Posted by Chuck on December 4, 2014
Free money

Published on December 4th, 2014 | by Chuck

47

Everything you ever wanted to know about Buying Gift Cards at Best Buy

Introduction to Gift Cards at Best Buy

There are at least four reasons why we’d be interested in purchasing gift cards at Best Buy:

  1. We regularly see Amex Offers of $25 off $250 at Best Buy – a 10% discount. This may be a good deal on actual Best Buy purchases, but it’s definitely a good deal on gift card purchases. Gift cards do trigger the Amex credit, which can give a 10% discount on much more than the purchase of an electronic device. We saw this offer during the holiday season 2013, we saw it once in the middle of 2014, and we see it now in holiday season 2014.
  2. Citi Dividend has rotating categories in which they offer 5% cash-back at various retailers. The fourth quarter of 2014 (September 1 until December 31, 2014) has Best Buy as one of the options. Best Buy also released their 2015 categories, and it includes Best Buy for the fourth quarter 2015. By buying gift cards, we can get increase our options of leveraging that 5%.
  3. US Bank Cash+ has electronic stores as one of its 5% category. This could be used at Best Buy for up to $2,000-per-quarter/$8,000-per-year of 5% spend.
  4. Best Buy credit cardholders receive 5-6% back in Best Buy Rewards for Best Buy purchases. We’ll discuss how that applies to gift card purchases. Additionally, in the past, Best Buy  has released offers of 10% Rewards for Best Buy credit cardholders for certain periods of time.

One additional note is that gift card purchases at Best Buy earn Best Buy Rewards, so purchasing gift cards at Best Buy may be slightly interesting even without any of the above reasons.

Gift Cards They Sell

Q: Which gift cards are sold by Best Buy?

A:

  • Visa variable load $20-$200 with a $5.95 activation fee.
  • Amazon Kindle gift cards which function as regular Amazon gift cards for all Amazon purchases. Denominations of $25 and $50.
  • Gas – Shell and Exxon/Mobile in $25 and $50 denominations.
  • eBay – Sometime in 2015 they started carrying eBay gift cards.
  • Restaurants – Lots of restaurant gift cards available. Some options are: Chili’s, Buffalo Wings, Olive Garden, IHOP, Cracker Barrel, Darden, TGI Friday.
  • Southwest Airlines was spotted in September 2016
  • Electronic Related – Skype, Google Play, XBox, Sony, Valve, iTunes, Nintendo, Netflix, and more.
  • Phone refills from: Verizon, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, AT&T, Boost Mobile and Metro PCS.
  • Best Buy gift cards, obviously.

Q: You say Best Buy sells gas and restaurant gift cards, but others only mention Visa, Amazon and iTunes gift cards?

A: They used to just have the Visa, Amazon, and electronic-related gift cards, but in 2014-2015 they added the gas and restaurant gift cards.

 

Q: I can’t seem to find the Amazon Kindle gift cards. Any suggestions?

A: No, I can’t find them either for the past few months. Some suggest that Best Buy is stopping to sell them. I also noticed that it’s not on Amazon’s list, and I think it used to be there.

 

Q: Do they sell any gift cards online?

A: For all online questions, see below Bestbuy.com Online.

Split Tender

Q: Can I split my purchase and put $250 (or whatever amount) on each card?

A: Yes. Max 10 cards per transaction.

Q: If I pay with a gift/prepaid card such as Bluebird/Serve, do I need to tell the cashier to do split-tender?

A: No, the Best Buy POS will automatically drain the balance from a gift/prepaid card.

For example, if you want to spend $250 on your Bluebird/Serve, you can make sure that there’s exactly $250 on it, and just swipe your card without telling the cashier a thing. The POS will drain the $250 and let you pay the balance with another card.

Q: I tried splitting between a few credit cards, and something errored out and froze the transaction. What’s going on?

A: Since mid-2016, perhaps, there’s a glitch that hits some people when trying to split tender. The bug seems to be related to chip cards, but it’s not clear when it hits and why it effects some and not others.

Just be assured that the system will automatically refund any cancelled transactions.

Buy Gift Card with Gift Card

Q: Can I use a Best Buy gift card to purchase a different gift card?

A: Yes.

Q: Even a Visa gift card?

A: Yes, the POS allows it. Most cashiers won’t blink an eyelash, but there are some stores who taught their cashiers not to accept it.

In both instances in which I was turned down by the cashier trying to buy a Visa gift card with a Best Buy gift card, the cashiers clearly mentioned the fact that Visa is open-loop and can be used anywhere. Buying other third-party gift cards with a Best Buy gift card shouldn’t be a problem anywhere.

[UPDATE 2/26/15: There are varying reports (1, 2, 3, 4) whether the Best Buy POS will still allow the purchase of Visa gift cards with Best Buy gift cards, and they’ve updated their T&C to exclude it.]

