Published on October 31st, 2016 | by Chuck95
Amex Offers: My Trip to Sam’s Club
Update: It seems making multiple transactions in the same day is no longer working to trigger the offer (e.g it’ll just count your first transaction). See comments for more.
1) Most people say you can only buy one variable-load Visa/MC gc per transaction. (No personal data point here.)
2) You can not buy a Visa/MC together with a Sam’s gift card in a single transaction. The system requires Visa/MC to be separate from all else, so you have to decide if you want to go the $1250 Sam’s/merchant gc route or the $500 Visa/MC route. Should be able to mix Sam’s and merchant gc, although I personally did all Sam’s. Also note, fixed-value Visa/MC gc process like merchant gc and can combine with other items.
3) The ordinary registers can not issue Sam’s gift cards in denominations of more than $500. It should be possible to buy $1k gc at the customer service desk, and this will also work to trigger the offer credit. Others had success buying $1k at the regular register, however.
4) You can buy at least eight Sam’s gift cards in one transaction at a regular cash register. (I did seven $500 and one $250.)
5) You can split-tender between at least three Amex cards (e.g. a $3,750 purchase). I suspect the actual limit is four cards, as it is at Walmart, but I didn’t try that.
6) If cashier does something wrong and completely cancels the transaction, that Sam’s gc is now dead. Get a new one to start over the new transaction.
7) The main gc rack will have merchant/Visa/MC/Sam’s gc. You can also find Sam’s gc near many cash registers.
8) Readers note an alternative to buying $500 VGC or Sam’s gc is to buy $200 V/MC gc. Six of them will cost around $1240, and can all be purchased in a single transaction.
9) A few pics at the end of the post.
Original Post: Amex Offers: 20% Back at Sam’s Club! [Targeted]
The 20% off Sam’s offer has tremendous potential for maximizing with gift cards. The gift card options are buying Sam’s gift cards (which are interchangeable with Walmart gift cards), $500 Visa/MC gift cards, and third-party merchant gift cards to various restaurants, Disney, Southwest, etc.
Hopefully, many of you got free Sam’s membership from Amex, recently.
The best current deal on Sam’s membership is this $25 Groupon + $5 back for new members, or this is a $10 Sam’s gc deal for those who’s membership recently expired. (The Groupon link contains our affiliate link; we appreciate when you use our links.)
My Trip to Sam’s
I got the 20% Sam’s offer on five cards. My plan was to buy one $500 Visa/MC gc and a $750 Sam’s gift card per transaction, and repeat five times. There is one big rack with third-party gift cards (pics below) which also has Visa/MC and Sam’s gift cards. I took five Sam’s gift cards and five $500 MC gc to the checkout line.
When my turn came, I handed the cashier one Sam’s gift card and asked him to put $750 on it. He didn’t know what to do, and we ended up having to cancel that transaction. We got help from the supervisor there, but she couldn’t get the card to load properly. In the end, it turned out that once the card had been scanned in a cancelled transaction, that card is now ‘dead,’ and can’t be used again.
I handed a new Sam’s card to the supervisor and requested to load $750 on the card, but the system didn’t allow more than $500. We did $500, and then I gave a MC gc to the supervisor, but the system requires processing Visa/MC in a separate transaction from all other purchases. (I remember this from experience at Walmart, as well.)
Change of plans: let’s do this all Sam’s gift cards, without any Visa/MC mixed in.
I handed the other three Sam’s gift cards to the cashier and loaded $500 on each. Now I was up to $2k. The supervisor was able to grab another Sam’s gc from a rack nearby after I clarified that it doesn’t matter to me which design is showing on the Sam’s gift card.
The supervisor was easily able to split the $2,500 purchase onto two credit cards. And I got two reassuring emails from Amex congratulating me for using the two offer.
Two Amex cards down, three to go.
I mentioned to the supervisor that I wanted to buy more gift cards, but that I’d go to the back of the line so others don’t have to wait any longer. (I said this because I expected to need the supervisor’s help the next time around too, and didn’t want to look shady.) Luckily, the supervisor told me she’d take me herself on a different aisle. It seems there was a cashier-in-training there, and this was a perfect opportunity for the new cashier to learn the ins-and-outs of activating gift cards.
We headed over to the other checkout lane, and I quickly grabbed eight more Sam’s gift cards, seven of one design and one card of another design, and asked the supervisor to load $500 on seven cards and $250 on the last one.
After gift card #4 she started getting worried that we might run into a system limit on the number of gift cards which can be purchased in a single transaction. But I prodded her to keep trying, and we were able to activate all eight cards, $3,750 total, in a single transaction. I proceeded to split the payment with three Amex cards, $1,250 on each.
Merchant Gift Cards
Not only does Sam’s carry third-party gift cards, they discount most of them as well. Southwest, Disney, iTunes, and Starbucks are 4% off, and there are tons of restaurants also discounted around 4%. Some have higher discounts, like Papa John’s and Coldstone which have a whopping 20% discount. And this is all before accounting for the 20% Amex Offer discount.
An advantage of the merchant gift cards is that – I’d guess – those just scan simply using the bar code, same as if you were buying ketchup or mayonnaise, versus Visa/MC/Sam’s gc which have a special process to activate and some cashiers might not know what to do.
The downside of merchant gc is that you’ll have to deal with way more cards, both at checkout and when using them, since the denominations are small ($50 or less).
On the way out, I took some pics. Due to some odd looks I was getting, I limited myself to a few. You can also check out this Milestomemories post for some more pics.
This has been one of the most profitable Amex Offers I’ve gotten. Sam/Walmart gift cards can be sold for 90.5%. I may have profited more from some other Amex deals, but this was probably the highest profit-per-Amex-card I’ve ever gotten!
Thankfully, I got a supervisor who had no problem with the high-value transactions and split-tenders that I was doing. That’s probably the biggest question mark of this deal. Best of luck to everyone at your local Sam’s Club!
- Readers in the comments to this post note that you can buy multiple $200 Visa/MC gift cards in a single transaction without a hitch. In retrospect, that might be the easiest route for me since those should scan easily in the system which any cashier can do. Just buy six $200 cards per Amex card and done. You do need to have a liquidation method, though, for all these Visa/MC gift cards, and the Sam’s gift card route might be more attractive to some.
- Also note that a couple of data points in the comments indicate that the single-transaction requirement is not being enforced so if you buy less than $1250 in a transaction it could make sense to make a second purchase and hope for the best.