Big News at BigCrumbs

UPDATE: payout has dropped to 1.4%.
UPDATE: payout has dropped to 1.75%.  Still a good deal. 

BigCrumbs increases the American Express gift card payout to 2.25%! 

BigCrumbs is a cash back portal that is special in that one of the merchants available for cash back is American Express Gift Cards.  Until recently, BigCrumbs offered 1.4% cash back for Amex gift card purchases, but they now have increased the rate to 2.25%.  There is no indication as to how long this new rate will be in place, so I recommend jumping on this soon if you have the need for it.

American Express accepts credit cards for these purchases, but I don’t recommend using Citibank cards as you’re likely to get charged a cash advance fee with those.

The new 2.25% rate is big news for deal seekers and mile & point enthusiasts.  For deal seekers, one could buy these gift cards and then use them anywhere American Express is accepted in order to save over 2% on all purchases.  It’s even a good deal for giving Amex gift cards as presents.  For point enthusiasts, this offers several opportunities.  Whether you are working towards meeting minimum spend on a new credit card, or just want to earn more points on a particular card, or you’re trying to reach a big spend threshold, this could be for you:

  • Time-shift spend: Buying Amex gift cards is a great way to increase credit card spend now, and then use the gift card for spend later.
  • Increase credit card spend: Often there are options to use credit cards in place of cash, but with a 2% or so fee.  You will commonly see this with tax payments, some utilities, etc.  By buying these gift cards at a discount (via cash back) you can offset the fee so that it now makes sense to pay by credit card (as long as American Express is accepted).
  • Manufacture spend: There are some tricks people use to convert gift cards to cash (for example, see “Turn bank gift cards into cash“), but with these techniques, there are often fees involved.  The 2.25% rebate can offset some or all of those fees.

There are two versions of the Amex gift card shop, business and personal.  The business shop allows purchases of up to $75,000 at a time (wow!), whereas the personal shop limits purchases to $5,000 at a time.  In order to reach those levels you would need to buy multiple gift cards as the maximum value of any card is $3000.

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Save on shipping

By default, you will usually be charged a fee for each card ($3.95) and a single shipping fee.  According to Astrophsx, in this FlyerTalk thread, you can use coupon codes to eliminate (or reduce) the shipping fee, but not the purchase fee:

Do not use a coupon code when purchasing to remove the fees, you may not get cashback. Use code WRAP12P for free standard shipping, and a backup code for free shipping is AFLQ42012. For business you can use AFLQ42012 for $5.95 off shipping.

Eliminate the card fee

One reader has told me that he uses code EMSVCA to get the $3.95 card fees waived.  He says that he has received cash back every time despite using this code.  Also, Jimmy at Travel By Points also told me that he recently succeeding with this.  I haven’t tried it so I can’t promise anything here.  If you are just buying one or two cards, you’re probably better off using one of the shipping codes above, but if you’re buying lots of cards, it might be worth trying this code.  Please let me know if it works!

More Details

Astrophsx did a great job detailing this opportunity in this FlyerTalk thread.  Many questions you have may already be answered there.

Caution

There are a few things to watch out for:

  • Some people have reported that Citibank treats these cards as cash advances.  Your best bet, with any credit card, is to first call your credit card company and have them set your cash advance limit to zero.  That way, the worst that will happen is that the purchase will be declined if the bank chooses to treat it as a cash advance.
  • You can use American Express credit cards to buy these, but some people have reported getting flagged for an American Express financial review after doing this too often.  That’s not the end of the world, but not pleasant either.
  • After buying a number of these cards last year, American Express suddenly stopped allowing the purchases to go through.  They wouldn’t ever explain why when I called.
  • A few people have reported failing when trying to use these to load the American Express for Target card.

