Complete guide to Amex gift cards

UPDATE 8/21/2015: Amex has changed their terms for portal cash back. They now only allow cash back for gift card denominations of $200 and below.  As long as this restriction is in place there is no good reason to buy Amex gift cards through portals.  We will leave this post in place, though, in the hopes that the restrictions will be lifted sometime in the near future.

A number of online portals offer cash back or miles when purchasing American Express gift cards. The idea of buying American Express gift cards just to earn miles or cash back may sound boring to some, but to me it is fantastic. It’s a great opportunity to run up spend on credit cards to meet minimum spend requirements, hit big spend thresholds, or just to earn regular everyday rewards.  For more, please see: Amex Gift Card Strategy.

And now, without further ado,  everything you may want to know about Amex gift cards in the form of Questions and Answers…

Q: What are the best current portal offers for buying Amex gift cards?

A: Portal rates for Amex gift cards change regularly.  Here are examples of offers that we saw in 2014:

  • Barclaycard RewardsBoost portal: 4 miles per dollar
  • Lucky Rewards: 4% cash back
  • BeFrugal: 4% cash back
  • BigCrumbs: 3.5% cash back
  • TopCashBack: 3% cash back
  • Alaska Airlines MileagePlan Shopping portal: 3 miles per dollar
  • Delta SkyMiles Shopping portal: 3 miles per dollar

Unfortunately, Amex gift cards have disappeared from portals a couple of times recently. Since their return, portal rates have ranged from 1.5-2.25%.

The Barclaycard’s portal unfortunately also no longer offers Amex gift cards.  Check this CashBackMonitor page and this one for up to date portal offers.

Q: Will I incur cash advance fees?  Which credit cards are safe?

A: Some credit cards do charge cash advance fees.  For example, readers have reported in the past that Citibank cards incurred cash advance fees, however recently transactions have been coding as purchases. Below I’ve listed cards that are safe, maybe safe and not safe to use based on reader input (so, your mileage may vary).  Please chime in with your experiences and I’ll add to this list:

Safe — No cash advance fee for Amex gift card purchases:
  • American Express
  • Bank Of America
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Discover
  • HSBC
  • US Bank
  • Barclaycard
Note:
  • Some banks (such as Discover and US Bank) treat Amex gift cards as a cash advance while authorizing the transaction, but it later changes to a purchase. For this reason, if you have a low cash advance limit, your purchase may be declined.
May be safe — Older reports of cash advance fees but more recent reports of not being charged a fee:
  • Citibank
Not safe — Cash advance fee for Amex gift card purchases:
  • First Bankcard

Q: I read that Chase charges cash advance fees when buying Amex gift cards. How can I avoid those fees?

A: There was a brief period in 2013 when Chase charged cash advance fees for Amex gift cards, but that has been fixed. Please see this post for more: It’s once again safe to buy Amex gift cards with your Chase card.

Q: Is it safe to use a Citibank card to buy Amex gift cards online?

A: Yes & No!  In the past, purchases with some Citi cards were treated as a cash advance.  More recently several readers have reported that their transactions have coded as purchases.  It’s possible that Citi handles this differently with different cards, but my advice is to play it safe before making any large purchases.

Q: Do I have to use a credit card affiliated with the portal to purchase Amex gift cards?  For example, do I have to use a Delta credit card to buy gift cards through the Delta SkyMiles portal?

A: No, you can use any credit card to pay and you should still earn points, miles, or cash back.

Q: When shopping through a portal, do I get the advertised bonus on top of the rewards automatically earned by my credit card?

A: Yes.  For example, when the Alaska MileagePlan portal offered 3 miles per dollar for Amex gift cards, you could have earned those 3 miles per dollar in addition to rewards earned automatically by your credit card.

Q: It has been three weeks since buying gift cards through a portal, but I still do not see any rewards activity on my account.  Am I out of luck?

A: Hopefully not. It’s common for mile earning portals, to take a month or longer before showing any evidence of large purchases like these.  My advice: be patient.

Q: What credit card will earn the most rewards for these purchases?

A: I’m not aware of any cards that offer a category bonus for online Amex gift card purchases, so your best bet is to use the card that offers the best rewards for everyday spend.  If you’re working on completing the minimum spend requirements for a new credit card, then that’s a great option (as long as the card is from a bank that doesn’t treat the purchase as a cash advance).  Another great option is to use a card that earns a valuable big spend bonus.  Checkout each of these pages for more information:

Q: Gift cards are limited to a maximum value of $500 (when clicking through from some portals). Is there a way to buy larger denomination cards?

A: Yes, simply log into your American Express account from the gift cards page, and you’ll then see options up to $3000 in value.  If you don’t want to log in, another approach is to simply click “Select a Card Design” under either the Business Gift Cards or Consumer Gift Cards menu.

Q: Will I lose out on portal rewards if I buy denominations larger than $2,000?

