Posted by Chuck on November 18, 2015
Portals

Published on November 18th, 2015 | by Chuck

39

Amex Gift Card + Promo Code Working for Small Gift Card Purchases

History

As we know, it used to be possible to get cashback from the portal when buying Amex gift cards in high denominations. That stopped a few months ago and they only pay out now on denominations of $200 or less. We still don’t know if the high denominations on the portal will come back or not.

Another development that happened a while back is that the portal stopped paying out when a promo code is used. There are ubiquitous promo codes available to waive either the shipping fees or the purchase fee. When using a promo code, the portal cashback gets invalidated.

Promo Codes on Low Denominations

An interesting development came to light. It seems that the $200 cards are still triggering portal cashback. I made a $198 Amex gift card order going through the Topcashback portal and it triggered the 1.5% cashback and already reached payable. A few readers mentioned the same in the comments of a previous post.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 1.51.12 PM

I tried with Befrugal and it’s now pending; I’m optimistic it will come through as payable. [Update 12/2/15: While the Topcashback paid out, the Befrugal got clawed back.]

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 1.54.51 PM

It appears that Amex has the $200- denominations coded separately and they thus offer cashback on those and not the higher cards. Likewise, they are not coded for promo codes to negate cashback.

Note: The official terms don’t mention this distinction and exclude all gift card orders to which a promo code was applied. In the event that something goes wrong with the tracking of the cashback, you won’t be able to file a missing cashback claims since it’s excluded in the terms.

Promo Codes and Fees

  • Shipping fee of $8.95 If you have the premium shipping plan with Amex, the shipping is free. And you can get a 90-day free trial. Also, code: EARLYFSC will work until 11/31/15 to waive the shipping fee.
  • Purchase fee of $3.95  Until 2/28/16 you can use code: EMSVCA to waive this fee.

Only one promo code can be applied per order.

Final Thoughts

While interesting, this development doesn’t have much practical use since it only affects the low-denomination cards and it’s not worth the hassle to deal with so many small cards for such a small gain. Even if you’d pay no fees at all on the Amex gift cards, you’ll only end up with a $3 or $4 gain per Amex card – not worth it in my opinion. If high-dollar gift cards come back, I’m sure they’ll be coded not to work with the portals, as has been the case in the past.

The main use for this will be under the current $10 off $200 on Amex gift cards, see $10 Off $200 on Amex Gift Cards, 5% Discount Everywhere Until Year’s End for more details on how to maximize this offer.

If you have the Amex free shipping plan, you can use a promo code to waive the purchase fee and get the gift cards completely fee-free and net the $10 from the Amex Offer, plus the $3 or $4 from the portal. Still not the deal of the century, but the $13-14 gain makes the hassle of dealing with multiple small cards more worthwhile, versus a $10 gain.

If you don’t have the free shipping plan, you can sign up for it; each unique login should be able to get another free 3 months and you can use any credit card to pay, even an Amex which is associated with a different login. Alternatively, you can order personalized $198 gift cards and pay the $2 shipping fee – not as good but it still may be worthwhile.



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Spgbus
Spgbus

It will be clawed back in about two weeks.

Yumeng
Yumeng

I agree. I used Mr.Rebate last time. Showed up and then got clawed back.

Fiby

It was not clawed back for me from Topcashback. It was confirmed, and just a few days ago I cashed it out.

Spgbus
Spgbus

Purchased on 10/27 $200 at 1.5%, $3 pending CB on TCP was clawed back on 11/12.

Matt K
Matt K

I cashed out from TCB for my AGC $10 purchases.

Matt K
Matt K

Correction, amex offer $10 back off $200 purchases

al613
al613

It worked for me on TCB (paid out) for 1.5%, but when they had 2.25% promo cash back was clawed back.

Mike
Mike

Same here. Made a test purchase during the last TCB 2.25% promo day and it was clawed back when it would normally go to confirmed. It sat as pending for 3 weeks.

If it does indeed payout during the standard rate with promo codes I will be able to at least ramp my MS back up as my go to drug store chain has no issues letting buy $2k in VGCs in two transactions split 5 ways. Kind of a pain for the cashier but it’s dead whenever I go anyways.

Mike
Mike

Just did a test $2k (10x $200) purchase with promo code (I already have the unlimited free shipping plan). We’ll see how it goes.

sam
sam

!98 must be personalized GC, right? Is there any confirmation on standard 200 GC paying back?

