UPDATE 5/18/2015: Based on many reader reports, I’m declaring this opportunity dead. It seems that the store in question has stopped allowing gift cards to be used to buy other gift cards.
Here’s a little Thursday morning treasure hunt…
I received a tip last night that a certain store is now carrying Vanilla Visa gift cards loadable up to $500. I knew from experience that this store often accepts their own gift cards as payment for other gift cards (I call that “upgrading” gift cards) so I rushed out to see what I could find. My first view of the store was not encouraging:
Luckily, as I walked past the sign an employee informed me that the systems were once again working. Whew. I then quickly found the treasure:
As expected, these were the Vanilla Visa gift cards that are loadable from $20 to $500. I took one to the register and opened Google Wallet on my iPhone. There I found a $5 promo gift certificate to this store which was going to expire in just a few days. I asked the cashier to load $500 to the Visa gift card and I paid partially with my $5 promo gift card and the rest with a credit card. Easy as pie.
There was, though, one little catch before I could declare victory in my quest to buy these Visa gift cards with store gift cards. The fee for the card was $4.95 and, surprisingly, this store charged sales tax on that fee. As a result, my total charge was $505.25. So, $500.25 was charged to my credit card. It was still possible that one could pay the fees with a gift card, but not the primary balance. I had to find out if more than just the fees could be paid by gift card…
I ran over to a nearby office supply store and bought a $25 gift card to this store in question. Then, I returned to this store and bought another $500 Visa card. I had no problem paying $25 of the total with my new gift card. I paid the $480.25 balance with my credit card.
Why this is awesome
Gift cards to this store are available at many stores in which you can earn credit card category bonuses: office supply stores, grocery stores, drug stores, and probably even gas stations. You can also double dip by buying these gift cards at grocery stores that offer fuel points. Or, you could go through a portal to, perhaps, Staples.com and buy an e-gift card. Pay with your Chase Ink card to get 5 points per dollar, in addition to the portal rewards!
This particular store is also sometimes available through Amex Offers where you could save as much as 20%. Even better, gift cards to this store are often available at a discount through sites like eBay. And, of course, we know we can earn extra points on eBay too! You can also buy these gift cards from resellers (search GiftCardGranny.com), usually for more than 10% off of face value.
Why I haven’t named the store
There are a few reasons I didn’t name the store here. One is simply that I think it is fun to find things like this, and I hope that you’ll enjoy the challenge of figuring it out. Please don’t blurt out the answer! More importantly, I believe that many companies monitor the press and blogs for mentions of their store names. While I don’t think we would be doing anything wrong here, I worry that drawing the company’s attention to this might kill it prematurely. And, finally, there were only a few of these $500 cards on the entire gift card rack. If too many people run out at once to buy these, most people will go home empty handed.
There is a big risk in tying up a lot of your money in gift cards to this store. At any time they may stop allowing gift cards; they may be out of stock; or they may stop selling $500 Visa gift cards altogether. If that happens you’ll find yourself using the gift cards to buy anything from bikes to trains to video games…
Also note: several readers have said that the store in their area does not allow gift cards for purchasing gift cards.. So, your mileage may vary.