Posted by William Charles on October 25, 2018
Manufactured Spending

Published on October 25th, 2018 | by William Charles

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Gift Of College Adds Store Locator & More Stores Selling $500 Cards

Gift of College (GoC) now allows you to see stores that stock GoC gift cards. It doesn’t list stock levels or the max denomination, but below is a list of stores available and the max denomination they sell.

  • Brookshire’s grocery: Sells up to $500 (TX, AR, LA)
  • Foodmaxx: Sells up to $500 (CA & NV)
  • H-E-B: Sells up to $500 (TX)
  • Lucky Supermarkets: Sells up to $500 (CA)
  • Save Mart Supermarket: Sells up to $500 (CA & NV)
  • Barnes & Noble: Sells up to $200
  • Target: Sells $50 and $100 cards

For more information on how and why you want to purchase these gift cards, I’d recommend reading this excellent resource by Frequent Miler. Keep in mind a lot of these stores are grocery and as such some cards earn at a high rate on these purchases. Fingers crossed we get more retailers added in the lead up to Christmas as I can see these being popular as gifts.

Hat tip to FM



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DH7
DH7

THIS IS HUGE!

DH7
DH7

Any details on maxing cashback back at target? RedCard doesn’t work on giftcards, In-store card rolling is dead as well. I assume its down to 5% category bonuses?

Billy Bong
Billy Bong

My exact words reading this!

Tim W.
Tim W.

I never understood why these are so popular. Is there some advantage besides saving the small money order fee?

Buy $1,000 from GCM for $1.90 after portal + $0.88 (as cash, for our example) and you have a $1,000 money order for $1,002.78 good towards 529 or loans if you like.

Get two gift of college cards for $1,011.90 and you have $1,000 towards 529 or loans.

What am I missing?

A
A

Not everyone can get MO easily would be my guess.

Eileen Kerrigan
Eileen Kerrigan

EXACTLY. One by one, the Walmarts in my area are shutting down the MO route 🙁

Billy
Billy

For awhile it was a cheap way to meet spend requirements. With the new caps it isn’t worth it for most of the country.

I used to buy $2000/month worth at TRU to satisfy Consumer CU’s $1000/month spend each month on 2x accounts to get the top rate. So, I paid about $2 in fees to gain about $20ish in interest payments.

They can also be used to make student loan payments in some cases and for folks doing that its nice to get a bonus on something you had to pay anyway.

Tad
Tad

It’s a big deal for those who can’t easily liquidate GC->MO.

Snorlax
Snorlax

…or people who would prefer not to.

If I hadn’t paid off my student loans, I would do this, I wouldn’t buy MOs.

steve tx
steve tx

Liquidation could be done at home. Especially if you had student loan payments this eliminated intermediate steps to cash them out.

Hodor
Hodor

I recall reading that people set up 529 plans for themselves, funded the accounts with GOC cards, and then immediately withdrew the funds to spend however they wanted. Seemed risky and not really sustainable to me.

Chucks
Chucks

Reasonably, if you were intending to contribute to a 529 anyways it could be good way to get a nice boost in returns.

Jeremiah
Jeremiah

Risky how?

Ran a good amount through a 529 before moving out of Texas and losing access to easy $500s at HEB.

Hodor
Hodor

The most obvious risk would seem to be a shut down and funds getting frozen, but there may be others.

Frank
Frank

What was the turn time? Seemed like it could take 2 weeks to get the funds to clear 529 back to bank account which is a bit of a hassle

Snorlax
Snorlax

If you withdraw from a 529 for non-college expenses don’t you have to pay a penalty?

Jamie
Jamie

Yes. One owes taxes on any earnings plus a 10% penalty.

JS
JS

How much work will you have to do to get your money? MO is also risky. GoC is legit and you can even use it to max your welcome bonus.

Dontlikebeinganeng
Dontlikebeinganeng

Not all 529 plans accept money orders, most Vanguard managed ones don’t accept money orders (NV, NY).

Also, the portals paying cash back is an off/on issue.

Will
Will

I wish we could filter target out of the results, or that they would sell the $500 ones.

Hodor
Hodor

Yeah, it’s really odd that they haven’t found another national retailer for $500 GCs after TRU went under.

Frank
Frank

I read some posts around, and it seems like you can only withdraw the money in 529 plans for school-related consumption?(Like tuition & fees, books & supplies, etc.) How do you cash out these funds if you don’t have a student loan?

Ryan
Ryan

Two quick general questions: 1) is Amex catching these GOC purchases and negating points? 2) is there any way to do automatic payments on GOC to student loan company?

Shawn
Shawn

Successfully bought $2k worth with Amex at TRU before all the TRUs shut down. Super happy that Lucky Supermarkets are picking up GOC!

Thommy
Thommy

What about Fred’s? They have those in GA…do GA Fred’s have GoC?

Kelly
Kelly

Yes Fred’s has GoC, however, they do not allow you to pay with credit card. This is the case with the few fred stores I’ve tried in GA.

MXD
MXD

I ran $70k at TRU last year to frontload my daughters 529, $10k amex plat bus, $5k personal plat, $5k schwab plat (not to mention all of the other bonuses i hit. Never heard a word about abuse.

Peter
Peter

I went to three Lucky stores. Two of them didn’t have these cards (despite being listed on the GoC website), and the third cited policy and refused to let me use cc to purchase. Store manager was summoned and backed the cashier up. I went back to the third store the next day and found another cashier who let me use cc without a question. So it’s a hit or miss, though I fear getting too much attention and draw extra scrutiny.

Justin
Justin

I visited the Lucky store in Redwood City, California, on Saturday, November 3rd. I took four cards up the register and the cashier asked a few other employees around who weren’t sure. Then the cashier found a manager who seemed to hem and haw and finally said no because of payment by a credit card, citing the amount was too high ($2k).

They never tried the transaction, so I didn’t get the sense that the registers were hard-coded against credit cards paying for gift cards.

I do think if I had tried just one or two cards if they might’ve put it through without question. But four was too much for these employees.

Ditto
Ditto

FYI: I went to a Lucky store in El Cerrito, CA today to buy my monthly $1000 of GoC gift cards. The cashier told me that he’d gotten a company-wide e-mail earlier this week that said that GoC gift cards may no longer be bought with a credit card. Was good while it lasted….

A
A

Could anyone confirm whether it’s true for other Lucky store location in CA?

Robert Brown
Robert Brown

Went to a few HEBs around Texas last week and they’ve started requiring a manager’s approval to sell denominations >$100. The managers have always been nice about it, but it’s a bit more inconvenient now. At one store, the manager thought that only a maximum of $500 (including the fee) could be purchased in 1 transaction, although they offered to split it among 2 transaction so I could buy 2 $500 gift cards.

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