BigCrumbs Referrals

When someone signs up for a BigCrumbs account with your referral link, you then get paid a tiny bit every time that person saves money through BigCrumbs. And, the person who originally referred you also receives a small amount. With Amex gift cards, each referrer earns 1/10 of a percent.  Theoretically you can setup a friend’s account first and then refer yourself in order to get this extra small percentage, but BigCrumbs has strict language in their T&C against doing so.  Personally, I’m happy getting “just” 2.25% when buying gift cards.

If you are new to BigCrumbs, please consider signing up with one of these links:

Credit goes to…

Many readers alerted me to this deal.  Thank you all!  I believe that the first to alert me was Ryan, who wrote the following comment on my “Contact Frequent Miler” page:

Just as a followup…I’ve found two cvs’s that allow the Amex GC’s to be used to buy vanilla’s.  And both CVS’s are well stocked.  They still check my ID, but then i show them it is a gift card, and they just shrug and say OK.  Now, with BC’s updated 2.25% back…this could get a little crazy.

Also, RomsDeals beat me to the punch with his blog post here.

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.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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Srini
Guest
Srini

I ordered one of these last week – the shipping charges don’t go away completely…
If we order the gift cards with a certain denominations – the shipping charges are $8.95 – this (WRAP12P) code helps us bring that down to $3.00

So the final price would be $3.95 (purchase fee) + $3.00 (next day shipping)

Srini
Guest
Srini

One other thing…I got only 1% cashback earlier this week 🙁 from ebates

Had I known this a couple days sooner….:(

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS

FM: to load Amex target with gift card, do I need to register the gift are first?

Sergey
Guest
Sergey

I used 2x$25 AMEX gift cards (that I got from Fedex SBS promotion) to load Target prepaid card and had no problems.

Peter Amling
Guest

It’s worth mentioning that the Discpver More card is paying 5% cash back on all online purchases this quarter. So combined with this you are actually making some money! I think the limit is $1500 but I would have to check.

Chimmy
Guest
Chimmy

BigCrumbs has always been good to me in crediting cash back. What’s interesting is that if I go through BigCrumnbs, the codes to remove the fees/shipping don’t work. If I don’t go through BigCrumbs, then the codes work. AmEx seems to know you’re coming through from a referral link and therefore won’t let you apply the codes. Even if I were to use a 2% cash back card to purchase these, I still seem like I’d be better off using a 5% CB card where Visa GC’s are sold at retail (after all fees are involved). Unless you play with BlueBird, I don’t see the point. Keep in mind there’s a purchase limit on these too. I believe once you make a purchase over a certain amount (I forget what that is — maybe $5,000), you can’t purchase again for another 14 or 15 calendar days. Otherwise, AmEx will not allow the purchase to go through.

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Yo
Guest
Yo

@FM: plus there is a limit of only $1500 for the 5% CB.

romsdeals
Guest

Thanks FM for the shoutout! Also, be careful that AMEX gift cards do not provide purchase protection. I usually buy things that I don’t plan on returning with AMEX Gift card.

bigauto
Guest
bigauto

Does discover code amex gc as a purchase or cash advance any1 know?

PJ
Guest
PJ

amex advertises fee free gc’s and we have codes here for free shipping and also for fees free. Does amex allow two codes to be input on one purchase?

Does AMEX allow GCs be shipped to different address other than billing address? ( I am visiting my daughter in CA )

Srini
Guest
Srini

@PJ, @FM, Even though I clicked on the cards that said no purchase fee – when I actually placed the order, I was charged a purchase fee 🙁

Geoffrey
Guest

Hi FM

I love your blog. I have about 24 Thousand in 2012 estimated tax payments that I can make. Do you know if I bought 8 ( $3000 each ) Amex business gift cards and tried to make payments through USA Tax would it go through as a credit card ? Are there limits on how many/ often tax payments can be made with USA Tax ? If my calculations are right, I would be getting back 2.25 % from Big Crumbs and paying USA Tax a 1.89% fee. Thanking you in advance for your insight.

