The walls are closing in on Amex gift card spend

The ability to earn points or cash back when buying Amex gift cards has long been one of the best ways to increase rewards on your spend.  You can find full details about this in the post “Everything you ever wanted to know about Amex gift cards.”  With portal rebates continuing to reach levels as high as 3% cash back, Amex gift cards are still a great way to increase rewards.  The hard part is liquidating those cards.  If you don’t plan to use the cards for everyday spend, how can you convert their value to cash?  It is still possible, but options seem to be decreasing every day…

TopCashBack_Amex_giftcards_3pct_Aug_2014

GiftCardMall no longer accepts Amex gift cards for payment

A great trick used to be to use Amex gift cards online via giftcardmall.com to buy Visa gift cards (which then can be converted to cash more easily since they can be used as debit cards).  In just the past 24 hours or so, many readers have reached out to me to let me know that this is no longer possible.  Apparently GiftCardMall has hard coded their site to reject Amex gift cards for payment.

Amex for Target no longer reloadable with Amex gift cards?

UPDATE 1/12/2016: The American Express for Target card has been discontinued

The jury is still out on this one, but a few readers have told me recently that when they try to reload their American Express for Target card at Target and pay with an Amex gift card, the register rejects the payment.  I still don’t know if this is happening everywhere or just in certain Target stores.  Readers, what has your recent experience been?

UPDATE: A number of readers are reporting continued success with this approach

Tax payments not working?

At least one reader reported being unable to use Amex gift cards to pay federal taxes online.  Anyone else have recent experiences with this one way or another?

UPDATE: A number of readers are reporting continued success with this approach

What’s left?

What if you are stuck with thousands of dollars worth of Amex gift cards and need to pay your bills?  Here are some ideas:

  • Buy Visa or MasterCard gift cards in-store. Not all cashiers will accept Amex gift cards for payment, but some will. Read this post for ideas.
  • Buy reload cards in-store.  Options for buying reload cards with credit cards have diminished greatly, but there are still some regional options.  To find Vanilla Reload cards, for example, you can find a list of Vanilla Reload retail locations here.  Not all will accept credit cards, but if you’re lucky you’ll find one near you that does.
  • Send Amazon Payments to friends or family.
  • Use services like Google Wallet that charge a fee to use credit cards like cash.  Google Wallet charges 2.9% to use a credit card to send money to friends.  If you earned 3% when buying Amex gift cards this might be a reasonable way to go.  You’ll come out barely ahead cash-wise, but you’ll keep the credit card rewards earned when buying the Amex gift cards.
  • Buy and sell.  By using portals, discount codes, sales, loyalty points, and more, it is sometimes possible to earn a profit (or at least break even) when buying and selling things.  This is a very advanced approach with many likely headaches and gotchas, but in general it should be possible to use Amex gift cards to buy the things that will be resold.

Anyone have any better ideas?  Please comment below.

Last updated on January 12th, 2016

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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Can
Guest
Can

No problem loading AFT with AGC in the northeast on 8/25/14.

steve
Guest
steve

i had a the target eomployee tell me the register would reject the transaction (after I had swiped the card).
my transaction also worked fine.

Ralph
Guest

Amazon Local Register at 1.75% a swipe? Though this is limited to 20k before amazon sends a 1099

MJC
Guest
MJC

If you’re referring to the 1099-K the mandatory filing requirements are 200 txns AND 20k, not or. Both conditions need to be satisfied. Assuming large denomination AGCs, you can do much more than 20k before you hit the 200 txn threshold.

Ralph
Guest

Yes, I was. Thanks for clarifying.

Ellen
Guest
Ellen

thanks for calrifying, does this 200x txn and $20k that both have to be met in a year also is what EBAY reports?

Kent C
Guest
Kent C

ALR is for business use only. They, like GCM know which cards are gift cards by the first 4 digits. Square shut down people because they were using gift cards for swipes. See FT threads. Mix it up with normal CC for a chance, but don’t think Amazon like Square and probably Paypal don’t know your using AEGC.

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

Go to Kroger and get Visa Gift cards. Seems pretty easy.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

I never thought of the Google Wallet idea before today. With enough of a cashback payment, the idea makes sense in getting points.

$2010 (2000 gift card + shipping) *3% =~$60
Barclays Arrival Card cash back – ~$45
GW fees to liquidate (send to someone else who sends it back to you and withdraw to bank account) =~56.55

Did it this morning and it seems to work.

