Gift card churning gone wrong

I’ve written a few posts about how to buy and sell discounted gift cards in order to add spend to your credit cards.  In general, you won’t make much money from doing this, but if you’re trying to meet minimum spend it’s a great idea.  Or so I thought.  Life has not been good for me in gift card buy/sell land lately:

  • TopCashBack used to give 4% cash back for selling gift cards to PlasticJungle, but that dropped to 1%.
  • A reader tipped me off about a situation in which one could apparently make money by buying and selling Applebee’s gift cards.  I jumped in and bought a bunch of “paper” gift cards at CardPool.  I thought paper was just a strange name for physical plastic cards.  Instead, when they arrived they were electronic gift cards that had been printed out one page each.  I couldn’t sell these to PlasticJungle so I returned the lot (luckily I got all of my money back).
  • In another adventure, I found a money making buy/sell opportunity based upon stated buy/sell prices.  Well, the buy prices were correct, but when I went to sell the cards I discovered that the sell prices were 5% off.  I lost a few bucks on that deal!  The lesson I learned was to use PlasticJungle’s spreadsheet to look up re-sell prices rather than the GiftCardGranny prices.
  • That brings us to today where I proudly announced the availability of a buy/sell opportunity that would lose only 2% from each transaction.  For those looking to meet minimum spend requirements, a 2% loss isn’t that bad.  And, once again, I was able to buy gift cards at the expected rate, but when I went to sell them I discovered the prices were wrong again!  This time it was the spreadsheet that was wrong! I contacted PlasticJungle and got this helpful response:

We would like to inform you that we have a gift card pricing engine that determines what we can pay based on factors such as merchant popularity, resale velocity, seasonality and more.

Please access the link, you will be able to check the offers once you entered your card information.

Anyone want a bunch of JC Penney e-gift cards?  Now, on to new ideas…

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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13 Comments on "Gift card churning gone wrong"

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I’m your huckleberry. Email me with the amount you have and the price you will take.


I don’t suppose you’ve been tracking JCP gift cards have you? IE how long will it take for the prices to go up? Any trends?


I never do the gift card thing. But I appreciate your posts telling us the mistakes….etc.


I’ll match the lowest offer, grin. Just kidding! I’d say the old adage “no risk, no reward” applies here. I suspect you’ll be able to unload your JCP GCs later at a profit.


Actually going to use the one I bought today to do some shopping this weekend. Thanks for the heads up!


As soon as you figure out how to get this gift card thing under 1.5% loss, I’ll jump on it! I can use chargesmart to hit all my needs for 2.5% or so, at least there’s no risk doing that.

Thank you for the useful update on your progress!


Palm Palace 11.45 am Tuesday lunch?


gpapadop: Yep, see you there!


Giftcardgranny is quite a bit behind on their pricing. And Cardpool is sneaky. I thought I had a flawless PPM with gift cards, until Cardpool got my first card deposit and updated their price from $75 per $100 card to $68. This was a good three weeks ago, and giftcardgranny has yet to update their price. I’ve come to realize you cannot count on granny for the correct information.


Can I ask what is the risk in selling the gift cards on eBay?
How does one minimize being frauded by buyer claiming card was not there or insufficient?

I was thinking of selling it there but now dunno bc of reading posts here


Mark: I think the main risk is that a buyer could claim he didn’t receive the gift card or that it didn’t have the funds on it that you promised. Another good option is to go through TopCashBack to CouponTrade and sell your gift cards there electronically. CouponTrade takes 10% from you, but TopCashBack will (theoretically) give you 3% back. I’m currently running an experiment to try that.


Do you still have jcp gift cards available for sale and how much? Thanks