A couple of days ago, Daraius at Million Mile Secrets wrote about how you can get $1,000 PIN-enabled Visa gift cards from Gift Card Mall. As he notes, this has many advantages, particularly for people that are having difficulty purchasing Vanilla Reload cards to meet their minimum spend requirements.
Personally, my favorite use for this would be to go straight to Walmart to load the funds directly to Bluebird, then pay off my credit card amount using your Bluebird account (plus the $8 in fees). Frequent Miler wrote how you can do this through Walmart’s ATM machines so you won’t even have to talk to anyone if you’re feeling antisocial, except this is a little better since the entire $1K is on just one gift card.
But there’s also a way to get a little extra money back. People in the points world are very familiar with cash back websites, but usually shun them in favor of shopping portals that earn extra points instead of cash back (like the Ultimate Rewards Mall). In this case, Top Cash Back (my referral link if you don’t have an account – thanks for your support) is offering 1.5% off the purchase of Visa Gift Cards, and 2% off all other gift cards from Gift Card Mall. Yes, Visa gift cards are specifically broken out into a separate cash back category, meaning Visa gift cards will definitely earn cash back.
Let’s say you buy a $1,000 Visa gift card and pay the $8 for shipping and insurance as Daraius notes (I also recommend getting insurance). Your total cost will be $1,008. If, however, you go through Top Cash Back, you’ll get 1.5%, or $15, off the gift card price, bringing your total effective cost to $993 after cash back.
In terms of earning points, this is a total no-brainer! Using any basic credit card like the SPG Amex will earn you 1,008 points, plus you’ll make $7! Forget earning points at .8 cents per point…they’re now essentially paying you to earn points! I just signed up for 7 new credit cards in my recent App-O-Rama and will definitely be making use of this technique to meet my minimum spend requirements.
Note that the cash back from Top Cash Back is not instant – it actually has taken 2 months for some of my purchases. I used to use them heavily for buying and selling gift cards from Plastic Jungle (Plastic Jungle doesn’t work anymore) and Cardpool back in the pre-Vanilla Reload days. I’ve also used Top Cash Back to make several other purchases (I got 70-75% off from Banana Republic a while by buying discounted gift cards from Plastic Jungle, using a coupon, and getting cash back from Top Cash Back). Cash back makes sense in some cases, and particularly this one.
The best part is there’s literally nothing to lose. If you click through Top Cash Back and don’t get the cash back for some reason, you still get the Visa gift card for relatively cheap (the same exact price as buying Vanilla Reloads actually). As far as manufactured spending goes, this seems like a great way to increase spend while not breaking the bank.
Let me know if you’ve found other ways to sweeten the deal!
Update: Looks like there is a way to sweeten the deal! Commenter “Wedding Spend” below points out that you can get cash back from buying Amex Gift Cards via Big Crumbs (my referral link – thanks again for your support!). You’ll earn another 1.4% cash back. If you buy a $3,000 Amex gift card, you’ll get at least another $30 back! Rake in the cash and the points!
Frequent Miler wrote a comprehensive post on how to take advantage of this extra cash back!