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
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.