THEsocalledfan
Guest
THEsocalledfan

I can confirm @chimmy comment. I tried to buy two $3000 gift cards a few days apart and could not. I triead again a few days later and rejected again. When I called, I finally found that Amex has some sort of $5000 limit in sales every 14 days.

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS

Thks FM..
I have few $100 gift cards that I got from Staples deal that I want to put into larger credit card/cash out.
Thks!

Thanh
Guest
Thanh

CHRIS, you probably have like 10 of those $100 visa gift cards from the Staples deal. Were you able to get a $1000 Amex gift card (1x fee) this way? Or do you have to get 10 $100 Amex gift cards (10x fees?

WishyAnand
Guest
WishyAnand

I signed up for BigCrumbs over the weekend, and opted to get only monthly e-mails.

Today I got a surprise e-mail from them, and AMEX gift card purchases now results in 2.5 percent cashback just for 2 days starting today!! I did not see the promo on their main website, so maybe you will have to sign up for e-mails first.

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS

Thanh: it is not Amex, it is visa/mc. I accumulated to $2.5k visa/mc gift cards from staples from $100, $200 and 4 pack, $50s.
Not bad, at least $375 free staples credit or more..
I just went into Target today and load my Amex with 6 gift cards + chase freedom, without a problem. Was worried a little bit, but went smoothly. I always worried whenever doing things for the 1st time 🙂

FM: just want to confirm (i will be leaving out of the country this week). I can use bluebird oversea but not the amex target right? and, I am wondering if chase freedom has foreign transactions fee or not…

sue
Guest
sue

Hi FM;

I’m a newbie, and I enjoy your site a lot. I read everyday. I enrolled at Bigcrumbs.com, but I do not know where to go to buy AE gift cards that you talk about.
I want to join the crowd!

Thanks.

Sun
Guest
Sun

If you want tobe serious cant you sign up for their free shipping program? Then use the no fee code to get free everything from Amex.

WishyAnand
Guest
WishyAnand

Discover 5% on first $1500 purchase works per someone on the FT thread. Not all Discover cards work though, and you have to register for the promo first it seems.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Big Crumbs now showing “up to 2.5% cash back”. Sweet. I am using these to pay my property taxes and meet spend on my Amex Gold 75K offer ($10K spend in 4 months). My local property tax office charges 2.3% convenience fee. I’m actually making money paying my taxes, plus get 75K MR points for generating $10K spend. Gotta love it. Thought about grabbing the 1/10 rebate for referral from my wife, but what the hey…got to leave some crumbs for Big Crumbs…

Ron
Guest
Ron

@Sue – search for “american express” in Big Crumbs search box and you’ll get back two choices – personal or business amex.

GMASH
Guest
GMASH

Did you all get a similar message after ordering or am I the chosen one 🙂

Your purchase has been submitted to our system and is being processed. You will receive a status e-mail within 2 business days. Orders cannot be changed once submitted to our system.

TIA!

PJ
Guest
PJ

I know you can use SPG card on Amazon payment and get points are all amex cards are ok to get points when buying Amex GC’s ?

PJ
Guest
PJ

hi Geffrey and FM

when you use gift card to pay for official payments I thought the fees is much much reduced down to $3.95~ per payment correct ?

Geoffrey
Guest

Hi PJ and FM,

FM, do you know if you can use gift cards to pay taxes ( IRS) ? Also could you answer my previous post # 15 ? Thanks.

Solstys
Guest
Solstys

I signed up for Big Crumbs yesterday and made the GC purchase. Can anyone tell me how long it takes for Big Crumbs to send me an email acknowledging that a purchase was made? I haven’t received anything from Big Crumbs since the purchase. Thanks!

RJ
Guest
RJ

If citi cards treat gift card purchases as a cash advance any suggestions on how to meet spend requirements?

Thanks RJ

Srini
Guest
Srini

@RJ,
I purchased an AMEX GC with my Citi HHonors card. It posted as a purchase.

