Using Buying Groups to Increase Credit Card Spend

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There are many reasons that you might want to increase credit card spend. You may need to meet minimum spend requirements on new credit cards in order to earn big welcome offers. Perhaps you want to earn high level elite status or other big spend bonusesas Greg did with Delta. Maybe you simply want to get extra rewards using cards with big category bonuses, or rewards for everyday spend.

Regardless, the key to increasing credit card spend is to find techniques that either let you use a credit card to pay for expenses that don’t normally allow credit card charges (e.g. mortgage, rent, taxes, contractor payments, …) or to find ways to spend money with your credit card and get the money back as cash. The latter is often referred to as “manufactured spending” or “MS” for short.

Merchandise and gift card buying groups can be very useful tools to increase manufactured spend capacity. In this post, we’ll discuss what buying groups are, how they work, benefits and risks of using them and also provide a non-comprehensive list of some of the buying groups we’ve worked with.

a woman holding shopping bags and a credit card

What are Buying Groups?

Buying and selling 3rd party gift cards and merchandise reselling can be done directly via online marketplaces like Ebay or to buyer’s groups that buy the products/card (or more accurately card number) directly from you and then resell them to another party. Discounted merchandise and gift cards will often have individual or household limits imposed that keeps one individual from getting more than a few at a time. Buyer’s groups get around that limitation by harnessing the purchasing power of large groups of people, enabling them to buy large quantities of discounted items (that they then resell).

The rates that you get from  buying groups will rarely be as good as reselling directly, but it’s much less hassle and carries with it a lower risk of selling to a flaky buyer. Buyer’s groups will also find deals and present them to you as opposed to you having to search them out directly and know current resell rates. That said, it requires a fair bit of trust as you are sending merchandise/gift cards to the group’s warehouse before getting paid and you’re floating that purchase cost for some period of time (usually 2-3 weeks) before getting the money back. While relatively low, there’s always some risk of non-payment selling either directly or to buyer’s clubs. It only takes a few non-payments or lost shipments to erase a lot of profit.

Manufacturing spend through selling to buyer’s groups can be a bit of a grind, but it can also be very rewarding. In some cases people have started reselling for the purpose of manufacturing spend, but soon found that it’s a good way to earn money in general (or started their own buyer’s group). That said, it does takes effort and organization to be successful. So, let’s dive into how buyer’s groups work in a little more detail.

a hand holding a credit card

How do Buying Groups work?

Below is the general workflow for selling to buying groups. Because gift card buyers usually don’t require a physical card shipment, all of the shipping/tracking/receiving steps primarily apply to merchandise.

  1. Sign Up – All buying groups require that you open an account with them. This will usually involve name, e-mail, phone number, payment details, etc. Most of the groups listed in this post are open invite, but there’s a couple that will need to approve you and that process can sometimes involve a short interview to suss out your past experience and make sure that their group is a good fit.
  2. Watch for deals – Once you’re signed-up, you’ll keep any eye out for deals on whatever cards/products the buying group is purchasing. Each group has its own preferred method for disseminating deal opportunities. The most common are e-mail, WhatsApp and Telegram (although some use Slack, Discord, etc).
  3. Commit to purchase – Most buying groups require that you commit to an item in order to get paid for it. This is primarily so that they can keep from over/underbuying and have a fairly precise estimate of the quantity that they are expecting to receive. Groups vary in how you commit to an item. Those with websites usually have a button that you can click, others will use Google Forms, shared spreadsheets or even direct messaging. You can almost always modify your commitment in the event that you aren’t able to purchase an item.
  4. Ship item to buying group – Every buying group has one or more delivery addresses, primarily in sales tax-exempt states. Some will accept drop-offs for local clients as well. The most common shipping method is “drop-ship,” which means you have the retailer ship directly to the receiving address (thus avoiding sales tax). Some retailers will require you ship an item to your home in order for the order to be fulfilled and in that case, the buying group will usually send you a prepaid shipping label once you receive the item. It’s good practice to add your buying group ID number to the shipping address; some groups will require it. Gift card buyers all have some method of online submission (website, Google Form, spreadsheet, etc).
  5. Tracking – When the items ships, the retailer will provide a tracking number. Almost all groups want you to pair that tracking number with your commitment, either using a tab in your online account or via spreadsheet/Google Form. This makes receiving more efficient on their end and provides a second mechanism of attaching that item to you. It’s usually not the end of world if you forget to add the tracking number, but doing it often could result in an account suspension, simply because it creates more work on their end. No one wants anything to get lost.
  6. Receiving – The buyers group will check in the item upon arrival at their warehouse. Some groups will e-mail/message you letting you know that it’s arrived, for others, you’ll need to check yourself.  How quickly an item is checked in after receipt will vary from group to group. It will tend to be slower if it’s a busy time like the holidays or Prime Day and faster during slower times with less deals. On average, it will usually take 3-5 days. After check-in, that purchase price will be added to your account as payable cash.
  7. Payment – Buyer’s groups vary a bit in how they handle payment. Many merchandise clubs will require that you manually request an ACH payment or e-check in order to get paid. GC buyers will usually list payment speed on the deal and then will do an ACH transfer once that window arrives. The bigger ones have a set day that they send out payments each week and you’ll be able to see in advance how much you’re getting paid that week.

