Jumping On A New Bandwagon
I know of many bloggers who regularly buy American Express Gift Cards (AGC) via online shopping portals and earn cash back. I figure I spend roughly $250 a year buying gift cards and I would rather that NOT be part of my travel budget. So I needed to find a way to offset that expense. Hello online shopping portals!
WARNING: Always read the fine print when going through any online shopping portal and make sure you understand the terms and conditions. Also some credit cards will code AGC purchases as CASH ADVANCES, and you don’t want that. It’s usually just Citi, but check this Flyertalk thread for more information.
For my first test I went through Be Frugal and bought a $200 American Express gift card. There was a 3.95 purchase fee BUT I earned 2.5% cash back. So I actually made a $1.05 profit! Woohoo! Not much I know, but this was just a test to see how it goes.
I signed up for a 3 month free trial of American Express Premium Shipping Service so I did not have to pay a shipping fee. If you use any kind of free shipping code when placing your gift card order, you will NOT earn your cash back from the shopping portal. UNLESS it’s a promo code offered by the shopping portal.
Normally the shipping cost is $8.95. So $8.95 shipping plus $3.95 is $12.90 and with my $5 cash back, I would be PAYING $7.90. I think you can figure out, that is NOT a good deal. However, if you bought a $1,000 gift card at 2.5% cash back you would get $25 and therefore make a $12.10 profit. So if you have to pay shipping, it is best to buy high denomination gift cards. But I plan to take advantage of the free shipping for the next 3 months.
What To Do With An American Express Gift Card
The easiest thing to do is just use it for everyday spending. But that isn’t earning you more points for using another credit card for your everyday spending. You can also use the AGC to buy VISA gift cards and then load them to Bluebird. But you have to keep in mind that you will be paying a fee to buy that VISA gift card, which eats into your cash back profit.
The last option is to liquidate it through Amazon Payments. You are limited to $1,000 a month with this option, but it is the easiest way to liquidate gift cards.
I ordered the gift card yesterday and it arrived on my doorstep at 9am this morning. I don’t feel like
getting dressed making a trip to Walmart today and since I only made $1.05 profit on this card, I didn’t want to spend another $4.94 on a VISA gift card. So I decided to send it to my husband via Amazon Payments. I have never had an issue doing this in the past – but I have never used an AGC!
I logged into Amazon Payments and entered the gift card number and expiration date and set it up to send $200. About 5 minutes later, I got this email.
Greetings from Amazon Payments,
Your payment of $200.00 to ********* has failed.
Thank you for using Amazon Payments.
For further information about Amazon Payments, please visit our Help pages
No explanation of why. Just….failure. Of course I totally freaked out and thought for sure I was being shut down by Amazon Payments.
I did a frantic google search and found this post. Basically, if Amazon Payments recognizes your card as a gift card, it places a $1 hold on the card. So my payment of $200 failed because it was over the limit. So I went back in and sent him $175 and it went through with no issue.
Wow. One of my biggest fears in this game is getting “shut down”. By anyone. I have said it many times, I am very conservative when it comes to Manufactured Spending. And I think there are people out there who would raise many more red flags than I would, but you just never know.
Be careful out there, peeps! And tread lightly! Especially if you are a newbie!