Top Cashback Neuters Amex Gift Cards for MS – Will the Other Portals Follow?

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amex gift cards cashback portal 200

Top Cashback Amex Gift Card Changes

This morning Top Cashback began their semi-regular promotion of 2.25% cashback on Amex gift cards. This time though something is different. (Hat tip to Frequent Miler and reader Jim for letting me know.) Unlike with previous promotions where cards up to $2,000 in value earned cashback, Top Cashback has lowered the eligible denominations significantly. Here are the new terms:

Please note: Business Gift Cards or Consumer Gift Cards over $200.00 are not eligible for cash back. (Only Gift Cards with $25, $50, $100, $200 denominations are eligible for cash back.)

As you can see, they have written the new terms two different times in different ways. Basically, you can only earn cashback on amounts up to $200. Since each card carries a $3.95 fee, this all but eliminates the usefulness of using American Express gift cards for manufacturing spend.

Will Other Portals Follow

amex gift cards cashback portal 200
Top Cashback definitely isn’t hiding the new terms.

In case you don’t know how it works, portals are basically affiliates. They have an affiliate manager who works with various companies to get them commissionable links. Instead of keeping all of the money they earn, portals instead decide to kickback a portion of that to you. This structure makes me think it is VERY LIKELY that the other portals will follow with similar language since these terms are generally set by the merchant. (In this case American Express.)

There is one small thing that gives me hope. Top Cashback, BeFrugal, Simply Best Coupons and Ebates seem to work more closely with Amex on these increased cashback promotions. Hopefully their closer relationship (and increased volumes) has driven this change. I don’t think this will happen, but my hope is that some of the smaller portals will still retain the old language, despite their somewhat lower payouts.

Always Check the Terms

Today’s developments are a great reminder that you should ALWAYS check portal terms before purchasing anything. They are subject to change at any time and it probably isn’t a bad idea to take a screenshot either. I’m sure a few people purchased cards this morning without reading the new terms Top Cashback put into place. I do wish they would have been more proactive about warning “power buyers” about this change with an email.


American Express seems to be cracking down on cashback with large denomination gift cards. At this point it doesn’t seem like the terms have changed on any other portals, so lets hold out hope that truth remains the same. Still, if you were thinking about purchasing some cards, 1.5% from another portal may be a wise choice if you think all portals will ultimately institute these rules. Only time will tell.

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  1. SimplyBestCoupons have restricted cashback to $200 AGC as well –

    Business Gift Cards or Consumer Gift Cards over $200 are not eligible for cash back. (Only Gift Cards with $25, $50, $100, $200 denominations are eligible for cash back.)

  2. Why would you get Amex GC’s for MS?

    I suppose you could use the increased Cash Back, to then go buy Visa/MC GC’s and pay the GC fee with that Cash Back.

    You can only cash out Visa/MC on Bluebird/Redbird.

    Too much work for me, and too much cash tied up, buying the Amex cards etc.

  3. I actually purchased a $200 Amex GC over a week ago and my $30 (1.5%) was pending. Now today, it has completely disappeared! Can they actually do this retroactively? I don’t have an issue with a company making changes, they have that right, but I have a serious issue with this type of BS.

    • Hey JP. Just to make sure, you mean $3 for the 1.5% right?? Because if you really did get $30 for 1.5% then I can clearly see why they would take that away. Unless you meant $2000 AGC then you do get $30 CB. If so, then I will recite what many have said related to the exact T&C language at the time of purchase: TAKE A SCREENSHOT W/ DATE/TIME STAMP AS PROOF CUZ BS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME!!

      • Sorry, I meant $2000 GC. And yes, BS happens all the time and twice on Sundays. It’s one thing to not give it, it’s another to give it then make it magically disappear. Something tells me a screenshot wouldn’t change this result.

  4. The language is already on simply best coupons:
    “Business Gift Cards or Consumer Gift Cards over $200 are not eligible for cash back.”

    I can’t find any link on be frugal…

    1% seems possible still on smaller portals, but the window is closing…

  5. The language is already on simply best coupons:
    “Business Gift Cards or Consumer Gift Cards over $200 are not eligible for cash back.”

  6. I might be crazy, but don’t see AMEX at all on befrugal anymore… this is definitely the end of a good thing, if it is happening.

  7. This is sad. Even though I could never take advantage of Amex gift card for MS because of where I live it’s always sad when this happens.

  8. Scuttlebutt is, AmEx sent notice to all portals they just all haven’t POSTED it like TCB.

    I had an accumulated need to hit minimum spend, was waiting for the window to open at 2.25 again. Should have ordered at 1.5, bird in the hand and all.

    On to new MS pastures I guess.

  9. Hey Shawn. Definitely terrible news.

    Can you elaborate on the logic related to the big issue so I am 100% clear?

    Since you can only earn 2.25% cashback on amounts up to $200, thats $4.50. And since each card carries a $3.95 fee, this only gets you $0.50 profit. Then when you MS via AGC to get VGC you pay another $4.95 to $5.95 fee. Plastiq is another 1.99% fee on Amex promo rate. So is this why American Express gift cards for manufacturing spend sux now?

    Previously, for $2000 AGC, you get 2.25% which is $45 which then can be used for fees. Is this right?

    Just want to make sure I am understanding this correctly.

    Thanks man.


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