Ya gotta be hustlin’, all the time.
In a previous post, I had talked about my Capital One rewards miles and buying gift cards vs. statement credit. It was a couple years ago and in that round, I bought up some gift cards because they were a better value than statement credit. This recent rewards shopping session has given me an interesting opportunity to take advantage of.
Normally, a $100 gift card is 15,500 points (miles, whatever). However, they offer some $200 cards for 20,000 points, which is clearly a better deal, but sadly, they never have any cards I want, like restaurants. In my regular browsing visit to see if they have added any $200 dining cards (nope), I saw a Neiman Marcus gift card for 16,000 points – a $200 card. Wow, for 500 more points than a $100 card, you get a $200 card. Too bad I don’t have an ounce of care for Neiman Marcus. $200 might buy me a pack of handkerchiefs.
But, that is still an awesome value and I can’t get it out of my head. I have enough points to get $600 in cards. That same number of points equates to only $240 in statement credit. Maybe I can sell the cards for cash. After some quick research, I found a website (cardpool.com) that buys gift cards (at a discount, of course). Their simple online calculator says I can get $510 in cash for those cards. That’s over twice as much as I could get from statement credit.
Quick math time: Statement credit is about .5 cent per mile, gift cards at normal rate are about .65 cent a mile, these NM cards are 1.25 cents a mile. Even with the premium for selling the cards, it’s still 1 cent a mile.
Now, to be clear, I am grateful for finding and being able to take advantage of this opportunity. Part of my gratitude is that I just happened across it and part is that I don’t have to do this. There’s a lot of people who have to do similar things like this just to get by. Buy low/sell high/make it through tomorrow.
After signing up for an account on Cardpool, I got looking at the cards they sell. They’re sold at varying discounts. It got me thinking some more. if I know i ‘m going to be spending the money somewhere, why not buy a gift card at a discount first? Really, 10% off at Outback or Chilis is still 10% off. And since gift cards are just like cash, you’re not restricted to coupon use. I think I have a new source of savings.