American Express Gift Cards 2.5% cash back. Today only

Today only (Monday, April 22 2013), the cash back portal, TopCashBack, is offering 2.5% cash back when buy gift cards after clicking through to “American Express Prepaid and Gift Cards”.  TopCashBack usually offers 1.5% cash back for American Express.  A competing cash back site, BigCrumbs, currently offers 1.4% cash back.

Note that TopCashBack will run a one day special for GiftCardMall a week from now (Monday, April 29).  On that day they will increase the GiftCardMall payout from 1.5% to 2%.  See “Better than free manufactured spend” for thoughts about how to leverage these promotions.

This post was written yesterday, so I didn’t have a way to capture a screenshot showing the temporary 2.5% cash back rate.  Instead, you will see below an expert artist rendering of what the screen may look like today:

image

Tips

  • American Express gift cards (and prepaid cards) cannot be used as debit cards.
  • Do not use Citibank cards to buy these gift cards as Citi is known to treat these purchases as cash advances (and will charge high fees).  If you are unsure whether your bank will treat these purchases as cash advances, you can protect yourself by calling and asking for your cash advance limit to be reduced to zero (some banks won’t allow it to go all the way to zero, but at least you should be able to lower it to less than you plan to pay online).
  • Don’t go overboard.  If you buy tens of thousands of dollars of gift cards per month with one credit card, you are very likely to be targeted for a financial review.
  • American Express has strict, but not clearly defined limits regarding how much you can buy per transaction.  See “Learning Amex gift card rules the hard way.”
  • To pay less in fees for Amex gift cards, buy the cards shown in the top-left corner of the Amex Gift card page.  These cards can hold values up to $3000 each.  By going with larger value cards, the shipping and fees become a smaller percentage of the total.
  • You may be able to find Amex discount codes online to save on shipping or to waive gift card fees.  TopCashBack, though, says “coupons that are not displayed on the TopCashback site, will nullify eligibility for cashback.”  So, it is safer to go without discount codes.
  • You can order a customized gift card with your name on it, and a custom $ amount, by scrolling to the bottom of the Amex page and looking for the tiny link to “Gift Cards” (under the YouTube Icon).  See screenshots here: “Amex Gift Cards, this and that.”
  • Don’t be surprised if it takes several months for cash back to become payable.  I bought a $3000 gift card through TopCashBack in January.  Within hours TopCashBack reported the transaction as pending (which was comforting), but 3 months went by before the cash back became payable.
  • I can verify, from personal experience, that American Express does award miles / points when you use their credit cards to buy these gift cards.  That may change at any time, though.  So, go slow and check your statements regularly.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. Bought 5k worth of cards (2K + 3K), received a confirmation email from TCB today. The pending amount only shows $30!

  2. I finally received notification from TooCashBack for my $3k purchase. Initially TCB showed only 1.5% cash back, but an hour or so later it was updated to the full 2.5%. Is anyone getting different results?

  3. I have the same result as drummerboy. Ordered 5K, TCB now shows $50 for 2K. Missing credit for 3K.

    FrequentMiler, for ordering from GiftcardMall, how to use up the Amex balance? Say for an Amex card of $2000, if I place two separate giftcardmall order of $1000, the total fee + shipping + card value will exceed $2000. Are we allow to use two cards for one transaction, and split the charge?

    • I dont think TCB/GCM will allow split payments. Just buy what you can with your GC and use up the rest on something you spend money on anyway. Seems easy enough right?

  4. I received the notification from TCB but when I checked, the purchase amount was showing $2,000 even though my actual purchase was 3k+2k in the same transaction. I lodged a missing cashback claim for the $75 that is missing.

  5. I have no confirmation from TCB about both my purchases yet. The weird thing is that the 1st purchase doesn’t even show up in the click tracking, but here is the kicker, I had received a “your first click has been recorded” email, so I am hoping they won’t screw me out of my CB. I wonder how much longer I should wait before opening a ticket with TCB.

