Top 8 ways to spend down Amex gift cards


Ever since TopCashBack raised their payout for Amex gift cards to 2% (see “Should I report this deal?“), people have been emailing and tweeting to ask “what now?”  What can I do with these gift cards?

Some readers had hoped to use the Amex gift cards to load their Bluebird cards at Walmart (see “Gift card PINs“).  They didn’t realize that the ability to use gift cards as debit cards is limited to Visa and MasterCard gift cards.  Others had hoped to use Google Wallet to make payments to friends, but then Google Wallet started charging for credit card transactions (see “Google Wallet loses its luster“).

Here, then, are my top recommendations for how to spend down your American Express gift cards:

  1. Use for everyday purchases.  Avoid spending these in places where you can earn a category bonus with your credit card.  See “How to finish off gift cards” for tips on dealing with gift cards for everyday use.
  2. Buy reload cards.  See “The reload game is on“.
  3. Buy Visa or MasterCard gift cards and use those to load your Bluebird card at Walmart. See “Best options for buying $500 Visa gift cards“).
  4. Send money via Amazon Payments (see “Turn bank gift cards into cash“).
  5. Make loans (see “How to maximize points and virtue through Kiva loans“)
  6. Pay taxes.  You will incur a fee, but it may be worth it.  See “Pay federal taxes by credit card, almost for free“.
  7. Load and unload the Target Amex card.  See “Using the Target Amex card to run up spend.”
  8. Send money to friends with Google Wallet.  Yes there is now a 2.9% fee (after your first $250), but it may be worth it if you’re eager to use up your Amex card.  See “Google challenges PayPal, Amazon Payments, and others with innovative new version of Google Wallet

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