Add an extra $10K spend to your Amex or Ink

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If you’re looking to meet minimum spend on a new credit card, or increase spend on a card with bonuses for high spenders, here’s a neat little trick.  For this to work, you need either a Chase Ink card which gives 5X points for office supplies, or an Amex business card with OPEN savings which gives 5% back on purchases at OfficeMax of $100 or more.  See Preparing for Miles for more info about these cards.

Here it is in a nutshell:

  • Go to OfficeMax and buy EBay gift cards.  Spend at least $100 each time to ensure you get 5% back with Amex cards.  If you’re using an Ink card, you can optionally go to Staples or Office Depot to see if they carry EBay cards.
  • Watch EBay for $500 Walmart gift cards.  These usually sell for $485, which is a 3% discount.  When available, use your EBay gift cards to buy the Walmart cards.  You will get an additional 2% back in EBay bucks.
  • When your Walmart cards arrive, go through Walmart.com to buy smaller denomination physical cards using your $500 card.  See Washing Walmart for more info.
  • Go through MyDealsAndCoupons to PlasticJungle. Sell your Walmart gift cards to PlasticJungle for 92 cents on the dollar.  In other words, in exchange for your $500 worth of gift cards, Plastic Jungle will give you a check for $460.  Through MyDealsAndCoupons you will earn 3% of the sale price (3% of $460 = $13.80).  This comes to 2.76% of $500.

When you add up your costs and savings, you see that you lose 8% value when selling to PlasticJungle, but you gain 5% from Amex OPEN (or 5X from Ink) and 2.76% from MyDealsAndCoupons.  In other words, cash-wise, you end up very close to even.  Once you add in the 2% back in EBay bucks, though, you actually come out ahead!

Why only $10K?

EBay has a posted limit to how many gift cards can be used per 180 day period.  Supposedly you are limited to $500 in gift cards per purchase, and no more than $5000 in purchases in any 180 day period.  I say “supposedly” because a person on MilePoint reported buying a mutli-thousand dollar ring with gift cards.  It appears likely that EBay doesn’t enforce these limits, but I don’t yet have personal experience to prove it one way or another.

EBay gift card terms & conditions:

No more than a total of $500 in Gift Cards may be used per eBay purchase. Further, unverified PayPal accounts are limited to a total of $500 in Gift Card purchases in any 30-day period and verified PayPal accounts are limited to $5,000 in Gift Card purchases in any 180-day period.

Notes

  • When purchasing more than $100 worth of gift cards at a time at OfficeMax, the cashier will need a manager’s override.
  • EBay gift cards at OfficeMax usually are available in $25 and $50 denominations.  Yes, it is a bit painful to type in 10 gift card numbers when buying a Walmart card through EBay.  Often the cards start with the same sequence, so copy that sequence to the clipboard and paste in each time to save a little trouble.


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