Maybe.  Portals introduced language to that effect early in 2015. At this point I recommend buying cards in denominations of $2,000 or less.  Please see this post for more details:  $2K denomination limit on Amex gift card cash back.

Q: Will I lose out on portal rewards if I use a discount code not found on the portal?

A: YES.  Please do not use promo codes unless the portal you use specifically says its OK. See: Promo codes to void cash back for Amex gift cards?

Q: How long will it take to earn cash back or miles from a portal?

A: This varies by portal.  With some portals, I have received miles in about a week to 10 days after purchase.  With the Alaska and Delta portals I’ve had to wait as long as a month.  With cash back portals, I frequently receive notification within a day or less that the cash back is pending, but it can take several months for the cash back to become payable.

Q: Can I buy business gift cards?

A: Yes, but depending upon the size of your order you may be asked to enter your Tax ID.  If you do not have a business tax ID, simply input your social security number.

Q: Do I have to use a business credit card to buy business gift cards?

A: No.  Some people have been told by Amex reps that their orders were not approved because they didn’t use business credit cards to pay.  I don’t believe this.  I use personal Amex cards regularly to buy business gift cards.

Q: What are the purchase limits?

A: There is a $10,000 limit on Consumer Gift Cards and $100,000 limit on Business Gift Cards per 14 days.

Q: Isn’t it risky to have these cards shipped by mail?

A: Yes, there is always some risk that someone will steal your gift cards before you can get to them.  If that happens to you, I’d recommend that you call Amex immediately.  They should be able to help (I imagine this would take a lot of patience on your part, though!).

Q: Why did my order get declined?

A: There are several reasons why Amex may decline your order:

  1. Your purchase exceeds your cash advance limit.  Some credit cards treat online Amex gift card purchases as cash advances.  In these situations, be glad that your order was declined. Cash advances do not result in credit card rewards, but they do result in unwanted fees.  Also, several readers have reported to me that some credit cards treat the purchase, initially, as a cash advance for the purpose of authorizing the charge, but then put through the actual charge as a purchase.  If your cash advance limit is too low in these situations your order will be declined.
  2. The name and address you input in the order (billing info) do not match your name and address on your credit card.  This information has to match perfectly for the order to go through.
  3. Random chance.  It is common to receive an email from Amex stating that they “could not verify your order information and cannot approve your order at this time.”  Sometimes this can be caused by #2, above, but other times it seems to be completely random.  I swear that I’ve entered in the same exact information with the same credit card for payment time and again, and sometimes it is approved and sometimes declined.  I’m sure it’s not truly random, but may be a function of who gets assigned to verify your order, or maybe the cycle of the moon at the time.

Q: Can I use these gift cards to load Bluebird at Walmart?

A: No.  Amex gift cards can be used as credit cards, but not as debit cards.  You cannot setup a PIN.  You cannot use them to load Bluebird, buy money orders, or pay bills at Walmart.

Q: Can I use these gift cards to load Serve online?

A: Probably not. While I’ve heard a report or two of people successfully using an Amex gift card as a credit card funding source with Serve, it usually does not work.

Q: Can I use these gift cards to load REDbird (The Target Prepaid REDcard) at Target?

A: No. Amex gift cards used to work to load REDbird, but that functionality ended on May 6, 2015 when Target stopped allowing credit card loads.

Q: Can I use these gift cards in-store to buy Visa/MasterCard debit gift cards?

A: Maybe.  Many cashiers have been trained to not allow this, but it is still possible at some stores and/or with some cashiers.  You may have to do some experimentation to find a place where this works.

Q: I’ve heard that there’s an option to sign up for free shipping for 90 days. How do I find that?

A: Make sure to log into your American Express account during the gift card check-out process.  When you get to the screen offering shipping options, you should see the offer.

Q: How can I cash out these gift cards once I get them?

A: Here are some ideas:

  1. Buy stuff you would buy anyway.
  2. Buy Visa or MasterCard gift cards 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.
  6. Pay bills with Plastiq.  You will incur a 2.5% fee.

Audience participation

Do you have additional questions about Amex gift cards?  Or, do you have more information that can be added to one of the answers above?  Please comment below.

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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Pawtim
Guest
Pawtim

Nice summary.

For the “every two weeks” limit on ordering consumer cards, when does the clock start? It can often take a day or two for an order to be successfully processed.

Also, why wouldn’t someone log in? It saves on typing!

Thanks!

Myron
Guest
Myron

Have heard that Chase cards can also incur a cash advance fee. No experience with this myself, but just wondering how we can check these things to be sure.

Gabriel
Guest
Gabriel

I haven’t tried this myself, but I have read around that you can call Chase to set your cash advance limit to zero. That way, if the purchase is set as a cash advance, it will get rejected. Either that or take a gamble with a small amount card so you know. Sometimes you have to experiment a little to come ahead in this hobby/game.

