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Amex Gift Cards With No Fees and Rebates Through April 1

by on January 28, 2014 · 34 comments

in American Express

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

Amex is waiving gift card purchase fees.

Amex is waiving gift card purchase fees.

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

The one big downside is that Amex normally charges a purchase fee of between $3.95-$6.95 per card you buy (depending on its value) and about $5.95-$8.95 in shipping since it must be done via UPS, so you really have to crunch the numbers to make sure those extra points are worth spending on those fees.

However, now through April 1, 2014, Amex has announced that it will be waiving the purchase fees on gift card purchases (you must still pay shipping) of up to $5,000 per order and gift cards of up to $200 each in value when you use the promo code HEARTCC1. While you can normally purchase gift cards up to $3,000 each, with this promo, you’re stuck ordering a bunch of $200 ones. However, the shipping fee of $8.95 applies to them as a single order if you’re shipping to the same address per my sample purchase of 5 $200 cards below, so at least you’re not spending that fee per card!

The shipping fee is for all the cards together.

The shipping fee is for all the cards together.

But remember that if you buy first click through to American Express via an online rebate site you can save even more in the form of an automatic rebate. For example, right now, Top Cash Back is offering 2% rebates on Amex Gift cards.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 8.24.37 AM

Big Crumbs offers up to 1.2% back on Amex gift cards right now.

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 6.01.41 PMAnd Ebates is offering 1% cash back:

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 5.43.09 PMSo 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 – or even making money back!

If you’re interested in doing so, here are some quick instructions for you:

1. Create a Top Cash Back, BigCrumbs or Ebates account.
2. Once logged in, search for American Express – a few results will come up including one for cash back on Amex gift cards. Click on it to be redirected to the Amex site.
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. Choose how many you want – up to $5,000 per order. If you’re just going for straight-up spending, I’d suggest a full $5,000 order to hit the max with the lowest shipping costs, though you can order as many as you like.
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.

With the current BigCrumbs 1.2% rebate, for example, a purchase of  $5,000 in gift cards will cost you $5,008.95 minus the $60.11 from the  1.2% rebate, so you’re getting $5,000 worth of gift cards plus $5,009 points for a total of $4,958.85, and with the Top Cash Back rebate, you’re only spending $4,908.77 – over $90 less than the value of your gift cards!

Two Notes of Caution

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 (updated and Chase as well), 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.

Some people have also 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.

All in all, this can be a great way either to rack up some bonus points or hit minimum spending requirements, or to get friends and loved ones nice gifts they can use anywhere, all while being savvy about sustainable points earning, and even earning a nice little cash back discount.

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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  • Larry

    I am confused. In the first sentence you say this is a way to meet the $7,500 requirement for the 75k citi card, but, if I am reading this right, later in the article you say it won’t work with citi cards. Am I missing a subtle distinction or was this a typo?

  • Samantha Bradshaw

    Looking at using this to make it worth getting the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard or to meet last bit of spending for Sapphire Preferred, but Chase and Citi wont let it be a normal charge?

    So then there is no point unless you have an amex you are working with

  • Brian

    topcashback has 2% rebate on AMEX gc’s. You must not have a referral commission from them.

  • Justin

    What about Barclays? Would be a good way to meet the $25k spend req on the US Airways MC.

  • Globalmogul

    Is there a way to turn the GCs into cash?

  • Jay

    Seriously, you promote ebates and big crumbs but neglect to mention topcashback? What is your rationale for not including topcashback?

  • http://travelnwellness.com/ Paul

    Will this work with Bluebird?

  • Adam

    And he is leaving out manufactured spending strategies. After purchasing the Amex Gift Cards, if you can come out ahead after fees such as using the Barclay Arrival card or the Fidelity 2% Amex, and using them to purchase the amex gift cards, then use the amex gift cards to purchase visa gift cards through topcashback.com which has .5% to giftcardmall.com. Then take the visa gift cards to walmart and turn into money orders to pay off the credit card.

  • thepointsguy

    It was a typo – sometimes I’m writing in a hurry, thanks for pointing out!

