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Established Contributor
ztnjpv
Posts: 726
Registered: ‎02-01-2012
0

BCP and gift cards. Need advice from card holders

Hi. I am looking for advice from proven, real experience from Blue Cash Preferred Card holders about using your 6% cash back to buy lots of gift cards. 

 

Has anyone run into problems with Amex for being too overzealous about it? I'm talking about buying hundreds of dollars worth...if not thousands...to buy stuff elsewhere. Yes, I figure tossing a few every month into your grocery cart isn't going to get any attention but I'm talking about practically using the card for mainly gift card purchasing. Is there any risk of red flags or Amex denying your cash back? Any experiences to share on this?

 

Disclosure: I ask this because I am practically LOOKING for a reason to get this card. Of all Amex's personal cards, it seems to be the only one that has any use for me...provided I can use it as a reliable gift card purchasing mechanism. I grocery shop at Walmart so the card has little value in that regard and I just got the PenFed Platinum so the 3% on gas doesn't do anything either. The 3% at department stores may be useful....prrovided I am in the store and not buying online, in which case, the bonus cash back through Chase Ultimate Rewards or Cap1 Perk Central will most often be better.

 

Please share your experiences. I want to know if I could likely draw the wrong attention from some monitoring at Amex...or the Supermarket...and not get the cash back after pulling the stunt too many times. Thanks.


Starting Scores (Sept 2011): All lower-mid 600s. CURRENTLY: TU FICO: 801 (3/28/14), EQ FICO 808 (3/28/14), EX FICO 798 (9/4/13) (PSECU). Goal: Achieved! Now Maintain!
Established Contributor
laboi_22
Posts: 634
Registered: ‎07-07-2011
0

Re: BCP and gift cards. Need advice from card holders

Not sure but I have the BCE. All I know is this. I went to Walmart last week. I picked up a pre paid Visa for $50 for a friends bday. I took it to the register and swiped my AMEX. The cashier said sir you have to use your debit card only for these so I politely walked out since I do not carry a debit card. Not sure how this works with gift cards and if they are different than pre loaded cards I would think not?? Also not sure if this is just walmarts policy or not. Just some recent experiences/thoughts.
Current Scores: EX - 728 FICO (5/11/13) TU - 771 FICO (7/02/13) EQ ??

Current Cards: Chase Freedom $5,000, CSP $5,700, BofA Visa Signature $15,000, AMEX BCE $6,000, Walmart $4,150, Gap Visa $10,000, JC Penny $5,800, Lowes $8,500, Dillard's AMEX $8,000, AMEX Hilton HHonors - $2,000, Chase United $12,000, Citi AAdvantage & Simplicity $6,000/$6,000, SPG AMEX $1,000
Established Contributor
ztnjpv
Posts: 726
Registered: ‎02-01-2012
0

Re: BCP and gift cards. Need advice from card holders

[ Edited ]

Well, it wouldn't surprise me if Walmart had some policy for that. Tell me, does your card recognize Walmart Supercenters as a supermarket? I have never heard or read that Amex does. My Amex Plum marks my local SuperCenter as a discount store. Visa, OTOH, does recognize Walmart SC's as supermarkets....or at least my local one is marked that way. That;s something to keep in mind in Walmart since you have a BofA Visa. 


Starting Scores (Sept 2011): All lower-mid 600s. CURRENTLY: TU FICO: 801 (3/28/14), EQ FICO 808 (3/28/14), EX FICO 798 (9/4/13) (PSECU). Goal: Achieved! Now Maintain!
Regular Contributor
BCF
Posts: 120
Registered: ‎05-27-2012
0

Re: BCP and gift cards. Need advice from card holders

I shop at publix but only buy GCs when they have a promotion. My biggest GC purchase was $200 and there was no problem with AMEX

Wallet: AMEX Blue Cash Preferred 5k; BofA Visa CashRewards 5k; BofA 1-2-3 MasterCard 4.4k; Citi TY Premier 2.5k; AMEX HHonors 3.5k, Chase Marriott 5k, Barclays US Airways 2.5k, Kohl's 300
Valued Contributor
discernment
Posts: 1,142
Registered: ‎09-01-2011
0

Re: BCP and gift cards. Need advice from card holders

The only experience I have doing this is buying a single $100 gift card at the grocery store along with our groceries -- I did not get the gift card just by itself.  The total of the bill counted towards groceries online on my BCP. 

 

I don't know what would happen if you bought only gift cards by themselves. 

 

We have a Super--Walmart that has a grocery store but, BCP considers that a "discount store."  Consequently, I used my Walmart-Discover card there.

 

I did find out this past weekend that our Smart & Final Warehouse type store counts as a "grocery store" on BCP and, I was thrilled to pieces about that!!!  Also, I noticed that they are carrying gift cards there at Smart & Final too -- so, I am going to put more of this buying gift cards to a test and see what happens.  I will report back later on! 