Max
Guest
Max

I used Barclays Arrival redemption process recently, and can share a few annoying features. First, redemptions for any individual travel expense must be in increments of $25. So in most cases, there can be no redemption in full. Second, unredeemed parts (even when over $25) can not be submitted again. And finally, the 10% travel bonus miles are awarded after a redemption.

So the net result of the above, there will always be unreedemed expenses and leftover miles. The promised 110% travel redemption value is not really possible.

Roger
Guest
Roger

“Second, unredeemed parts (even when over $25) can not be submitted again”.

I had 50,000 points and redeemed 42,500 points for a $438 airline ticket. That knocked off $425 off the $438 total. I was then given back 4,250 points and no have 11,750 points – all of which can be used for future travel purposes. I will be using the rest of my points to pay off my rental car. Seems like a smooth transaction to me and a great deal.

Mel
Guest
Mel

I don’t understand the Cents per Point calculation. For the Delta or Alaska Air assuming 1X more = 4X total.

5K X 4 = 20,000 miles

Fees = 8.95 for 3K and 2K card with code + 10 X 3.95 to get ice cream = 48.45

$48.45/20000 miles = $.0024225 /mile

I will purchase cents at .2 cents all afternoon over having to deal with $200 gift cards without 5X.

Bob
Guest
Bob

I have not had the transaction go through when trying to use the US Bank Club Carlson, either personal or business variety.

Bob2
Guest
Bob2

I attempted one purchase using my business Club Carlson card. It was declined/denied (usual Amex message). Curious, I called US Bank and they informed me that the transaction was attempted as a cash advance. Luckily the purchase amount exceeded my cash advance cap (whew!)

Others should weigh in for more datapoints, but I would add US Bank to the cash-advance “offenders” along with Citibank.

Chris
Guest
Chris

If you look in the thread about this on flyertalk, reports are mixed about US Bank charging a cash advance fee. I agree that it is safest to avoid them.

Dima
Guest

Same for me – declined due to going through as cash advance on CC

James
Guest
James

@Mel – the cost to cash out is irrelevant to the comparison of two portal options. If you are foregoing 4.4% cash for 3x miles then you are effectively paying 4.4cents/3miles = 1.47cents/mile.

Kareninfl
Guest
Kareninfl

When shopping on the Barclay Rewardsboost website, does one earn 4 miles in addition to the 2 miles already earned while using the card for a total of 6 miles?

Greg
Guest
Greg

Could this be used to meet the $10k spending requirement for the AA Executive card that has the 100k mileage bonus? Without any extra fees?

Jake from MSP
Guest
Jake from MSP

Greg,

If you took a minute to read the article, you’ll notice the answer is quite clearly there

Bender
Guest
Bender

@Greg:
Citibank may code these purchases as a cash advance (per the article) so I wouldn’t suggest buying these to hit the $10K spending on that card.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Is there a risk in having these shipped by mail..ex. If they are misdelivered?

Billy
Guest
Billy

@Kate – Yes, there is a risk. The cards are shipped active, so if anyone gets them, they can use them and it would be up to you to prove (very difficult) that it wasn’t you. I had a different gift card “lifted” in the mail and I never got the money back. It was only $250, but that really stings. Could you imagine losing $3,000?

Kate
Guest
Kate

Thanks Billy! Sorry that happened to you! I think I will pass on buying these cards for shipment… my tolerance of risk, even if it is small, just doesn’t make this a good fit for me.

anita
Guest
anita

what can you use these amex gift cards for?
can you deposit into bluebird? or somehow get your money deposited back to you?

Beavis
Guest
Beavis

No, you cannot do those things. You can use them like credit cards at places that take Amex or at an ATM. Read the full post from Frequentmiler above and you’ll get your detailed answer.

Dima
Guest

Anita – If you can’t read, you probably shouldn’t be playing this game…

John
Guest
John

And if you need to be a D then go elsewhere.

Jake from MSP
Guest
Jake from MSP

I don’t think Dima is being unreasonable. Anita asked a question that was clearly explained in the post, so her question suggests she didn’t read some/most/all of the post.

Grado
Guest
Grado

Note that you can use any Amex card at Costco for goods or gas.

mdtravel
Guest
mdtravel

A word of warning if you are considering buying these cards and then using them to purchase plain vanilla cards at CVS…I’ve been doing this and I’m done. I had four consecutive experiences with checkout folks who told me they cannot, by policy, accept a gift card as payment for ‘another gift card.’ That’s bs of course, but apparently it has come down from on high in my area. The AMEX gift cards are processed like credit cards, but are labeled as ‘gift’ in big letters. I finally got one store to accept them and finish out my last purchase…but I scratched out the ‘gift’ text on the card so when they asked for the card it just looked like it had been through the garbage disposal! I’d loved the idea of making the purchase of VR a break even or marginally profitable thing, but it just isn’t worth the hassle.

