American Express is running a special promotion for its American Express gift cards where they are waiving the purchase fee if you purchase the gift card online through their official gift card website at americanexpress.com and use promo code HOLIDAYCC3.
This is a great deal for anyone planning on giving any gift cards away as presents this year. But what this really means is a very inexpensive (you still have to pay for shipping) method for you to potentially “manufacture” your spend for a new sign up offer.
What does it mean to manufacture your spend? If you are a savvy consumer, you might find yourself signing up for miles earning and points earning credit cards when they have a lucrative sign up offer. For example, the Chase Ink Bold Business card has a 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points sign up offer. In order to obtain that offer you not only need to get approved for the card, but you also need to spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of opening your card. For many consumers, that might seem like a hefty or even impossible barrier. That is where manufacturing your spend comes in. Manufacturing spend in this scenario is when you use your new credit card to purchase digital money–such as American Express, Visa, or Mastercard gift cards. Buying a $500 American Express gift card will still count as you spending $500 towards your spend requirement to get your sign up offer, but you are not losing your money–instead, you are simply storing it in a different medium.
Okay, that makes sense… but I don’t want to have $5,000 stored in random gift cards or other mediums. I agree. You should have your money and assets available to you when you need them. That is one of the reasons why the American Express Bluebird card is such a coveted item among miles enthusiasts who churn credit card sign up offers in order to travel around the world for virtually free. The AMEX Bluebird card is not a credit card–but instead a debit card. It is American Express’s product that competes directly with banks and checking accounts. The key feature here though is that you can take your PIN enabled Visa or Mastercard gift cards to a Walmart Money Machine (they partner with AMEX Bluebird) and load the money from your gift card (just like you would with a debit card + pin pad) straight into your Bluebird card.
For American Express gift cards though, I haven’t had much luck in getting them PIN enabled. Instead, for American Express gift cards the best way to liquidate them has been through Amazon Payments. Amazon Payments allows you to send up to $1,000 per month via credit cards to another Amazon Payments user without incurring any fees at all. Subsequently, you can also “manufacture” spend by just adding your credit card with the sign up bonus directly to Amazon Payments and sending money directly using that card instead. Buying an AMEX gift card in this situation for spend manufacturing would be helpful mostly if you are on a tight time constraint with the sign up bonus, and you can afford to have some money floating in gift cards for an extended period of time.
Regardless though, these still make great gifts to friends and family. Remember, in order to get in on this deal you have to use promo code HOLIDAYCC3 at checkout at americanexpress.com!
You can also avoid the shipping fee completely if you purchase and send an eGift card through Americanexpress.com here.