If you follow the points world very carefully, you probably noticed there was an amazing deal today on $100 Target gift cards. The deal was part of a larger promotion giving $10 off $100 purchases of certain items, and to everyone’s surprise it just happened to include gift cards.
This inclusion is extremely valuable for many reasons:
- To the common shopper, this is simply 10% off of your purchase of anything from Target. A great deal.
- To the points-savvy shopper, it means being able to buy gift cards at a discount and then re-sell them to recoup the entire cost, thereby generating credit card spend (and therefore points) for free.
- To the expert points shopper (that’s us!), this was not just a way to get points for free, but also to meet a minimum spend requirement on a new credit card and actually turn a PROFIT while doing it!
Below is a step-by-step breakdown of how the expert points shopper views this deal. I’ll use just one gift card to simplify the explanation.
- Buy a $100 Target gift card for about $91.95 ($10 off plus shipping of $1.95)
- When the card is delivered, sell the card to Plasticjungle.com, which buys Target gift cards for 92% of value (more on this later)
- Before clicking through to Plasticjungle.com, make sure you go through Topcashback.com, which provides you with an additional 4% cashback on the transaction amount
- In a nutshell, that’s it!
Let me explain the math on this one.
- Buying the $100 gift card costs you $91.95. This is your only cost throughout the process.
- You sell the $100 gift card for 92% of its value to Plastic Jungle, which nets you $92 – so far you’re up a nickel, woohoo!
- You clicked through Top CashBack, earning you an additional 4% on your transaction with Plastic Jungle, which is: .04 x $92 = $3.68.
- So in the end, you’re up $.05 (from selling to Plastic Jungle) + $3.68 (for clicking through Top CashBack = $3.73!
So basically, you just made $3.73, while at the same time earning 92 frequent flyer points on the credit card of your choice. Now…scale that to a few dozen transactions and you’ve made out pretty well!
There are several side-effects and other considerations to this process, some good and some bad. The good news is that this is a great way, and I mean a GREAT way, to meet the minimum spend requirement on a shiny new credit card. Maybe you would have struggled to hit the $10K spend minimum on the Ink Bold card, but this gives you a chance to get some free spending done to earn that 50K point bonus faster.
The bad news, and this could be a deal-breaker for some, is that Plastic Jungle has spies that also know this deal is going down, so they do what’s in their best interest and lower their payout to about 89.25% of value. That reworks my math a bit, but I’ll do the quick version this time. Sell to PJ for $89.25 + Top CashBack bonus of .04 x $89.25 = $3.57. That totals $92.82, meaning your profit is just $.87 ($92.82 – $91.95). Still a profit, but considerably less, especially if you’re considering this on a large scale.
The other consideration, which isn’t terrible but makes life a little more difficult, is that this process obviously takes a bit of work. You have to buy $100 gift cards in separate transactions in order to take advantage of the $10 off – you can’t just buy 20 gift cards at one time and get $200 off your $2K purchase. That’s time consuming. Then, selling to Plastic Jungle requires you to type in each gift card’s unique number and PIN so they can verify the amount, and then you have to physically mail in the cards in to them. You’ll then have to wait for a check in the mail. And Top CashBack is rather slow at awarding your cash back, though in my experience they do eventually give it to you, so be prepared for a long process with them as well.
Basically, expect it to be a long process from start to finish. That means if you’re relying on getting a check from Plastic Jungle or Top Cashback in order to pay off the $2K of Target gift cards you just bought, then you’re probably not going to make out too well. Go into it with the expectation that you won’t get paid back in time to make your credit card payment, but you can reasonably expect to get paid back eventually.
Seeing as how this was a one-day deal, this post was more to prepare you for future, similar deals. I mentioned yesterday that I’d be writing a 7-part series on how to get a jump-start on your point earning ways, and lo and behold Part 5 is titled “If an Amazing Offer Comes Around, Don’t Wait!” This is a prime example of that, and I’ll have many more details when I write that post.
Credit for finding this deal goes to Frequent Miler (and a reader who tipped him off), who is absolutely the ultimate resource for gift-card churning and other, unique ways to obtain points. But if you were following me on Twitter @TravelSummary, you would have been among the first to get in on this deal!
So, follow us closely and you’ll likely have plenty more opportunities to get to your points faster and cheaper than you thought was possible!
The Top CashBack link above is a referral link. The rest are regular old links that take you to where you want to go.