  6. Hi Guys,

    Transactions made on Topcashback can take up to 7 days to track to your account earnings. If anyone has had a transaction that has been untracked or any other problems with your transaction/purchase please could you send us a support ticket.

    http://www.topcashback.com/help/54

    We will be happy to help advise you further here.

    I hope this helps and we will look forward to hearing from you.

    Have a great evening everyone 🙂

    Many thanks,
    TopCashBack 🙂

    • I haven`t received any cashback, and it`s been 7 days! There is only the click recorded, and nothing else. Disappointed. $3K spent.

  7. against my better judgment (see how TCB didn’t pay me for the marriott deal in december), i decided to do this anyway. of course, click shows on TCB but no notification of cashback.

    i think the bloggers need to use their clout and tell these clwons the gravy train stops until they (the bloggers) start seeing their readers actually get cashback instead of this scam. they either don’t honor it, or honor at the 1.5 vs 2.5 so you have to fight (i don’t know about others, but i never received even a reply email to opening a ticket about the marriott points that ‘went missing’.

    it’s a pretty good business model when you use bloggers to hype your scam and then keep the money for yourself. i view FM as the best of the bloggers, so i am not attacking him. what i am saying is that only he and fellow bloggers can stop this by refusing to line TCB’s pockets by promoting their deals.

    and, yes, i know he had a disclaimer in the post, but given the % of people who either don’t get their cashback or get screwed out of 1/2 of it, it seems time to post about the deal and then encourage people NOT to participate. maybe that would wake them up.

    as for me, if they don’t pay me for the amex gift cards i’ll file a BBB complaint.

    from TCB’s site:
    TopCashBack is an ethical company and lives by the moto “do as you would be done by”.

    honestly, this reads like when a crook says, ‘hey, i’m honest, you can trust me’. kinda like putting a jesus fish and bible quotes in a craigslist handyman ad to use religion to build trust so they can rip you off!
    /rant

    • if I don`t get my 2.5% cash back, I am going to complaint to the whole world, including Attorney General in both my and their states and BBB, I do not play this game where I loose!

  8. Yesterday I received confirmation from AMEX (finally after 48 hours of the order) that my order has been approved. Is there an email (I will hopefully eventually get) that will say my order has shipped? I doubt I’m getting the AMEX card in time for ordering through giftcardmall on Monday. Still shows as pending on my chase card. Hopefully TCB will go through once this order goes through. Anyone else still waiting on their order to ship?

  9. Well got approvals for 5K for myself and my son and today recd notification that I am getting $50. from TCB. As see some above have the same. I am hoping that it gets updated soon. I have had a 50-u50 success rate with TCB. At that rates its not worth it but for the extra % I took the leap of faith.

  10. Ordered $4,700 (1 X $3K, 1 X $1K, amd 1 X $700) all in the same order. TCB only posted a $700 purchase to my account, and only $10.50 in cash back, which is 1.5% instead of 2.5%. Lodged a missing cash back claim, will see what happens. This is simply terrible.

  11. Bought 2k and 3k cards on 4/22. First experience with TCB but they processed 50$ as pending. If I get the same amount for Visas on Monday I’ll be tickled pink. Usually take a loss on the points game but to earn 5000 and come out above water would be fantastic. Not to mention meeting spend. Thank you, again dear FM.

  12. Now showing $125 pending for my 5K order. Did not receive an email from TCB, but maybe they just haven’t sent it yet.

  13. Did 1k and 3k order on seperate click throughs. received click through confirmation for 1k order. 3k order was not approved until wednesday. have not received click through confirmation for that one.

    as far as i can see you can not register these online. to register the card i called the number on the back. 877-297-4438

  14. OK. So topcashback has now correctly reflected my 5K purchase with a $125 pending. I am surprised that they corrected the issue – Maybe they heard our complaint this time.

