Complete guide to Amex gift cards

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UPDATE 8/21/2015: Amex has changed their terms for portal cash back. They now only allow cash back for gift card denominations of $200 and below.  As long as this restriction is in place there is no good reason to buy Amex gift cards through portals.  We will leave this post in place, though, in the hopes that the restrictions will be lifted sometime in the near future.

A number of online portals offer cash back or miles when purchasing American Express gift cards. The idea of buying American Express gift cards just to earn miles or cash back may sound boring to some, but to me it is fantastic. It’s a great opportunity to run up spend on credit cards to meet minimum spend requirements, hit big spend thresholds, or just to earn regular everyday rewards.  For more, please see: Amex Gift Card Strategy.

And now, without further ado,  everything you may want to know about Amex gift cards in the form of Questions and Answers…

Q: What are the best current portal offers for buying Amex gift cards?

A: Portal rates for Amex gift cards change regularly.  Here are examples of offers that we saw in 2014:

  • Barclaycard RewardsBoost portal: 4 miles per dollar
  • Lucky Rewards: 4% cash back
  • BeFrugal: 4% cash back
  • BigCrumbs: 3.5% cash back
  • TopCashBack: 3% cash back
  • Alaska Airlines MileagePlan Shopping portal: 3 miles per dollar
  • Delta SkyMiles Shopping portal: 3 miles per dollar

Unfortunately, Amex gift cards have disappeared from portals a couple of times recently. Since their return, portal rates have ranged from 1.5-2.25%.

The Barclaycard’s portal unfortunately also no longer offers Amex gift cards.  Check this CashBackMonitor page and this one for up to date portal offers.

Q: Will I incur cash advance fees?  Which credit cards are safe?

A: Some credit cards do charge cash advance fees.  For example, readers have reported in the past that Citibank cards incurred cash advance fees, however recently transactions have been coding as purchases. Below I’ve listed cards that are safe, maybe safe and not safe to use based on reader input (so, your mileage may vary).  Please chime in with your experiences and I’ll add to this list:

Safe — No cash advance fee for Amex gift card purchases:
  • American Express
  • Bank Of America
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Discover
  • HSBC
  • US Bank
  • Barclaycard
Note:
  • Some banks (such as Discover and US Bank) treat Amex gift cards as a cash advance while authorizing the transaction, but it later changes to a purchase. For this reason, if you have a low cash advance limit, your purchase may be declined.
May be safe — Older reports of cash advance fees but more recent reports of not being charged a fee:
  • Citibank
Not safe — Cash advance fee for Amex gift card purchases:
  • First Bankcard

Q: I read that Chase charges cash advance fees when buying Amex gift cards. How can I avoid those fees?

A: There was a brief period in 2013 when Chase charged cash advance fees for Amex gift cards, but that has been fixed. Please see this post for more: It’s once again safe to buy Amex gift cards with your Chase card.

Q: Is it safe to use a Citibank card to buy Amex gift cards online?

A: Yes & No!  In the past, purchases with some Citi cards were treated as a cash advance.  More recently several readers have reported that their transactions have coded as purchases.  It’s possible that Citi handles this differently with different cards, but my advice is to play it safe before making any large purchases.

Q: Do I have to use a credit card affiliated with the portal to purchase Amex gift cards?  For example, do I have to use a Delta credit card to buy gift cards through the Delta SkyMiles portal?

A: No, you can use any credit card to pay and you should still earn points, miles, or cash back.

Q: When shopping through a portal, do I get the advertised bonus on top of the rewards automatically earned by my credit card?

A: Yes.  For example, when the Alaska MileagePlan portal offered 3 miles per dollar for Amex gift cards, you could have earned those 3 miles per dollar in addition to rewards earned automatically by your credit card.

Q: It has been three weeks since buying gift cards through a portal, but I still do not see any rewards activity on my account.  Am I out of luck?

A: Hopefully not. It’s common for mile earning portals, to take a month or longer before showing any evidence of large purchases like these.  My advice: be patient.

Q: What credit card will earn the most rewards for these purchases?

A: I’m not aware of any cards that offer a category bonus for online Amex gift card purchases, so your best bet is to use the card that offers the best rewards for everyday spend.  If you’re working on completing the minimum spend requirements for a new credit card, then that’s a great option (as long as the card is from a bank that doesn’t treat the purchase as a cash advance).  Another great option is to use a card that earns a valuable big spend bonus.  Checkout each of these pages for more information:

Q: Gift cards are limited to a maximum value of $500 (when clicking through from some portals). Is there a way to buy larger denomination cards?

A: Yes, simply log into your American Express account from the gift cards page, and you’ll then see options up to $3000 in value.  If you don’t want to log in, another approach is to simply click “Select a Card Design” under either the Business Gift Cards or Consumer Gift Cards menu.

Q: Will I lose out on portal rewards if I buy denominations larger than $2,000?

Maybe.  Portals introduced language to that effect early in 2015. At this point I recommend buying cards in denominations of $2,000 or less.  Please see this post for more details:  $2K denomination limit on Amex gift card cash back.

Q: Will I lose out on portal rewards if I use a discount code not found on the portal?

A: YES.  Please do not use promo codes unless the portal you use specifically says its OK. See: Promo codes to void cash back for Amex gift cards?

Q: How long will it take to earn cash back or miles from a portal?

A: This varies by portal.  With some portals, I have received miles in about a week to 10 days after purchase.  With the Alaska and Delta portals I’ve had to wait as long as a month.  With cash back portals, I frequently receive notification within a day or less that the cash back is pending, but it can take several months for the cash back to become payable.

Q: Can I buy business gift cards?

A: Yes, but depending upon the size of your order you may be asked to enter your Tax ID.  If you do not have a business tax ID, simply input your social security number.

Q: Do I have to use a business credit card to buy business gift cards?

A: No.  Some people have been told by Amex reps that their orders were not approved because they didn’t use business credit cards to pay.  I don’t believe this.  I use personal Amex cards regularly to buy business gift cards.

