Amex takes away $3K cash back gift cards

But there is an easy workaround.  Read on… 

I’ve written a lot recently about the ability to buy American Express gift cards and get cash back through sites like BigCrumbs and TopCashBack.  The best deals are usually the highest denomination gift cards since the card fees and shipping charges are then a very small percent of the overall cost.  Well, sometime this week, American Express changed their site.  It used to be that you could buy their gift cards with denominations up to $3,000.  Now, if you start from a cash back portal, the highest denomination you’ll see is $500.

Browse directly to American Express:

If you browse directly to American Express gift cards and click on the generic card on the top left, you can select values ranging all the way to $3,000:


Browse via cash back site:

If you start from a cash back site like BigCrumbs, the picture is different.  Now the largest denomination available is $500:


Simple Workaround

Currently, there appears to be a very simple workaround to this limit.  The trick is to buy a Personalized gift card which can still have a value of up to $3000:


To find the personalized gift card option, scroll all the way to the bottom of the Amex gift card screen and look for the little text saying “Gift Cards”:


This technique has the added benefit of allowing you to put your name on the gift card.  I haven’t tried this technique myself yet, but I’ve heard from several readers that cash back is awarded for personalized gift cards.

Hat tip: Delta Points

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. […] Low value gift cards: A third problem is that when you first click through to American Express, you will only be shown gift cards with very low total values (most top out at $200).  If you do not find a way to buy these gift cards with waived fees, then each card’s $3.95 fee will eat up your 2% rebate from TopCashBack.  Also, trying to pay large tax bills with a pile of $200 Amex gift cards would surely be an extremely unpleasant experience.  Luckily, there is a simple workaround to this issue.  It is still possible to buy $3,000 personalized Amex gift cards and quite a few readers have reported that cash back is awarded for these purchase.  For details on how to buy these gift cards, please see “Amex takes away $3K cash back gift cards.” […]


  1. Thank for the update Greg. I am not surprised Amex is trying to cut down the payout rate to affiliate portals. Will you be speaking at FTU about these gift cards?

  2. @Lurker, I always recommend using Chrome incognito mode to have a better chance at cash back than your normal browser.

  3. My TopCashBack bonus only came back at 1.5% instead of 2.5%. Has anyone else had this experience?

    I’m Ok only making a 1.5% bonus but since the higher was being offered, I should receive it.

  4. We prob. Pissed off the Amex gift card team on Monday with the huge influx of orders that they had to process. Killing the cashbackportals equals less work for them which is the American way….

  5. @Mel – I just received the confirmation notification from topcashback on my $3k amex gc purchase and it is showing up as $75, so 2.5%….Send them an email and they can veryfy you purchase based on the clickthru order time. Done that in the past myself sucessfully. Good luck!

  6. Same thing happened to me Mel, I wrote them last night via a support ticket and they updated the ticket and corrected the cash back amount from $45 to now correctly showing $75.

    Mel says:

    April 25, 2013 at 6:36 am

    My TopCashBack bonus only came back at 1.5% instead of 2.5%. Has anyone else had this experience?

    I’m Ok only making a 1.5% bonus but since the higher was being offered, I should receive it.

  7. @gottoloveInk – Was the order for which you received a confirmation placed before or after Amex pulled higher denomination cards?

  8. Was the order for which you received a confirmation approved on Monday? Has anyone who has order approved on Wednesday get the confirmation?

  9. Hi I have signed up for the Amex Prepaid card before but not purchased a gift card previously, wondering whether the gift card will allow me to take cash out and at what rate? Is there other way to take funds out of the card such as using it as debit card to load other accounts or transfer funds only? Thanks for any help, have a great day.

  10. @Docomo – no pin with the AMEX GC so this path doesn’t seem to work.
    I ordered a personalized $3k card on Monday, got the ‘order approved’ message but nothing has shipped and no similar email from TCB either. Still waiting. So much for being able to double dip at GCM on Friday’s 2.5%.

  11. Thanks SJCRussell. So the Amex GC can be used just like a regular Amex card but nothing else, not even ATM? Thanks again.

  12. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the shipping codes do not work for personalized cards? So you will be paying more for them correct? That is, going through a cash back portal for the purchase.

  13. while it may functionally work to get personalised GC, the bigcrumbs does say
    “In addition, Customized and Personalized Gift Cards will be limited to maximum denominations of $500.”
    so YMMV

  14. Even with shipping and the $3.95 fee as this is for a $3k card it is much cheaper than other cards even without the TCB.
    They can only be used as a regular AMEX – I’ve never tried to get cashback at costco though, so that might be worth a try as their way of handling AMEX seems to be a little different from anywhere else. (i.e they only take debit but they do take AMEX credit – when I’ve paid by AMEC GC or Prepaid my receipt often (but not always) shows a remaining balance, which I get nowhere else).

  15. My issue with Amex gift card on Monday was the order amount was not correct. I placed an order of $5000 ($3000 and $2000 each), and the TCB only had a confirmation of $2000 with $50 CB. I’ll write to their support to address this.

  16. FM,

    You are killing all deals by making it very obsvious & spoonfeeding the folks. It is not long before the the PIN trick going to be dead.

  17. @MC

    He’s not killing deals. Ordering Amex GC’s via a cashback portal has been around for 2+ years. It is just not as profitable as it use to be. During black Friday there is usually a bump in the cash back % and I’m sure there is a flood of orders. It is interesting that these new terms kicked in within 24 hours of that promotion.

    I’ve never ordered from TCB, but I think there should be an update telling people to check their emails to make sure they got the correct cash back.

