Predicting the next Amex gift card deals

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Those who subscribe to Frequent Miler’s Quick Deals know that we often write about Amex gift card deals.  The cool thing about Amex gift cards is that it’s possible to click through a portal to earn rewards while buying them.  In the past 9 months or so, the usual cash back rate offered by portals for Amex gift cards has been 1.5%.  That’s not bad, but we frequently see one day deals for 2% or even 2.25% cash back.  Here are the trends I’ve noticed:

  • Increased cash back deals are always for 1 day only
  • One portal, Simply Best Coupons, offers 2% cash back for business gift cards during their 1 day promotions.
  • Another portal, TopCashBack, offers 2.25% cash back for business gift cards during their 1 day promotions.
  • A third portal, Ebates, occassionally offers 2% cash back for both business and personal gift cards.  This increased rate is available only through the EBates mobile app.
  • A fourth portal, BeFrugal, offered 2.2% cash back this past Friday, but for business gift cards only.
  • The Simply Best Coupons and TopCashBack promotions occur frequently and usually within a day or two of each other.
  • The EBates and BeFrugal promotions seem to be much less frequent (or we somehow missed them)

I was curious if there was a detectable pattern in these deals.  Can we predict when the next ones will occur?  By crawling through the past few months of Quick Deals posts, I was able to assemble the following calendar.  TopCashBack deals are shown in blue.  Simply Best Coupons deals are shown in red.  EBates app-only deals are shown in red.  And, BeFrugal business gift card deals are in orange.

Amex_GiftCard_Calendar_Key

Amex_GiftCard_Calendar_April2015

Amex_GiftCard_Calendar_May2015

Amex_GiftCard_Calendar_June2015

Amex_GiftCard_Calendar_July2015

As you can see above, the Simply Best Coupons and TopCashBack deals happen pretty much every two weeks.  And, the TopCashBack deal has happened every other Tuesday since May 5th.  The Ebates app deal, though, has only happened twice (that I know of) since mid April.  It may be on a once every two months cycle, but two data points isn’t nearly enough to make any firm predictions.  And, as far as I know, the BeFrugal 2.2% business gift card deal is new (we did see a similar deal back in January, but I think that’s too far back to be relevant).

Taken together, I gather the following:

  • It is very likely that TopCashBack will offer 2.25% for business gift cards on Tuesday July 21.
  • It is very likely that Simply Best Coupons will offer 2% for business gift cards within 2 business days of the TopCashBack offer.  Based on the two most recent data points, I’d put my money on July 20th, but I won’t be surprised if it happens as early as Friday July 17th or as late as Thursday July 23rd.
  • If my guess is right that the EBates app promotion happens roughly once every two months, then we can expect to see the next deal in late August or early September.
  • The appearance of the 2.2% BeFrugal business gift card deal may throw a wrench in these predictions.  Only time will tell.

UPDATES 7/13/2015 2:40 PM EST

Readers have reported a number of missing data points in the post, above:

  • When BeFrugal advertises 2.2%, they actually award 2.25% (eported by Mike and janol)
  • BeFrugal advertised 2.2% on June 12th (reported by DTB) and June 26th (repored by Mike).  If so, then BeFrugal appears to be on a 2 week schedule like TopCashBack and Simply Best Coupons.  In this case, they offer the deal every other Friday.  So, we can expect the next BeFrugal deal on Friday July 24th.
  • eBates 2% promo also ran May 25th (reported by Bushe).  They might be on a last Monday of the month schedule, or every 5 weeks.  So, we may see another eBates 2% deal on July 27th (last Monday of the month) or August 3rd (5 weeks after previous deal).

Another related prediction

If my memory serves, I believe that Amex gift cards disappear from portals for a few weeks each year – usually late in the year (see this 2014 report and this 2013 report, for example).  When they return to portals, the standard portal rebates are often different than before (sometimes more, sometimes less).  My guess is that Amex has an annual process in which they evaluate whether portal marketing is working for them and they decide how much money they’re willing to offer up for that marketing.  My guess is that we’ll see a similar thing happen this year in the September / October timeframe.

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