Dave
Guest
Dave

I purchased $5K using the Alaska portal 8-9 days ago. The cards came in 2 days, but I still have no Alaska miles. When I used BigCrumbs in the past, the money would be “pending” in 2 days or so. This is the first time I’ve used the Alaska portal (have a specific destination in mind)… should I be worried yet?

Also, like mdtravel, I don’t think this is worth it to me anymore. I’ve never been able to use them for CVS (even the ones who accept credit card), but I was able to buy MP at Rite Aid… but now the majority of cashiers at my main 2 stores won’t allow it anymore.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Last time I ordered an AMEX card through the Alaska portal over the Holidays (1 x $3000) it took a few weeks to post. I messaged customer service after about 2 weeks, and the miles posted a few days after that. Wait a week or two, and if the miles don’t post send a polite inquiry.

kd1000
Guest
kd1000

How long does the Barclays boost points take to post on the account ? I bought 3k worth last month and the Barclay’s Boost points still haven’t posted. Got the regular 2x points.

steve
Guest
steve

I bought amazon gift cards at staples using my INK card (5x), then applied them to my amazon account.
I’d do more, but the local stores are out of them.

I just bought a $500 amex card there, though. can someone tell me (or point me to a thread) on how to make amzn use that money (register as a credit card? buy a gift card?

Thanks

Roger
Guest
Roger

OK, just to make sure my math is correct:

Buy $3,000 AGC with no fee coupon + $8.95 shipping = $3,008.95 purchase. Earn 2% via TCB and 2.2% miles by paying with Barclay arrival card. Earn $126 worth of cash back.

AGCs cannot be liquidated via BB, GB, etc., SO buy 6 VRs to liquidate AGC at a cost of $23.70. Final earning is $102.30 on a $3,000 AGC = 3.4% cashback.

3.4% is a pretty good return for not much extra work. Anyone know of a way to nudge it up to 4% 🙂

Do I have this right?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Does anyone have EVERY attempted transaction declined by Amex? I’m using my Arrival, and Barclays is saying that they are approving it. I call Amex about it, and they are really no help. Is it maybe because I’m trying to purchase a $3000 card through a portal? Other reports indicate that these transactions go through using the loopholes discussed above. Any ideas?

Anita
Guest
Anita

Roger,

You can cut out the shipping costs, at least temporarily. There is a 90-day free trial of unlimited free shipping available on the Amex gift card site. Timed correctly, it could be of great advantage if buying lots of Amex GCs to hit a minimum spend.

Anita (not the Anita who posted above…)

Don
Guest
Don

Where on Amex Gift card site do you find the free shipping 90 day trial offer?

Roger
Guest
Roger

Thanks Anita. I already did the free trial, but I can still sign my SO up!

TCB states that only $500 per gift card can earn CB. Can someone do 6 X $500 in a single order and earn CB on the whole $3,000 purchase?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Can you use a previously purchased AMEX gift card to buy another AMEX gift card? That would dramatically increase the value if you’re willing to sit on the value and cycle the cards every time a portal has a decent bonus.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I also have had the problem where AMEX accepts my payment for a card and then declines the next purchase with the same card – an AMEX card to boot!! That I logged in to! – with the “can’t verify information” email. I’ve called Amex’s gift card line and they are *useless*. Has anyone found a method for getting them to turn around and accept the purchase?

jd
Guest
jd

Hello FM, just received my first AMex gc, I wonder if there is a way I can register it with my billing info (it’s activated already). Thanks!

Vish
Guest
Vish

I ordered AMEX gift thru Rewards Boost portal. This was my first transaction ordering AMEX gift cards.
First I added a $3000 gift card and it asked me for my SSN which was mandatory. It had a message stating that for GC’s above $1000, SSN number is mandatory.
Is this common for all or just me? Is it safe to give the SSN number?
Do you have another work around for this of not disclosing your SSN and still buying high denomination GC.

I had to add two $1000 AMEX GC but, also had to pay two Shipping and processing charges.

Frequent Miler, need your expertise on this please.

Chan
Guest
Chan

Question. Can we buy Amex gift cards using Amex gift cards as payment?
An example:
Step 1 : Use one of the payment options for initial load of $3000 Amex gift cards. Topcashback commission is 2% or $60.
Step 2 : Once you receive the gift card, use it thru TopCashback to purchase another Amex gift card. Commission is 2% or $60.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2.

(Ignoring shipping fees here for simplicity. Including shipping fees will reduce payout to $50. For repeated churns, advise to purchase unlimited free shipping for $100 per year.)

This seems infinitely churnable with an initial investment of $3000. Assuming you do this every 15 days, you can earn $100 per month for $3000 gift cards.
If you increase the amount to $10K of gift cards, profit is $300 per month.

Is this doable? I have a suspicion that people are doing this and not letting the cat out of the bag. What am I missing here?

Amex can flag you as a risk/deadbeat/unwanted diaper and kick you out of the program. Other than that, what is the risk ?