MyGiftCardsPlus gift card deals Delta Airbnb DoorDash

Tips for using Buying Groups

  • Start small, with known groups that have references.
  • Organization is very important. Make sure that you can keep track of necessary cards, numbers, pay-out amounts, shipments etc. Don’t let your buying outpace your organizational ability.
  • Diversify. Use a few different groups so that you can compare for the best rates and avoid having any one group owe you a massive amount of cash.
  • Be very careful about the rate you sell to buyer’s clubs at. Many of them do a fair amount of below-cost deals, when they pay you less than you are paying for the merchandise. Be sure that the rewards you’re earning justify the cost you’re paying in time and money to participate in below-cost deals.
  • If shipping merchandise to your home, factor taxes and shipping costs in to the profitability of the deal.
  • If shipping directly to a group (drop-shipping), be aware that many large retailers have the addresses for common buyer groups blocked and will auto-cancel orders that are made to those addresses. Sometimes this can be remedied by “jigging” their address (adding additional characters, spaces, etc), sometimes it’s necessary to ship to your own address to get the order through.
  • Many stores block the ability to buy 3rd party gift cards with Visa/MC gift cards. It’s easiest for both gc and merchandise to pay using credit cards.
  • Our own Stephen Pepper’s website, GC Galore, is probably the most-used resource for tracking gift card sales (and is used by many buyer’s clubs). It’s worth a follow.

Risks of using Buying Groups

  • Risk of non-payment is real, both in merchandise and gift card buying groups. Like all companies, buying groups sometimes go out of business. In those cases, there are often customers left holding the bag. In one of the most notorious cases, a gift card group went out of business and one unfortunate gal was owed over $100K. This is one of the reasons why it's wise to diversify as a general rule.
  • Some retailers like Target, Best Buy, Ebay and Dell will block accounts that they suspect are reselling from ordering through their sites. Dell operates on a hair-trigger. Shutdowns happen. Most folks reading this will probably not be buying from these retailers at a clip that draws their ire (outside of Dell), but go in with eyes open.
  • Amazon.com allows buying 3rd party gift cards with Amazon gift card credit, but Amazon has been known to shut down the accounts of some customers doing this. If you value your Amazon account, proceed with caution.
  • Amazon.com is also one of the easiest retailers from which to drop-ship. Shutdowns do happen, though. It pays to start small, ramp up slowly, and pay as much as you can for buying group products with credit cards instead of Amazon gift cards.
Alila Ventana Big Sur Villa Window Seat with Greg
Buyer’s groups allow you to MS without leaving the couch (like Greg is doing here at Ventana Big Sur)

List of Buying Groups

Below is a (partial) list of buying groups. Except where noted, I’ve personally used all of them. Most of the groups below have websites, but I also included a few smaller groups that only operate via Telegram and/or WhatsApp. This list is meant to be informational and a group’s appearance here shouldn’t be considered an endorsement by Frequent Miler. Where WhatsApp/Telegram links are included it’s with the permission of the group.

