May 10, 2012
Frequent Miler leaned over his laboratory workbench to examine the notice more closely. Could it be true? Is this real? He turned quickly to the lab computer and ran a Google search. Yes, it checked out! The key to the perfect perpetual point machine was at hand!
Meanwhile, somewhere across the country, fellow schemer Greek2me saw the same notice, but came to a different conclusion. He saw an opportunity to create a perpetual money making machine…
The notice read:
CVS: Get A Bonus $5 eGift Card For Every $25 eGift Card That You Buy!
Why had a simple notice like this attracted anyone’s attention?
Frequent Miler’s Experiment
I often write about ways to earn huge numbers of points by buying $100 Visa gift cards online. For example, see “What’s my X?” If one could find an easy and reliable way to turn those gift cards into cash, then a perfect perpetual point machine would be at hand. One could buy gift cards with a credit card, earn points, cash out the gift cards, use the cash to pay one’s credit card bill, and repeat.
The CVS deal wasn’t limited to $5 bonus cards. For example, CVS was selling $100 e-gift cards and giving an extra $20 gift card for free. So, one could easily convert a $100 Visa card into $120 worth of CVS gift cards! From there, one could sell the gift cards at a 17% loss and still recoup all of the original $100. I checked GiftCardGranny and saw that multiple gift card resellers were offering 85% for CVS gift cards! This meant that a person could not only cash out $100 Visa cards, but they could even make a profit!
Of course I knew this deal wouldn’t last forever, but I was unable to find a stated end date, so I hoped it would last a while.
Greek2Me bought two $150 eGift cards and received two $30 eGift cards for free. His plan was to print the gift cards, take them to CVS, and use them to buy Visa gift cards. If this worked, he could theoretically then use the Visa gift cards to buy more CVS eGift cards, and then repeat the whole process again and again. Each time, his funds would grow larger!
Frequent Miler’s Story
The first part of my experiment ran without a hitch. I had no trouble using a $100 Visa card to buy the $100 CVS eGift card. Within minutes I received both the $100 CVS card and the $20 bonus via email.
Next, I clicked through to PlasticJungle from TopCashBack to see about selling the cards. It turned out that PlasticJungle did not allow sales of CVS eGift cards (physical cards only). OK, on to plan B…
Next stop was CardPool. CardPool did accept eGift cards from CVS, but with an 80% payout (instead of 85% offered for physical cards). Well, OK, I thought… With 4% cash back from TopCashBack, I’ll still do OK. So I went ahead and sold the $100 gift card for $80. Since I went through TopCashBack, I expect to earn an additional $4 for this transaction. At this point, my losses amounted to 16% – still a decent take since I could afford to lose 17% and still break even.
The real trouble began when I tried to sell the $20 e-card. CardPool would only take denominations of $25 or more! So, I tried CouponTrade instead. CouponTrade will take cards worth $20 or more. Perfect! Or so I thought…
The CVS gift card sold almost immediately on CouponTrade, but then I received a message to mail the gift card to the buyer. Uh oh. I sent a note to CouponTrade saying this was an e-card. Can’t they just forward it to the buyer? After some back and forth, it turned out that CouponTrade does not allow sales of e-cards from CVS, so the order was cancelled.
I now plan to simply print the gift card and use it next time I’m at CVS.
Experiment Result = Fail.
Greek2Me took his printed cards to CVS and tried to use them to pay for part of a $500 Visa gift card. The cashier took the gift cards without complaint and tried to apply them. Unfortunately, the register itself refused to complete the order. It said that gift cards could not be used to purchase gift cards.
Experiment Result = Fail.
Other Options: Nope
Other options still existed to meet our goals, but they are irrelevant now. The promotion appears to have ended.