AEG
Guest
AEG

You can’t buy Amex gift cards with Amex gift cards.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Has anyone had any experience purchasing Vanilla Reloads in store with a Citibank card? Will it code as a regular purchase just like with the Amex gift cards bought in store?

Chris
Guest
Chris

buying VR or a gift card in a store such as CVS with a citi card will post as an ordinary purchase.

volcube
Guest
volcube

Can you purchase amex giftcards going thru the barclays boost portal and also use promo codes or does using the discount code negate the miles earned?

Brandon
Guest
Brandon

Is it possible to pay extra for trackable shipping, in case something goes wrong? I would say the risk of the gift cards getting lost in the mail is a risk to consider, but not a deal-breaker. Even when it’s not for manufactured spending, people buy high value items online all the time.

AEG
Guest
AEG

Sign up for UPS my Choice. You’ll be able to see shipping info there. Pretty much useless though, since you get a “shipped” notification at late night and package arrives that morning.

trackback

[…] Recently, a reader named Max wrote the following comment in one of my posts: […]

Jayson
Guest
Jayson

If I use my new (old blue cash) will this purchase of amex gift cards count towards my $6500 min spend, and get me 0.5% cash back?
I wasn’t sure if I would get cashback if the card is one of the cards amex issues.

Any other good ideas on how to get the best spend on the old blue cash card in meeting the spending requirement, while not limiting the cashback from other opportunities? I though this was a decent way since it would euate to 2.5% cash back, not as good as 4% cashback by using the amex fidelity though…

Also, I don’t think this was pointed out anywhere, buy the transaction fee that you would pay in order to use a credit card/debit card, is possibly tax deductible within the year that you pay the taxes. Has anyone taken advantage of that? If so, did you just print up your invoice that shows you paid a transaction fee, and use that as your documentation for your taxes?

Lemma
Guest
Lemma

Anyone know if Discover categorizes this as a cash advance?

Also, FM, to add another bank to your list, I’ve ordered many Amex GC with a Capital One card and it’s always been a purchase, not a cash advance.

Don
Guest
Don

I’m new at this. I have to spend another $2000 to meet minimum on Chase Ink. I’m thinking of purchasing a $2000 AMEX gift card thru Barclays portal (I have a Barclays Arrival card).
Does this sound like a good idea? Can I avoid the $8.95 shipping fee?
Thank you.

Steve
Guest
Steve

@DON

How much do you spend at Amazon? You can buy AMZN gift cards at Office Depot or Staples for no fee and get 5x points on your card.

I routinely get $500 (about a month worth) at a time and deposit them to my account; I’ll even get more if I’m buying something expensive.

Don
Guest
Don

I seldom buy anything from Amazon. Are there other options for redeeming an AMEX gift card? Or should I consider spending elsewhere?

harvson3
Guest
harvson3

Newbie question I’m embarrassed to ask: is it still possible to personalize business Amex GCs? Can’t seem to find that option when clicking around the page.

harvson3
Guest
harvson3

Never mind. Found it under Customize Your Card, along with the variable value option.

trackback

[…] I hope this 3% sticks around in 2 weeks as I will be ordering more gift cards to pay my taxes with.  For more on learning about Amex gift cards, check out this stellar post from Frequentmiler. […]

Scott
Guest
Scott

Tried using Chase Sapphire Preferred to purchase a business gift card personalized with my name and the order was cancelled (I only wanted the business gift card due to the free shipping code FSEMP14). I’m wondering if you have to use a business credit card to buy a business gift card? Any experience with this?

MileHighBug
Guest

FYI, on Feb 18, you said you’d add US Bank to the do not use list. But as of today it still appears on the safe list. I tried to use my US Bank Club Carlson card to purchase a bunch of AmEX GCs two nights ago and it was declined. Now I’m super glad, knowing it could have been treated as a cash advance!

Rich
Guest
Rich

Big Burn when buying Amex Gift Cards thru Top Cash Back on Citi Bank A’A executive Platnium master card !
Coded as Cash Advance !
Hit with a Cash Advance Fee plus interest starting at day posted to card !!
Beware !!!

Pat Larser
Guest
Pat Larser

What are the benefits of the business gift card vs. personal?

Scott
Guest

Today, April 6, 2014, I logged into the Alaska Air shopping portal and the AMEX gift cards are at 3 miles again.

Don’t bother clicking on the offer in the Featured section at the top of the page — the link is malformed. Instead, go the list of offers (after selected Gift Cards), and sort the list alphabetically. You will see the AMEX offer. Click on the description to go to the AMEX site (that link works).

If you click on the Featured offer link (the malformed one) you will not get credit because the affiliate cookie won’t get set properly.

Good hunting.

-Scott

RP
Guest
RP

Anyone tried using Ink Bold to purchase AmEx GCs at Arrival portal successfully? Mine got denied three times. When I called Chase, they said the transaction comes out as cash advance and Ink Bold does not allow any cash advance.

