How to Answer the Burning Questions about Gift Cards


In the miles/points game, you may occasionally have to think on your feet.  We are taking advantage of the inefficiencies in the system to gain an advantage in the form of travel or cashback rewards.  Sometimes, our methods trigger inquiries from card reps or store employees.  Your answers to these questions can have high stakes.  If you give an answer that raises a red flag, you may be subjected to a financial review or banned from purchasing or liquidating gift cards at a particular retail location.  In this post, I will give you some ideas to answer one of the most consistent questions: “Why are you buying so many gift cards??”


Visa gift cards are at the core of my manufactured spending strategy to meet minimum spending on my credit cards.  I buy A LOT of Visa gift cards!  Quite often, I have had to answer questions regarding these purchases.  The following are times I’ve been asked about why I buy such large quantities of gift cards:

  • Purchasing gift cards at CVS/grocery store/mall
  • Calling CC company to lift fraud alert on large gift card purchase
  • Calling for help with Amex account, and rep randomly asked a lot of questions about my spending
  • Calling for reconsideration with Chase
  • Calling for retention offer with Chase
  • Loading Serve at Walmart
  • Loading Redbird at Target

All of these scenarios caused me a bit of stress, because I wonder if my answer will sound believable.  I usually mumble something about giving gifts, online shopping, or business bonuses.  I always feel like the other person is just thinking “Yeah right, man…,” so I reached out to the community on Reddit to find out what answers they have used successfully.  I got some great answers, and the following are my favorites:

  1. “I use them for travel.”  – This response is genius in its simplicity, and it is 100% true!  It limits follow up questions, because it follows logically that gift cards would be useful if you worry about the security of your CC information during travel.
  2. “With all of the recent reports of stolen CC info, I use them to shop online.  I don’t want to risk using my CC for that.” – Again, this is a very logical response.  Credit card fraud has been a hot topic in the news since the Target breach, and people understand wanting to be safe.
  3. “I give them to my kids to manage spending.” – It may be a stretch to say to you hand your kid a $500-$1000 gift card, but it’s no crazier than handing them an Amex Platinum to use at the movies!
  4. “I use them for marketing/promotions with my business.” – This obviously only plays if you have a business card, but it definitely makes sense.  Many businesses offer giveaways of $500 gift cards for contests or calls to action.
  5. “I give them as gifts.” – Ah, the actual intended use of the gift cards.  This may be a suspicious answer if you buy a large volume of gift cards… who gives out tens of thousands of dollars in gift cards??  (Please message me if you do, we can be friends!)

I hope these “answers” help make your next inevitable conversation about gift cards a bit less awkward!  Whatever you say, be confident in your response.  Do you have any particular answers that you use personally?  Cheers!


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