Q: What are the purchase limits?

A: There is a $10,000 limit on Consumer Gift Cards and $100,000 limit on Business Gift Cards per 14 days.

Q: Isn’t it risky to have these cards shipped by mail?

A: Yes, there is always some risk that someone will steal your gift cards before you can get to them.  If that happens to you, I’d recommend that you call Amex immediately.  They should be able to help (I imagine this would take a lot of patience on your part, though!).

Q: Why did my order get declined?

A: There are several reasons why Amex may decline your order:

  1. Your purchase exceeds your cash advance limit.  Some credit cards treat online Amex gift card purchases as cash advances.  In these situations, be glad that your order was declined. Cash advances do not result in credit card rewards, but they do result in unwanted fees.  Also, several readers have reported to me that some credit cards treat the purchase, initially, as a cash advance for the purpose of authorizing the charge, but then put through the actual charge as a purchase.  If your cash advance limit is too low in these situations your order will be declined.
  2. The name and address you input in the order (billing info) do not match your name and address on your credit card.  This information has to match perfectly for the order to go through.
  3. Random chance.  It is common to receive an email from Amex stating that they “could not verify your order information and cannot approve your order at this time.”  Sometimes this can be caused by #2, above, but other times it seems to be completely random.  I swear that I’ve entered in the same exact information with the same credit card for payment time and again, and sometimes it is approved and sometimes declined.  I’m sure it’s not truly random, but may be a function of who gets assigned to verify your order, or maybe the cycle of the moon at the time.

Q: Can I use these gift cards to load Bluebird at Walmart?

A: No.  Amex gift cards can be used as credit cards, but not as debit cards.  You cannot setup a PIN.  You cannot use them to load Bluebird, buy money orders, or pay bills at Walmart.

Q: Can I use these gift cards to load Serve online?

A: Probably not. While I’ve heard a report or two of people successfully using an Amex gift card as a credit card funding source with Serve, it usually does not work.

Q: Can I use these gift cards to load REDbird (The Target Prepaid REDcard) at Target?

A: No. Amex gift cards used to work to load REDbird, but that functionality ended on May 6, 2015 when Target stopped allowing credit card loads.

Q: Can I use these gift cards in-store to buy Visa/MasterCard debit gift cards?

A: Maybe.  Many cashiers have been trained to not allow this, but it is still possible at some stores and/or with some cashiers.  You may have to do some experimentation to find a place where this works.

Q: I’ve heard that there’s an option to sign up for free shipping for 90 days. How do I find that?

A: Make sure to log into your American Express account during the gift card check-out process.  When you get to the screen offering shipping options, you should see the offer.

Q: How can I cash out these gift cards once I get them?

A: Here are some ideas:

  1. Buy stuff you would buy anyway.
  2. Buy Visa or MasterCard gift cards and then use the gift card PIN to cash out.
  3. Make Kiva loans.
  4. Buy merchant gift cards through online portals in order to earn extra points or cash back.
  5. Pay federal taxes.  You will incur a 1.89% fee, but that can be partially or wholly offset by cash back earned when buying Amex gift cards.
  6. Pay bills with Plastiq.  You will incur a 2.5% fee.

Audience participation

Do you have additional questions about Amex gift cards?  Or, do you have more information that can be added to one of the answers above?  Please comment below.

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Bill gates

American Express is owned by Russian mafia

Pat Christy

Can a gift card purchased as a wedding gift be used in Britain? The happy couple lives in London.

[…] Everything you ever wanted to know about Amex gift cards […]

[…] For more info on Amex gift cards, see: Complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

Bobby

Hello All – I am a Delta Skymiles customer and needing only 2475 MQM’s to get to the next medallion level. I am also a Delta Skymiles AMEX CC holder. I read the PPM model here and decided to try and get to the next spending level on the CC in order to get an additional 10,000 MQM’s by buying AGC’s through the AMEX site. Upon further investigation, I found out that this purchase does not count toward MQM’s (they see it as a cash advance) so now I am stuck with these Amex GC’s that I will have to try and convert to Visa GC’s without much benefit (you do get regular miles, but not MQM’s which is what I was after).

I am still 2475 miles short, so I am thinking the only option is to purchase 2500 MQM’s from Delta unless anyone else has a good idea?

Thanks, Bobby

Bobby

Yes, not disputing that you can use your Delta Amex to purchase gift cards and you will receive regular Sky Miles. However, in order to get the MQM’s, the purchase of gift cards does not count toward the $25k or $50k spend you need to reach. This MQM part has not been clear in any of the blogs or posts. Here is the verbiage from the Delta Amex T’s and C’s which should clear it up for you or anybody else wanting this info:
Annual Miles Boost for Platinum Card
The close of the calendar year is December 31, without regard to the time of the year that the account is opened. This means that for the first year of Card Membership, the Card Member’s Eligible Purchases bonus period may be less than twelve months. If in any calendar year Eligible Purchases on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is $25,000 or more, the Basic Card Member will be awarded 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (“MQMs” as defined in the Delta SkyMiles Membership Guide and Program Rules), and if in that same calendar year Eligible Purchases on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is $50,000 or more, the Basic Card Member will be awarded an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs. Eligible Purchases means purchases for goods and services minus returns and other credits. Eligible Purchases do NOT include fees, interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of travelers’ checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of other cash equivalents.

Gaurav

I earned 40k MQM last year with a significant portion of my spend coming from AXGCs. It absolutely does work. Did you hit the spending marks and were denied the miles?

[…] Complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

[…] Complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

trackback

[…] Complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

Derek

sub

livelovelaugh

I used to order Amex GC on Ebates with Ebates credit cards. The portal has 1% cashback. The CC has 3% cashback. It all went smooth every month until this month. The Amex GC disappeared. I got the following response from Ebates customer service:

Thank you for your email. They are no longer an active merchant on our site.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding in this matter.