  18. I ordered a stock 3k card, and a $1950 personalized card qith my name on it. The 3k card showed up in a UPS envelope on my doorstep in 1 or 2 days…no signature, nothing…they just left a $3000 in an envelope on my front porch…..if I wasn’t an honest guy……TCB confirmed $75 for the order and Chase INK shows the charge. The $1950 card was approved but hasnt hit TCB, shipped, or shown as anything but pending on my Delta amex.

  19. Did two cards 3 and 2 but only see $45.00 Pending
    (1.5% of 3). Did you all log out and then back in for a second purchase or does TCB monitor all purchases while still at the click-through site?

  20. Two problems with this approach:

    1 – You lose the fast shipping, so your money is tied up for a week.

    2 – You don’t always get cashback. I’ve struggled, and eventually stopped with this.

    Looks like, for me, this game is over.

  21. @Jason
    Looks like the issue has been resolved before I had the chance to email TCB, checked my account today, it shows the correct amount and 2.5%CB for Monday’s purchase.

  22. got my personalized card today….once again UPS left a $1950 giftcard in an envelope on my porch, no signature not even a doorbell ring. They are so lucky I am an honest man. The main thing is I got both my cards in time for Mondays GCM deal to complete the double play.

  23. Hi everyone, I posted some questions and I am new to this so I apologize for my entry level questions. I am about to make a large payment and the receiver only takes Amex and will incur a 2% convenience fee, I am thinking of leveraging Amex GC with cashback to compensate the fee, wondering if this is a good idea? Or slightly off topic, is there a better way for making large payment (over 10k)? Also wonder how long it takes to get the GC or can I just get online GC # to make my payment rather waiting the mail?

    Thanks for any comment and help.

  24. @Docomo – the AMEX GC is useful for your case as you’d take a 2% charge and reduce it to just 0.5% but it will take 90 days for you to see anything from TCB.
    If you have an AMEX card that you need min spend on or a good spend bonus this may be better depending upon your circumstance.
    For a large payment it depends. If the ‘seller’ accepts credit then there are many options. If they only take debit then you might want to try the VanillaMyDebit which can be loaded up to $9,999. $10k appears to be a threshold for most banking.

  25. Thanks SJCRussell for your great info and suggestions. Are you located in SJC? I am located in bay area too, hope there’s some kind of a get together so we can all come out and share some tips 🙂

    Yes the institution I need to pay only takes Amex, Check or Wire Transfer. I am not see they even take debit card, kind of strange 🙁 At the same time I am planning on my quarterly churn, so my strategy is to apply the Amex cards I targeted, use them to buy Amex GC and spend the GC just like the Amex card to make the payment. I asked this before but just want to clarify, essentially Amex GC can be used just like a regular Amex card? Don’t want to buy a $10k worth of GC that end up can’t be used for the payment 😛

    Can I also use Visa or MC to buy these Amex GC? Thanks again for all your time and help. Have a wonderful day.

  26. @Docomo – Yes, SJC based. The AMEX GC are spent just like regular AMEX. You can buy them with AMEX regular cards without issue (though for your very first use you might want to call in to avoid an auto fraud alert for such a sudden big expense). They are great for hitting min spend quickly and masking whatever shenanigans you are really up to in your points quest (frequent big CVS purchases for example or multiple $505.95 purchases at the grocery store!).
    Make sure you order the personalized card so it has your name on it as for anything other than day to day spend you might get asked for your ID to match the card.
    I’ve done this a few times and they work out great.
    You can pay for the AMEX GC with Visa etc. so if you get a Chase card with min spend this is a quick way to do that too, as long as you have a use for the AMEX GC.

  27. Did one personalized $3k AMEX card with a ship notice this morning, but it was delivered just before lunch (like others, just dropped on the front mat!)
    No link on TCB or email confirmation yet. Need to wait 10 days before submitting a claim.

  28. Thanks SJCRussell for inspiring more spending ideas, liking using the GC in grocery to get other cards, never though of that.

    So you just ordered one this morning and the card was physically delivered within the same day? Or you you order this awhile ago? I am trying to time my ordering of the GC so it will arrive on time before I need to make my payment.

    Thanks so much again for all your help and suggestions. Enjoy your points and miles 🙂

  29. I really miss this deal, so despite thinking I wouldn’t give it a shot, I tried and did NOT get cash back. I haven’t asked for reconciliation on it since I think that’s pointless.

  30. Has anyone actually gotten a $3k personalized AMEX GC order to succeed recently. Unless I’m signed into my AMEX account and using an AMEX card, they seem completely unable to “verify my order information.” *EVERYTHING* matches just fine.

  31. Hi Frequent Miler and everyone, I wonder if there’s any recent success story with this? This is new to me and I am about to buy a $3000 gift card. The only way to get it is to first go through the TopCashBack link and then click “Gift Cards” at the bottom of the page in order to order a $3000 gift card. However, I wonder if using this trick will still trigger cashback? Anyone got this to work recently, thanks for any help or comment. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  32. I didn’t get CB going through gift card link on the bottom right of the page.
    I think if you want to get CB, you need to pay 3.95$/500$ fee.

  33. I have bought two personalized gcs at $3k. I used a promo code on one of them, but not the other. I have received no cashback, and I have lodged claims with TCB for both of them.

  34. Has been more than a week and still waiting for TCB to respond. I am pretty sure I won’t get the CB 🙁

  35. This is the first time to use TCB. April 15, I ordered the max limit for AMEX gift cards. I first cleared my browser, and did not use any coupon code (even thought I had one). I then clicked through to AMEX web site and went to the bottom of the page to gift cards, then to personal cards and order 2 cards. On the TCB website, it shows I clicked through, but it says I haven’t earned anything yet… Today is April 18. How long does it take to show up?

  36. It appears that no one has gotten cash back from purchasing personalized Amex gift cards. Until someone confirms at least one positive result, you might want to update the report with a note indicating this fact.

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