Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

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kdm31091
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Re: Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

Postby kdm31091 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:35 am

rockyrock wrote:We spend $10k-$15k a year on groceries, I didn't think it was possible but I guess my wife is just good like that :confused:

I routinely purchase Amazon and Starbucks GCs at the supermarket with my BCP.

I consider MS a loop that never closes. When I buy a GC and use it as an actual-- wait for it-- gift or to buy a cup of coffee that's just maximizing reward potential. That is the whole point of bonus cats and higher CB cats.

If I open a new card with a spend requirement and buy reloadable cards to fund an account to in turn pay off that balance, that is MS.


Right, using it as an actual gift I can see. But let's be honest. The large majority of people are not using them as gifts when buying them for rewards. They are MSing.

The line between "reward optimization" and MS can be blurry but at the end of the day it's subjective. One has to do what they feel comfortable with, knowing that heavy GC purchases will likely get you flagged or shut down eventually when your issuer picks up on your habits.


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Re: Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:49 pm

kdm31091 wrote:Right, using it as an actual gift I can see. But let's be honest. The large majority of people are not using them as gifts when buying them for rewards. They are MSing.

The line between "reward optimization" and MS can be blurry but at the end of the day it's subjective. One has to do what they feel comfortable with, knowing that heavy GC purchases will likely get you flagged or shut down eventually when your issuer picks up on your habits.

What's blurry about whether a transaction ends in a real good or service, vs. a cash equivalent (or something similar I'm not familiar with)? Isn't the "real good or service" test a fair one?

Is the blurry part for a store gift card to a place like Amazon or Wal-Mart (where I've read, but cannot confirm, that you can turn gift cards into cash equivalents)?

If you buy a Starbucks gift card (which I think cannot become cash) at a grocery store, and actually use it to buy coffee, would that bother anyone? I thought that the cards that could be converted to cash were the only ones anyone cared about policing for MS.
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Re: Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

Postby Nixon » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:15 pm

It's not MS if you don't get caught.
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lobbythis
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Re: Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

Postby lobbythis » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:43 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:What's blurry about whether a transaction ends in a real good or service, vs. a cash equivalent (or something similar I'm not familiar with)? Isn't the "real good or service" test a fair one?

Is the blurry part for a store gift card to a place like Amazon or Wal-Mart (where I've read, but cannot confirm, that you can turn gift cards into cash equivalents)?

If you buy a Starbucks gift card (which I think cannot become cash) at a grocery store, and actually use it to buy coffee, would that bother anyone? I thought that the cards that could be converted to cash were the only ones anyone cared about policing for MS.




If you did nothing but buy gift cards and/or prepaid credit cards all day, wouldn't that eventually raise flags? I'd imagine that they could review your account and see there's no way every time you shop for groceries you're spending exactly $100, $200, etc...nothing but even numbers. Maybe you could be hardcore and throw some random numbers on a card like $201.32, but that's a lot of effort.

Maybe I'm wrong or maybe you could just buy gift cards/prepaid cards all day and then add some food every time to make the numbers not look so suspicious.

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Re: Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:34 am

lobbythis wrote:If you did nothing but buy gift cards and/or prepaid credit cards all day, wouldn't that eventually raise flags? I'd imagine that they could review your account and see there's no way every time you shop for groceries you're spending exactly $100, $200, etc...nothing but even numbers. Maybe you could be hardcore and throw some random numbers on a card like $201.32, but that's a lot of effort.

Maybe I'm wrong or maybe you could just buy gift cards/prepaid cards all day and then add some food every time to make the numbers not look so suspicious.

My understanding is that nobody cares about optimized spend that ends in a real good or service. Buying a restaurant gift card in a grocery store wouldn't bother anyone, even in a $1,000 transaction (except for fears of identity theft, and charge-backs, maybe).

Isn't all the controversy about the cards that can result in a cash equivalent? Or does optimized spend (buying a restaurant gift card at a grocery store) actually bother issuers, too?
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Re: Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

Postby lobbythis » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:28 am

Well, it's definitely the cash-out style prepaid credit cards that are the worst and most common form when referring to MS. Whether or not lots of gift cards cause the same problem is tough since I don't know anyone who does that and haven't read online about people buying large quantities of gift cards and running into problems. My guess was that if a lot of even numbered transactions kept happening at the same grocery store, etc., it might start to look funny. Wish Travis from Amex was more frequent here. Maybe he could answer odd questions like this.