Felipe

Can I use an AMEX GC to make a payment on my Square account (and eat the 2.5%) and then transfer money to bank account?

TIA

[…] are interested in this deal, but don’t know a lot about Amex gift cards, I recommend reading The Complete guide to Amex gift cards at Frequent Miler before you go any […]

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Walt

Need help to learn about portals, cash back and fees from Amex. Can someone help me? Been reading all the articles but very confused.

[…] Best Coupons has raised the cash back rate today for Amex gift cards to 2%.. This is for business gift cards only. Search for American Express on their search box on […]

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Aaron

Anyone have any data points to share regarding the Citi DoubleCash card and cash advance fees when purchasing Amex gift cards?

Stephen

Yesterday I tried twice with getting a $2k business AGC using my CSP. Both were declined when I used the 2.25% TCB portal.

I gave up, so today I used TCB 1.5% on consumer AGC to buy $2k using my CSP. Still declined by AMEX.

Any other tips other than waiting a few weeks before I try again?

Jason

At this point, I’m convinced it’s completely random. I’m waiting for befrugal to see if it’s the portal

[…] Guide to Amex gift cards […]

Jason

I have tried twice today to purchase amex gift cards through the top cashback portal. Amex has sent me an email twice saying my order has been declined because they cannot verify my order information. Capital One says the issue is not coming from them. Ideas? I dont want to raise flags.

Jason

Also, Ive meticulously typed in every detail. There are zero mistakes, and amex doesnt have an answer

Stephen

I purchased a consumer $2k AGC using my PRG but not through a portal site so I can get the free shipping membership started since I didn’t see an option when I went though the TCP portal. This order was approved by AMEX.

I then used TCB to purchase a business AGC for $2k using my CSP so I can get the 2.25% cash back. That order was declined by AMEX. I just re submitted the order so hopefully it goes through this time.

Jason

I’ve tried every card in my arsenal, I could not successfully order through tcb for 2.25%. The same cards worked for 1.5% onnpersonal

Gaurav

I was able to order with a personal and a business AmEx today but got a decline on my Barclays Arrival even though it works fine for personal cards. Very irritating.

Jason

My personal amex worked fine too. But I don’t earn anywhere near what I would with the others. Again, amex has no valid reason. The rep I talked too said she would email a reason within 3 days. I’ll be fine with the 1.5 as I’m just in it for the miles not the dollars really.
Still frustrating

Michael Mowrey

Would Visa Gift Cards purchased (at Simon Malls/Staples, etc) with Amex Gold Business Delta Skymiles card be coded by Amex as cash advance? Thanks!

janol

no

Michael Mowrey

Thank you!

janol

data point
I bought 2 x $200 AEGC through befrugal, first one I did not use my AE code to get the 3.95 fee waived fearing I would not get the cashback, 2nd one I realized that 3.95 is better than 1.5% so i used the code. Today both tracked at befrugal

Ken

@Janol – Don’t worry, they’ll reverse the pending CB. It’ll never proceed to confirmed/payable.

janol

ok, good to know

josh

When you buy Visa GC at the store, do you tell them you are using/paying Amex GC? Do they ask for PIN #?

what kind of store does it usually work? I have not tried CVS yet(little far), is it worth to try?

[…] The complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

[…] The complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

Jon

Can u use Amex gc’s to load Serve in stores?

Carl

Frequent Miler, where can I use AMEX GC to buy VGC? Nobody around here where I live will sell ANY GC for anything other than cash or Real Bank Debit cards. Are there ANY websites that I can use?

[…] The complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

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Gaurav

Greg–have you encountered an order going into “processing” status after being placed and staying that way for more than 48 hours?

Gaurav

Thanks. I’ve never had trouble with them but an order I placed on 7/2 has been stuck in processing since then. The cards never shipped and even the temporary authorization has fallen off the credit card I used. Not sure what is going on.

[…] The complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

Deanna

Have you heard of individuals being banned from buying Amex gift cards? My purchase triggered a financial review and although my review cleared, I am now unable to buy Amex gift cards online. Have you heard about how long these bans last?

Miro

Was this for AMEX business credit card purchase? Were you a new AMEX customer? Those two seems to triger it based on some info I’ve found.

[…] The complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

[…] still need to clarify that there’s no cash advance issue with BBVA on Amex gift cards. FrequentMiler reports that most – but not all – issuers are safe. (We recently noted that Citi credit […]

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Martin

Does anyone know if the Citi-At&T card code as a CA for Amex online gift card purchases? Related: do you get the 3x points for an Amex online gift card purchase using the Citi-At&T card?
Thanks

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[…] Best Coupons will raise the cash back rate for Amex gift cards to 2% cash back next Wednesday (5/6/2015). This is for business gift cards only. Search for […]

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[…] to load to REDbird, use Amex for Target (AFT), and a couple of other things. Here's a guide to it. http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.co…gift-cards-qa/ It's a little outdated (since Google Wallet is no longer a liquidation option), but the general […]

[…] The complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

NI

Has anyone tried using the new Discover IT Miles card to buy AGCs? I realize they originally show as a cash advance, but do they eventually become purchases, as the other Discover cards did? Thanks.

LM

At the very end of the T&C (https://www.americanexpress.com/us/content/prepaid/gift-cards/terms-and-conditions.html) states that I can request a refund before using the gift card. However, does asking for a check refund (as the recipient of the GF) incur a fee? Also, is there any limit on such refund.

Big Bear Balls

Did you cash out like that? I’d like to know about this too.

GM

Oops I missed the note above that Discover initially shows it as a cash advance but then actually processes it as a purchase.

Can anyone confirm this still on a recent transaction?

GM

Discover appears to be a cash advance now (I never tried it in the past).

I tried to purchase two $2000 business AMEX gift cards and the purchase was declined by Discover. I called to find out why and the representative told me it was because it exceeded my card’s cash advance limit (plenty of available credit available).