  15. I bought $4700 cards on Monday, and got the cards yesterday.I got notification from TCB this morning. On the “Account Overview” page, there is only $17.50, however, when I went to the “Earnings” page, I can find all the $117.50 there. I noticed that there was a note under the number “$17.50” on the “Account Overview” page: “The above may not include recent updates”.
    So if you didn’t see the full amount of cash back, just check the “Earnings” page. You may find what you expect.

  16. Data point: my personalized card for $1950 showed up today. once again UPS left it laing on my front porch. $4950 worth of giftcards left with no signature required, in plain sight for anyone to take. I did get both cards within a week so I can try for the double play Mon. at GCM. TCB registered the $75 as soon as first card shipped, since this card just shipped I’m going to give them a few more days to get it updated before I call.

    • I wonder what happens if one of the packages get stolen from our front doors. How long our money would be tied up as they investigate.

  17. It is weird that when I click through any cash back website to buy amex gift card, the highest denomination I can get is $500 (the top one on the left. However, I can get $3000 denomination if I go through the amex gift card website directly. Any idea???

    • @dealseaker It’s not weird. They changed the programming to try and force you to buy smaller dominations to pump the fees. I bet they lost some money selling the $3k cards with the 2.5% TCB.

    • @dealseaker Yes, I believe so. A couple other blogs picked up on it and posted something. There is a workaround, but that will probably disappear as well.

  18. @Tummy – I am fairly certain the extra 1% came from TCB’s share of the pie, and it wasn’t Amex increasing the payout. Cashback sites do these sorts of promotions all the time. Amex was losing money all the time with this, but I guess the huge spike put it on their radar ..

    • I wonder how big the “pie” is. TCB advertises on the homepage that they pay out 100% of the commission, that can’t be true. I’m always suspicious of companies when I don’t understand their business model.

  19. I made my order around 9:00 pm on Monday. Now it only shows the pending cb as 1.5% since the system thought the transaction is made on Tuesday! Any hope to argue the TCB for the extra 1% ?

  20. I got an automated email saying: About a week ago you clicked through to American Express Prepaid and Gift Cards from Top Cashback but we don’t think you completed your purchase.
    How convenient! No, crooks at TopCashBack, I am not giving my $75 to you, as that was paid to you by AmEx for my purchase!
    They don`t have business phone #, but the US office is located in the Boston, MA area (another one is in UK), and Michael Tomkins is the one who gets rich by our clicks. You can find his info or contact me. MA Attorney general and your state Attorney general are the offices you need to contact (in addition to BBB, complaintboards, etc). Let`s stop rely on luck while they get rich and laugh at those who didn`t get paid!

  21. @Missy Before you jump to complaining to the attorney general, did you click on the help form for missing claims?

    Help > Cashback & Tracking Support > Lodge a missing cashback claim

  22. Hi Everyone,

    Any of you who have had Amex transactions not track, please get in touch via a support ticket and we can look at this for you. The link to do this is here-

    http://www.topcashback.com/help/54.

    @missy, I believe that we have been in touch with you now, but I can’t be sure without accessing your account. I will be happy to take a look at this for you. Can you email contact@topcashback.com?

    I can see that most of our Amex transactions have tracked without any problems but please do let me know if there is anything I can help with.

    Best wishes,
    TopCashback

    • John @ TCB,
      You responded in private that you have a little control over that transaction. It means that your post here is for show only, there is no help and no money.

  23. Same happened to me – AmEx CB didn’t get tracked. Submitted a ticket and now it’s apparently a 3-month wait.

    • @Alex 12-16 week wait is normal for TCB. Some other cashback sites make payment available faster. I use Fatwallet for Priceline cash back and it’s usually available in 30 days for example.

    • Tummy,
      That 3 months just to post of the transaction, then another 3 months to pay it off. I personally never had such bad experience that the one with TCB. I received a few $K from ebates and mr.rebates, these are honest companies.

      • @Missy So what? You want your free money and you want it fast too? If they are too slow for you don’t use them and stop complaining. Honestly I’m unsubscribing to email alerts.