RP
Guest
RP

One more question… how can we keep track of the miles from Barclay’s online portal purchase? I don’t see any where there is an option to keep track. I don’t receive emails for all the purchases, so I would not know if I am receiving all the miles.

Pat
Guest
Pat

I also have a transaction from last week that was finally approved on 4/7 (2 days ago). I see no record in my shopping portal rewardsboost activity. But I am assuming it will take several days.

How long does Barclay take to post in the Barclaycard RewardsBoost Activity page?

Sean
Guest
Sean

I have three old school amex prepaid card. I wonder how I can load money in it with any cc related methods. There is only one choice under my account, which is bank transfer. Also VR and MP are mostly not allowed to buy with cc. Any idea?

VK
Guest
VK

FM, I made a couple of purchases via the Barclays portal – one on 3/25 and another on 4/11 for 3k and 5k respectively. I do not see activity tracked. Is that normal? Have people received points from Barclays on purchases over $500?

Lemma
Guest
Lemma

With my Discover It card I’ve found that if I try to buy more than my cash advance limit, the transaction will be declined. However, if I buy a smaller amount and Amex doesn’t cancel the order (good luck with that) when it eventually posts it will be categorized as a purchase.

I had done a smaller order that had gone through before I had any declined, so I already knew it would be a purchase before there was a decline, or I probably wouldn’t have attempted it again because paying CA fees and not getting rewards is no fun. I’m guessing US Bank might be the same thing although I haven’t tested them personally. Anyone actually get charged a CA fee by US Bank or just declined transactions? This is one potential downside to setting your CA limit to $0 – you might have orders declined due to exceeding limit that might not have ultimately been a CA.

Brian Klotz
Guest
Brian Klotz

Just checking on this, because I haven’t seen a recent post on this. Does GiftCardMall still accept Amex Gift Cards for purchases such as Visa Gift Cards? That’s my preferred supplier of gift cards for loading my BlueBird as I don’t have a CVS nearby and the Walmart stopped selling their cards.

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[…] as a cash advance. Citi is a definite no-no, but there are others, as well. Read this incredible Frequent Miler’s post that lists “dangerous” cards among other things. If you are concerned, just call the […]

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[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

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[…] you would like to know more about Amex gift cards, check out this post by FrequentMiler. He covers everything there is to know about these […]

Carlos
Guest
Carlos

If I used Amex or Chase cards to buy Amex Gift cards will it count for minimum spend? I need to reach about $10,000 this month and looking for fast and easy way to buy Amex Gift cards and then used them for buying Vanilla Gift cards that I can load at BB stations

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[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

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[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

danny
Guest
danny

I used my Amex card to pay for a gift card purchase through Barclays rewards boost and when I asked about my points, the rep said that I had to use my barclays card in order to earn points. Do you know if this is a new change? or has your experience been different?

danny
Guest
danny

Was wondering where have you purchased Visa gift cards with the Amex Gift Cards? Have stores given you hassle about it since you are using one prepaid gift card to buy another?

Varun
Guest
Varun

Hey ! Can you guide me if an AMEX gift card can be used to purchase deals from the Travel Getaways ? I don’t have a US based credit card, so that should be the only way I can participate if this works. Thanks!

William
Guest
William

On October 21, 2013, my purchase of Amex Gift cards using Barclays Bank Priceline Rewards Visa was treated as a cash advance. Prior to that it had always been a purchase transaction. Above you state Barclays is safe, is this confirmed after October 21, 2013 to be the case again?

Max
Guest
Max

Hello FrequentMiler

You have indicated in your post that to in order to use the Barclays reward boost portal one needs the ‘Arrival World MasterCard

However i can log into the Barclays reward boost portal using my NFL extra points credit card from barclays , and can link in to purchase amex gift cards, will i still earn the 4points/$ from the portal if i place an amex order

If i use an Amex CC like Amex premier Gold to pay for the purchase does amex give me 2 MR points/$ for the purchase of AGC. Im guessing not but would like confirmation ?

luchex
Guest
luchex

At points chaser i read that citi will consider a purchase of amex gc as cash advance (I know this) and that AMEX CC will not be chash advance but WILL NOT AWARD POINTS. Can you confirm that second to be true? I have been using my SPG PERSONAL and I am % 80 sure I did get my points.

Look at the comments section here

http://www.pointchaser.com/4-cash-back-on-american-express-gift-cards-from-lucky-rewards/#comments

luchex
Guest
luchex

I am sure I’m getting all my AMEX points . I used spg an gold biz and now gold personal.

luchex
Guest
luchex

Any new fee free code?

trumpet
Guest
trumpet

You can add US Bank to not safe list. I tried it with a US Bank business CC with no cash advance access. Purchase wouldn’t go through. My other online purchases are fine.