  • thepointsguy

    Nothing to do with that – sometimes I am writing in a hurry. Thank you for pointing out the current rebate, I’ve added into the post.

  • Brian

    Definitely need to point out that Topcashback has a limit of $500 per card. Anything higher will not be eligible for cashback.

  • thepointsguy

    That’s true, except the eligible gift cards through Amex are capped at $200, so they fall within TCB’s parameters.

  • John K

    Yes, I will buy all your $500 AMEX GC for $5 cash! =D

    on a more serious note…
    You can utilize AP as well as purchase VRs at Charlie Victor Sierra.

  • Adam

    CVS drugstore

  • Brian

    The terms on TCB state coupons may void cashback. have you had any luck using them?

    I’m assuming ebates and Bigcrumbs have similar language but I could be wrong.

  • Todd Stewart

    These cards don’t have PINs, right?

  • Tony

    I think you need to read the article again, since Citi looks at this as a Cash Advance…

  • Tony

    I see this on my AMEX sync list, so one gets these at a discount, and then go and buy VR’s or Visa GC?

  • Adam

    Wait, which piece was the typo? That you can use it for Citi, or that it won’t work for Citi?

  • Jasmine

    Reminder chase counts these purchases as a cash advance.

  • AC

    looking for feedback on barclays as well.
    for some reason when i try to enter promo code nothing happens and im still seeing the charge per gift card..anyone else having similar issues?

  • AC

    btw just got email saying that ebates is offering 2% right now so pretty good deal but still can’t get the code to work so the full fees are still showing per card =(

  • Steve

    I’d like to know this as well. I was guessing No, but I wouldn’t mind being pleasantly surprised. :)

  • Sylvia

    Ebates is now offering 2% rebate on Amex gift cards. These are only on actual gift cards, NOT e-gift cards.

  • Samantha Bradshaw

    Tony, i recommend you read an entire comment before taking the time to comment yourself

  • Sylvia

    Yesterday, I bought $5,000 worth of Amex gift cards thru Big Crumbs (2.1% rebate) using a fee free promo code and Amex deducted the amount that I saved on fees ($98.75) and reported the amount that I had spent as $4,901.25, giving me a rebate of $102.92. Big Crumbs also charges a 2% fee on that when they process for payment, so I’ll end up getting $100.86. Still a good deal, but wanted to let you all know about my experience.

  • Sylvia

    Forgot to include the shipping fee ($8.95), so I’m actually making $91.91. Still a good deal.

  • Adam

    Anyone been able to confirm whether this works for Barclays or Amex minimum spends and points yet given that it’s been posted that Citi and Chase are a no go?

  • adrian

    you cannot buy these with citi cards.

  • Freddie

    I just got 3% w/ Top Cash Back.

  • Abdul G Habibuzaman

    The code mentioned above works on the gift card site to zero out the purchase charge BUT TopCashBack has 2 disclaimers
    1. 500$ restriction
    2. Promo code restriction saying “Please note that the use of a American Express® Gift Cards & Business Gift Cards promotional/voucher code not posted and approved by TopCashback, may affect your eligibility for cashback.”. TopCashBack has their own promo code FSEMP14 which gives free shipping.

    Has anyone used the TopCashBack site with HEARTCC1 (as shown above, which is a non-TopCashBack code) and still received the CashBack ?

  • Abdul G Habibuzaman

    The code mentioned above works on the gift card site to zero out the purchase charge BUT TopCashBack has 2 disclaimers

    1. 500$ restriction

    2. Promo code restriction saying “Please note that the use of a American Express® Gift Cards & Business Gift Cards promotional/voucher code not posted and approved by TopCashback, may affect your eligibility for cashback.”. TopCashBack has their own promo code FSEMP14 which gives free shipping.

    Has anyone used the TopCashBack site with HEARTCC1 (as shown above, which is a non-TopCashBack code) and still received the CashBack ?

  • Abdul G Habibuzaman

    .yyj

  • Brent

    Any confirmation if these will count toward minimum spend with Amex?

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