The ultimate free shipping code

One of the best current deals for buying American Express gift cards is to shop through BeFrugal for 4% 3% cash back.  This can be a great way to save money on everything you buy.  That said, there are many complications involved with buying and using American Express gift cards, so I highly recommend that you read my overview if you are new to this: Everything you ever wanted to know about Amex gift cards.

In this post, I want to draw your attention to a free-shipping code shown on the BeFrugal site (and elsewhere): FSGRAD.  When buying gift cards and going through the check-out process, this code can be used, through June 30th, to waive shipping fees.

Often, there are multiple discount codes available for Amex gift cards and they come in two forms: 1) free-shipping codes; and 2) codes to waive the $3.95 purchase fees. So, whether it is better to get free shipping or waived purchase fees depends upon how many cards you plan to buy and the cost of shipping. 

Premium Shipping Plan

AmexGCPremiumShippingPlanIts often possible to get both free shipping and fee-free cards by using codes to waive purchase fees, and enrolling in the Premium Shipping Plan which offers free next day shipping for an entire year.  American Express offers this plan for $99 per year with a 90 day free trial to new subscribers.

To get this 90 day trial offer, add gift cards to your basket, click “Check Out”, and then sign in with your American Express credentials.  You should now be able to select the Premium Shipping free trial as one of the shipping options.

After the free trial

I used the free Premium Shipping trial a couple of years ago and cancelled the service before once the trial was over.  Since then, the offer for free shipping hasn’t shown up on my account. Then, last night, the author of Miles, Points, and Mai Tais told me about a neat trick she had stumbled upon.  She found that the free shipping code, FSGRAD, could be applied to the $99 annual fee for Premium Shipping!

After clicking through from BeFrugal to Amex Gift Cards (for 4% cash back at the time, but now down to 3% today), I put a $3000 gift card in my basket, clicked “Check Out”, signed into my Amex account, and selected the $99 Premium Shipping Plan as my shipping option.  And, I added the promo code FSGRAD.  The next screen showed that the full $99 shipment plan fee was removed.

AmexFreeShipping99

And, after placing the order, I received an email confirming that I am now enrolled in the unlimited 2 day shipping plan for a full year.  Sweet.

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  1. Cool. So now, with the free 2 day shipping, we should be able to use the other amex codes to remove the (3.95) fee. fees…essentially having no fees at all when buying these. 5K for exactly 5K

  2. Log-in to your gift card account. Choose see order history. Under shipping addresses you should have the option to cancel the trial if you click the View button.

  3. If i am signing up for the $99 shipping my first time and use the code, will it give me a whole year? Or since i have first 90 days free anyways, it won’t charge either way?

  4. Do you have to have already completed the 3 month free trial to get the code to apply?

    Maybe enroll in the free trial, place an order, then after the order goes through, cancel the free trial and order again with the code to get the $99/year plan for free.

  5. I haven’t previously signed up for the 3 month free trial and the only option I get now is the “free” 90 day trial. If I apply the code, will I not get charged in 3 months? Or is this option only available for people who have the option to pay the 99 dollars (i.e. already exhausted their free trial)?

  6. I enrolled for the first time today. No previous free trials. When I logged in and entered the code, it just showed the cost as $0 instead of $99.

    You’re now enrolled in the Gift Card Premium Shipping Plan!

    Dear Customer,
    Thank you for your recent enrollment in the Gift Card Premium Shipping Plan. This plan gives you free Express Next Day shipping on every American Express Gift Card order placed for one full year.

    Enrollment date: June 17, 2014
    Expiration date: June 17, 2015

  7. Dilemma! I just bought Amex GC’s yday which means I must wait 14 days before I can apply the code for next purchase. In 14 days the FSGRAD coupon expires. Any idea what I can do?? Thx and great post!

  8. I’m currently in the middle of the free trial (expires end of July). By the time my trial ends, the free shipping promo code will have expired. Should I cancel my promo and then use the code?

  9. I’m not getting the 99 -99 in my cart when I login.

    I’m only getting this…

    Delivery Method: Premium Shipping (Next Day)
    Promotion Code: FSGRAD – Accepted

    Does that mean I still get it or is it just signing me up for the free trial.

  10. i put in 90 trial and FSGRAD code. on final page before submitting it waives shipping but 3.95 fee remains. Any tricks to get free shipping and FREE activation?

  11. I did the same thing this morning before I checked the blog. My remaining trial date is 29 days. However, I ended my trial date and made another order with promo signing up with 1 year premium shipping. I knew that the order will be cancelled but I got premium shipping date remaining 365days.

  12. Got a couple the other day. How are you churning them? Serve and Amazons 1k limit? CVS/SERVE doesnt work correct? Or I could buy OneVanilla gift cards then pay off the existing credit cards?

  13. Once I was enrolled in the free 99.00 per year program detailed above, I went back and ordered a second gift card after signing into my account. This time I added the free service charge waiver code DGPCM (good through 7/31/14) and I got my second card free of service fees and shipping charges, plus I got next day shipping!

  14. Dumb newbie question. Is there any reason in particular you’d want to buy so many AMEX gift cards? I guess with 3% off, it’s better than most credit card reward programs. But I have cards that get me 3% or more (at least 2%) on pretty much every spending category. If I’m missing something on potential uses for these cards, I appreciate any replies (or links). Thanks!

    • Often its too meet the minimum spend requirement. Also if you use a Barclay arrival card you get an additional 2.2%…so its like getting 5.2% on any purchase..

      • Thanks, shane. Great point that I should have realized! But if I’m missing any other potential uses, I’d welcome any other comments.