Beware!

[…] The complete guide to Amex gift cards […]

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JSteph

To clarify:

If I purchase an AmexGC online with my credit card then I can upload to google wallet and then transfer that money to a friend?

Trying to find the best way to reach my 3000 in 3 months.

[…] portals I don’t have personal experience, but FrequentMiler notes it’s common for mile earning portals, to take a month or longer before showing any evidence […]

Sam

Can you use Amex prepaid GC to buy more Amex prepaid GC through cashback portals?

Sam

Thanks for the quick reply. Out of curiosity, is it that Amex won’t allow it (i.e. transaction can’t go through) or is it b/c you’ll become blacklisted/banned?

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

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John

I never noticed before, but the terms on topcashback state not eligible for denominations over $2000. Any word on if that is enforced? I first heard about this as a new term during the befrugal 2.2% the other week, yet my $3k order shows cashback pending on befrugal.

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

Rick

So I have experimented using AA Business through Citi and I have not been charged as a cash advance twice. Anyone else have any similar stories to business cards being treated differently than personal cards?

Sammy

Thank you placed order for 1700 for the first time…Bing Thanks to you

Ken

I need to meet 10k spend for the Amex BGR card. Will I earn points, will it count toward min spend, and will Amex have a fit or do a FR if I’m buying Amex GCs with my new Amex CC?

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

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[…] you can see each purchase of the gift cards at TopCashBack will be a net winner. Then the questions come with what to do with these gift cards. Well, you can give them as gifts, use them at C-harlie […]

Jerry Mandel

Warning: Here in Dallas, Texas, there are so so many places that don’t accept AMEX gift cards and almost no places in other countries.

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

[…] and thus cannot be loaded to Bluebird/Serve like Visa/MC gift cards. Frequent Miler has a great FAQ about these gift cards and liquidating them, although some info is out of […]

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anthony

Someone posted on a forum that discover 5%cb Oct-Dec DOES work with these amex gift cards. Agree/disagree?

I was under the impression they didn’t count.

Daniel

Do we know if GC purchases count toward minimum spend on Amex cards? The T&C seem to suggest otherwise.

Mark D.

I am sure this has been answered somewhere before, but I can’t find it. Can I load an AMEX GC to serve(softcard) via the online credit card load option of up to $1,500 a month?

anthony

No you cannot. It’s does not have a pin number (not a debit card) and can ONLY be used as credit when making purchases.

Anthony

How credible was this person? Any other details you could provide about this, or is it kept low key so they’re not made aware of this ability? 🙂

Even if it worked, it sounds risky considering the issues people have had trying to load online with vgc/mc in the past.

Mark

If I am willing to incur the fee, could I load Amex gift cards to Google Wallet and send to my bank account?

Alex

Sort of – you cannot “load” your Google wallet with Amex GC but you can send to someone else and incur the fee (2.9%). I just did this recently with $1,000 AMEX I had because I was just tired of liquidating through other means.

I don’t advise this, because I am sure eventually Google would shut me down, but I sent funds from my email address to another personal email address and then simply put in my bank information once received and pulled the funds out that way. I only did this as a test but normally I would sent to my girlfriend with a separate account or a trusted family member.

Anthony

What about the Discover It card? I see you list the Discover More as a card NOT to use, but where does the Discover It stand?

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

Cynthia Liss

Alaska’s portal shows 0.5 points per dollar on Amex gift cards this morning.

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

ashley

sorry that was a question

ashley

chase credit card still ok to purchase amex GC

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

Sue

I recently noticed that you can no longer use Amex gift cards to purchase visa gift cards from giftcardmall.com

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[…] used to buy money orders, etc.  They work just like a credit card in most cases.  Frequent Miler has the rundown on where you can and can not use […]

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[…] the least expensive way for me to MS outside of 5X drugstore category bonuses is by using AMEX gift cards purchased through cashback portals. So regardless of which card I got, I’d be MSing at the AMEX gift card store to earn those […]

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[…] Miler has a great post with everything you need to know about buying and using these gift cards. Keep in mind it is a […]

dorthy

I bought gift cards from American express totalling 3500 I received the cards and they don’t work I call in and the balance is there but once I talk to the customer service rep they say that the balance is 0 they said they never charged me for the cards so I need to provide proof that they took the money from my cc. I sent it to them they said wait 7-10 days which I did nothing happened and when I call they say your order is cancelled so I disputed the charges with my bank (boa) and for done reason they fought and won the dispute and now I am charged twice for 3500 what do I do

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

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Dino

Any further word on Target not accepting Amex Gift Cards to load Amex for Target?

Danielle

Hi, how do I find the Amex cards on the Barclay’s Rewardboost portal? I am not seeing them at all. Thanks!

rj123456

Do GC purchase with the Amex Business Platinum Card count towards minimum spend requirements? Signed up for this card with targeted 150K points offer but now have to spend $20K in 3 months!

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

Frank

So, you think I’ll be safe buy $3000 AMEX GC via BeFrugal using my US Bank Claub Carlson Business VISA?

Frank

Thanks, I will give it a shot.

Will

Can you use my AU(authorized card) to order AGC? for the billing part, which name do I put? my name or account owner’s name? Thanks

Will

Thank you, FM!

Frank

Your point #6 above, Load the American Express for Target card and then withdraw money from ATMs.

I could not use my AMEX Gift card at Target to reload Amex-for-Target card – POS terminal denied it.

chuck

The recent $10 off $200 amex gc’s was a good time to experiment what works and what doesn’t with amex gc’s. I placed a dozen or so orders, all while logged in to an amex account. We have a few amex log-in’s, so they were placed using a few different log-in’s. Invariably, the orders that were placed using an amex card from that particular log-in got approved on the first time. But when trying to use a different amex card (say, FIA), it was invariably denied, at least the first time.
Any thoughts/exprience with this?

rj123456

Did multiple deals while the Barclays Mall was giving megabonuses.

