Meeting minimum spend on an Amex business card

A reader contacted me yesterday asking about the best way to meet minimum spend on her American Express business card.  She has $1000 left to spend and wants to buy Walmart gift cards.  Of course she could simply go to Walmart to buy them, but she’d like to save money and/or earn points too.  So, what is the best option?  Here’s the best approach I can think of:

Step 1: Look for discounted Walmart cards

Go to GiftCardGranny.com and search for Walmart.  You may want to uncheck the box on the left that shows Ebay Auctions since these are not final prices.  As of the time of this writing, there are many cards available for anywhere from 2% to 5% off their face value.

Step 2: See if any of the discount cards qualify for additional cash back

Before buying the cards found in step 1, check to see if you can earn cash back by going through a cash back shopping portal:

  • Through ShopAtHome, the following offers are available:
    • CardPool.com offers .8% cash back
    • GiftCertificates.com offers 3% cash back
    • GiftCards.com offers 3.5% cash back
  • Through FatWallet, you can get 1% cash back for purchases made at PlasticJungle
  • Through eBay, you always get 2% back in the form of eBay bucks.

Step 3 (optional): Buy bank gift cards in order to buy the Walmart cards

Through the American Express OPEN Savings program, purchases of more than $100 at OfficeMax result in a 5% rebate!  So, you can go to OfficeMax and buy $200 Visa gift cards.  Once you account for the $6.95 fee per card, you end up with a savings of 1.7%.  You can now use these Visa gift cards to buy the discounted Walmart cards you found in steps 1 and 2.

NOTE: Only do this step if the gift cards you intend to buy are each $200 or less!  If they cost more, it probably won’t be possible to use the Visa cards to purchase the Walmart cards.  Another option is to go through Big Crumbs in order to buy an American Express gift card in a larger denomination.  Through Big Crumbs you will get 1.4% back, but you will have to pay Amex a service fee and shipping.  Truthfully, unless you buy a very large denomination card from Amex (in order to minimize the % loss due to shipping and fees), this option is probably not worth the effort.

Add it up

Through the 3 steps above, it may be possible to save as much as 5% in step 1, 3.5% in step 2, and 1.7% in step 3 for a total savings of 10.2%! This would amount to about $100 in savings!

Other options

In this post I detailed how to go about getting Walmart gift cards with as big of a discount as possible.  There are, however, many other ways to meet the minimum spend on your credit cards.  For some examples, please see “Top ten ways to spend a lot of money and get most of it back.”

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Comments

  1. i think you leave out a very important step, the last one where you are sitting on a buttload of Walmart GCs and have to figure out how to capitalize on those: household purchases etc. (which becomes increasingly difficult the larger the number is).

  2. Well I know this suggestion is not strictly in the spirit of the blog, but given that tax time is coming, I just donated a bunch to my favorite charity. You end up doing some good and getting a 20% – 35% tax write off, depending on your tax bracket.

    Matt.

    • Matt: Giving to charity is quite relevant. It was #8 on my list! I’ve never tried donating give cards to charity, though. Does anyone have experience with that?

      Dan: This was written for a reader who explicitly wanted WM gift cards, so my assumption is that she shops there enough to easily use them. If not, go through ShopAtHome to cardpool.com to get 1.6% back when selling GCs at CardPool.com. They’ll buy Walmart cards for 92% of their value, so you get back almost 94%. If you manage to buy for 10% off, that’s a great deal!

  3. Correct me if I am wrong, you will loose at least 6% when you buy and sell a gift card through cardpool.com (or such sites) and still that will take some time. may be a day or 2.
    why not make a credit card transaction through paypal, send money to your spouse or brother at 3.2% rate, almost half of card trading scheme? This will debit to your bank account same day if not in few minutes.

    • shahab: the idea is to stack discounts to get to about 10% off (see the blog post) when you buy the GCs, and then sell them for about a 6% less than face value. You would gain up to 4%! Paypal would definitely be easier, but you’d lose money, and if you do it too much, I’ve heard that they may close your account.

  4. Last year I naively used paypal and sent money to my girlfriend, who is an authorized user on a separate acct with the same issuer, and it triggered a financial review from Amex. Gotta be careful with that.

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