Merchandise

  • BuyForMeRetail (BFMR)
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail, Telegram, WhatsApp
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: One of the bigger merchandise groups with a good online platform. In my experience, the rates are usually a touch below other groups and they do a lot of below-cost deals.
  • BuyGetRewards (BGR)
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail, Telegram
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: Currently, BGR is under a website renovation and is not active. Once they return, they’re a good option to follow. They don’t have the amount of the deals that the bigger guys do, but sometime offer noticeably better rates.
  • Closeout NJ
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: I’ve never used Closeout NJ myself, but they’re a high-volume group that a lot of people find very useful.
  • DCB
    • Primary Notification Channel: WhatsApp. Slack
    • Submission method: Shared spreadsheet
    • Notes: DCB is smaller group that I started using a couple of years ago for a US Mint coin deal. It has grown a ton since and does a tremendous (and creative) variety of offers (merchandise, coins, gift cards, fuel points, etc). No website (WhatsApp sign-up linked above).
  • MaxOut Deals (this is our affiliate link — thank you!)
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail, Telegram, WhatsApp
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: MaxOut is a new player that’s put a ton of resources into their operations and is part of the same group as the electronics wholesaler Wireless World. They’re very buyer-friendly, with good rates, no below-cost deals, prompt processing and terrific communication. I’ve found that I have to keep my eye on their received pricing as it sometimes varies from offer price (by very small amounts), but they’re very good about fixing it quickly and without argument.
  • MYS
    • Update: We’ve received numerous reports of severe payment delays and lack of communication from MYS over the last several months. Take caution.
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail, Telegram, WhatsApp
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: Another big, old group that I’ve never used. I know a lot of people that use MYS, but I also notice more service complaints as well (and that could be just due to higher volume).
  • PFS 
    • Update: PFS evidently got way over their skis on a recent deal on concert tickets. It sounds like poor organization and communication resulted in both the company and consumers losing quite a bit of money. They’ve primarily done coin deals in the past, and I’ve never heard of any issues with those. But based on how they handled this deal (and the folks who did it with them), some caution is warranted.
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: Primarily does US Mint deals, which have been very slow over the last year. Well-organized, with excellent communication. Not always the best rates.
  • Pointsmaker
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail, Telegram, WhatsApp
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: Established group that does a wide variety of merchandise deals and very occasionally gift cards. Easy-to-use platform (very similar to MaxOut Deals and BGR). I often find deals here that aren’t being covered by the other groups.
  • The Buying Group
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail, Telegram
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: Formerly known as “The Deal Buyer,” this group was recently sold and renamed. They offer a lot of deals (including quite a bit of below-cost) and have an easy-to-use platform. I was hearing of some service complaints right before they were sold, but it seems those have improved with the ownership change.
  • USA
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail, Telegram, WhatsApp
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: I’ve never personally used USA. They’re a big group, but I don’t know many folks that use them either, so I don’t really have much data to go on.
a screenshot of a gift card
Happy cards can be turned into gift cards from multiple retailers and are a frequent target of buyer’s groups when they’re on sale.