DT
DT

My 2 orders got paid yesterday and I was successful on several occasions previously. It is worth a “risk”.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

I’ve done 7 $200 transactions since the $10 off $200 amex offer rolled out using TCB on all. I used a free fee code (I have free premium shipping). Here’s my data points:

– Two Oct 1st purchases @ 1.5% both reached payable and show $3.00
– 6 purchases spread across two different days did not pay out, although they did track and have the green dot showing as payable. The dates are October 20th and 26th. If anyone knows which dates TCB rolled out the 2.25% higher rate over the last 1-2 months it would be helpful here. I do believe at least either the 20th or the 26th was in fact a 2.25% rate so my going assumption here is both were 2.25%.

At this point I’m under the impression that you’ll get paid out (using a code) at the standard 1.5% rate but not at 2.25%.

Fei
Fei

It clawed back for me at standard rate.
I always use the code emsxxx from email Amex sent.

Presley
Presley

There’s no 11/31. But more importantly I haven’t checked in six months but has Amex started shipping to Hawaii for these gift cards?

Atricus
Atricus

if you buy one Business Custom Message Card you will get offered the 90 day trial for free shipping. at that point you can buy any other card with a no activation fee code. however if you want to make an extra $1 on every purchase you can buy the The Preferred Gift Cards for $2 activation and top cash back will pay you $3 cash back.

Mike
Mike

Never noticed those before. Do those ever qualify for the 2.25% cash back? If they do, that would be enough to meet my MS expenses and still profit $1.60 per $1k

Atricus
Atricus

Normally only business card qualify for the 2.25%. but it does qualify for the Amex offer of $10 off $200. so you end up making $13 of $202.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

I think you have some of this mixed up.

I think you meant “Personalized” and not Preferred. Also, the shipping charge is $2 for the personalized business card (not for activation).

Also, if you have the free shipping (90 trial or otherwise) you aren’t required to pay the $2 anyways.

For anyone buying the personalized cards keep in mind they’ll take an additional 2+ business days just for processing. It will however save you the step of calling in to register the card in your name if you intend on liquidating it online.

Atricus
Atricus

Nope I am referring to The Preferred GC. Amex offer several types of card that topcashback pays cashback on Business, Consumer, Mall, Westfield, The Preferred, and Mountain Gif Cards all of them have different denominations and fees but at the end of the day they are all Amex Gift Cards.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Ah you’re right I see it now. So you can personally confirm this works just as the other AGC? I see in the terms it does state:

“The American Express® Gift Card can be used virtually anywhere in the US the American Express Card is accepted and at all our shopping centers.”

I’m still a bit hesitant to buy these for the small savings and potentially run into issues with purchases.

Atricus
Atricus

I can confirm that it works at paypal, plastiq and cvs.

Mike
Mike

Any update on whether portals pay out on $200 AGCs when purchase fee-free code is used? I have 6 more Amex offers for $10 off $200 to redeem by 12/31. Will do the Preferred cards with the $2 activation fee unless we have more clarity on this. I can confirm that the Preferred cards do work as regular amex gift cards, based on a trial I did for one last week.

Eric
Eric

I’m considering buying a $200 Amex gc for the $10 promo. At the checkout screen it shows $99.00 for the premium shipping charge. I expected them to offer me a 90 free trial. I did do a trial a few years ago but that was with my other login. Can someone advise how I can get the free trial before making a purchase?

Eric
Eric

Disregard this. I read over the terms again and see that only custom or personalized gc receive the free trial. I received the option after selecting one of those.

Eric
Eric

Atricus,

I must be missing something as it seems to be that you are making $2 less your way. If you buy a regular $200 gc and use a free shipping code you will pay $200 and still receive the $3 from TCB according to other people here. For your way it seems that you’d be paying $202 and still only receive the $3 from TCB. If I’m wrong can you explain how you are benefiting?

Mark

I have to make a $5000 purchase and would like to do it with an amex gift card. Can I buy 25 $200 agc and get the 1.5% back with if I use the wave fee code on this page? I dont want to try 25 separate transactions because I think it will raise suspicion on my CC. Any experience with this?

Eric
Eric

Chuck (or anyone else),

Do you know of a post or link that lists which credit cards count for cash advances or purchases when buying Amex gc from the Amex site? CS will not allow me to lower my cash limit on my new US Bank Select+ Amex and I don’t want to take the risk that it will count as a cash advance. I’m sure I have other cards that don’t allow it either.

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