RJ
Guest
RJ

It would be great if we weren’t so detailed in our illustrations, and left a little bit (such as the equations) for people to figure out themselves….Sharing ideas is one thing, but this kind of post is completely ridiculous!

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

I always use them for buying various prepaids. Haven’t ever had any trouble. I always get the ones with my name on them, and it’s worked for showing ID.
I also use them at Costco.
More options is always better, though. Not good to hear about these recent changes.

THEsocalledfan
Guest
THEsocalledfan

I am still doing well at malls that like to play children’s games…..

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

This would make complete sense because I just ordered $9K worth from Amex!! Always one step behind… 🙂

Rocio
Guest
Rocio

Noooo! This was my go to way to pay for 4 mortgages! Goodbye to my free spg points every month! Ouch!

smedleyb
Guest
smedleyb

Just paid my 2014 quarterly estimated federal tax w/ AGC at payUSAtax. No prolem.

Brent
Guest
Brent

Does Amazon’s mobile payment system with the 1.75% fee not work for Amex gift cards?

Chris
Guest
Chris

Works great. I’ve done about 20K over the last 2 weeks. Deposits into your checking next day as well. Be sure to consider tax implications and understand the risks- they seemed minimal to me.

Todd
Guest
Todd

No problem loading at Target. Last load was Monday in San Diego.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Loaded at Target last week without a problem. I also get the ones with my name printed on them. Haven’t tried purchasing Visa GC with them at stores but my local Simon mall is a no go.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Just used mine for Target AmEx without a problem.

Grant
Guest

My local CVS lets me use AMEX GCs to pay for other things. My local Walgreens doesn’t even check ID or look at the card, so those 2 options should work. I loaded Target AMEX last week with Visa GC. You can also do Kiva loans I think if you like waiting 6-12 months to see your money back.

Lili
Guest
Lili

Off topic but just received an email from Evolve Money: “Due to changes in our risk and regulatory compliance policies, Evolve Money will be implementing a limit of one payment per biller account per month. This change takes effect September 1, 2014. There are no limits on the number of cash payments made with a Reloadit pack or Evolve Pay Bucks.
We realize that some of our users have taken advantage of the multiple payments per month to pay off larger expenses such as mortgages. We are currently working on ways to improve the bill paying experience for you and expect to announce details soon.”
More bad news for MSers.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Yes, I too got the Evolve email. Pity.
I was able to use AGC to load AFT card but had to go to Service Counter.
Also, CVS told me yesterday that they will soon not accept AGC for Vanilla VISA, didn’t know when. But then the Vanilla VISA isn’t so great with new Evolve limits.

Frank
Guest
Frank

I have a number of the older AMEX Prepaid cards but since I cannot find Vanilla Reloads they seem useless. Is it possible to get Green Dot MoneyPaks with a Debit card? Rite Aid?

MileageUpdate
Guest

“Anyone have any better ideas? Please comment below” – Anyone see the irony about talking about opportunities so openly? Discussing exactly how to use this GC is exactly the type of thing that kills it off. How many things have to die off before discretion is the better part of valor?

Kent C
Guest
Kent C

ok, but then where do you get your ideas? Do you pull them out of thin air? I mean you’re here reading this right? and don’t start how FT is the better part of valor. You may stumble upon a unique idea on your own once in awhile but no one can generate any reasonable MS without the public ideas floating around either on FT or the blogs.

MileageUpdate
Guest

Sure I have ideas that I’ve been using for 10-15 yrs that still work. Others Ive picked up on thru a network of relationships over years. I do know that public deals dry up and die faster. Continuous talking about them on blogs doesnt make them last longer. Its a bad model to publicly promote deals then watch everyone pile into them causing it to die, only to do it over and over again. Leaving a trail of killed deals behind us.

JT
Guest
JT

Your point is true that deals will die off if they are proliferated through blogs and history has proven that. There is no argument there. However I don’t think most people doing promos or light to moderate MS care nor should they. The ones that point to censorship are into this game very heavy and will usually spend a great deal of time harrassing or bullying bloggers into keeping quiet. It’s completely self serving of course and funny actually. Verbose arguments are made, just better to say “shutup so I can enjoy the spoils”. At least be straight up. Your not kidding anyone, MM.

somy
Guest
somy

the only issue that you may see is google reviewing your transactions and possibly rejecting them if you do too many.

chris
Guest
chris

Reports from “one reader” to cause unnecessary cause for concern? Not cool.

chener
Guest
chener

the future doesn’t look promising…

Torsten from MightyTravels
Guest

I reloaded $2k with Amex Gift cards on my AMEX for Target card – no problems in San Francisco.