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Re: Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

Postby kdm31091 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:26 am

lobbythis wrote:Well, it's definitely the cash-out style prepaid credit cards that are the worst and most common form when referring to MS. Whether or not lots of gift cards cause the same problem is tough since I don't know anyone who does that and haven't read online about people buying large quantities of gift cards and running into problems. My guess was that if a lot of even numbered transactions kept happening at the same grocery store, etc., it might start to look funny. Wish Travis from Amex was more frequent here. Maybe he could answer odd questions like this.


There's little doubt to me that if you were doing the same thing over and over, you'd eventually get caught. There are plenty of stories of MS'ers being shut down. Happens all the time.

To me, not worth it, but to each their own.

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Re: Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

Postby Nixon » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:42 am

kdm31091 wrote:
lobbythis wrote:Well, it's definitely the cash-out style prepaid credit cards that are the worst and most common form when referring to MS. Whether or not lots of gift cards cause the same problem is tough since I don't know anyone who does that and haven't read online about people buying large quantities of gift cards and running into problems. My guess was that if a lot of even numbered transactions kept happening at the same grocery store, etc., it might start to look funny. Wish Travis from Amex was more frequent here. Maybe he could answer odd questions like this.


There's little doubt to me that if you were doing the same thing over and over, you'd eventually get caught. There are plenty of stories of MS'ers being shut down. Happens all the time.

To me, not worth it, but to each their own.


Choose to not do it and move on. Player's gonna play.
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kdm31091
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Re: Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

Postby kdm31091 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:56 am

Nixon wrote:
kdm31091 wrote:
lobbythis wrote:Well, it's definitely the cash-out style prepaid credit cards that are the worst and most common form when referring to MS. Whether or not lots of gift cards cause the same problem is tough since I don't know anyone who does that and haven't read online about people buying large quantities of gift cards and running into problems. My guess was that if a lot of even numbered transactions kept happening at the same grocery store, etc., it might start to look funny. Wish Travis from Amex was more frequent here. Maybe he could answer odd questions like this.


There's little doubt to me that if you were doing the same thing over and over, you'd eventually get caught. There are plenty of stories of MS'ers being shut down. Happens all the time.

To me, not worth it, but to each their own.


Choose to not do it and move on. Player's gonna play.


I never even considered doing it.

Players can play all they want but I think some of them seem to ignore the risk involved. Since posts like this started off with OP legitimately asking about buying GCs, I'm just giving them both sides of the coin. OP may simply be unaware of the fact that it's not something the issuers want you to do, and you can be shut down. If you accept the risks and do it anyway, that's your choice, but no whiny AA threads when you're shutdown :)

Generally, the risk seems like it would be more with the cash equivalent gift cards as most people are not going to buy $1000 in cards for a restaurant or something and they have lesser value to liquidate. But no matter what, it's still MS and a risk.

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Re: Buying gift cards with cash back/rewards CCs

Postby Secretlurker » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:59 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:
lobbythis wrote:If you did nothing but buy gift cards and/or prepaid credit cards all day, wouldn't that eventually raise flags? I'd imagine that they could review your account and see there's no way every time you shop for groceries you're spending exactly $100, $200, etc...nothing but even numbers. Maybe you could be hardcore and throw some random numbers on a card like $201.32, but that's a lot of effort.

Maybe I'm wrong or maybe you could just buy gift cards/prepaid cards all day and then add some food every time to make the numbers not look so suspicious.

My understanding is that nobody cares about optimized spend that ends in a real good or service. Buying a restaurant gift card in a grocery store wouldn't bother anyone, even in a $1,000 transaction (except for fears of identity theft, and charge-backs, maybe).

Isn't all the controversy about the cards that can result in a cash equivalent? Or does optimized spend (buying a restaurant gift card at a grocery store) actually bother issuers, too?


I believe this is the case. Have had no problems buying retail gift cards. But I don't buy a lot of them. If they are in the grocery store, and they want you to buy them, and you use them for pizza or something, what is the big deal?



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