Response to some recent posts:
a) Amex login to Amex card, worked fine. The address matched exactly EACH time, but FIA required like 5 tries to get 1 successful order. Customer service was completely clueless and useless, so I just kept retrying every day till the order went through. Had a better track record with Barclays Arrival card (but I wanted the FIA 2% straight cash back).

b) Shipping to a different address was not a problem, even with a full $5K address. I signed up for the free next day UPS shipping, once the order was approved the shipping is very fast. Always shipped to the office, not worth risking $5K of cards sitting in the home mailbox.

c) Don’t know about signatures, because we have a receptionist and I think she signed for them.

The Barclays deal is gone, and I don’t want to wait 2 months for some of the sketchier cash back sites. Time to cancel the free shipping trial??

DrSifu

Devon…you do not have to register the card on AMEX

But do try the trick of entering in the incorrect expiration date when adding the card to AP to avoid the $1 hold. Been successful on the last few AMEX GC.

BeFrugal is still at 3%.

[…] If you have questions about AMEX gift cards or how to spend them down, Frequent Miler wrote a nice post on it here. […]

[…] important part on this page is at the bottom where you can enter an AMEX promotion code. Via Frequent Miler’s post, the promo code SYNCGIFT still works to waive the $3.95 purchase […]

Devon

Before using with Amazon Payments, do you have to register the AGC online?

DrSifu77

So far great success going through BeFrugal.

Transactions post no later then the following day as pending.

Looks like it will take 2 months to actually get paid.

First order was $3k and got denied. Reordered with no changes and got approved. 2nd order was 14 days later for $3k+$2k with approval.

[…] spend or find ways to purchase Visa/MC gift cards with them. Frequent Miler put together a great FAQ about the gift cards. Liquidating them isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it wouldn’t […]

chuck

1) Do you have any experience with ordering high-value AmEx gc’s to an address other than the billing address of the cc? Do they deny such orders?

2) Can you confirm what it says on the Amex website that orders under 5k don’t need signature-confirmation?

Jennifer

1)Never ordered Amex GCs before, only ordering $1K. Are you thinking it’s on Barclay’s end?
2) Shouldn’t apply.

RJ

I have always sent the cards to a different address (work; safer) than the billing address without problem, before and after switching to the free overnight delivery trial.

Devon

Here’s a datapoint, every Amex Gift Card order I’ve placed has been shipped to my office since I’m there all day, not my billing address. I’ve only had 1 or 2 denied out of about 25 orders this year. I just ordered more yesterday to ship the same way and it’s already been approved.

Jennifer

I’ve been trying to buy these thru Alaska’s portal and each time get the random “could not verify” message and it’s declined. Barclay card. Any ideas? Thanks

Jennifer

Thanks, did that, going to keep messing around with it. FSDAD expires today! On my 5th attempt. 🙂

Frank

Thanks, FM. I really like your list of credit cards by bank. Used it for 4 cards a couple of months ago.

Frank

So, I buy my AMEX gift card from American Express for, say, $3000.00 (no fees or shipping). Now I want to “spend” it by buying VISA gift cards. This AMEX has no pin, so is it just like a regular credit card? Does it have my name on it or does it just have dates and the security code like an AMEX SPG card?

BigTex

FM — you know that unloading more than $20k via PayPal to any one person means its reportable to IRS, right?

https://cms.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/marketingweb?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=marketing_us/IRS6050W

BigTex

Anyone know how Wells Fargo handles these charges — as cash advance or a purchase?We have the new Propel card and it would be terrific to use Amex GCs to meet minimum spend.

Cheers,
BigTex

Alex

I have the same question as BigTex – havent found any info on how Wells Fargo treats these charges.

Frank

Does anyone have any data points as to if my SPG amex will award points on a AGC transaction? I ordered 3K in AGC and the transaction posted. I was not awarded my additional 20K bonus points for spending >5K. The first purchase bonus was credited immediately.

Robert

Mileage portals all down to 1 mile/$.

robertw

BeFrugal changed today 6/17 to 3%

Rob

[…] One of the best current deals for buying American Express gift cards is to shop through BeFrugal for 4% cash back.  This can be a great way to save money on everything you buy.  That said, there are many complications involved with buying and using American Express gift cards, so I highly recommend that you read my overview if you are new to this: Everything you ever wanted to know about Amex gift cards. […]

robertw

UPDATE. I found out that AMEX did not activate the last batch of cards I got as I noted before. They now tell me it takes take 5 business days to fix them. They show online zero value but phone confirm shows the amounts they should be.

robertw

AMEX did not activate 5 large value cards I bought. Basically a month to resolve this problem. That is ridiculous. Customer service in India is miserable by the way. I tried everything. No resolution otherwise.

rj123456

Having been an Amex cardholder for 20+ years, in general, Amex Customer Service has been excellent. The gift card business on the other hand rates a ZERO on an absolute scale in terms of customer service. Half the transactions fail even with identical information. Customer service in India is COMPLETELY USELESS, worse than not having any customer service at all. I don’t think it’s a problem with them being in India per se, it is because they lack the tools and empowerment to get things done.

robertw

The latest batch of cards I got I tried to use to pay a few merchants. The cards were not activated and whoed zero balance online. I found out that I need to wipe each card at retail before use. Previously they were ready right out of the package. I don’t know if this is new or not.

rj

Stupid question time: Can you use an Amex Gift Card to buy more Amex Gift Cards on any of the portals?

denny

I can confirm Robert’s report. Too bad. 🙁

Roberts

Barclays deal is dead. Not offered in their portal

RJ

I had a bunch of legitimate business expenses so I have been trying to buy Amex Gift cards over the past month – $3K/$5K/$5K/$1.9K/$3K*/$5K* but Amex is a real PITA to use. For every successful purchase I have had the purchase denied twice over.
(*last two unsuccessful)

Amex CSRs are the lamest, they merely repeat the line from the email message (usually “your address and other details must match the CC”). The latest insult was using the Amex order page’s own “One-time reorder” capability – obviously if the order went through previously, everything does match, but it was denied.

