The walls are closing in on Amex gift card spend

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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.

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