcase user. They include the following.
Gain AppSumo Plus Benefits
You’ll already be considered an AppSumo Plus member, which basically is their Amazon Prime equivalent.
Because of that, you get to:
- Save 10% on AppSumo purchases when they are not covered by your Briefcase codes.
- Access the KingSumo contest software.
- Avail the Early Access deals and Last Call deals. (Early Access deals – deals are available some 1-2 days early for plus members. Last Call deals – popular deals are back for a 24-hour period, usually at the end of the month.)
Access Certain Tools
But there’s more. As long as you stay signed up as a Briefcase member, you can log in to selected tools.
Some to mention are Paperform, Beacon, Poplink, startups.co, KingSumo’s Web Pro version, FollowUp Personal CRM, Salesflare, Book Like a Boss, WebSite Auditor, Grum Start Plan and Missinglettr. These are not lifetime deals but you can use them while you’re signed up as a Briefcase member.
Use the Lifetime Vouchers
Nonetheless, the main reason to sign up for Briefcase is getting the lifetime vouchers. But first, we need to be clear on how that works to avoid confusion. For $147, you’ll get a voucher that will allow you to reduce the price of your cart on AppSumo by $49.
The process is quite simple:
- You sync up your Briefcase account with your AppSumo account. They have a really easy interface to do that.
- Later, when you go to make a purchase on AppSumo, click on the My Rewards section of your account.
- Here, apply your coupon to your existing cart.
- That will drop the price of your cart by up to $49 and you can go ahead and complete the rest of your payment.
Some Drawbacks to Note
However, there are some caveats here, which tend to lead to some disappointment that I’ve heard from other Briefcase users. For example, if you go to pick up the ShortPixel deal, that’s $39. Now if you apply one of your Briefcase codes to the ShortPixel deal, you’ll get ShortPixel at no additional cost, but you’ll also be forfeiting the $10 that remains on that voucher.
If you were to stack ShortPixel and buy two codes, now your balance will be $78 if you apply your voucher, the $49 will be reduced in full and you’ll end up saving $10 on that second code.
However, because of limitations with AppSumo’s cart system, you can’t apply more than one voucher per transaction. You also can’t use more than one discount per transaction. So that means you can’t combine your AppSumo Plus 10% discount along with a voucher in the same transaction. So whatever remaining balance there is after you apply your voucher, you’ll have to pay for out of pocket.
So does this mean you have to pay out of pocket every time you want to stack as a Briefcase member? Absolutely not. It’s just a little bit more tedious. Here’s the process – let’s say you wanted to grab three ShortPixel deals. You’d put one in your cart, apply your Briefcase code, checkout and then you repeat the process. Put it in your cart, apply your code, checkout. Put it in your cart, apply your code, checkout. And then you’re all done. So there’s no real way to apply all three codes in one go.
Briefcase ’s Credit System
One of the great things about AppSumo is their 60-day return policy. You can try out a lifetime deal and if you don’t like it, of course you can just refund and you’re not out of any money. Well, how does that work with your Briefcase credits?
When AppSumo first started the Briefcase credit system, they were a little bit more strict about returns. However, over time, they’ve gradually released some of those restrictions.
Now, I haven’t seen an official statement from AppSumo about this. But I do know from personal experience that this is how it’s currently operating:
- You can return any deal that you purchase with a credit.
- When you make the return, the credit simply goes back into your account. There doesn’t seem to be any restrictions like in the early days, when they limit you to just one return per quarter.
- But one issue you might run into is once your credits expire, you can’t return the deals. I mean you can but you’d get returned an expired credit that you wouldn’t be able to use again.
So let’s say you bought ShortPixel the day before your credits were set to renew. Well, all of your old codes will then expire and you’ll be getting a new code. If you return ShortPixel, the system will try to return that old code to you but it’s already been marked invalid and you won’t be able to use it again.
Now if you do find yourself in that situation where one of your credits has expired but you would like to return a deal, you could always ask for mercy from AppSumo support. I don’t know that they have an official policy here but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Now Let’s Calculate…
So let’s break down the value here. If you’re currently spending more than $150/quarter with AppSumo, you should probably be a Briefcase member. Remember that you’ll get four $49 vouchers that you can apply to lifetime deals on Briefcase.
I think a lot of people get confused by that and they think once they cancel Briefcase, they will lose access to those deals. That is NOT true – they act as standard AppSumo purchases.
The confusion comes in the fact that when Briefcase (called AppSumo Black back then) was originally launched, it was built as a Netflix for apps where it really was a subscription service. That time, you had to pay every single month and once you stopped paying, you would lose access. Now, there are still remnants of that old system inside of Briefcase, but the main value is in those vouchers.
So if you’re spending more than $150, Briefcase is definitely worth it. In fact, there’s so much value that I hear from a lot of people that are wondering if they can join Briefcase multiple times or open multiple accounts. I run a Facebook group for Briefcase members. It’s an unofficial Briefcase group, meaning we’re not sanctioned by AppSumo. Anyone who is a Briefcase member or is considering becoming one is welcome to join us.
Now, what we’ve concluded is that yes, you’re welcome to purchase as many Briefcase accounts as you want. But to use the Briefcase account, you have to sync it to your AppSumo account. This means you will also need multiple AppSumo accounts. So if you’re okay with spreading your AppSumo purchases across two or three different email addresses, you can go ahead and buy as many Briefcase accounts as you see fit.
Briefcase Final Thoughts & Rating
So, I hope you now understand some of the pros and cons of signing up for Briefcase, as well as tactics that you can use to extract maximum value from AppSumo.
I won’t give this deal a typical rating like I usually do. It is because it comes down to your personal spending habits. So pull out your bank statements and do a personal audit. How much are you spending on AppSumo each quarter?
If you’re spending more than 150 bucks, there’s no judgment here, just sign up for Briefcase so you maximize your value. The other way to approach this is to wait until there’s a deal that you know you want to stack. Go ahead and sign up for Briefcase, use your codes for that, and you’ll end up saving some cash.
There’s a great Briefcase upgrade that members will be happy to know about. Watch this video update for that!
The video covers the following:
A Recap of Briefcase’s History – As you’ve already learned here, Briefcase started as a subscription service in 2017. It shifted over to a coupon system by summer 2018, and Briefcase Quarterly was announced by November 2018.
“Coupons” are now called “Chips” – The chips will still function like the old coupons. You’ll receive 4 chips each quarter that you can use.
Only this time, you’ll be able to apply your chips directly from your cart at the checkout screen! The “put it in your cart, apply your code, checkout” routine that you had to repeat over and over will be no more.
Here’s what applying multiple chips to your cart looks like:
Accounting for your Chips gets Easier – You can now keep track of what products your chips were used towards in the “My Rewards” section of your AppSumo account.
Refund Policy is now Clearer – Bugs in the shopping cart have been exterminated. So if you refund a product purchased with a Chip, rest assured you’ll automatically get your chip reissued (as long as it’s within the AppSumo 60-day refund window).
One caveat is that Chips expire based on your Briefcase subscription billing date. So if you refund a product after your Chip expires, you will still be stuck with a worthless chip. But then again you can always double-check the expiration date on the “My Rewards” page of your AppSumo account to find out what your expiration date is.
It Doesn’t End There – More UI improvements are in store for the future. Meanwhile, Plus members (and that includes Briefcase members) will get early access to Black Friday deals starting on Monday, November 25th. (And I’m told there is another surprise coming as well.)
So if you’re not already, NOW is the time to get signed up for Briefcase or at bare minimum AppSumo Plus.