Worse, Amex puts holds on your credit line. The last unsuccessful $3K order resulted in Amex putting TWO $3K temporary authorizations on the CC.

Other lame things about GCs that is buried in the fine print is that they need to be registered before being used for an online purchase. Which is bizarre because they can drop out of my wallet and any one can call Amex and register them and start using them, but when I – the original purchaser of the GC – use it for an online order under the same name and shipping to the same address that the GC was sent to – the order is denied. And then Amex ties up the amount denied on the GC for – get this – 5 business days!

Finally today I got denied for exceeding the purchase limits authorized for purchase. The CSR told me that the limit is $5K in 14 days – which is not true as I ordered $5K on each of two consecutive days.

Great promo to get 6 pts / $ for spend that I don’t have to manufacture but the hoops Amex one goes through and the inept/unempowered customer service makes this a huge waste of time.

elteetrav

I’ve been having difficulty buying Amex gift cards through the Alaska Air portal. First time the order went through, but then I got a rejection notice the next morning. I understand that is common. But since then I’ve retried 3 times, and I can’t even get the order to finalize. I go through the complete process but when I get to the final step for purchase (using Amex Everyday Pref), the website doesn’t respond. I see things spinning and spinning, and after a long time I get a message that the website has become non-responsive. Anybody else had problems like that??

elteetrav

Thanks. Still not sure exactly what happened. Amex credit said the charge was approved, but then the gift card order was declined. After a few days, the charge went away, and I was successful in my next attempt.

Note that when I placed the order, Amex advised of a code that for purchasing without fees (except shipping of course) that is valid through 6/30: EMSVCA

Nicole

Thanks Greg- too bad they just cancelled my order… 🙁

Sean

Hi, great post!

I tried to buy Amex gift cards today using LuckyRewards, but using their portal link invalidated the Premium Shipping option. Is that true for other portals as well?

So then I tried to go through the Barclay portal, but signing me in sent me to the US Airways portal which does not sell Amex GCs.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

FrequentMiler

What makes you think the portal invalidated the premium shipping option? With Barclays, make sure to select your Arrival card before clicking through to the RewardsBoost portal.

Yongfang

Hi

I have one question. I brough $2000 American express gift cards with my chase card. However, 6 hours latter after I placed the order, I received a email told me that my order was denied because “We could not verify your order information”. I tried several times, ended in the same problem.

I am wondering if anyone had similar situation like this? What should I do?

THX

FrequentMiler

Yes, that happens all the time. No one really knows why. When that happens to me, I try again and again and eventually it goes through.

Withheld by request

I may need to run up spend on a Barclays USAirways Mastercard this year … Well, just my luck: Lots of college tuition and other expenses to pay to a school that accepts only American Express (with a 2% vigorish, but, hey, that’s how it goes). I also have a Barclays Arrival card and you have explained very clearly how to do all of this through the Barclays RewardsBoost portal (I even have a Platinum Amex, so I am covered their, too.)

So why I am writing? Because I have never bought an Amex Gift Card and am wondering if anyone has had experience paying tuition with one (in lieu of an actual Amex credit card). Or do I just start with a $500 card and see if it works?

FrequentMiler

I think its worth trying. There is a small chance you may have to call Amex to register your name and address properly with the card.

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

trumpet

You can add US Bank to not safe list. I tried it with a US Bank business CC with no cash advance access. Purchase wouldn’t go through. My other online purchases are fine.

FrequentMiler

Actually, US Bank is one where the preauthorization goes through as a cash advance, but the actual purchase goes through as a purchase.

luchex

Any new fee free code?

FrequentMiler

Yes, try FPDAD through 6/16/14

luchex

I am sure I’m getting all my AMEX points . I used spg an gold biz and now gold personal.

luchex

At points chaser i read that citi will consider a purchase of amex gc as cash advance (I know this) and that AMEX CC will not be chash advance but WILL NOT AWARD POINTS. Can you confirm that second to be true? I have been using my SPG PERSONAL and I am % 80 sure I did get my points.

Look at the comments section here

http://www.pointchaser.com/4-cash-back-on-american-express-gift-cards-from-lucky-rewards/#comments

FrequentMiler

Yes, you’re right. I always earn points when buying Amex gcs with Amex credit cards despite the Amex T&Cs

Max

Hello FrequentMiler

You have indicated in your post that to in order to use the Barclays reward boost portal one needs the ‘Arrival World MasterCard

However i can log into the Barclays reward boost portal using my NFL extra points credit card from barclays , and can link in to purchase amex gift cards, will i still earn the 4points/$ from the portal if i place an amex order

If i use an Amex CC like Amex premier Gold to pay for the purchase does amex give me 2 MR points/$ for the purchase of AGC. Im guessing not but would like confirmation ?

FrequentMiler

Thanks. You’re right, other Barclays cards work too. I’ve updated the post. No, Amex credit cards will pay out the usual rewards (1 point per dollar with most cards)

William

On October 21, 2013, my purchase of Amex Gift cards using Barclays Bank Priceline Rewards Visa was treated as a cash advance. Prior to that it had always been a purchase transaction. Above you state Barclays is safe, is this confirmed after October 21, 2013 to be the case again?

FrequentMiler

That’s strange. I know people who buy them all the time (definitely more recently than Oct 21 2013) and pay with Barclays cards. There was an issue in October last year where Chase was treating the purchases as cash advances. I’d guess that Barclays was too during that time. Amex fixed it on their end so it should be safe again

Varun

Hey ! Can you guide me if an AMEX gift card can be used to purchase deals from the Travel Getaways ? I don’t have a US based credit card, so that should be the only way I can participate if this works. Thanks!