Gift Cards

  • Aligned Incentives (AI)
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: In my opinion, the easiest-to-use GC site for new folks. They offer a lot of deals, their online platform is super-slick and catches most submission mistakes before they’re made. Great communication and competitive rates.
  • Duck Deals
    • Primary Notification Channel: Telegram, WhatsApp
    • Submission method: Google Forms
    • Notes: Derrick “Duck” is one of the nicest guys around and runs this lower-volume GC group. His rates are competitive and he’s great for folks in the HEB footprint. Payment timeframes tend to be slower, but he’s very transparent with his process.
  • Gift Card Arbitrage (Telegram Link)
    • Primary Notification Channel: Telegram, WhatsApp
    • Submission method: Shared Spreadsheet
    • Notes: Run by Eugene Weinstein, GCA primarily buys gift cards at good rates, but also buys fuel points, does merchandise deals, and runs a mileage trading group. Very above-board and almost instantly-communicative. No website (WhatsApp and Telegram sign-up links above).
  • QCGC
    • Primary Notification Channel: Website/Telegram
    • Submission method: Spreadsheet
    • Notes: High-volume, Telegram-specific group that hits a nice sweet-spot of competitive rates and good variety of brands.
  • Raise
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail, Website
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: The biggest guys in the GC-reselling sphere. They usually don’t have the best rates, but can be useful because of the variety of cards they buy.
  • The Card Bay (TCB)
    • Primary Notification Channel: E-mail, Website
    • Submission method: Website
    • Notes: Very big bulk buyer/seller that’s been around forever. I rarely found them to have the best rates, but one reader who uses them often says that are very competitive with the cards he sells. Like Raise, they buy a lot of card brands that other groups don’t.
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John Smith

USA communication has been horrible. They delete tickets, stop responding, and take forever to “resolve” issues. Their ticket times were so long that it took over two weeks and tons of pestering for them to finally tell me “we didn’t get it” even though it was delivered with other packages that same day.

By this point, I would not be reimbursed by the shipper (if it actually was lost…) so I basically ate a loss of over $1000 because they will not respond to any communication.

Jay

Check out buying group marketplace called Deal & Runner

MrGeorge

Is there ever a concern about income taxes? Since the BG would be paying back cash which could get flagged by the bank or IRS? (I’m in Canada, but I reckon US laws would be similar about this)

DMoney

Here is my experience with some of these over the past three months since I started using this technique –

  1. Maxoutdeals – I have sent them stuff worth $15k (20+ shipments), mostly from Costco, and all of them have been checked-in almost within an hour of UPS sending me delivery notification (only exception was Prime Day where they took 2-3 days to check in everything, but they communicated that in advance). Payments have been slow – it started with 2 weeks from the date of request and recently has become 3 weeks. Still not bad
  2. BFMR – I just recently sent them my first order from Amazon. It was checking-in and auto paid within 10 mins of amazon sending me delivery notification and the money is in my account already.
  3. USA BG – I sent them first order last week, and it was checked-in promptly. I requested check 2 days ago and it’s still pending. They have a lot of unique deals that I am planning to take advantage of (e.g. Mac Mini from Costco that no other BG is looking for).

In general, I have had no issues with Costco and Amazon sending shipments to these BGs above to their DE addresses. Walmart, BB and Dell get auto canceled.

I have also done spending worht 25k with some Canadian BGs that also reimburse taxes (since there are no tax-free provinces in Canada), mostly through AMZ Canada and there hasn’t been any issues whatsoever.

DMoney

It’s also worth noting that when I first tried to send AMZ shipment to one of these addresses, AMZ shut down my account for violating their terms of usage, but conviniently never told me what the violation was. I didn’t think this had anything to do with the BG address and a quick google search revealed that this was more common than I thought. One of the reasons the members on flyertalk suggested was the possibility of multiple prime accounts for members at the same addreses. This seemed applicable to me since I had created a separare AMZ account for BG purchases and was planning on paying for prime membership on that, but AMZ by default gives you 30 day free trial. I tried to get that clarified with AMZ but they were not willing to help or provide more info. I opened a case with Better Business Bureau of my state and AMZ restored my account within 2 weeks of the complaint. Since then, I have been able to send 5+ shipment to three different BGs without any issues.

