$15 off $150+ in American Express Gift Cards – Analysis
Update: It seems that previous similar coupons have been one-time use only. Additionally it isn’t showing up in everyone’s accounts. Those with multiple targeted accounts should be able to use the coupon once per account.
I posted this on Frequent Miler’s Quick Deals earlier, however I do believe it warrants a stand alone post here with some more analysis. Currently Safeway, Vons, Pavilions and other brands that use the JustForU rewards program have an online coupon that gives $15 off the purchase of $150 or more in Amex gift cards. Lets look at the deal in a little more detail.
Receive a $15 instant discount with the purchase of $150 or more in American Express gift cards by 9/8/2015. Limit 1 discount per transaction.
Coupon expires 1 week after issue (09/08/2015). Purchase must be made in one transaction. One coupon per transaction. Use Gift Card only at US merchants that accept American Express® Cards, except cruise lines and recurring payment. No ATM use. Funds do not expire. Not redeemable for cash, except where required by law. Additional limitations apply. See Cardholder Agreement for complete details. Gift Card is issued by American Express Prepaid Card Management Corporation. American Express is not the sponsor of this promotion.
How to Load
To load the coupon, simply login to your JustForU account and go to the “Coupons” section. On the left you will see the different categories. Click on “Special Offers” and you should see the coupon as shown at the beginning of this post. Make sure to click “Add” so that it is loaded to your card.
Why You Should Care
I know a lot of you were purchasing American Express gift cards through portals in order to increase your cashback. Since the portal deal ended, this may be an opportunity to purchase these cards at a similar discount. The key issue here is whether you can use the coupon multiple times in separate transactions. I believe you can based on the language, however I haven’t been able to confirm that.
If you purchase a $500 American Express gift card the fee is $5.95. (You can purchase a $150 card for the same fee as well.) With your instant discount you will thus make a profit of $9.05 per $500. But now you have to liquidate. A lot of people purchase $500 Visa gift cards for $4.95 with their American Express gift cards. Doing this reduces the profit down to $4.10 plus any rewards earned on the initial purchase. (Hopefully you have a credit card that earns a category bonus at grocery stores.)
Now lets look at the math under the old portal system. With portals you used to be able to purchase a $2,000 gift card for a $3.95 fee. This would generate $50 in cashback if you waited for a 2.25% portal payout. After purchasing 4 x $500 Visa cards for $4.95 each then your profit is $26.25 plus rewards.
So lets break it down:
- Old portal system: $26.25 profit plus rewards
- Temporary Safeway deal: $4.10 profit plus rewards
The key is that many people have cards that earn 5% back at grocery stores whereas online Amex gift card orders don’t generally earn a category bonus. If you do have one of those cards then the math comes pretty close. If you don’t, then this is still a negative cost way to MS, although keep in mind that it is a complicated process and not one that I would recommend for beginners.
I laid out only one way to liquidate these cards. If you are interested in this deal, but don’t know a lot about Amex gift cards, I recommend reading The Complete guide to Amex gift cards at Frequent Miler before you go any further.
This is a great deal as long as you are able to use the coupon multiple times. While it isn’t quite the replacement for the now lost portal deal, it does come close depending on your situation. Please feel free to let me know in the comments if this coupon can be used multiple times. I believe it can be, but don’t want to say for sure until I have confirmation.