How to spend down Amex gift cards

Many have asked me how to liquidate Amex gift cards.  I don’t know what the “best” answer is, but below are a number of options.

Amex_BigCrumbs_FrequentMiler

Use Amex gift cards to:

  1. Buy stuff you would buy anyway.
  2. Buy Visa or MasterCard gift cards (at a supermarket, for example) and then use the gift card PIN to cash out.
  3. Make Kiva loans.
  4. Buy merchant gift cards through online portals in order to earn extra points or cash back.
  5. Pay federal taxes.  You will incur a 1.89% fee, but that can be partially or wholly offset by cash back earned when buying Amex gift cards.

Don’t try:

The following things cannot be done with Amex gift cards:

  1. Withdraw money from an ATM.
  2. Use as a debit card.
  3. Load Bluebird or REDbird.

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. Hello FM. I went through the BC portal, but noticed the $8.95 shipping fee. Doesn’t that eat into the already small profit margin as each card carries a $3.95 activation fee too. In the past I was able to find free shipping codes, but that is at risk of not getting any cashback as they are not listed on BC. Thoughts ?

    • RisingCost: If you buy a personalized card you can get one for up to $3,000 so that the shipping fees become an insignificant percentage of the total cost.
      .
      Corridor!: People who have bought personalized $3K cards in the past via TopCashBack (which now has Amex gift cards again too) have reported that they have received cash back.

  2. I use (a couple) AMEX gift cards a month by taking them to Costco and putting them on a Costco cash card. Costco won’t let me pay for gas at their gas station with an AMEX gift card (although, weirdly, they DO let me pay for groceries inside with it!), so I have to keep refilling the Costco cash card to fill up my gas tank!

    Minor annoyance to save a lot of money on gas! (Don’t have/don’t want the Costco AMEX card yet, maybe someday — but probably not.) I DO have to wait a day or so after picking up the AMEX cards before the Costco register can do the transfer… Again, mild annoyance to save money on gas. {shrug}

  3. If you are doing this just to generate spending, I would consider selling them as well to card reselling sites like giftcardrescue or abc giftcards, or even Raise.I just received an email from amex this morning with an offer for purchasing business gift cards fee-free and the code is GIFT100, but not sure if BC will allow on top of the 2%. I have had no isue in the past but things seem to have changed lately (amex allowing only $500/card max to earn the 2%). Use at your own risk.

  4. FM and RisingCost – Amex will void your order if you order anything above $500/giftcard via the bonus link (it happened to me) and you really risk the bonus even if it goes through. I logged back in at BC and ordered 10 cards at once at $500/each via the 2% link and the Order was approved (amex emailed me the Congrats email)and the $100 bonus showed up as pending on my BC account this morning. This was just my experience…

  5. To compliment Greek2Me’s post. Yesterday, I bought 2k through BC (using the click gift card button on lower right method), used a code for shipping and DO NOT see any rewards from BC.
    Seems you cannot use codes when using BC if you want the percentage back.

  6. AEG- thanks for your comment. Sorry it did not work for you using a code. I was afraid it might not, but hopeful it would.

  7. Just purchased $3000 and $2000 personalized GCs. Paid $7.90 fees. Free shipping with free trial. Used my BofA Travel Rewards card (1.5% cashback) and will earn 2.25% from Big Crumbs. Will report when BC posts.

    Thank you!

    • Just got the email that my order got declined. Call the number on the email and the guy told me that there was one information that i entered incorrectly and that I should login directly at americanexpress.com/gift to repurchase. I said that I needed to go thru BC to get cashback and he was like “we do not know of any cashback site mam.” Wth?! I’m placing my order again…

  8. Placed a $3000 order (with $3.95) again using my Discover card. Needed to call security department for my order to go thru. Also spoke to a customer service guy and confirmed that my online purchase from American Express will be included in the 5% cashback for this quarter. Also used Big Crumbs for 2.25% cashback. If all goes well, this is an awesome deal!

  9. Not clear why I care about this honestly. With VISA Gift Cards I can transfer the money to Bluebird and then use that to pay off my credit cards. So I end up spending a little and getting some cheap points/miles as well as sometimes putting a dent in the minimum spend for a new credit card. Great. If I can figure out how to get bonused spend, say by buying the cards at a drugstore with Hilton Surpass, or at Staples/OD/OM with Ink, or gas stations when that is a bonus category with Freedom, all the better.

    With these I can’t use the money to pay off my credit cards. Or at least not without converting them to a VISA in which case why not just buy the VISA in the first place? And since I’m buying them online I don’t see how I hit any bonus categories.

    What’s the point to this again?

  10. Glenn, the point is to juice spend for non-bonus categories and/or meet minimum spend at lower cost. For example, I was targeted for a $500 cash back bonus if I spend $3K each month for 6 months with my Discover card. No brainer to just buy AMEX GCs and liquidate over 3 AP accounts each month to meet that spend. This month it will earn me 2.5% BC cash back (including 2x referral cash back) x ~$3000 AMEX GCs less 6 x $3.95 in AMEX GC fess which is another $50 per month.