Q: Will a merchandise credit work to buy a Visa gift card?

A: I personally had two conflicting experiences with this. One time it worked and once the system didn’t allow it. On other third-party gift cards it would probably work.

Q: Why is buying a gift card with a gift card important?

A: Many reasons. One simple reason is if you want to use a credit card your spouses credit card. They can just purchase the gift card online, and then you can go in-store and buy the other gift card.

I personally like buying a gift card with a gift card for a second reason, because I usually do split-tender transactions between a few cards, and I feel more normal paying part with a gift card and then using less credit cards in the transaction.

Of course, if you manage to buy Best Buy gift cards at a discount, you can possibly turn those into cash by purchasing Visa gift cards with the Best Buy gift card. Remember, though, that not all stores will allow this, and that merchandise credits may not work for the purchase of Visa gift cards.

Q: How many Best Buy gift cards can be used in one transaction?

For an online order the max is 10. In-store, I believe the max is higher, possibly 99.

Bestbuy.com Online

Q: Do they sell any gift cards online?

A: Yes, but not as many as in-store. Online options include dining, music, gaming, movies, and phone refills. View the whole list here. And, of course, Best Buy gift cards. More recently they added eBaySouthwest, and Disney online.

Q: Will I get the Amex Offer credit with an online purchase of a gift card?

A: Yes. Both Best Buy gift cards and third party gift cards have triggered the Amex credits in the past.

Q: What about a Best Buy e-gift card? Will that trigger the Amex credit?

A: No. Best Buy e-gift cards are issued by Cashstar and won’t trigger the Amex credit.

Q: Will an online gift card order trigger the 5% Citi Dividend cash-back?

A: Yes (personal experience). Again, only the physical gift cards, not the Best Buy e-gift cards.

Q: Will online gift card purchases trigger the US Bank Cash+ 5% cash-back?

A: They explicitly include bestbuy.com in the category. Any physical gift card should work for the 5%.

Q: I’m looking for the $250 denomination of the Best Buy gift card at bestbuy.com, but it’s not there?

A: It used to be possible to buy the $250 denomination, but it doesn’t seem to be available online any longer.

Q: I made a few orders on Bestbuy.com, each order was a $250. Now, they started canceling my orders. “We were unable to verify your information.” What gives?

A: I’ve run into problems like this a few times with bestbuy.com. They seem to have a overactive fraud-detection system in place. You can definitely go ahead with lots of orders, and hopefully they’ll all go through, but don’t be surprised if they don’t.

Q: How many Best Buy gift cards can be used in one online transaction?

A: For online orders the max is 10.

Q: Can e-gift cards be used in-store?

A: Yes, you can print it out and use it in-store.

Q: Will I earn portal points/cash-back when purchasing a physical Best Buy gift card from bestbuy.com?

A: Best Buy  used to pay out for gift card purchases, but then they stopped paying out. I’ve tried Topcashback, Southwest, and some more with no success.

Q: What about buying third-party gift cards on bestbuy.com? Will they earn portal rewards?

A: Probably. I’ve seen more than one report that this will work (1, 2), but it might vary by the portal.

Best Buy Rewards

Q: What are Best Buy Rewards?

A: It’s the Best Buy store rewards program which gives 2-2.5% back which can be redeemed by purchasing items in Best Buy and applying a reward certificate to the purchase. More details on the Best Buy site.

Q: Do you earn Best Buy Rewards on gift card purchases?

A: Yes, even Best Buy gift cards, and even Visa gift cards.

You can even earn Best Buy Rewards when purchasing a Best Buy e-gift from Cashstar if you input your Rewards number there.

Q: Do you earn Best Buy Rewards when you purchase something and pay with a Best Buy gift card?

A: No. Rewards are earned for purchasing gift cards, but not when using gift cards.

Q: Can you use a Best Buy Rewards certificate to buy a gift card?

A: Rewards can not be used to purchase a Best Buy gift card, nor to purchase a Visa gift card. This is in the T&C, and it’s hard-coded (I tried).

However, Rewards can be used to purchase a third-party gift card, including gas or restaurant gift cards.

For example, if you have a $25 Reward certificate, you can purchase a $25 Shell or Exxon gift card with it. I’ve done this many times. I used to use them for Amazon gift cards, now I started using them for Shell/Exxon gift cards.

This makes Best Buy Rewards very valuable, since you’re not limited to buying products in Best Buy. You can instead redeem them for lots of great gift cards.

Q: As a Best Buy Elite member, I’m supposed to be earning slightly more than 2% back in rewards, but I’m only getting 2% on Visa gift card purchases. Why?