FrequentMiler

I think they can be used that way, but I’m not 100% sure.

danny

Was wondering where have you purchased Visa gift cards with the Amex Gift Cards? Have stores given you hassle about it since you are using one prepaid gift card to buy another?

FrequentMiler

Some stores don’t allow gift cards to be used for the purchase. Others don’t care. For example, one CVS store near me doesn’t care whereas another one won’t let me buy them with Amex gcs.

danny

I used my Amex card to pay for a gift card purchase through Barclays rewards boost and when I asked about my points, the rep said that I had to use my barclays card in order to earn points. Do you know if this is a new change? or has your experience been different?

FrequentMiler

My experience has been different. I’ve received points despite not paying with my Barclays card.

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

Carlos

If I used Amex or Chase cards to buy Amex Gift cards will it count for minimum spend? I need to reach about $10,000 this month and looking for fast and easy way to buy Amex Gift cards and then used them for buying Vanilla Gift cards that I can load at BB stations

FrequentMiler

Yes, that should work.

[…] you would like to know more about Amex gift cards, check out this post by FrequentMiler. He covers everything there is to know about these […]

[…] Amex gift cards, the complete guide […]

[…] as a cash advance. Citi is a definite no-no, but there are others, as well. Read this incredible Frequent Miler’s post that lists “dangerous” cards among other things. If you are concerned, just call the […]

Brian Klotz

Just checking on this, because I haven’t seen a recent post on this. Does GiftCardMall still accept Amex Gift Cards for purchases such as Visa Gift Cards? That’s my preferred supplier of gift cards for loading my BlueBird as I don’t have a CVS nearby and the Walmart stopped selling their cards.

FrequentMiler

As far as I know they do but your name and address you use at check out have to match exactly with the name and address registered to your Amex card. Call Amex to register this info if you’re not sure.

Lemma

With my Discover It card I’ve found that if I try to buy more than my cash advance limit, the transaction will be declined. However, if I buy a smaller amount and Amex doesn’t cancel the order (good luck with that) when it eventually posts it will be categorized as a purchase.

I had done a smaller order that had gone through before I had any declined, so I already knew it would be a purchase before there was a decline, or I probably wouldn’t have attempted it again because paying CA fees and not getting rewards is no fun. I’m guessing US Bank might be the same thing although I haven’t tested them personally. Anyone actually get charged a CA fee by US Bank or just declined transactions? This is one potential downside to setting your CA limit to $0 – you might have orders declined due to exceeding limit that might not have ultimately been a CA.

FrequentMiler

Yep, thanks for this info. I’ve heard that US Bank does the same thing: the purchase is initially treated as a cash advance but then is treated as a regular purchase later. I’m not sure whether this is true for all Discover and US Bank cards or just some.

VK

FM, I made a couple of purchases via the Barclays portal – one on 3/25 and another on 4/11 for 3k and 5k respectively. I do not see activity tracked. Is that normal? Have people received points from Barclays on purchases over $500?

FrequentMiler

It is normal for points to take over a month to show up especially for Amex gift card orders.

Sean

I have three old school amex prepaid card. I wonder how I can load money in it with any cc related methods. There is only one choice under my account, which is bank transfer. Also VR and MP are mostly not allowed to buy with cc. Any idea?

FrequentMiler

The only way is to find a store that still lets you buy VR with a credit card.

Sean

Is it possible to load it in target?

FrequentMiler

It should be possible to use it to load the Target Amex card, if that’s what you mean.

Pat

I also have a transaction from last week that was finally approved on 4/7 (2 days ago). I see no record in my shopping portal rewardsboost activity. But I am assuming it will take several days.

How long does Barclay take to post in the Barclaycard RewardsBoost Activity page?

FrequentMiler

I don’t know what is typical, but very large purchases do take quite a while. It could take 2-4 weeks before it shows up.

RP

One more question… how can we keep track of the miles from Barclay’s online portal purchase? I don’t see any where there is an option to keep track. I don’t receive emails for all the purchases, so I would not know if I am receiving all the miles.

FrequentMiler

Log into the portal then click “My Barclaycard Account” to see your RewardsBoost activity.

RP

Thanks, FM.
I have a transaction missing in the list, is there anyway I can inquire? Thanks.

RP

I bought 1 GC of $1000 which is missing. All the other transactions with GCs of $500 (e.g. 500 x 6) are already posted. I didn’t know that you have to buy GCs of $500 to get the miles. I just bought two $3000 GC each yesterday, but seems like I am not going to get the miles for those.

FrequentMiler

Larger transactions often take longer to process. I wouldn’t worry about it unless it doesn’t show up by 4 weeks after the purchase date. I have made many purchases of cards greater than $500 that have posted.

RP

Anyone tried using Ink Bold to purchase AmEx GCs at Arrival portal successfully? Mine got denied three times. When I called Chase, they said the transaction comes out as cash advance and Ink Bold does not allow any cash advance.

Scott

Today, April 6, 2014, I logged into the Alaska Air shopping portal and the AMEX gift cards are at 3 miles again.

Don’t bother clicking on the offer in the Featured section at the top of the page — the link is malformed. Instead, go the list of offers (after selected Gift Cards), and sort the list alphabetically. You will see the AMEX offer. Click on the description to go to the AMEX site (that link works).

If you click on the Featured offer link (the malformed one) you will not get credit because the affiliate cookie won’t get set properly.

Good hunting.

-Scott

FrequentMiler

Thanks for the workaround! I published the improved Amex gift card portal rates via my Quick Deals page. Best option, in my opinion, is the Barclays RewardsBoost portal: 4X. Alaska 3X is great too!

Scott

I needed a few thousand AS miles for another award ticket and the 3x was perfect. I bought 5k (2k + 3k), then another 2k using my wife’s card and AMEX portal. I used Chase Southwest cards for each purchase. About a week later I received 3 non-descript envelopes with the 3 personalized gift cards. Wow, $7k worth of activated cards just left in the mailbox.