  11. My orders keep getting declined too. No idea why. Used the same cards with the same billing address and other info successfully prior to the hiatus from cashback sites.

    And Mona C: the Amex GC call center knows nothing. Don’t even bother calling. But you can log into the Amex site even if you clicked through from BC/TCB, and you need to if you are going to use the premium shipping plan ($99 for a year of unlimited free overnight shipping on orders).

  12. Hi FM:
    So I got my amex card today. Trying to use it to buy visa gift cards on giftcardmall through TCB portal. When I get to the order screen, there is only a choice for “Credit card” & “choice card” and I keep getting my order rejected because the only option is credit card!
    Are we not able to buy visa gift cards on gift card mall using the amex gift card?
    Thanks for your time!

  13. @First2Board:

    Thanks for your response. I’m trying to buy the visa gift cards through TopCashBack, but my amex gift card does not have my name on it, it only has “A GIFT FOR YOU”, which I also tried using to no avail. There’s no other option besides “credit card” for me.
    I’m a first time user of TCB if that’s important.

    I keep getting the “Unable to complete transaction… if you got this message may not be able to place an order on our site for up to 30 days or you may check with your bank to verify sufficient funds are available.”

  14. Just an update: Called Amex and they confirmed the order on their side, I guess giftcardmall had some kind of burp or something when I tried to order, seems to be a 1-time error type thing. Currently waiting on GCM to get back to me.

  15. Ok, finally figured out the issue. Did not register my card, called 1-800-297-7327 and followed the prompts, had to hit 3, then 0 to get to operator after entering my card info.
    Works perfectly now!

  16. doesn’t kiva require to pay using paypal. that would mean adding the amex gc to paypal and i am not sure if that can be done.

  17. Quick question on Amazon payments. it says 5-7 business days for the receiver to get the cash put in their checking account. Is it usually that long or is it normally quicker? Thanks for the great tip!

  18. 3 of my orders got declined. The first two (5k & 3k after the 5k order was declined) were because they could not verify my info and the third (1.5K) is I have already exceeded the amount for the month. I tried ordering using husband’s credit card & log-in but still got declined because the account has already reached the allowed limit. Does anyone have a clue why this happened to me? Thanks!!

  19. Just as warning – checked my Chase Freedom account this morning and noticed I was assed a $150 transaction fee for Amex giftcard purchases…called and was told that those transactions are being reported as cash advances now. Strange…never happened with a Chase card before. Any other one having this?

  20. @Teri: just want to warn you though, I had the same situation few months ago, and I ended up getting FR from Amex.

    Well, I assumed my FR from this because I never go overboard MS on my 4 Amex cards. and also, in my case, I only used my Amex Business Gold to purchase Amex gift cards, so all orders showing as pending in Amex gold, but next day declined from Amex Prepaid site. So, I can see pending 5k and 6k back to back in my amex gold card.

    Maybe my case is different, but just want to warn everyone.

  21. anyone had any luck using these on GiftCardMall recently? I’ve been trying 2 different amex gift cards from different computers on different days and none of the orders will go through. Cards were registered with Amex first

  22. For those of you who are having difficulties using the AmEx Gift Card, don’t feel like it’s your fault – – it’s not. The AmEx Gift Card (AMEX GC) has some positive features, but they are not universally accepted by firms that take AmEx, and they are not reloadable – – no matter what you may read on postings or on the AmEx FAQs and websites. You’re better off using up the AMEX GC and paying a little extra for another brand (VISA or MC). AMEX has figured out how to make it sufficiently difficult for customers so their Gift Card product is a one-time experience that drives customers to their competitors. Now that I have the AMEX GC experience, I won’t use other AMEX products either. AMEX doesn’t get it, so they won’t get my business. I suggest you not waste your time with AMEX Cards until they replace the geek who’s responsible for this annoyance.

  23. i was able to load Amex Serve card at CVS using Amex Gift card(bought using Barclay Rewardsboost 4%) by choosing Credit Card at POS terminal. ANd it is free of charge 🙂

      • Admittedly, I haven’t tried it myself as I don’t have any AGCs. But Serve lets you load online $200/day via CC, up to $1k/mo. I’ve read that you can use an AGC as that CC. Also, earlier in this thread, shockz said:

        “was able to load Amex Serve card at CVS using Amex Gift card…by choosing Credit Card at POS terminal”

  24. just tried sending amazon pmnt using amex GC from ofismaks… “payment failed”.
    any advice please?
    thanks

    • An easy approach is to add the Amex gift card to you Amazon payment options, but put in the wrong expiration date. That way, they won’t put the $1 hold on the card. Then, fix the date and send the $1K payment.
      .
      In your case you’ll have to wait until the existing $1 hold has dropped off (about 5 days, if I remember)

  25. Did anyone try to buy visa gift card with AX gift card at GiftCardMall.com recently?
    It seems they no longer accept it as payment? or just for me?
    thanks,

  26. Haruka,

    I also could not use my AMEX gift card to purchase visa gift cards on Giftcardmall.com today. This change must have happened in the past day or two.

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