Jig

Apologies for a duplicate comment from another post, but I think it’s relevant and timely:
PFS recently ran a Travis Scott tickets deal, and 7 days later has not paid yet as the deal terms initially indicated. They have changed multiple terms AFTER tickets were bought by opted in members:
1. Specified standard tickets only, excluding platinum, etc
2. Reduced the face value limit per ticket from $300 to $250
3. Required direct access to Ticketmaster account including password to transfer tickets to end buyers, instead of original method of providing transfer instructions to their holding accounts
4. Added API access to Ticketmaster account for their reselling software
5. Changed payout timeframe to 2 weeks from original 1 week, and that for member cost only. Deal commission of $25 per ticket is indicated to be paid at unspecified later date.
6. Payout timeframes are linked vaguely to start from when PFS sells/transfers to end buyers, which wasn’t in original terms

It seems likely they overextended themselves on this deal, and the post deal payment delay and term changes are quite concerning. FM should reconsider their characterization of PFS and update relevant posts, if PFS doesn’t respond clearly and with full payment of their obligation, especially since they tried hard to obligate members with legal agreements.

Frank

I want to second this. I took a big loss on this PFS Buyer Club “deal” as they completely reneged on the terms. Just wanted others to be aware of this scam.

Last edited 8 months ago by Frank
James

Appears that QCGC may have shut down? The Telegram link says expired and the telegram-link.org tracker shows a sharp drop-off in members to 0 as of a couple weeks ago?

Stevenson

@Tim please remove ‘the buying group’ from your list. their checks to me worth over 5 figures have all bounced and they have not responded to any communiques.

Matt

I’m surprised at all the positive BFMR comments. There is a known documented theft ring in that area. All 3 Amazon shippers (USPS, UPS, and especially Amazon’s own delivery services) know that shipments going to any of BFMR’s addresses contain lots of goodies worth stealing.

Last holiday season, Amazon delivery left a package in the public area of one of their PO Boxes rather than deliver it to PO staff! Took a picture of it as being “delivered” lying in front of the PO Box. Then of course that package was stolen and never delivered, probably by the delivery person or a partner.

It’s great that BFMR pays quickly, but there is simply too much risk to ship anything from Amazon to them. Amazon has designated all of their address as “freight forwarder”, so they won’t refund any undelivered shipments. And BFMR won’t cover you. So YOU take all the risk.

ATM

Very much do NOT recommend The Card Bay. They do not follow their own terms and conditions and will de-activate your account even if you did nothing wrong and followed the terms and conditions yourself. I do however recommend Aligned Incentives and PFS.

JamesIV

I’ve used USA, PFS, MYS, BFMR and Pointsmaker without any issues.
Also bought a lot for Buyers for Points (BFP)

Kevin

BFP is literally the worst and slowest at payments. It take 6-8 weeks to get payments and that’s just not gonna work, casuals or not.

John

I only bought for Buyer for Points once and it took over 4 months to get my money back. Thankfully I only tested them out with one item for less than $200.m Never used them again.

John

Is there an FAQ for Pointsmaker? Are we supposed to drop ship items to their DE address or do we ship to our home first and where eligible get their shipping label?

Seems BFMR’s dashboard is far more intuitive for a first timer.

Joanna

It depends, some products you can only send directly to the Delaware warehouse. Other products you have the option of sending them to your home and they send you the shipping label. Please note that if you ship to Delaware, there is no sales tax. If you send it to your house and you live in a state that charges Sales Tax, that amount will not be returned to you unless they charge a high commission

Melody

where in the address do we put our number?? or we don’t? there’s not enough information like BFMR. would you be able to let me know how you do it?

N G

I signed up for BFMR yesterday and jumped on a small Amazon deal. Placed the order and it was quickly canceled by Amazon due to too many orders going to the BFMR address. Should I be worried about getting orders canceled like that? If you have an order canceled, do you just try again with a different BFMR shipping address on the same deal or do you wait for another deal?

Parker

The atkinson adress often works better for most retailers

Thomas

No honorable mention for Hardbody?

Anonymous

Maxoutdeals are good about fixing issues? really?

Fred

Have you sold to all the platforms that you list and describe? How did you obtain your information about them? Did any of them pay you or promise any benefits for the write-up?

vee

I’ll be equally blunt. It doesn’t appear you read the post carefully. You seem new to to this site.