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[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

Withheld by request
Guest
Withheld by request

I may need to run up spend on a Barclays USAirways Mastercard this year … Well, just my luck: Lots of college tuition and other expenses to pay to a school that accepts only American Express (with a 2% vigorish, but, hey, that’s how it goes). I also have a Barclays Arrival card and you have explained very clearly how to do all of this through the Barclays RewardsBoost portal (I even have a Platinum Amex, so I am covered their, too.)

So why I am writing? Because I have never bought an Amex Gift Card and am wondering if anyone has had experience paying tuition with one (in lieu of an actual Amex credit card). Or do I just start with a $500 card and see if it works?

Yongfang
Guest
Yongfang

Hi

I have one question. I brough $2000 American express gift cards with my chase card. However, 6 hours latter after I placed the order, I received a email told me that my order was denied because “We could not verify your order information”. I tried several times, ended in the same problem.

I am wondering if anyone had similar situation like this? What should I do?

THX

Sean
Guest
Sean

Hi, great post!

I tried to buy Amex gift cards today using LuckyRewards, but using their portal link invalidated the Premium Shipping option. Is that true for other portals as well?

So then I tried to go through the Barclay portal, but signing me in sent me to the US Airways portal which does not sell Amex GCs.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

Thanks Greg- too bad they just cancelled my order… 🙁

elteetrav
Guest
elteetrav

I’ve been having difficulty buying Amex gift cards through the Alaska Air portal. First time the order went through, but then I got a rejection notice the next morning. I understand that is common. But since then I’ve retried 3 times, and I can’t even get the order to finalize. I go through the complete process but when I get to the final step for purchase (using Amex Everyday Pref), the website doesn’t respond. I see things spinning and spinning, and after a long time I get a message that the website has become non-responsive. Anybody else had problems like that??

RJ
Guest
RJ

I had a bunch of legitimate business expenses so I have been trying to buy Amex Gift cards over the past month – $3K/$5K/$5K/$1.9K/$3K*/$5K* but Amex is a real PITA to use. For every successful purchase I have had the purchase denied twice over.
(*last two unsuccessful)

Amex CSRs are the lamest, they merely repeat the line from the email message (usually “your address and other details must match the CC”). The latest insult was using the Amex order page’s own “One-time reorder” capability – obviously if the order went through previously, everything does match, but it was denied.

Worse, Amex puts holds on your credit line. The last unsuccessful $3K order resulted in Amex putting TWO $3K temporary authorizations on the CC.

Other lame things about GCs that is buried in the fine print is that they need to be registered before being used for an online purchase. Which is bizarre because they can drop out of my wallet and any one can call Amex and register them and start using them, but when I – the original purchaser of the GC – use it for an online order under the same name and shipping to the same address that the GC was sent to – the order is denied. And then Amex ties up the amount denied on the GC for – get this – 5 business days!

Finally today I got denied for exceeding the purchase limits authorized for purchase. The CSR told me that the limit is $5K in 14 days – which is not true as I ordered $5K on each of two consecutive days.

Great promo to get 6 pts / $ for spend that I don’t have to manufacture but the hoops Amex one goes through and the inept/unempowered customer service makes this a huge waste of time.

Roberts
Guest
Roberts

Barclays deal is dead. Not offered in their portal

denny
Guest
denny

I can confirm Robert’s report. Too bad. 🙁

rj
Guest
rj

Stupid question time: Can you use an Amex Gift Card to buy more Amex Gift Cards on any of the portals?

robertw
Guest
robertw

The latest batch of cards I got I tried to use to pay a few merchants. The cards were not activated and whoed zero balance online. I found out that I need to wipe each card at retail before use. Previously they were ready right out of the package. I don’t know if this is new or not.

robertw
Guest
robertw

UPDATE. I found out that AMEX did not activate the last batch of cards I got as I noted before. They now tell me it takes take 5 business days to fix them. They show online zero value but phone confirm shows the amounts they should be.

robertw
Guest
robertw

AMEX did not activate 5 large value cards I bought. Basically a month to resolve this problem. That is ridiculous. Customer service in India is miserable by the way. I tried everything. No resolution otherwise.

rj123456
Guest
rj123456

Having been an Amex cardholder for 20+ years, in general, Amex Customer Service has been excellent. The gift card business on the other hand rates a ZERO on an absolute scale in terms of customer service. Half the transactions fail even with identical information. Customer service in India is COMPLETELY USELESS, worse than not having any customer service at all. I don’t think it’s a problem with them being in India per se, it is because they lack the tools and empowerment to get things done.

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[…] One of the best current deals for buying American Express gift cards is to shop through BeFrugal for 4% 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. […]

robertw
Guest
robertw

BeFrugal changed today 6/17 to 3%

Rob

Robert
Guest
Robert

Mileage portals all down to 1 mile/$.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Does anyone have any data points as to if my SPG amex will award points on a AGC transaction? I ordered 3K in AGC and the transaction posted. I was not awarded my additional 20K bonus points for spending >5K. The first purchase bonus was credited immediately.

