Remember yesterday’s Alaska Airlines shopping portal bonus that I thought wasn’t worth doing? Well if you have an American Express Business Platinum card, it’s probably worth it now because Dell has a promo offer for 10% off of Xbox Gift cards with code XBOX10. To take advantage of it:

  • Ensure you’ve activated your Dell credit with your American Express Business Platinum
  • Check for any Dell cash back or 2x/3x spend American Express offers
  • Start at the Alaska portal for Dell Home, and click on SHOP NOW. UPDATE: RabbMD let me know that Dell Technologies earns 3x instead of 1x.
  • Add a $100 Xbox Gift Card to your cart
  • Add a $25 Xbox Gift Card to your cart
  • Checkout, and enter promo XBOX10
  • Pay with your Business Platinum

The promo will only apply to one card, but it’ll pick the more expensive one. So, you’ll spend $115, but you’ll get:

  • $100 back from AmEx as a statement credit (or more if you have an offer attached to your card)
  • 615 Alaska miles
  • $82-85 in resale value for the Xbox cards (thanks to Katie for the correction in rates)
  • 115 Membership Rewards points (or more if you have an offer attached to your card)
  • Rid of the Dell credit that expires June 30 and can be hard to use

If you have multiple Business Platinums, create new Dell accounts with new email addresses to use the code again, and don’t ever let the Business Platinum cards co-mingle between accounts. UPDATE: The code works on the same account multiple times, thanks to RabbMD for letting me know.

A prepared stir-fry of vegetables in a wok.
A stir-fry is just co-mingled ingredients.

You’ve got a lot of in-person MS options this week:

  • Office Depot OfficeMax is offering $15 back on $300 or more in Visa Gift cards in store, limit one per transaction. Make sure you can liquidate these before you buy, there are plenty of ways but Walmart Money Centers mostly aren’t one of those ways. This is 5x with an Ink Cash or an American Express Business Platinum with the +4x office supplies offer.
  • Staples is offering $200 Visa Gift cards with a discounted fee of $1.95 per card, as we learned Friday. As with the above, use a 5x card if you’ve got one and have a liquidation plan.
  • Meijer is offering $5 off of each $50 in gift cards you buy up to $500 in gift cards with some exclusions after you add the offer to your rewards account. I’d personally buy Happy Treats gift cards and use them at GameStop to buy Steam gift cards for resell at a profit. Make sure you use one of the many cards that bonuses at a grocery store to purchase this one.
  • Meijer is also offering $10 off of $150 in Mastercard gift cards after you add the offer to your rewards account. Use a card that bonuses at grocery like American Express’s Personal Gold, or the Chase Sapphire Reserve (the Sapphire Reserve gives 3x at groceries up to $1,000 per month for now).
  • Stop and Shop, Martins, and Giant are offering 3x fuel points on Mastercard gift card purchases. Mastercard gift cards are usually easier to liquidate from home, so they’re my preference over Visa in general. Use a card that bonuses at grocery for this one too.

And finally, a friendly reminder and warning: Double check all gift cards that you pick up in store for any signs whatsoever of tampering. Sometimes scammers will steal, modify, reseal, and replace the cards to drain them after you activate them. I usually pull cards from the back of the rack on the assumption that they’re less likely to be stolen, and I give each card a good, hard look. I also try and buy gift cards that have barcode numbers in sequence when possible (say, the last 4 digits of the activation code are 3666, 3667, and 3668 when I’m buying three Home Depot cards). If the card supports it, I try and match the ID on the packaging with the ID on the card itself.

A picture of a woman dressed in a black turtle-neck with black jeans, a black beanie, and a black eye covering carrying black bags with white $ signs and money falling out of the bags.
Pictured: gift card scammer. How do the grocery stores not notice this person walking around?

The Gift Card reselling market usually sucks during the first couple of months of a year, prolly because consumers are detoxing with a hangover from holiday shopping and aren’t sick of their new toys (yet). The hangover is ending now though and the gift card secondary markets are really starting to pick up. A few of my observations for April:

  • Consignment sale holding time has shortened considerably, with the turn-around time dropping to one to three weeks for big retail brands (exceptions: Home Depot, Target)
  • Appetite in private markets for volume gift card sales is soaring, kinda like PLBY stock
  • BestBuy gift card resale rates are creeping back up (I’ve seen 1-2% higher in the last couple of weeks, and break even deals when grocery rewards are included)
  • Capacity for immediate/non-consignment sales in gift card clubs is growing

Retailers are also starting to offer big discounts for Easter, and usually this trend just continues to pick up steam until mid-Summer.

If you don’t have any gift card reseller relationships, there are a few good exchanges out there. Stick with something reputable, good volume, and a good reputation in the community. There are a couple of gift card sellers that I have gotten to know personally and that I trust with bigger volume. That said, always keep your outstanding float in gift cards no higher than the dollar amount you’d be willing to lose if everything went wrong, and spread out your reselling amongst as many reputable sources as you can so if one fails, your whole portfolio isn’t gone. (c.f., The Plastic Merchant, which went bankrupt in 2019 and left resellers holding the bag)

MS note: In the right circles, you can easily do $30-60k of gift card reselling per week after you’ve developed relationships and moved into inner circles, so don’t ignore this technique. Do start out with something really small and slowly ramp over time though, so if you make newbie mistakes they don’t cost you much. As always — don’t push this beyond the amount you’d be willing to lose if something goes wrong. It can happen and has happened.

