Posted by Chuck on March 23, 2015
AmEx Offers

Published on March 23rd, 2015 | by Chuck

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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.

shell gift card double card

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.



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Fiby

Man that is a huge haul. I didn’t realize you could set up subaccounts and enroll them in Amex offers separately – I need to get on that.

I presume you need to put a separate name on each subaccount – have you ever had a cashier validate the name on the Serve card against your ID?

TJ
TJ

I did 8 in a row with the Self checkout attendant (all $50 amazon), tried the self checkout too, and, as you say, it doesn’t work at all (Item not found).
Those Shell gift cards like that are also sold at Toys R Us – The top, credit card sized portion works just fine by itself at the Shell stations I have used it at, without the bottom section.
Can’t switch cashiers at my Lowes – one register open and 4 self checkouts only. Guy at the self checkout didn’t care at all, didn’t even look at my cards.

Russ
Russ

I did 11 this Saturday and went for Lowes own giftcards. I bought them all with one cashier and told her I wanted to pay separately for each. She had a great attitude and got into a rhythm, scratching off the pin, swiping, saying “pay me $50!”, then “scribble” She told me about how her husband always makes smily faces instead of signing, so I started doing it too. When she asked what I was up to, I told her it was a promo from Amex and $50 was the minimum.

I went back Sunday and used all my cards on a new water heater. Got a different cashier this time and she was so drunk she had a lot of trouble figuring out how to use the gc’s and was being watched by the manager. I’m really glad I didn’t try to split the tank payment 11 ways.

bob
bob

thanks for the tip to reduce the # of transactions by using 2 subserves. I was able to make all my subserve accounts in my name by just using a differnt phone number/email for each (even though they’re technically all the same # & email)

Frequent Miler

Just FYI, I had no problem buying a $500 gift card at Lowe’s and asking the cashier to split tender $50 at a time.

trackback

[…] I just bought $40 worth of eBay gift cards at Lowe’s using the Amex Offer, so I’ll be buying some of these gift cards. I’ll probably do Jiffy […]

Eric
Eric

Chuck,

Are you saying that in order to make a purchase with Serve I need to put money in my Serve Reserve account? What would happen if I only had money in my normal account? How do you have 5 Serve accounts?

bob
bob

I went in with all my cards and bought a bunch but got NO confirmation emails for my serve subaccounts. I went home and confirmed all were sync’d and had tweeted #amexlowes………did you get an email for all your subaccount purchases?

Albrecht
Albrecht

How were you able to enroll Serve cards into Lowe’s promo? As far I as know it wasn’t available via social networks…

Albrecht
Albrecht

Never mind, tried #amexlowes and they ran out of max # of people

trackback

[…] This is the most interesting offer since Lowe’s is somewhere many shop anyway, and moreover, it’s a place you can buy merchant gift cards to the likes of Amazon, gas, eBay, and restaurants. 20% off gift cards is always nice. I wrote about my experience buying gift cards at Lowe’s utilizing a previous offer here. […]

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