I have come to the end of my rope with AMEX Gift Cards. Once the mainstay of my miles and points collecting, they have now just gotten to be too much trouble to use.
I have been buying them for years to offset the costs of earning miles on my credit cards. I went through cash-back portals like Ebates and TopCashBack to earn from 1-3% cash back. This money that I earned helped to offset the costs of buying the VISA gift cards that I used to get the money spent on the credit cards back into my hands. In my last post about AMEX gift cards, I was bemoaning the fact that cash back had dropped down to 1%. My premise at that time was that I would continue my miles-earning cycle as long as cash-back stayed at 1% or greater. The cash-back has stayed at 1%-2%. But there is a bigger problem, and it’s a real pain-in-the-ass!
The problem is a condition that has been set by American Express themselves. They will not pay cash-back on gift cards that have denominations over $200. Whereas before I would buy one $2000 AMEX gift card a week, now I would have to buy 10 gift cards. This is beyond my pain-in-the-ass threshold. I don’t want to deal in trying to split tender to buy $500 VISA gift cards, and I don’t want to have to buy $200 VISA gift cards. So I’m not going to.
I am looking at some other strategies to put a lot of spend on my credit cards, but in the meantime, I will scale back and just go the credit card—->VISA gift card route. This route will cost me about 1%. I just have to determine on a case-by-case basis if miles are worth buying at $0.01 each.