Howie from Frugal Travel Guy gave me a heads up this morning that Top Cash Back is offering 2.25% cash back on Amex gift cards! This deal is valid for 24 hours only, so if you want to meet some spending requirements, you may want to get in on this while you can. A few months ago, major shopping portals pulled Amex gift cards from the lineup and eventually Top Cash Back returned with 1.5% cash back. That’s been the best offer around so far. While the just 0.75% more than the usual payout, every bit helps in off-setting manufactured spending fees.
Amex gift card purchases are capped at $5,000 every two weeks. With 2.25% cash back, you will be earning $112.50. There are $3.95 fees per card and since the maximum denomination is $3,000, you’re looking at $7.90 in card fees as well as $5.95 – $8.95 in shipping fees. That’s a small amount compared to the $112.50 cash back you’re earning. My preferred method of cashing out these Amex gift cards is via Amex for Target cards. The cost of loading and unloading $5,000 worth of gift cards onto this card would be around $96. Factoring in the cost of purchasing Amex gift cards and the shipping fee, you will be breaking even. Considering the dwindling number of manufactured spending options out there, breaking even while earning miles is as good as it gets these days. The exception is if you’re willing to forego points for cash back alone. In that case, using your Amex Fidelity Rewards card would get you an extra 2% cash back. This would result in a $100 profit per $5,000 gift card.
Another option is to cash out via Google Wallet, which won’t be so bad since the 2.25% cash back amount offsets a large chunk of the 3% fee charged by Google. This option is best for those who don’t have much time to spend on cashing out gift cards and don’t mind paying a little extra to save time.
If you’re going to get in on this promotion, be sure to check this Flyertalk thread for credit cards that code Amex gift card purchases as cash advances. You want to avoid using these credit cards, since it means you won’t earn miles on your purchases and will be liable for cash advance fees. There’s also some information about using Club Carlson credit cards, which a reader asked me about a few days ago. Apparently, if you use your a US Bank issued card to purchase gift cards in the amount exceeding your cash advance limit, your transaction will be declined. The thread confirms that as long as you stay below your cash advance limit, the transaction will go through and will not be processed as a cash advance.
So if you have a minimum spending requirement to meet or just want to earn a few points with little or no out of pocket cost, this is a great way to do it.
Note: The Top Cash Back link in this post is my referral link. If you use it to join TCB, I’ll earn a $10 commission after you earn at least $10 cash back.