How to Approach Gift Card Purchases in This Sad New World

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Best Options for PPDG and Cardcash Purchases

Best Options for PPDG and Cardcash Purchases

It has been 24 hours since the news hit that the Ink Plus, Cash, and Preferred no longer earn bonus points on PayPal Digital Gifts (PPDG) and CardCash purchases.  We have gone through the grieving process and now it is time to move on and figure out what we should do now.  I went over some options in yesterday’s article but I wanted to take some time to go more in depth.

Best Cards to Use For These Purchases

There are still going to be great deals on CardCash and PPDG and we will continue to purchase them.  There is still profit to be made, just not as much as before.  Let’s go over the different options available to us.

Best Option

The best option going forward is using any card you are working on minimum spend for.  Sign up bonuses bring an overall return of 10-40% on your minimum spend.  That is hard to beat and that makes it the best option available to us going forward. Use caution if the card is an American Express card with their RAT team increasing their presence.

Next Best Option

If you do not have any minimum spend to work on or you have the minimum spend covered via another avenue these are the next best options. These are two rumored options, that we have not been able to confirm ourselves, but we would appreciate any data points you have in the comments.  They are as follows:

  • AT&T Access More – Earns 3x ThankYou points on online purchases at certain retailers.  One reader on DoC reports that it was working in August and is believed to still be working.  This card is no longer available for new applicants but it is still possible to product change certain cards to this one.
  • Mastercard versions of Ink Bold or old Ink Plus/Cash are rumored to still earn 5x. This is probably because Visa and Mastercard code their vendors differently. If this is true I am not sure if it will last much longer.

Best Options for PPDG and Cardcash Purchases

Best Of The Rest – Travel Cards

If you don’t have any of the cards listed above here is the best of the rest for points earning cards:

  • American Express Blue Business Plus – It earns 2 MR points per dollar on every purchase up to $50,000 per year. If you have one of the old Blue For Business Amex cards, like me, you are able to earn 2.3 points until your first cardmember year is up (up to $50,000 in spend).
  • Bank Of America Travel Rewards – Only useful if you have $100,000 parked at BOA (2.625%).
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited – 1.5 UR points per dollar spent.
  • American Express Everyday Preferred – 1.5 MR points per dollar when making at least 30 transactions per billing cycle.
Best Of The Rest – Cash Back Cards

If you prefer cash back/travel credit over miles and points these are the best options:

  • Discover It Miles – 3% earned the first year of card membership.  1.5% for the purchase which is doubled at the end of your cardmember year.
  • Alliant Cash Back – 3% earned the first year of card membership.  2.5% after the first year.
  • USAA Limitless – 2.5% cash back on all purchases.  Must be a USAA member to apply.
  • One of the many 2% cards
    • Spark Cash/Miles
    • Citi Double Cash
    • Capital One Venture Card
    • Barclay Arrival Plus – You also get 5% of redeemed points back.
    • Visa Fidelity – must transfer to a Fidelity account to get the full 2%.

That pretty much wraps up the options available to us.  Let me know if I missed anything in the comments and I will add it in.

Options to Replace PPDG and CardCash and Still Earn 5x

PPDG has the best deals and they offer them more often than other gift card sellers do.  Having said that there are still ways to earn 5x UR points without them! There may be one option left to get discounted second hand gift cards at 5x earning to replace CardCash also.

Best Options for PPDG and Cardcash Purchases

Office Stores

You can still purchase full priced gift cards at Staples or Office Max/Depot.  This is a great option for Amazon and for Target (Staples Online).  Some carry gift cards for gas stations, grocery stores, and airlines etc.  If you shop at Staples and are linked into Uber Local Offers you are able to earn between 1-5% in Uber credit (depends on where you live).  This is in addition to the 5x UR points you earn for the purchase.  The Uber credit tracks best if you keep the purchases to under $200 per transaction and no more than 2 transactions per visit.


Gyft sells first hand gift cards and sometimes offers them at a discount, like the Nike deal a few days ago. I can confirm Gyft still earns 5x UR when checking out with PayPal and your Ink Plus/Cash card.

Best Options for PPDG and Cardcash Purchases

Gift Card Mart

GCM is a smaller reseller of discounted second hand gift cards.  They were earning 5x with Ink Plus/Cash and no one has offered a data point showing that it has changed.  So until we hear otherwise we will speculate that it is continuing to pay 5x.


As the game grows in popularity the opportunities tend to dry up.  We just lost a big contributor to our points earning portfolio so we need to become leaner, smarter, and more diligent.  I hope I gave you some ideas to get you on your way.  Let me know of anything I missed in the comments and I will add it in.  Let’s figure this out together!


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Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. […] Now that Chase Ink Plus/Cash credit cards are no longer an option, you should probably just use any card that you’re working on a minimum spend requirement, or cards such as AT&T Access More or Amex Blue Business. It’s also possible to still earn 5X if you have an old Ink Bold MC. You can read more about these options on mark’s post, How to Approach Gift Card Purchases in This Sad New World. […]

  2. I reached out to Chase to just ask why it wasn’t coding like it used to and they said that CardCash is listed in as ‘POI Funding Transactions(Excluding MoneySend)’ category which does not earn bonus points. They also said that Visa/Mastercard are the ones who assign the merchant categories. So it may not necessarily be something Chase “caught on to” and changed.

  3. […] Now that Chase Ink Plus/Cash credit cards are no longer an option, you should probably just use any card that you’re working on a minimum spend requirement, or cards such as AT&T Access More or Amex Blue Business. It’s also possible to still earn 5X if you have an old Ink Bold MC. You can read more about these options on mark’s post, How to Approach Gift Card Purchases in This Sad New World. […]

  4. Im honestly surprised Chase allowed this to continue as long as they did. Flyertalk is full of shut down stories for gift card laundering in high amounts. I dont know, I dont sleep well with the thought of having my Chase accounts suspended. Ive heard of it happening for reasons far smaller.

    That being said, if 5x is your goal, why not grab a few freedom cards? If you max the quarterly spend (with giftcards) then you would net 30k UR annually. You could easily have 2-3 freedoms, so could a spouse or family member.

    • Unfortunately that only works if you are under 5/24 and can get one or if you have multiple Chase UR products you can product change to one. I have neither opportunities :(. For some out there that would be the way to go though. I wish you could PC co-branded cards to Freedom cards though!

  5. So if you have Uber local and purchase Amazon GCs from Staples , you can get credits for that? Online only or in-store also?

  6. Have you heard of any bonuses being blocked by RAT for PPDG purchases yet? They are actually for personal use not resale in a lot of cases.

    • Not yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if they use it at some point. I still do it when working on min spend but I mix in a lot of regular spend too.

  7. I would think CardCash’s bottom line will be affected by this and maybe they will work to get that coding again in the future or they might have to adjust their prices to reflect the loss in volume. They’ve lost this coding before and then got it back so who knows.


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