BigTex
Guest
BigTex

Anyone know how Wells Fargo handles these charges — as cash advance or a purchase?We have the new Propel card and it would be terrific to use Amex GCs to meet minimum spend.

Cheers,
BigTex

Alex
Guest
Alex

I have the same question as BigTex – havent found any info on how Wells Fargo treats these charges.

BigTex
Guest
BigTex

FM — you know that unloading more than $20k via PayPal to any one person means its reportable to IRS, right?

https://cms.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/marketingweb?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=marketing_us/IRS6050W

Frank
Guest
Frank

So, I buy my AMEX gift card from American Express for, say, $3000.00 (no fees or shipping). Now I want to “spend” it by buying VISA gift cards. This AMEX has no pin, so is it just like a regular credit card? Does it have my name on it or does it just have dates and the security code like an AMEX SPG card?

Frank
Guest
Frank

Thanks, FM. I really like your list of credit cards by bank. Used it for 4 cards a couple of months ago.

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

I’ve been trying to buy these thru Alaska’s portal and each time get the random “could not verify” message and it’s declined. Barclay card. Any ideas? Thanks

chuck
Guest
chuck

1) Do you have any experience with ordering high-value AmEx gc’s to an address other than the billing address of the cc? Do they deny such orders?

2) Can you confirm what it says on the Amex website that orders under 5k don’t need signature-confirmation?

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

1)Never ordered Amex GCs before, only ordering $1K. Are you thinking it’s on Barclay’s end?
2) Shouldn’t apply.

RJ
Guest
RJ

I have always sent the cards to a different address (work; safer) than the billing address without problem, before and after switching to the free overnight delivery trial.

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[…] spend or find ways to purchase Visa/MC gift cards with them. Frequent Miler put together a great FAQ about the gift cards. Liquidating them isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it wouldn’t […]

DrSifu77
Guest
DrSifu77

So far great success going through BeFrugal.

Transactions post no later then the following day as pending.

Looks like it will take 2 months to actually get paid.

First order was $3k and got denied. Reordered with no changes and got approved. 2nd order was 14 days later for $3k+$2k with approval.

Devon
Guest
Devon

Before using with Amazon Payments, do you have to register the AGC online?

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[…] important part on this page is at the bottom where you can enter an AMEX promotion code. Via Frequent Miler’s post, the promo code SYNCGIFT still works to waive the $3.95 purchase […]

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[…] If you have questions about AMEX gift cards or how to spend them down, Frequent Miler wrote a nice post on it here. […]

DrSifu
Guest
DrSifu

Devon…you do not have to register the card on AMEX

But do try the trick of entering in the incorrect expiration date when adding the card to AP to avoid the $1 hold. Been successful on the last few AMEX GC.

BeFrugal is still at 3%.

chuck
Guest
chuck

The recent $10 off $200 amex gc’s was a good time to experiment what works and what doesn’t with amex gc’s. I placed a dozen or so orders, all while logged in to an amex account. We have a few amex log-in’s, so they were placed using a few different log-in’s. Invariably, the orders that were placed using an amex card from that particular log-in got approved on the first time. But when trying to use a different amex card (say, FIA), it was invariably denied, at least the first time.
Any thoughts/exprience with this?

rj123456
Guest
rj123456

Did multiple deals while the Barclays Mall was giving megabonuses.

Response to some recent posts:
a) Amex login to Amex card, worked fine. The address matched exactly EACH time, but FIA required like 5 tries to get 1 successful order. Customer service was completely clueless and useless, so I just kept retrying every day till the order went through. Had a better track record with Barclays Arrival card (but I wanted the FIA 2% straight cash back).

b) Shipping to a different address was not a problem, even with a full $5K address. I signed up for the free next day UPS shipping, once the order was approved the shipping is very fast. Always shipped to the office, not worth risking $5K of cards sitting in the home mailbox.

c) Don’t know about signatures, because we have a receptionist and I think she signed for them.

The Barclays deal is gone, and I don’t want to wait 2 months for some of the sketchier cash back sites. Time to cancel the free shipping trial??

Frank
Guest
Frank

Your point #6 above, Load the American Express for Target card and then withdraw money from ATMs.

I could not use my AMEX Gift card at Target to reload Amex-for-Target card – POS terminal denied it.

Will
Guest
Will

Can you use my AU(authorized card) to order AGC? for the billing part, which name do I put? my name or account owner’s name? Thanks

Frank
Guest
Frank

So, you think I’ll be safe buy $3000 AMEX GC via BeFrugal using my US Bank Claub Carlson Business VISA?

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rj123456
Guest
rj123456

Do GC purchase with the Amex Business Platinum Card count towards minimum spend requirements? Signed up for this card with targeted 150K points offer but now have to spend $20K in 3 months!

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