CVS should still accept AMEX gift cards to buy Paypal load cards as well.

justSaying
Guest
justSaying

No problem at CVS and most of the time no problem for GreenDot at RiteAid……….\haven’t tried the non simon mall but that will be a visit this weekend……..

RJ
Guest
RJ

Tried at Simon mall today – negative. Althought this is not new they said.

Target, works fine.

Any other suggestions?

Byron
Guest

Unloading via Kiva is another option. They accept prepaid cards as payment now.

Rocio
Guest
Rocio

I placed a gcm order on Saturday. I didn’t get any rejection, but the transaction is still sitting as pending. Anybody else have a pending transaction?

Tom Y.
Guest
Tom Y.

No problem, 8/29 FRI., AMEX GC $1K each, loaded to two AMEX target accounts in San Diego.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

It looks like not just the walls are closing on Amex but also looks like the front door got slammed! No more cash back from portals. At least today…

Marathon man
Guest
Marathon man

Need I say more? Again and again, over and over?

Major newsworthy blogger posts about amex gc
Puts in specifics too

Amex gc ends cb deals

Need I say more?!?

Stop the posting, the reading and the bleeding of all things MS!

justSaying
Guest
justSaying

Au Contraire……Au contraire…….as long as there are greedy bankers in the world there are going to be MS spend opportunities that are designed to fee folks to death as long as they don’t share secrets and help each other learn the banking greed system……..AMEX is a classic example……..it’s a great day when MS and its’ disciples send those greedy bankers back to their hole with their heads between their legs as their printouts showed them that for once their customers had gotten the upper hand on them………..and if you have a young spirit you will laugh and say “bring ’em on baby, who is next” as the next MS opportunity traffic flow has already begun and as it develops I will be more than happy to share with my fellow travelers in this great somewhat comical game……….

Rocio
Guest
Rocio

Ha! I love your take on this. I am sad this deal no longer works, but the rush of new methods is exciting and what keeps this game interesting! Thank you all!

Marathon man
Guest
Marathon man

People: we cant be so cavalier as to assume with ease that new methods will “just” appear! Anybody whose been doing this stuff long enough remembers that period not 5 years ago when there was nothing. It could happen again!
.
Yah we wanna f the banks if we can but having blogs about it will hurt us quicker than it would hurt them. So share with your friends and such but it is these blogs that over expose these gigs and make them die.
.
New deals may NOT come along too… What would ya’ll do if–no, when–the pin feature dies on gcs? Amex gc lasted for a long time but now its done and thats a shame. This means it could happen to any deal.

CopperHog
Guest
CopperHog

A newly opened Target in the west Philadelphia suburbs could not process my Target Amex reload at all. The CSR called over a mgr, who didn’t even see my AGC — he just looked at the TA card and said that they have not been given the capability to reload these cards in the 4 weeks since they opened.
Not sure if this is an indicator of changes, just giving another data point.

chener
Guest
chener

KoP store is very new. Perhaps the store employees need to be trained first?

JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

CVS also takes the AMEX GC for Vanilla Visa that are supported by Evolve as opposed to my mall GC which is NOT supported by Evolve……and AMEX GC still serve a consolidation purpose where you want to complete a spouse’s initial spend requirement…..use their card to buy the AMEX then churn the AMEX at your leisure…..certainly not at a profit but still logistically useful……….and a certain drug chain that sells Moneypak “only with debit card” may indeed still take the AMEX………turning AMEX GC into Moneypaks are always nice for Serve……….

Marathon man
Guest
Marathon man

Mr Just Sayin,
.
You said earlier you want to out every deal so people can F over the banks.
.
While that may be a nobel cause, wouldnt one rather wish to quietly bleed them slowly over the long term than to go in for one huge hit against a far greater force? It would maybe be better if we all–users as well as bloggers–did everything to NOT out deals so they last longer and more people over a longer period of time could both reap ms as well as do their part messing w these banks. Right?
.
Glad to see you may agree w that.

JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

I can’t say that you will convince me but I think the discussion is healthy to pursue……BTW the first round of drinks in Phoenix is on me…………..ie your and FM first round……..

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