Srini
Guest
Srini

@FM,
Yes. Pleaase refer to the very first comment on this post.

RJ
Guest
RJ

@Srini

Thanks! any luck using the amex giftcards to load onto a Blue Bird account by purchasing vanillas?

AC
Guest
AC

been following this forum, and pretty great. I am fairly newbie when it comes to mile collection game, however, with so much useful information here, we are on our way.

We will be paying property tax, which should help wife and I both reach the minimum spend for the 50k bonus points.

Most of the bills we pay, they accept the credit card as the payment method, so we don’t have to do the Vanilla reload game that much, as we are not trying to “abuse” the system. Making a balanced approach with about $2k per months at the office supply stores for the gift cards, and put everything else on the card to balance it out. Plus, we go to Staples, OM, and OD for gift cards to spread it out amongst different stores.

We are starting one card at a time, until we can truely go all out with various bonus points.

OH, only thing I have to do with Amex prepaid card is to call the Amex customer service to register my card with my name and address, so that address verification can be done when paying property tax online.

RJ
Guest
RJ

Im not sure why or how srini bought gift cards through amex web site portal with an amex branded card as I just tried and it did not work. I set up my cash advance limit to zero and therefore got denied. Called citi / amex and they confirmed it is considered a cash advance and because I set my limit to zero (as you wisely suggested in your post) I got declined.

Back to square one. Anyone else have any ideas on how to meet spend requirement for citi amex card?

Cheers

RJ

Srini
Guest
Srini

@RJ,
I did not use an AMEX branded card. I used a VISA branded card.
And I clearly see the transaction counted as “Purchases” in my account activity.

But – as we always say around here..YMMV 🙂

The Merchant Category for this transaction: “DIRECT MARKETING/DIRECT MARKETERS”

RJ
Guest
RJ

Very weird indeed. Perhaps because it was a Citi visa branded card. Who knows… I will try that one in the next few days when it arrives.

Cheers

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SgFm
Guest
SgFm

And, Srini used ebates not Big Crumbs, who knows, maybe that is a factor too, (in not getting the cash advance charges from Citi).

Srini
Guest
Srini

LOL, that’s really funny…how would Citi know if I am even using a cashback site 😛

Dave
Guest
Dave

Once you’ve purchased these cards, can you use them at CVS to load your BlueBird account?

Dave
Guest
Dave

Oops, sorry – saw you added that detail!

Yo
Guest
Yo

Anyone else been to CVS lately to buy beans? My usually 2 spots no longer have beans. And I tried purchasing moneypak and its hard coded to now allow credit.

Poundering
Guest
Poundering

Does anyone know (or has purchased over the last 12 months) if there would be tax on over $2K GC purchase that may need to be reported to IRS?

Marie
Guest
Marie

I am new to this. So the 2.25% cash back is given in a form of check to me from Bigcrumbs or in a form of lower charge (2.25%) less to the credit card? Also, can I use Ink Bold or any Chase CC to pay for it, or it needs to be paid with American Express CC to get the 2.25%? Thanks for clarify this.

greek2me
Guest
greek2me

I am only seeing 1.75% back now.

MileageUpdate
Guest

I wish Travelocity would stop rejecting my card for BC purchases. Seems like they dont want me to earn the extra. Grrrr.

karen
Guest
karen

Any new free shipping code?

Vamsi
Guest
Vamsi

Hi,
Just signed up for Big Crumbs using your referral.

karen
Guest
karen

That is what I got for promotion code “We’re sorry, but the Promotion code you entered is not valid or has expired. Please check to make sure that you entered the correct Code.”

karen
Guest
karen

BTW, standing shipping is not a option for me, it doesn’t show up in the drop-down list.

karen
Guest
karen

It seems standard shipping is not available for any order greater than $200. How do you guys use the free shipping code?

karen
Guest
karen

@FrequentMiler, thanks for the info. The code doesn’t work any more.

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