Last night, Brooke and I made a trip to Staples. We needed some address labels for our Christmas cards, but that was not the main purpose of our visit. While Brooke looked for the labels, I made a beeline for the gift card rack. By the time we finished at the checkout counter, we had earned $264.40. You could do the same (or better) in the future with a bit of preparation.Our profitable trip was set up by some advanced planning. First, we have been systematically accumulating American Express cards. Every time one of us applies for a card, we make sure to add the other as an authorized user (AU). Then, we set up online access for the cardholder and AU. We currently have access to 18 Amex cards, including our AU cards.
Once you have a few American express cards added to your online account, you can proceed with the following strategy. To find the best offers on Amex cards and to begin to build your Amex arsenal, see the following:
If you have any Amex cards, you are likely familiar with Amex Offers. These are a way for you to save a little bit of money here or there, and they seem to pop up randomly. You can find them on your online account or on the Amex app. Many bloggers cover these offers and will post very quickly on twitter when they appear. Unless you are constantly checking your Amex account, following bloggers on twitter may be the best way to catch new offers quickly. @travelwithgrant is one of the best for this!
I mention the importance of speed, because the Staples offer (Spend $100, get $20) that prompted this post has appeared twice in the past six months. Both times were late at night, and it still disappeared within an hour! Amex offers usually have limited quantities available, and the profitable ones are snapped up quickly.
When you do catch a profitable offer, like this one from Staples, you should add it to all of your Amex cards that have it available. Some offers allow you to add them to the cards using Twitter, but not all. So, I will focus on the sure-fire method – Multiple Tabs. Open your Amex account online, then open a separate tab for each of your cards. DO NOT ADD THE OFFER YET! If you add an offer to one card without using multiple tabs, the offer will disappear from your other cards! In each individual tab, find the target offer. Once all tabs are showing the offer, click to add it to each card.
I used this method to add the Staples offer to 16 of our Amex cards! We headed to Staples with the cards in hand, needing to spend $100 per card to earn the $20 statement credit for each. The most efficient way I found to accomplish this is to buy $200 Visa gift cards. These cards come with a steep $6.95 purchase fee, so I decided to ask the cashier to split the purchase between two cards – $100 on card #1 and $106.95 on card #2. Rinse and repeat to purchase eight gift cards. The whole process took about 10 minutes at the store, and these gift cards can easily be loaded on to Serve and used to pay off the credit cards. The profit breakdown goes like this:
Revenue: $20 statement credit x 16 Amex cards = $320
Cost: $6.95 Visa GC fee x 8 Gift Cards = $55.60
Profit: $320 – $55.60 = $264.40
In conclusion, with a bit of preparation, quick action, and know how, you can turn Amex offers into profit. The numbers above do not even consider the points/miles earned from the $1,656 we “spent.” I’ve been able to make money twice on the Staples offers ($553 total). Another offer for Sams Club also earned a couple hundred bucks last year. Now that you know how to identify and add an offer to multiple cards, you will be ready for the next big deal! Cheers!