Husband's Current Score: EX 691 CUSC; EQ 694; TU 687; Mine: EX 773 (AMEX); EQ 720; TU 750
Wallet Contents: SECURED: Capital One Platinum Mastercard, US Bank Harley Davidson Visa, USAA Bank American Express;
UNSECURED: Chase Freedom; USAA Cash Rewards World Mastercard, Discover More, CUSC Platinum Rewards Visa, American Express Zinc, American Express Blue Cash Preferred, Amazon Card, Walmart Discover Card
Established Contributor
ztnjpv
Posts: 726
Registered: ‎02-01-2012
0

Re: BCP and gift cards. Need advice from card holders

thanks, discernment.

 

I have read stuff at other forums but it seems to be mainly speculation about what COULD happen. I have yet to see anyone explain a real story.


Starting Scores (Sept 2011): All lower-mid 600s. CURRENTLY: TU FICO: 801 (3/28/14), EQ FICO 808 (3/28/14), EX FICO 798 (9/4/13) (PSECU). Goal: Achieved! Now Maintain!
Valued Contributor
SnackTrader
Posts: 1,566
Registered: ‎09-15-2012
0

Re: BCP and gift cards. Need advice from card holders


ztnjpv wrote:

Hi. I am looking for advice from proven, real experience from Blue Cash Preferred Card holders about using your 6% cash back to buy lots of gift cards. 

 

Has anyone run into problems with Amex for being too overzealous about it? I'm talking about buying hundreds of dollars worth...if not thousands...to buy stuff elsewhere. Yes, I figure tossing a few every month into your grocery cart isn't going to get any attention but I'm talking about practically using the card for mainly gift card purchasing. Is there any risk of red flags or Amex denying your cash back? Any experiences to share on this?

 

Disclosure: I ask this because I am practically LOOKING for a reason to get this card. Of all Amex's personal cards, it seems to be the only one that has any use for me...provided I can use it as a reliable gift card purchasing mechanism. I grocery shop at Walmart so the card has little value in that regard and I just got the PenFed Platinum so the 3% on gas doesn't do anything either. The 3% at department stores may be useful....prrovided I am in the store and not buying online, in which case, the bonus cash back through Chase Ultimate Rewards or Cap1 Perk Central will most often be better.

 

Please share your experiences. I want to know if I could likely draw the wrong attention from some monitoring at Amex...or the Supermarket...and not get the cash back after pulling the stunt too many times. Thanks.


If this is the only way the BCP works for you, then maybe you don't need the BCP. I would guess a US Bank Cash+ where you can specify two 5% categories may work better for your spending patterns, or a WalMart card if you can't get a better type of reward structure for your grocery purchases there. I'm just thinking that the BCP's annual fee needs a certain level of spending to make it worth it, and it appears that your spending patterns may not allow you to reach that level of spending. 


In My Wallet: Amex BCP (12/12) $22.200, Cap1 Quicksilver (6/12) $14,000, Chase CSP (4/14) $12,000, Barclaycard Rewards (5/13) $10,500, Citi Forward (12/12) $9,600, Chase Freedom (12/12) $5,000

Last App: April 2, 2014
Established Contributor
searchingfor67
Posts: 668
Registered: ‎08-02-2011
0

Re: BCP and gift cards. Need advice from card holders

I've used my BCP for GCs only, and I've had no issues with Amex...Albeit, I haven't put the kind of money through it that you are talking about.

TU FICO: 772 (Discover) • Exp FICO: 772 (Citi)

Amex BCP $13K | Amex Costco TE $10.4K | Amex SPG $10.1K | Chase Freedom Visa Signature $15K | Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature $15K | Chase Ink Plus World Elite MC $5K | Citi TY Preferred World MC $10.1K | Citi Forward $10K | Discover IT $9K | JP Morgan Chase Select Visa Signature $9.2K | NFCU Flagship Visa Signature $25K | NFCU LOC $15K | NFL Visa Signature (Saints) $8.1K | USAA Amex $10K | USAA World MC $9K
Frequent Contributor
scientifics
Posts: 411
Registered: ‎05-01-2010
0

Re: BCP and gift cards. Need advice from card holders

There is no issue with that, but this is the reason why they instituted the 6k limit on 6% grocery cash back purchases (after the limit it's only 1%).

Established Contributor
FutureBillionaire
Posts: 641
Registered: ‎12-12-2012
0

Re: BCP and gift cards. Need advice from card holders

I have bought gift cards only, although I normally buy cards and groceries.  I have spent 100s a month and not had a problem.  Get the card and don't look back.  Use it to buy your groceries too, obviously.

Gas: Discover It, Penfed Platinum Rewards x2, Chase freedom, Citi TYP
Plane tickets: CSP
Groceries: AMEX BCP, Penfed Platinum Rewards,Citi TYP
Clothes: Express, Amex BCP, Discover IT
Amazon: Citi Forward, Cash +
Restaurants: Citi Forward, Chase Freedom, Discover IT, CSP
Hotels and other travel: Discover Escape, CSP
Movies: BofA travel rewards visa signature(fandango), Discover IT, Citi Forward, Freedom
Bars, clubs, tomfoolery: CSP, Citi Forward, Discover IT, Freedom
Balance transfers: Kroger 123 rewards
Bill Pay: Chase Ink Plus, Citi Forward,
Everyday spending: Bofa Accelerated cash rewards amex, Discover Escape

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