No Fees On Amex Gift Cards For Graduation and Father’s Day

by on May 22, 2013 · 34 comments

in American Express

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Buying gift cards can be a great way to meet your minimum spend requirements for credit card sign-up bonuses, as well as to keep earning points beyond sign-up bonuses and even meet spending threshold bonuses.

Buy a photo gift card and get the card fees waived now through August 31.

Buy a photo gift card and get the card fees waived now through August 31.

Although many gift cards are merchant-specific, American Express gift cardsare great because they are accepted everywhere Amex are excepted, so whether you’re buying them for yourself or giving them to others, it’s almost like giving the gift of money.

Speaking of gift giving, now that it’s graduation season (and also Father’s Day is coming up), you might have a few to-do’s on your gifting list and Amex gift cards should be something to consider, especially if you were just thinking of giving your favorite grad some cash to get him or her started anyway, because you might as well earn points on your gift.

The reason now is the time to consider an Amex gift card in particular is that normally Amex charges a fee of between $3.95-$6.95 per card (depending on its value) and about $5.95-$8.95 in shipping. However, now through August 31, 2013 you can use the code GIFTFG1 when making your purchase of a Photo Gift Card, and card fee will be waived (though you still have to pay shipping).

The card purchase fees are waived.

The card purchase fees are waived.

Gift cards can range between $25-$3,000 in value and your purchases can total up to $5,000. Orders of $200 or more can only be shipped via UPS.

Also remember that if you buy them via an online rebate site you can save even more in the form of an automatic rebate. For example, right now, Big Crumbs offers 1.4% back on Amex gift cards and Ebates is offering 1% cash back, so depending on the value of the card you buy and the shipping fees, you could be saving as much money as you’re spending on shipping – essentially breaking even. Note: These sites also give you credit for referring new members, so if you are current member feel free to post your sign-up referral link in the comments so you get credit for any TPG sign-ups so we all share the referral love.

Big Crumbs

Get up to 1.4% cash back through Big Crums.

You don’t have to sign up for BigCrumbs to get the gift cards – you’ll just miss out on 1.4% cash back on your order. If you want to order the gift card directly go here and continue from step 4:

1. Create a BigCrumbs or Ebates account (preferably using a referral link from the comments section).

Creating a Big Crumbs account only takes a moment and can earn you up to 1.4% cashback on Amex gift cards.

2. Then search for American Express – a few results will come up (including a Mother’s Day one if you’re behind!). Choose the one that offers cash back on personal cards.
3. Sign-in with your American Express ID. If you don’t have one, you can create one (you do not need to be an Amex cardholder to buy Amex gift cards).
4. Look for the photo gift cards and upload a photo – it can be anything and enter the promo code GIFTFG1 in the promo code/discount box.
5. Choose how many you want – up to $5,000 per order.
6. Check out. It will default to your Amex cards (if you have them), but you can choose to pay with a Visa, Mastercard, or Discover.

A $3,000 gift card comes out to $3,008.95. If you factor in 1.4% back from BigCrumbs, you are only spending $2,966.83 for a $3,000 gift card – plus you earned 3,000 points (or more depending on the card you used) and got valuable spend towards hitting a sign-up bonus or spend bonus.

Ebates is also offering 1% cash back.

Ebates is also offering 1% cash back.

I have ordered these gift cards with Amex charge cards in the past and I’ve never had an issue with it being questioned or being coded as a cash advance, though some credit card companies like Citi, will charge them as cash advances, so be sure to do a test order before getting carried away. On my Amex statements these purchases show up as “Business Services – Other Services.” I’ve earned Amex points when buying them, but several TPG readers have reported that Amex won’t count these purchases towards meeting spend requirements- if anyone can comment about their experiences doing so, that would be great.

It is also important to note that some people have gotten Financial Reviews (account audits) from American Express for buying lots of gift cards- especially on business cards, which are higher risk to credit card companies than personal cards. The point of a financial review is for Amex to identify people who are likely to charge up their cards and then skip town and default on the debt – and people who buy tons of Amex gift cards are prime suspects, because that’s as close as you can get to getting cash from your credit line without getting hit with a cash advance fee. However, if you have a healthy relationship with Amex and don’t go overboard, you should have nothing to worry about.

So to sum it up, this is a great way to get someone special a nice graduation gift that they can spend however they choose, while meeting your minimum spending requirements or simply being savvy about sustainable points earning, and even earning a nice little cashback discount. Congratulations, you’ve graduated to the next level of points collecting!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Guest

    Here is a referral link for bigcrumbs 1.4% cashback on Amex gift cards.

  • Gerd

    Is it possible to use cash advance from pre-paid cards? If yes, what’s the typical charge for that?

  • alesana
  • MilesAbound

    Thanks TPG, this is a very useful post

  • mdtravel

    My question as well…if I could get that balance on to my Bluebird, I’d be picking up a couple thousand worth and making money on the spend.

  • Izz

    To take this another step forward, could we use these Amex cards to send a payment via Amazon to get the cash back?

  • Hack My Finances
  • Ford

    Can a PIN be added to these?

  • henry133864

    That’s my same question. Will they be able to be put onto Bluebird?

  • vortix

    These cannot be used as debit cards…so the answer is no.

  • Rob D
  • nick

    I created a big crumb account, followed the instructions as best I could, but I couldn’t find the photo card and GIFTFG1 didn’t work on the classic card

  • Takhliq
  • JW

    Referral linnk for great cashback discounts via BigCrumbs!

  • Dave

    Deal appears to be dead. No photo gift cards show up.

  • henry133864

    Found it to work with other cards, however.

  • De

    Use my link please!!!

  • Dave

    Which ones specifically?

  • AKold

    It says on the BigCrumbs page that they don’t give out cash back for cards over $500

  • thepointsguy

    The link has been fixed and should be working now.

  • Josh

    No photo gift cards?

  • Dave

    There is still no option for a photo gift card through Big Crumbs. Does anyone know if any of the other card types work for this promotion?

  • Corey
  • carpetoday

    Million point question!

  • Pingback: Want American Express Gift Cards? No Fees for Graduation and Father's Day()

  • Josh

    So is this deal dead?

  • Jack

    You should be able to add the card into Amazon Payments like any other gift card or credit card.

  • Jon

    Thanks for the information, TPG. I ordered a Photo gift card for 1000 dollars via bigcrumbs. Keep you posted on the outcome.

  • Fanfoot

    I think the only obvious use for these in manufacturing spend is if you have the Amex for Target reload card, in which case you can reload it with these cards for less than usual and burn up some minimum spend in the process.

  • disqust101

    Anyone have success getting CB from BC (or TCB) with $3K purchases? TCB says CB won’t be awarded if you use any coupon code that isn’t listed on their site (which means every one because they don’t have coupon codes listed at all). BC says no CB on gcs over $500 denominations.

  • disqust101

    You need to learn about the less obvious uses…

  • Money

    I am also curious as many of the other readers here about the restrictions listed on the bigcrumbs website. Has anyone recently had success ordering the $3k gift card and getting cash back?

  • JM

    Can these be used to send money via Amazon Payments or Google Wallet? I know this may be counter intuitive, but my last Google Wallet transaction of $1500 using AMEX is still pending after several days.

  • JM

    Perhaps you’d like to share what those less obvious uses are? Imagine how people would feel if ThePointsGuy wrote cryptic messages such as the one you wrote above.

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