  15. An interesting technique to get a year of free shipping, but clearly a programming error. The FSGRAD promo code apparently removes the cost of any shipping items, and the yearly unlimited shipping option is (incorrectly) coded as a shipping item. My worry would be that Amex may eventually retroactively charge everyone that does this the $99, and I would think they would be within their right to do so, even if it would upset a lot of people.

  16. AMEX free shipping plus 4% cash back and at most 1.25 miles? versus Upromise 5% Staples cash back with 5 miles and another 1% CB if using the Ink Visa? And easier to unload? Can you compare those two alternative approaches with your mathmatical wizardry???

      • It was on their site last Thursday and I clicked thru to Staples and made my 2k gift card order…got the cards and now waiting on the authorization codes….so their site indicated 5% but I haven’t cashed out yet…..should I be worried?

      • So I’ve paid .695 cents per point to get an ultimate reward point after churning them thru Amazon? Just a slightly more difficult way to generate Vanilla Reload esk returns….that’ll teach me not to go to Paris and miss the latest blog………..

      • Or is the Visa 1% rebate figure in to knock down the cost to .495 per point or did they also cancel that deal? Park Hyatt Vendome at $148.50 acquisition cost is still a deal IMHO……..

  17. After applying the promotional code FSGRAD it said free shipping but still a purchase charge. Then I went back in to try to get free shipping for one year and no purchase charge. Now I lost the free shipping and the promotional code won’t take anymore :(

  18. Went back in Incognito and I was able to again apply the promotional code FSGRAD for free shipping, saving $8.95. Still got purchase charges of $11.85 for 3 cards, which I would avoid if I used SYNCGIFT code instead. Hopefully my order will not be declined, and hopefully I will get the 3% cashback at BeFrugal. I am encouraged that they show my Account Summary, which will eventually be greater than the current $0. Anybody know how long it takes for them to post $?

  19. I am new to credit card churning, but I would love to take advantage of this deal. Does anyone know if Wells Fargo Cards treat purchases from BeFrugal as a cash advance??

  20. I finally figured out I needed to login to Amex Gift Cards during checkout, not just the Amex credit card account “Login” that first appears upon clicking thru from BeFrugal. Then the $99 shipping trial started appearing on the pulldown menu.

    Ordered $1k with FSGRAD and shipping did appear free and I got the email. Next business order for $3k (thanks Vinh:) I used SYNCGIFT promotion code and got the purchase charge minused, along with the free shipping. Orders shipped without being declined. Thanks to everyone for pioneering this!

  21. Sorry I am new: If i use an Amex SPG card, will these gc purchases count toward minimum spend with Amex? Please advice. Thanks.

  22. Great catch – used it today. What a great deal. I really enjoy your posts and love when I can get a big win like the credited free Premium shipping for a year. Thaks again for all you great posts!

  23. I tried the FSGRAD code with the premium shipping. I see that it took $99 off, but when I log back a couple days later I still have to pay for shipping. Is this glitch dead or did I do something wrong?

  24. I did all the above a couple days ago and was given “free shipping for a year”.. using the FSGRAD code. My card order was declined the next day.. and then today I got an email from Amex saying that I had been removed from the Premium Shipping Plan. Obviously they have caught on to this and are declining orders that tried to use FSGRAD to get free shipping on that order (and free shipping for a year!)… and then are canceling people from the Premium Shipping status. It was worth a try. And I lost out on the 90 day free trial to try this! Oh well. 😉

  25. I had gotten the free shipping for a year promo. I also got an email confirming that the expiry is June 2015. I also successfully placed a couple orders with free shipping.

    But when I checked today, I see that my enrollment has an expiry date in Sept 2014 – it looks like the 1 year free shipping was converted to the 90-day free trial? Anyone else see the same?

      • I just received an email from AMEX stating that my free premium shipping plan free “trial” would end 17 September 2014. I originally used the free one year code, FSGRAD, mentioned in this posting. Looks like I got downgraded without knowing too…..

        • I just got the email stating my trial period will end 9/17 as well. DJ, can you let us know what actually happened to your account?

  26. On BeFrugal for cash back on Amex GCs it notes :

    \American Express Gift Cards are a flexible choice for family and friends that can be used to buy almost anything at millions of locations. *Cash back will not be earned on any order where a coupon code is applied.\

    I’d read that last bit as entering any of the various codes to knock out card or shipping fee during checkout on AMEX will ultimately kill the cash back. Anybody confirm or deny this?

    Made my first purchase via BeFrugal entering a code to waive card fee and my cash back shows pending. Don’t want to make mistake on 90 days worth of purchases before finding out…

  27. BEWARE – AMEX PROMO CODES VOID CASHBACK. I just ordered many $$ AMEX Prepaid Gift Cards using promo codes to save the $3.95 fee – I should have had over $1000 in cashback – and it was ALL cancelled either by AMEX or GCM because of their new policy.
    Also – I’ve been concerned that if I used my AMEX $99 free shipping feature that the cashback would also be denied.

    I inquired of BeFrugal’s online chat feature.
    Here’s BeFrugal’s answers:

    Per Todd, BeFrugal.com (8/15/14):
    (1) (My question = Am I correct that the use of ANY promo code, however, does restrict cashback earnings?) Todd’s answer = \These are the current terms American Express updated to on 7/1/2014. They will no longer issue commissions for any order with a coupon code applied.\

    (2) (My question = Does AMEX’s $99 free shipping plan void the cashback feature in the same way that promo codes void cashback?\ Todd’s answer = \Once purchased, the $99 free shipping discount applies to the account and is not a coupon code. There are no restrictions provided by American Express regarding this (AMEX Free Shipping) fee and it should not restrict cash back earnings.\

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