February 13, 2013
I’ve reported before that it is possible to get 1.5% cash back via TopCashBack or 1.4% cash back via BigCrumbs when buying Amex gift cards online. Here are some miscellaneous updates on that topic…
Financial review fears
Some people who have ordered large amounts of gift cards from American Express, using American Express credit cards to pay, have suffered through American Express financial reviews. This means that American Express freezes all of you Amex card accounts and requests documentation (such as tax forms) to prove to them that you are able to sustain such high levels of spend (and to pay it back). Regardless of whether the financial review satisfies American Express, its probably an event that you would prefer to avoid. So, just note that as a caution before you buy too many gift cards!
FatWallet vs. TopCashBack
Currently, the difference in payout between FatWallet and TopCashBack is very small (1.4% vs. 1.5%). In general, people have had very positive experiences with FatWallet (see, for example, “FatWallet sets a high bar for cash back portals“). However, experiences with TopCashBack have been mixed. While I haven’t had much trouble, some readers have reported so much trouble that they’ve vowed never to use the site again. Again, just consider that a caution. As long as the difference in payout is so small, you may be better off going with FatWallet.
There are usually discount codes available to either reduce shipping charges or eliminate fees from Amex gift card purchases. However, readers have reported problems with codes I’ve reported in the past. One reader reports success with the code “PHONEGIFT3” but when I tried it I received an error. Another reader reported success with the code “EMSVCA” but that too gave me an error. It seems that if I start my session in BigCrumbs or TopCashBack, the codes don’t work. If I go directly to Amex, the codes do work, but then I won’t get 1.4%/1.5% cash back.
The one code I’ve found that does seem to work after going through a cash back portal is AFLQ12013. I’ve tried this successfully from both BigCrumbs and TopCashBack. This code subtracts $5.95 from your shipping charges.
Have you used any codes successfully lately with a cash back portal? If so, please report the codes in the comments below.
A number of readers have reported frustration with TopCashBack for various reasons and have questioned whether they will pay out reliably for Amex gift cards. This is just one small data point, but its worth noting that my transactions from January 11 have moved from pending to confirmed:
While this is reassuring, its also a good reminder that getting cash back can take a long time (from any portal).
It looks like you can get cash back for ordering free American Express prepaid gift cards. BigCrumbs offers $7 back and TopCashBack offers $10. I experimented by going through TopCashBack to American Express Gift Cards and I searched for Prepaid Cards. I then ordered one for my wife. You can get one with no money loaded on it and there is no charge. I later received confirmation from TopCashBack that $10 was pending (and the status is now “confirmed”):
Each person (based on SSN) can order up to 3 free prepaid cards, so this can be up to $30 free money per person. I wonder if one were to cancel the cards if they could order more…?
To find the prepaid cards, go to the gift cards section, scroll to the bottom and look for a tiny hyperlink titled “prepaid cards”:
Reader Tip: Adding your name to the card
This tip comes from a reader who noted that Amex allows you to add a message to each gift card and that the message appears at the bottom of the card in the same place that a name would usually appear on a credit card. Soooo, if you plan to use these gift cards for yourself, simply put your own name in as the message. That way, if a store asks to see your ID, they can compare the name on your ID to the one on your “credit card”.
To get to the customizable gift cards, scroll to the bottom of the gift card screen and look for the tiny “gift cards” hyperlink:
Then, select “Custom Message Gift Cards”. Warning: I have not tested whether this will result in cash back if you came from a cash back portal. I expect it will, but I don’t yet have proof.
Related Posts and Links
- FatWallet sets a high bar for cash back portals
- TopCashBack sign-up referral link
- BigCrumbs sign-up referral link