The new Facebook group is off to a great start! I've been posting my day-to-day hacking activities and a couple of other expert friends have chimed in as well. If you're interested in joining I have a few slots left...the group is capped at 100 people for now.
Request to join here:
Travel Talk Facebook Group
Several people in the group have expressed interest in gift card arbitrage - a fancy word for buying and selling 3rd party gift cards for profit and to earn miles/points. Key take away: if you decide to explore gift card arbitrage, always aim to make a profit. The miles and points you earn are a secondary benefit. Cashback portals are a huge factor in that strategy.
Before I make ANY purchase online, I check cashbackmonitor.com. Here's what I found today while contemplating a purchase on walmart.com:
I looked over my options, and decided to use Simply Best Coupons for this purchase. I intended to buy an Uber gift card - $100 card on sale for $90. MOST portals have language that indicates they will not pay out on the purchase of gift cards, but in practice that isn't always the case. I've earned plenty of cashback on gift card purchases, although it's hard to predict. I chose Simply Best this time because I hadn't used them in awhile and I wanted to keep my account active. Hopefully they will pay out!
I didn't choose the portals showing the highest rates for a couple of reasons: RebatesMe website is sketchy, UPromise NEVER pays out on gift card purchases, and I was not going to use my Discover card for this purchase so Discover Deals was out. Why didn't I use my Discover card? Because I chose to use a card that earns 2X the points on all purchases up to 50k a year - American Express Blue Business Plus. I also expect this purchase to track through the DROP app and earn 10 points per dollar spent, for a total of 900 DROP points. More about DROP in a minute...
As you can tell, it's important to be familiar with the rewards offered by each of your credit cards, and to have a goal in mind. Lots of people prefer to go through airline portals or credit card portals rather than cashback portals. A great example: if I'm purchasing gift cards from Staples I use the Chase UR (Ink) portal because historically it has paid out for those purchases.
ADVANCED TECHNIQUE: go through a portal to buy a retailer's gift card at a discount, open a new browser and go through a portal AGAIN to purchase the actual merchandise using the gift card. Many times you will receive cashback or miles/points on both transactions. CAVEAT: some merchants will not allow you to use their store-branded gift card to purchase another gift card, so this technique is best when purchasing merchandise. One notable exception is Sam's Club online...I've had no issues purchasing 3rd party gift cards with Walmart or Sam's gift cards. In fact a decent sale starts tonight at midnight!
I expect the following return from my WalMart purchase today:
$100 Uber gift card for $90
4% cashback from Simply Best Coupons: $3.60
900 DROP points to redeem for Amazon Gift Cards
180 American Express Membership Rewards points
Even if I don't receive the cashback I'm still happy with my haul. It took me all of 5 minutes to make this transaction.
Ok, on to the DROP application. DROP is an app on your phone that offers points redeemable for gift cards. You earn the points by linking your credit card(s) to the app, and choosing 5 merchants you shop at consistently. DROP also offers special incentives and bonuses at tons of retailers - not just the ones you've chosen. I've been using DROP for about a week and have already earned 20K points - enough to redeem for a $20 Amazon card! I don't know about you, but I can NEVER get enough Uber or Amazon credit. If you decide to try DROP, download the app (look for Earn With Drop) and then enter my referral code:
You can't sign up without a referral code, so if you are appreciative of the information shared here please use mine!
Pro tip: enable DROP notifications on your phone so you know instantly when new incentives have been added.
Ibotta is another free app that allows you to get cash back for items you purchase. Download the Ibotta app - I'd appreciate it if you use my referral link. You'll make $10 just for signing up and making a purchase:
Robin's iBotta Referral
I use iBotta mostly for eBay gift card purchases since it reliably pays 1% cashback on eBay. I also use it for Uber. If you link your iBotta and Uber accounts you get $1 back for every Uber ride. Remember to open the iBotta app FIRST and then click through to Uber!
Side note: crazy savings on Uber! Not only do I use discounted gift cards and click through iBotta for $1 back - I also get Starpoints for every ride. Additionally, my American Express Business Platinum card offers $15 per month in automatic Uber credits:
I could drone on for hours about saving money and earning points, but that's probably enough for now. If you're interested in joining some cashback portals I'd love it if you'd click through these links to use my referrals:
eBates - my favorite
Thanks for reading and supporting the blog and Facebook group. Happy Travelin' - and SAVING!
Disclaimer: I will receive referral credit (and you'll usually receive a bonus) if you click through the links in this post. Thanks!