A: This is a recent thing that Visa gift cards and Best Buy gift cards are coded to earn a straight 2%, even for Elite members. Third-party gift cards still earn the additional Elite and Elite Plus bonus points.

Interestingly, when I ordered $250 of gift cards at bestbuy.com while I was logged into my bestbuy.com account, the system calculated the points that I’ll earn on the purchase, and indicated that I will earn the additional Elite Plus points on the gift card purchase. But when the points posted, it posted without the additional points.

Update: As of 8/28/16, Best Buy Rewards is just 1% for non-Elite members. Also, a data point indicates that Visa gift cards don’t earn Best Buy Rewards anymore at all.

Q: Any other rewards I can earn at Best Buy?

A: Yes, aside from Best Buy Rewards, you can earn Shopkick points for all your purchases at Best Buy, including gift card purchases. You’ll earn the equivalent of a $5+ gift card for $250 in spend, up to twice per week. Above $250, you’ll only earn slightly more per dollar spent. Remember to have the cashier scan the Shopkick bar codes at the time of purchase.

Best Buy Credit Card

The Best Buy credit card earns 5-6% in Best Buy Rewards. The first 2-2.5% is what’s earned without the Best Buy credit card, and an additional 3-3.5% is earned with the Best Buy credit card.

Q: Does it earn 5-6% on the purchase of gift cards?

A: Not on Visa or Best Buy gift cards. They’re coded to earn a straight 2% for everyone. However, I experimented with third-party gift cards, and I can confirm that they do earn the 5-6% in Rewards.

Q: Does that mean I can get 5-6% off all gas and restaurant purchases?

A: Yes, you can buy gift cards at Best Buy with your Best Buy credit card, and get 5-6% back in Rewards. After you accumulate enough Rewards, you can then use those Rewards  to buy more gift cards.

This also means, that when Best Buy has an occasional promotion of bonus Rewards, as much as 10%, you can get gift cards at a 10% discount.

Did we miss something? Please let us know in the comments.

Updated 7/11/16



47 Responses to Everything you ever wanted to know about Buying Gift Cards at Best Buy

  1. tv7 says:

    With US Bank cash+ you can get 5% every quarter I think up to $2k.

  2. josh says:

    I had the system crap out after I tried to split tender 11 Amex cards last month. 10 seems to work fine. Note: Having an order backed out after you’ve swiped a Serve card is extremely annoying. It takes a week for the hold to drop off.

    Two Best Buys have told me the limit on Visa Gift cards is 5 per day, unless I want to go to customer service and fill out some kind of business paperwork. Another Best Buy told me the limit is $6,000 per day in Visa Gift Cards.

    On the Citi Dividend Card: I have maxed out my $300 credit for 2014. But my statement closes tomorrow and I’m assuming that I can take advantage of the 5% at Best Buy again since the points will post on my January 2015 statement and count towards my 2015 $300 limit. It should work that way.

    • Chuck S says:

      So the limit is ten. I was wondering what the limit is. Thanks. I also forgot to mention that some stores will limit the number of Visa GC’s you could purchase.

      Thanks. Will update.

  3. Paul says:

    Wish they would hurry up and roll this out to the west coast stores.

    • Chuck S says:

      What don’t you have in the west coast stores?

      • Paul says:

        Last time Amex had a Best Buy offer I scanned the local store for gift cards. They had nothing of value, and very little in general. They had GC for mobile phones and gaming networks/devices.

        • Chuck S says:

          How long ago was this?

          It’s possible that the third party gc’s aren’t rolled out across the country. I saw them at 3 different BB locations in the northeast.

  4. KoolFatKat says:

    Is there an annual spending limit after which you stop earning Best Buy Rewards?

  5. KoolFatKat says:

    Also, do you know if any of the shopping portals pay out for purchasing physical best buy GCs online?

    • Chuck S says:

      BB used to pay out for gc purchase. They recently stopped. I’ve added your question to the post. Thanks.

      FrequentMiler recently mentioned a difference between cash-back portals which don’t pay out, and mileage-based portals which do. I’m not sure that he’s correct, because I know that they used to pay out even for cash-based portals, and then they stopped. So it could be that mileage-based portals won’t pay out anymore either.

  6. Jordan says:

    There is a $250 bestbuy giftcard but it’s not in the giftcard section. It’s here: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/bestbuygc-250-gift-card-multi/2000011.p?id=1219068248008&skuId=2000011

    And can also be found by typing “$250” into the search box on bestbuy.com

  7. Thanks Chuck for the post, learned quite a bit! I just restarted $BBY gift card churning and I will need to recalculate my average cost

  8. Scott says:

    Late post to this thread, but does Best Buy still carry Amazon or Kindle gift cards? I havent been into a BB in probably over a year! Thanks!

