Predicting the next Amex gift card deals

Those who subscribe to Frequent Miler’s Quick Deals know that we often write about Amex gift card deals.  The cool thing about Amex gift cards is that it’s possible to click through a portal to earn rewards while buying them.  In the past 9 months or so, the usual cash back rate offered by portals for Amex gift cards has been 1.5%.  That’s not bad, but we frequently see one day deals for 2% or even 2.25% cash back.  Here are the trends I’ve noticed:

  • Increased cash back deals are always for 1 day only
  • One portal, Simply Best Coupons, offers 2% cash back for business gift cards during their 1 day promotions.
  • Another portal, TopCashBack, offers 2.25% cash back for business gift cards during their 1 day promotions.
  • A third portal, Ebates, occassionally offers 2% cash back for both business and personal gift cards.  This increased rate is available only through the EBates mobile app.
  • A fourth portal, BeFrugal, offered 2.2% cash back this past Friday, but for business gift cards only.
  • The Simply Best Coupons and TopCashBack promotions occur frequently and usually within a day or two of each other.
  • The EBates and BeFrugal promotions seem to be much less frequent (or we somehow missed them)

I was curious if there was a detectable pattern in these deals.  Can we predict when the next ones will occur?  By crawling through the past few months of Quick Deals posts, I was able to assemble the following calendar.  TopCashBack deals are shown in blue.  Simply Best Coupons deals are shown in red.  EBates app-only deals are shown in red.  And, BeFrugal business gift card deals are in orange.

Amex_GiftCard_Calendar_Key

Amex_GiftCard_Calendar_April2015

Amex_GiftCard_Calendar_May2015

Amex_GiftCard_Calendar_June2015

Amex_GiftCard_Calendar_July2015

As you can see above, the Simply Best Coupons and TopCashBack deals happen pretty much every two weeks.  And, the TopCashBack deal has happened every other Tuesday since May 5th.  The Ebates app deal, though, has only happened twice (that I know of) since mid April.  It may be on a once every two months cycle, but two data points isn’t nearly enough to make any firm predictions.  And, as far as I know, the BeFrugal 2.2% business gift card deal is new (we did see a similar deal back in January, but I think that’s too far back to be relevant).

Taken together, I gather the following:

  • It is very likely that TopCashBack will offer 2.25% for business gift cards on Tuesday July 21.
  • It is very likely that Simply Best Coupons will offer 2% for business gift cards within 2 business days of the TopCashBack offer.  Based on the two most recent data points, I’d put my money on July 20th, but I won’t be surprised if it happens as early as Friday July 17th or as late as Thursday July 23rd.
  • If my guess is right that the EBates app promotion happens roughly once every two months, then we can expect to see the next deal in late August or early September.
  • The appearance of the 2.2% BeFrugal business gift card deal may throw a wrench in these predictions.  Only time will tell.

UPDATES 7/13/2015 2:40 PM EST

Readers have reported a number of missing data points in the post, above:

  • When BeFrugal advertises 2.2%, they actually award 2.25% (eported by Mike and janol)
  • BeFrugal advertised 2.2% on June 12th (reported by DTB) and June 26th (repored by Mike).  If so, then BeFrugal appears to be on a 2 week schedule like TopCashBack and Simply Best Coupons.  In this case, they offer the deal every other Friday.  So, we can expect the next BeFrugal deal on Friday July 24th.
  • eBates 2% promo also ran May 25th (reported by Bushe).  They might be on a last Monday of the month schedule, or every 5 weeks.  So, we may see another eBates 2% deal on July 27th (last Monday of the month) or August 3rd (5 weeks after previous deal).

Another related prediction

If my memory serves, I believe that Amex gift cards disappear from portals for a few weeks each year – usually late in the year (see this 2014 report and this 2013 report, for example).  When they return to portals, the standard portal rebates are often different than before (sometimes more, sometimes less).  My guess is that Amex has an annual process in which they evaluate whether portal marketing is working for them and they decide how much money they’re willing to offer up for that marketing.  My guess is that we’ll see a similar thing happen this year in the September / October timeframe.

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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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Comments

  1. The 2.2% promotion you are referring to (mainly last Friday) was offered by BeFrugal, not Ebates. Also Ebates mobile app has been extremely unreliable for AGC purchases. Otherwise great post with good data points.

    • Yikes, thanks for the correction. I’ve updated the post. I wrote this post on Thursday then updated late Friday night after the BeFrugal quick deal appeared. I should have waited until I got some sleep!

  2. Hi Greg – There’s a site I have access to related to purchasing AMEX Gift Cards that I think you may be interested in reviewing. Can you determine my personal email? If so, can you email me so I can give you a rundown of this particular site? I don’t really tweet so wasn’t sure the exact way to get in contact with you privately. Thanks!

  3. Hi Greg,

    Just and FYI the eBates 2% promos have been every month since April:

    April 20th
    May 25th
    June 29th

    I believe they are now on schedule to do this the last Monday of the month.

    Thanks,
    Bushe

    • Thanks! It looks like we missed the May deal. Maybe they’re doing once every 5 weeks? That would put them on schedule to do August 3rd and would be consistent (I think) with all of the data points. I guess we’ll find out soon whether it is last friday or every 5 weeks.

      • BF also advertised a 2.2% rate for business cards only on 6/26. Note that although BF’s advertised rate was 2.2% on all three sale dates in June/July, the pending cash back was calculated based on 2.25%. Apparently their website cannot display their rates to 2 decimal places.
        BF also had sales on 2/24, 4/10, 4/21 and 4/30. For all but 4/21, it was 2.0% on business cards while dropping the personal cards from 1.5 to 1.3 – the 4/21 was 2.0% on both types.
        I don’t have any BF data points for May. Overall, it seems that since May BF has adopted the every two week pattern, currently also being followed by TCB and SimplyBest. I predict BF’s next sale will be 7/24.
        I figured someone would post about this sale pattern at some point. I hope the pattern is not disrupted as a result of the reveal (albeit a fairly innocuous one).

  4. Is it normal for Amex GC charges to not post for over a week? They even disappear for a few days from pending transactions.

    I buy customized business GCs, but I wonder if I got the anonymous ones the turnaround would be faster.

    • Yes, all kinds of weird things happen with AGC charges until they’re posted. Sometimes it takes quite a while. I’ve often received and liquidated them before the charge posts. And yes, non-customized cards do ship must faster.

      • Thanks. I know the non-custom ones ship faster, but do the charges post faster? It’s looking like a week and a half from the time I buy them to when I can pay off the charge and buy again. That severely slows the pace of MS I can do. I wonder if buying in 2-4k increments or the non-custom ones would make the charges post sooner than a week.

        • Maybe I’ll switch to that, thanks! The grocery cashiers where I get VGCs know me well enough by now 🙂

  5. I was LOVING AmexGC but now have so few ways to unload them. Anything happening other than regular spending on them?

  6. @FrequentMiler Any chance we could get a post like this for the Sears shopping portal bonuses? I look at cashbackmonitor every day waiting for the next 8x+ payout from SWA and AA as its a complete guess as to when it’s going to happen.

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