The worst part of gift card reselling: having a bunch of plastic cards floating around that you can’t get rid of (“just in case”), but serve no useful purpose.

Time to sail into the weekend. While you’re floating away, check the following:

1. Southwest has opened their travel bookings for most fall and some early winter travel through November 5. Now is a great time to lock in your fall travel if it involves any destinations served by Southwest. I’d recommend you book with Rapid Rewards points if at all possible because you can always redeposit or change Rapid Rewards bookings with no fee, so you can easily get the points back when the price drops or when your plans change. If you need a Rapid Rewards top-off, don’t forget that Southwest is a Chase transfer partner. Also, don’t forget that there’s no undoing that Chase to Southwest transfer.

2. Chase has targeted more co-brand cards for Q2 spend offers. Check your Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, United, AARP, Starbucks, and Disney cards (or any other co-brands you have with Chase) for a Q2 spend bonus here. If you don’t see any offer or get a strange error, reportedly incognito mode in your browser can help get you a bonus.

3. Since our favorite Vanilla Gift Card promotion code FLASH2020 has now died (more like SUNK2020, amirite?), I’m again interested in gift card purchases. If you are too, use promo code APR21SAVE50 at Simon to save 50% on fees when purchasing Visa or Mastercard gift cards. Don’t use an AmEx though, you won’t earn points and the Simon transaction won’t count toward minimum spend.

A sailboat with a wave taller than its mast towering, about to hit the boat.
It’s smooth sailing from here, just don’t look starboard-side.

Office Depot OfficeMax (side note: worst business name yet) is offering $15 off of $300 or more in Visa Gift Cards, limit one per transaction. The deal lasts through Saturday March 13. Buy two $200 cards to get the biggest bang for your buck. Make sure you use a 5x card like the Ink Cash or an AmEx Business Platinum with the +4x office supplies offer attached. Also, make sure your card is linked to Dosh too; it’s not supposed to pay out on gift card purchases but it works anyway like flim-flam strawberry jam.

Liquidation? That’s slightly trickier with these because they’re issued by BlackHawk Network (BHN/Metabank). There are still a few liquidation routes from home available, or you’ll have luck at many grocery stores, or there are instances where these work at Walmart. Experiment some and don’t limit your Walmart game to money orders.

MS Hint: Remember how Visa is not the same as Mastercard? Well, not all Visas are alike either.

Flim-flam strawberry jam (bought with the proceeds of free ODOM cash).

A few follow up items:

1. The SoFi matched round-ups deal is back in March. A quick recap: You turn on round-ups in the mobile app, create a “vault”, then when you spend with the SoFi debit card the charge is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference is placed in your vault. SoFi will match those round-ups up to a total of $25 matched. Can you guess what I’m going to say next? Set up debbit to make 28 payments to XFinity of $0.10 in March. Of course, you can make payments with debbit to other stores and providers too if you don’t have XFinity.

Side note: It took me longer to type the above paragraph than to update my debbit config for $25. I wish I could always make $25 for 30 seconds of work; that’d be $3,000 per hour.

2. Reader Katie discovered that when you’re activating Ting burner SIMs, you won’t see port-out information on the account unless you set a password. Ting’s IT must be based on Citi’s IT; fortunately for them they probably don’t have $500 million to lose accidentally like Citi.

3. Another round of Amazon discounts is available for targeted Ultimate Rewards cards. Check for the offer here after ensuring that your Amazon account has at least one Ultimate Rewards earning credit card saved in your profile. As per usual, buy a non-Amazon gift card for resale and use a single point.

4. The promo code FLASH2020 is still going strong for buying fee free Vanilla Visa Gift Cards. These gift cards aren’t as widely discussed online as BlackHawk, MetaBank, or US Bank gift cards, so don’t treat them as behaving the same. Try some things with those Vanillas even if they don’t work with other gift cards!

The Citi wire transfer system user interface, soon to be adopted by Ting Mobile.

1. Check your AmEx offers for $100 off of $500 at Dell. You can earn spend, portal cash back, Dell rewards, and a few percent profit by buying XBox Gift Cards for resale and selling them on a reputable exchange. With XBox, the lower denominations sell more quickly.

2. Check here to see if you’re targeted for 1,000 free miles from Star Alliance member Aegean Airlines. You’ll have to click the present icon to redeem once you’ve logged in.

Michael Jordan sitting in an empty stadium pointing his index and middle finger at his eyes, staring at something with a determined look.
One deal for each eye.

It feels like everyone is talking about deals on Simon Mall $1,000 gift cards right now (40% off of prepaid Visa fees with promo FS21FEB40). Yeah, they’re good at stores that aren’t Walmart, they’re high denomination, and you can buy a bunch at once easily. There’s a big problem with them though: They don’t earn points when purchased with American Express cards because AmEx blocked earning on Simon purchases.

If you’re trying to put spend on an AmEx and get something out of it, use Vanilla Gift Cards with the promo code FLASH2020, which amazingly is still working. You’ll earn spend when you go this route, and the fees are almost non-existent. They still work at most grocery chains too, just like BlackHawk gift cards.

Bonus hint: Simon business volume accounts are better than personal ones, but that has nothing to do with AmEx.

A man passed out on a tan couch wearing a Mario costume.
A guy dressed up like Mario dreaming of earning Membership Rewards through manufactured spend.