        • @Tummy, I am willing to wait 3 months, but not 6. I guess you are one of TCB reps here promoting them, otherwise no one in their minds would be waiting 6 months (if ever, after such attitude)

  24. Here is an update – based on all the skepticism here, I was almost certain that my customized Amex $3K purchase won’t post because the order didn’t ship until this Monday (a week after the purchase) and there was no confirmation from TCB until then. I was holding off on creating a ticket for a couple more days, but TCB ended up tracking the purchase automatically and sent me an email about it. I realized that the transaction was coded at 1.5% cashback instead of 2.5%. I opened a ticket and TCB rectified the situation within a day, so all my transactions (2 Amex, 1 GCM) have posted. Maybe I am just lucky, but given that I posted on this thread earlier, I felt that I should post an update. Good luck to the rest of you folks…

  25. Has there been any update on purchasing $3k personalized cards to get around the new $500 limit on Amex cards with TCB?

  26. Hi Missy,

    I’m really sorry that you feel this is a scam. Although we did hve some AMEX transactions which didn’t track correctly, these should have been resolved or are in the process of being resolved. I really need you to get in touch in order to help. Can you send a support ticket from this link?

    http://www.topcashback.com/help/54

    Hopefully I can provide you with an update.

    If anyone else has had similar issues which aren’t yet resolved, can I ask that you do the same?

    Best wishes,
    John

    • @John,
      I had several successful orders with TCB for giftcardmall visas. All seem pending in TCB. But one order from the 2.5% day –my biggest order, which has already arrived at my house–did not post anything at TCB. I waited and then submitted a ticket as directed at TCB. Aint heard a peep through your system on that one since TCB acknowledged receipt of it.
      .
      Now TCB isnt giving any % Cb for GCM GC purchases. Am curious if I am caught up in some sort of pull back period where no more purchases from them will get anything–just out of coincidence or something. I am waiting, but by now I figured I would get SOME notice about my ticket to TCB. Nothing. Any thoughts on that? How long should one wait to hear a response about my issue other than TCB saying they got my ticket and will contact me ‘soon?’
      .
      Here’s what it says in my acct: 02 May 2013 missing a pending cash back tracking notification from giftcardmall (Visa GCs) Top CashBack have responded
      .
      Again, the ‘response’ TCB made was merely to state it has been received and they will contact me soon. Confused.

      • @ John,
        I have sent you a few messages via the Support link, as well as I lodged the missing cashback, but you don`t respond via the website, only write here publicly. Why?

    • @John

      I have had an issue receiving any notice for a purchase made on the 2.5% day. I filed a cashback claim on 4/27 and have sent a nudge, with no response besides the initial acknowledgement of a claim filed. Otherwise, no word from your end. Can you help?

  27. John, I have contacted you through the support link, but haven`t received any updates. Why don`t you respond and resolve the issue if you are saying it`s not scam. It`s been almost a month and my account doesn`t show any purchases.

  28. Same experience as Missy. Amex GC purchase didn’t track, I opened up a ticket, haven’t received any updates and it’s not showing up in my account.

  29. Hi Everyone,

    I’m sorry that you haven’t received responses here.

    If you sent a missing cashback claim by going to customer care and clicking ‘view or lodge a claim’ we don’t generally respond to this- but we do forward the query to the merchant and the claims team will be working on it. They always post when the claim is resolved but that can take up to 12 weeks.

    If you submit a support ticket, these are always answered within a few days.

    To help me understand why you aren’t getting a response, can you all email me at contact@topcashback.com, letting me know your username on here? I can then access your accounts and help.

    I should be able to get these quickly resolved for you.

    Best wishes,
    John

  30. I submitted my missing cashback claim on April 30. Today May 30 I received an e-mail stating that my claim was submitted to American Express. Wonder why they had to wait a whole month to do it?? TCB doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to help the customers. From this moment they’re stating it will take another 2-3 months – so misleading as originally they stated (and John from TCB confirmed it multiple times including post #173 just above) that it should be 12 weeks from the claim submission. TCB has attractive CB rates but what’s the point if they don’t pay them.