I liquidated one of the $2k AGC by buying 4 VGC at Walmart without a problem. Walmart never takes my payment card — I just swipe it on my side — so whether I use a AGC that says GIFT on it or a regular AMEX card, it does not matter to Walmart. YMMV.

-Scott

Pat Larser

What are the benefits of the business gift card vs. personal?

FrequentMiler

You can buy up to $75K worth of business gift cards within a 2 week period whereas with personal gift cards you are limited to $5K

Rich

Big Burn when buying Amex Gift Cards thru Top Cash Back on Citi Bank A’A executive Platnium master card !
Coded as Cash Advance !
Hit with a Cash Advance Fee plus interest starting at day posted to card !!
Beware !!!

FrequentMiler

Update regarding paying with the Citi Executive AA card: some early reports said that Citi did not charge a cash advance when this card was used to buy Amex gift cards online. However, recent reports show otherwise. I ran a test to see for myself and my account shows the transaction as a cash advance (although, oddly, no fees have been charged yet). In summary, I recommend not using Citi cards for buying Amex gift cards.

MileHighBug

FYI, on Feb 18, you said you’d add US Bank to the do not use list. But as of today it still appears on the safe list. I tried to use my US Bank Club Carlson card to purchase a bunch of AmEX GCs two nights ago and it was declined. Now I’m super glad, knowing it could have been treated as a cash advance!

FrequentMiler

Yikes. Thanks for the reminder! I’ve updated the post accordingly.

Scott

Tried using Chase Sapphire Preferred to purchase a business gift card personalized with my name and the order was cancelled (I only wanted the business gift card due to the free shipping code FSEMP14). I’m wondering if you have to use a business credit card to buy a business gift card? Any experience with this?

FrequentMiler

I’ve been able to buy business gift cards with personal credit cards. I don’t know why they mysteriously decline orders. Try again. It might get approved.

Scott

Thanks. I’ll give it another go before 3/31 and see what happens.

Just saw this today, Miles, Points, & MaiTais mentioned the same problem in a recent post: “My Amex Business order got cancelled last night (apparently they had a problem with me using a personal credit card for a business order), so I re-placed it using the consumer website and the SYNCGIFT coupon to waive the fees…”

Don’t know if that was just her intuition behind the cancellation or if they actually gave a reason

Source: http://www.milespointsandmaitais.com/manufactured-spending-madness-day-6-amex-gift-cards-3-topcashback/

[…] I hope this 3% sticks around in 2 weeks as I will be ordering more gift cards to pay my taxes with.  For more on learning about Amex gift cards, check out this stellar post from Frequentmiler. […]

harvson3

Newbie question I’m embarrassed to ask: is it still possible to personalize business Amex GCs? Can’t seem to find that option when clicking around the page.

harvson3

Never mind. Found it under Customize Your Card, along with the variable value option.

Don

I’m new at this. I have to spend another $2000 to meet minimum on Chase Ink. I’m thinking of purchasing a $2000 AMEX gift card thru Barclays portal (I have a Barclays Arrival card).
Does this sound like a good idea? Can I avoid the $8.95 shipping fee?
Thank you.

Steve

@DON

How much do you spend at Amazon? You can buy AMZN gift cards at Office Depot or Staples for no fee and get 5x points on your card.

I routinely get $500 (about a month worth) at a time and deposit them to my account; I’ll even get more if I’m buying something expensive.

Don

I seldom buy anything from Amazon. Are there other options for redeeming an AMEX gift card? Or should I consider spending elsewhere?

FrequentMiler

Buying Amex gift cards through the Barclays portal makes sense. Another good option is to signup your card with Visa Savings Edge and Plink. Add Staples to your Plink wallet, and then buy $200 Visa or MasterCard cards at Staples.

Don

Thanks. Can you send me a private email?
d.flowers54@hotmail.com

Donnie

I don’t understand what you mean.

Lemma

Anyone know if Discover categorizes this as a cash advance?

Also, FM, to add another bank to your list, I’ve ordered many Amex GC with a Capital One card and it’s always been a purchase, not a cash advance.

Jayson

If I use my new (old blue cash) will this purchase of amex gift cards count towards my $6500 min spend, and get me 0.5% cash back?
I wasn’t sure if I would get cashback if the card is one of the cards amex issues.

Any other good ideas on how to get the best spend on the old blue cash card in meeting the spending requirement, while not limiting the cashback from other opportunities? I though this was a decent way since it would euate to 2.5% cash back, not as good as 4% cashback by using the amex fidelity though…

Also, I don’t think this was pointed out anywhere, buy the transaction fee that you would pay in order to use a credit card/debit card, is possibly tax deductible within the year that you pay the taxes. Has anyone taken advantage of that? If so, did you just print up your invoice that shows you paid a transaction fee, and use that as your documentation for your taxes?

FrequentMiler

Yes, that’s a great idea for how to meet the $6500 spend. I don’t have any better ideas. Yes, the transaction fee for paying taxes may be tax deductible. I gave that info to my accountant for that purpose last year (and will again this year).

Nicole

Will the purchase of gift cards online – amex or visa gift card REALLY count towards the $6500 on old amex blue? T&C say purchases of prepaid cards do not count as “eligible purchases”. I haven’t searched extensively, but haven’t seen anything definitive. Thanks much.

FrequentMiler

Yes, really. All Amex credit cards have those same T&Cs but buying gift cards works anyway. Of course, that could change at any time, but I’m confident that it works right now.

[…] Recently, a reader named Max wrote the following comment in one of my posts: […]

Brandon

Is it possible to pay extra for trackable shipping, in case something goes wrong? I would say the risk of the gift cards getting lost in the mail is a risk to consider, but not a deal-breaker. Even when it’s not for manufactured spending, people buy high value items online all the time.

AEG

Sign up for UPS my Choice. You’ll be able to see shipping info there. Pretty much useless though, since you get a “shipped” notification at late night and package arrives that morning.

FrequentMiler

Yes