Published on March 23rd, 2015 | by Chuck19
AmEx Offers: My Trip to Lowe’s
We reported on a recent Amex Offer of $10 off a $50 purchase at Lowe’s. Of course, my mind immediately turns to gift cards. We still have until April 17 on this offer, but I find that as time goes on gift card rack gets thinner and thinner and I wanted to get it done with right away.
In the past, I always bought Shell or BP gas gift cards and resold them for around 90% of the value. I end up netting about $5 per Amex card plus a bunch of free Amex points.
This time I headed out to Lowe’s with hopes of using my twelve registered Amex cards, a mixture of regular credit cards and some Serve cards. Remember, this is the edge that Serve has over REDbird…time to make use of that now. I was planning on buying $600 worth of gas gift cards, preferably in $50 denominations, not $25 denominations, so as to minimize the hassle of dealing with more cards. (I don’t always end up so lucky on this end.)
Before going into the store, I pre-arranged that there would be exactly $50 in each of my 5 Serve accounts/subaccounts. The balance was transferred into Reserve.
First thing I noticed in Lowe’s were eBay gift cards! They had the $50 fixed-denomination cards and the variable-load $25-$500 cards. I now recall FrequentMiler posting that eBay gift cards were returning to stores and he specifically mentioned them as a way of making use of Amex Offers. But somehow I forgot about it and was planning on doing the gas-card drill.
Alright, we’ll add some eBay gift cards into the mix. I picked up a $50 eBay gift card and two $50 Shell gift cards. I’m not comfortable coming up to the cashier with a pile of gift cards and a stack of credit cards, so I usually do a few cards with one cashier and then head over to the next one.
Upon my request, the cashier rang up the $100 in gas gift cards separate from $50 in eBay gift card. I took the chance and swiped a Serve card to pay for the $100 in gas gift cards and the system beautifully drained the balance of the Serve card ($50) and prompted me to pay the remaining balance with a second card, which I did. Then we checked out the $50 eBay gift card separately and I used up a third Amex card on that. 1 Serve card and 2 credit cards down.
Headed over to another checkout aisle, this time I did $100 on an eBay gift card and a $50 Shell gift card. Drained one Serve card and used one credit card on the eBay card. Then did the $50 Shell card as a separate transaction using another credit card. 2 Serve cards and 4 credit cards down.
Off to the next casier I go. This time with one eBay gift card. I ask her to load $150. Swiped one Serve card, drained. Swiped another Serve card, drained. Paid the balance with a third Amex card. 4 Serve cards and 5 credit cards down.
Out of curiosity, I checked to see if the self-checkout worked with gift cards. This time with a $50 Whole Foods gift card. I’ve had success in the past at Home Depot with gift cards at the self-checkout, though the process is cumbersome and required an attendant override. Anyway, at Lowe’s the self-checkout wouldn’t read the item at all and the attendant ended up checking me out. Paid with a credit card. 4 Serve cards and 6 credit cards down.
Found one more cashier (last one left) and bought $100 on an eBay gift card. Drained my last Serve card and used my last credit card.
SUCCESS. 5 Serve cards and 7 credit cards used up in one shopping trip.
Final yield: $400 in eBay gift cards, $150 in Shell gift cards, and $50 in Whole Foods gift cards. The gas and Whole Foods I’ll resell and make around $20 ($5 per Amex card). The eBay cards,
I’ll use up on eBay to buy other discounted gift cards which I’ll resell at a profit or at a break-even (usually ends up being a profit). This is no longer possible
Also worth noting that Lowe’s has Amazon gift cards (fixed and variable load cards), but I don’t shop there much and they don’t have a high resale value so I avoided those. They have lots of other gift cards too. One reader told us of finding $200 Visa gift cards in central VA, but I’ve never been lucky to see those in my area.
One final note about the Shell gift cards. These cards look different than they have in the past.
They now have two parts and I’m honestly confused which is the main one. Presumably, the top part is the main, but the bottom part actually has the bar-code, not the top part. Both have swiper strips. Since I was a little throw off there, I went with the Whole Foods for the next purchase. I’m not sure if I need to send in both parts of the card when reselling or just the top part. The old cards had the bar code on the main card, and they didn’t have this attachment at all.