  31. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for posting.

    I’m sorry that the claims system takes a while. We can only submit claims in batches which is why there is sometimes a delay between you lodging the claim and it being submitted to the merchant.

    My previous post wasn’t as clear as it should have been. We expect it to take up to 12 weeks from the date on which we submit it to the merchant, not the date on which it is lodged.

    I know that the process isn’t ideal but this is largely out of our control. Perhaps you could email me at http://www.topcashback.com? I can then see if I can speed this up for you or at least ask our claims team to get you an update?

    Best wishes,
    John

    • Those who didn`t get their money from TCB, make sure you write Attorney General and BBB, otherwise, John will spend your money on caviar and such and you`ll be a loser.

  32. John,
    you are lying again. Here, you are saying you send claims in batches while almost 1.5 months ago you said you submitted the claim to AmEx (I received same email as Alex). I guess you are just buying time in hope people forget about the money and never complain. Scumbags.

  33. Also had a very large Amex GC purchase from mid-May not post to TCB. I filed a claim and now I wait. FWIW, I used to use BigCrumbs and never had an issue with over 10 orders over the last few years. If TCB doesn’t come through with my claim, that will be really disappointing.

    • Just google Topcashback complaints, and you will be amazed that you are among thousands of those who never got their money. Also, there are a lot of “good reviews” posted by TCB itself.

    • Andy, the money TCB get from AmEx will go to their bottom line, not those naive fools who buy via TCB. If you have to get cashback, go via reputable companies such as mrrebates and ebates.

      • MISSY I like your head on style! Big Crumbs is great too. TCB has worked for me but man do they take long and things seem clunky. I do have one claim out with them for $40 CB and when i emailed them they took a few days and then emailed back telling me to file it through a certain link on their page. So I did and got an auto response saying they’d look into it. That’s been over a month ago. I suspect if they look into it, this will take 14 weeks… and only THEN, would the 12-14 weeks begin that one has to wait on the CB for the purchase! So it’s scammy and poorly run. They got hit with too many people (If you are going to run a business, you should have foreseen that fellas!) and cannot handle it. I should have known myself and if and when all these CBs come from purchases in April and early May, I likely wont use TCB again. Not worth it.

  34. Missy, Thanks of advice. A while ago, I bought $5,000 AmEX GCs ($2k+$3K, two cards) and topcashback only gave me $30. I sent an inquiry and they did not answer me so far for months.

  35. Hi Missy and Andy,

    I’d be really happy to answer your specific queries but I would need to access your accounts. If you email contact@topcashback.com, I can do this for you and provide you with some feedback.

    I can assure you that we pass on all cashback which we receive and the vast majority of American Express transactions have progressed without any problems.

    Regarding submissions of claims, these are sent to the merchant’s affiliate network in batches every few weeks.

    Please get in touch by email and I’ll get you all updates.

    Best wishes,
    John

  36. Hi marathon man,

    Thanks for posting. I’m sorry that you aren’t satisfied with our service. I can assure you that we aren’t a scam and have many satisfied members.

    Unfortunately, the claims process and the time it takes for a transaction to progress can be quite long. This is beyond our control, but we do pass more than 100% cashback on to you as soon as we receive it and we work hard to resolve issues as quickly as possible.

    Many thanks,
    John

    • John I will be satisfied if you respond to and get in queue those missing inquiries a lot faster than you have. then I dont mind waiting for the CB.

  37. After 3.5 months from the date of purchase my transaction finally was confirmed with AmEx and moved to Confirmed stage. Hopefully it will be progressing to Payable eventually. However, the cashback amount wasn’t set according to the transaction date offer so looks like another round of e-mail exchange with TCB support.

  38. To be fair to TCB, I had to go back here and post the final experience. After another couple of months the cash back finally cleared to be payable. Overall it took 5.5 months from the transaction date and quite a bit of effort to get it but it’s finally paid. In the meantime, I did a couple of Marriott transactions via TCB and those came through fine and quick.

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