How to use Amex gift cards to buy GiftCardMall gift cards and earn a profit


In my recent post “Better than free manufactured spend” I showed that it is possible to make a slight profit when buying Visa gift cards at by first going through the cash back portal, TopCashBack.  I suggested, too, that you could earn even more money by first buying American Express gift cards to get cash back and then using those American Express gift cards to buy Visa gift cards.  Here’s how…

1. Go through a cash back portal to buy American Express gift cards.

TopCashBack and BigCrumbs currently offer the best cash back rates (1.5% and 1.4%, respectively).  Via either portal, search for “American Express Gift Cards” and click through to the Amex gift card store.  When going through a cash back portal, American Express has recently added a top limit of $500 per card that can be purchased, but you can get around this limit by buying a personalized card (for details, see “Amex takes away $3K cash back gift cards“).

2. Register your American Express cards

Once you receive your American Express card(s), call 1-877-297-4438 to register each card with your full name and address.  You will need to talk to a person to do so (press 0, I believe).

3. Go through TopCashBack to GiftCardMall to buy Visa gift cards

You can buy Visa gift cards with values of up to $1000.  You will be charged $3.95 for each card, plus shipping charges.  Since you can’t easily split the payment across multiple credit cards, I’d recommend picking a value less than $1000 to cover fees and shipping.

For example, let’s say you have a $1000 American Express gift card.  You can’t easily use it to buy a $1000 Visa card because the total charge will be $1003.95 plus shipping.  If you choose the cheapest shipping option, the total will come to $1006.94. You won’t be able to use your $1000 Amex gift card for that purchase.  To make things work, you can instead buy a $993 Visa gift card so that the total will come to $999.94.  Trackable shipping is $2 more, so you could order a $991 Visa gift card to stay on the safe side.

Shipping charges go down slightly as you add more cards to your order so it may be necessary to test different combinations to find the optimal Visa card value for your needs.

When you check-out to pay, make sure to use the exact same name and address that you registered to your American Express gift card in step 2.

Also, do not try to place this order from a foreign country or when browsing via a VPN service.  I recently had my order stopped when going through a VPN.  I called GiftCardMall and found out (after they investigated) that the order was blocked due to a foreign IP address (even though I had chosen a Washington DC gateway).

Alternate Plan

Instead of buying sub $1000 Visa gift cards, another option is to buy GiftCardMall Choice Cards to cover fees and shipping.  For example, buy a $10 Choice card and then use it along with a $1000 Amex card to pay for a $1000 Visa card.  This approach takes planning, though.  I tested it successfully, but it took two days for my Choice e-gift card to arrive.

Cash Back Portal Tips

Things can go wrong when going through online shopping portals. The main risk is that your click-through may not be tracked properly.  To increase your chances of success, please see “How to ensure your portal points“.  Also note that if you place more than one order (e.g. you check out and pay more than once), then you should go through the portal each time first. 

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