  9. Seth says:

    Two Bestbuy stores where I have used Bestbuy giftcards to purchase visa gift cards in the past seem to now be hard coded against it. One cashier indicated he was reading the error off the screen and it said “tender not allowed”. This is in central va

  10. ENOTTY says:

    There’s one recent report on FrequentMiler’s Laboratory of someone getting points from the Southwest portal when purchasing a physical gift card from bestbuy.com.

    See the post by Calvin on October 6, 2015. http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/laboratory/comment-page-20/#comment-1420545

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  14. Bryce says:

    Changes in best buys program on 8/28/16 reduce rewards program for non elite members to 1% back. Earn .5pts/$, redeem them at $250pts for $5 certificate. Works on vgc. From the best buy FAQ:

    What were the Aug. 28 changes in how members receive points?
    The changes varied by tier of the My Best Buy loyalty program and impacted our standard members and Elite members. They did not impact our Elite Plus members.

    My Best Buy members previously received 1 point for every $1 spent. They now receive 0.5 points for every $1 spent.
    My Best Buy Elite members previously received 1.1 points for every $1 spent. They now receive 1 point for every $1 spent.
    My Best Buy Elite Plus members receive 1.25 points for every $1 spent. There was no change to how Elite Plus members receive points.

  15. Jeremy says:

    Any visa gift card available at Best Buy near Los Angeles? It seems most of stores no longer sell the vgc.

    • Chuck says:

      Yes. I’m waiting for more data points before removing the VGC references. I’ve heard a bunch of people say they don’t see VGC anymore.

      • seth says:

        In Central VA, VGCs have been very hard to find, but I was able to find limited quantities at two different stores around Christmas. I checked probably 5 different stores on multiple occasions and found them at the two stores a few times. definitely harder to find than before, but not totally gone. I believe one of the stores even restocked after I purchased the last of what they had.

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  18. anthonyjh21 says:

    What happens when I try to use my rewards certificate towards a Disney gift card:

    “Reward certificates cannot be used on orders containing gift cards. Please remove your reward certificates to continue.”

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  21. Geri says:

    Does Best Buy still allow you to buy gas and Visa gift cards with a Best Buy gift card?

  22. Jedi says:

    Chuck or anyone else,

    What is the current earnings rate on Best Buy Rewards for Visa Gift Cards? This article says 1% as of Aug 2016.

    I noticed in my rewards history that I was earning Best Buy Rewards, but then around October I had two transaction that 0 was earned.

    With the current Amex offer of 2X points plus potential rewards, thought it might be worth a little MS when in the area. But are any rewards earned now? Thoughts?

    • Chuck says:

      Interesting, it’s possible they’ve changed the rules and Visa doesn’t earn at all. I’m surprised given that Visa gift cards and Best Buy gift cards always had the same rules.

    • josh says:

      I earned at 1.25x (2.5% cash value ) in December of 2016 for Visa GCs as an Elite Plus. I haven’t tried recently though. I am curious if this if this is the earning rate on BestBuy GCs as well.

      Visa GC purchases also extended my Elite Plus for another year.

  23. Vada says:

    I have seen a lot of information about using Best Buy gift cards to purchase other gift cards/Visa gift cards, but nothing about using Best Buy credit cards to purchase Visa prepaid cards. Is that an issue at all, or should I have no problem using my credit card for a prepaid visa?

  24. savemesf says:

    I have seen UBER gcs recently

  25. Jack says:

    They stopped visa GCs now it seems as per the staff…any one still finding those in local BB store?

    • Kien says:

      I just purchased 3 $200 VGC at bestbuy in Oregon. Paid $5.95 fees x 3 and used two of my Amex $30 back on $300 offers and will get back $60. Tried to used a BB Gift card to make the purchase, but the register would not accept that payment method so it seems like it is hard coded in the register not to allow VGC purchase with a BB gift card.

    • Mimi says:

      I noticed that, too but there are still stores that have the VGCs in a separate rack under PREPAIDS so check out the next store if they have this rack.

      I’ll use Citi Dividend for BBY purchases starting next month.

  26. ppd says:

    Is it still possible to combine multiple Best Buy GCs into one in-store? I’m getting many conflicting reports on google. Online, it seems it’s not possible to pay for a BB GC with any BB GC (credit/debit/paypal only), though it seemed possible a few years ago according to a reddit screenshot.

    Has anyone gotten BB brick-n-mortar store to allow BB GC as payment for the VISA GC activation feeds? An ideal scenario would be $300 Amex CC #1, $300 Amex CC #2, $13.90 BB GC(s).

  27. ppd says:

    And does BB count as Office Supplies store and earn 5% or 3% at Chase Ink, Amex Simply Cash Biz, and BOA Biz Cash Rewards? I see the post mention Citi Dividend and US Bank Cash+.

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