Month: September 2014

Discover New 5% Cashback Bonus of Your Choice

discover 5 percent cashback choiceToday, I logged in my Discover account, and I felt something unfamiliar on the page. There are three lines in 5% Cashback Bonus section. One is “Gas Station”, which is 3rd quarter of rotating category. The other one is “Online Shopping and Department Store”, which is 4th quarter. And there is another one between these two. It was telling me to activate now. I clicked and got to know a new special offer.

5% cashback bonus on up to $1000 purchases in-store and online at a store of your choice from October through November

The time-frame overlaps with 4th quarter’s rotating category a little, but they are different offers. You need to choose one among the following stores, Applebee’s, Olive Garden, Bed Bath and Beyond, Shell, Lowes, and Walgreen.

  • Applebee’s and Olive Garden – I don’t often go. I’m definitely not going to spend $1000 there.
  • Bed Bath and Beyond – I don’t shop. They don’t sell other store’s gift cards
  • Shell – The gas station I primarily use. Although I drive a lot. I spend money a little (read Gasoline articles for details). And my local Shell don’t sell gift cards
  • Lowes and Walgreen – You can find their stores gift cards with around 10% discount. If you buy merchandises in these stores, getting discounted gift card can save more. However, they sell other stores gift cards. Especially, Walgreen has $500 ($20-$500 variable amount) Vanilla Visa gift cards, and the selection of gift cards is much better than Lowes.

discover special offer your choiceSo, I chose Walgreen and activated the offer.

I have three credit cards with rotating category, Chase freedom, Citi dividend, and Discover it. Go shopping at department stores with Chase freedom, at Bestbuy with Citi dividend, at Walgreen and online shopping with Discover it card. I will be really busy the following months.

Get $30 or $50 PayPal Credit by Using PayPal Business Debit MasterCard

paypal business debit card offerToday, I received an email. It is about an offer for PayPal Business Debit MasterCard users. Every signature purchases made between now and November 15th:

  • Earn a $30 PayPal account credit for signature purchases totaling $3,000 or more
  • Earn a $50 PayPal account credit for signature purchases totaling $5,000 or more

Purchases have to be made with a signature, which is also necessary to earn a regular 1% cash back. Purchases with using PIN and cash withdrawals are not counted as a qualified purchase for this offer.

My regular spending

I exclusively use PayPal Business Debit MasterCard for reloading American Express Serve and Chime prepaid card. For AmEx Serve, the limit is $1000 per month. I have already loaded Serve this month. So, I will be able to load $1000 each in Oct and Nov, totaling $2000. For Chime prepaid card, I can load $100 per day until Oct 8th and $200 after Oct 8th. However, after Oct 8th, Chime will start charging a fee for loading the card with some debit cards. PayPal Business Debit MasterCard is probably one of the debit cards that Chime will charge a fee. If so, I’m not going to use PayPal debit card for loading Chime card. I have already loaded today. So, I can load Chime card with PayPal debit card for 15 times (days), totaling $1500. By the date the offer ends, the total of purchases made with my regular spending would be $3500. It qualifies for $30 credit!

Should I do extra work for $50 credit?

You can take either one of $30 or $50 credit, not both of them. And they are both 1% cash back. There is no bonus even if you spend more ($5000). So, it is not necessary to do extra spend to get $50 credit. However, I will have spent $3500 until the offer ends for sure, and it is only $1500 short for $50 credit. So I will probably use PayPal debit card somewhere else to get $50 credit. I should be careful with using the card as Credit, not Debit when I use at stores.

Does Target Visa GC come with Free $5 Target GC?

target visa entertainment gift cardThere is new Target Visa Gift Card available online. I have seen one many times at Target stores, but there had never been ones online. Denominations and fees are the same as existing ones. At first, I thought it is just a different design. But, it seems that new ones may have great bonus.

I clicked “Visa Entertainment Gift Card – $100 + $6 Fee” and scrolled down to see details of the card, and soon a short description attracted full of my attention.

Includes: $5 Target Gift Card

Does the package have $5 Target GC? They also sell $25 and $50, but there are no description of Target GC in their pages.

I also noticed that there is no the following warning message in the pages of new ones.

“Card cannot be purchased with a Target GiftCard. “

Does it mean I can pay with Target GCs?

Today, I bought three of $100 Visa Entertainment Gift Cards though ShopDiscover link. I used to buy a lot of Target Visa GCs (existing version) until Walmart stopped accepting these GCs (along with Vanilla and OneVanilla) for reloading BlueBird and Serve. ShopDiscover paid 5% cash back on all those orders. I hope this deal is still alive.

The reason I buy Target Visa GCs now is that Family Dollar recently started a service for reloading Serve card. And they accept Vanilla, OneVanilla, and Target Visa GCs for reloading Serve.

When I buy $100 Visa Entertainment Gift Card with PayPal Extras MasterCard:

  • A Purchase fee -$6.00
  • Cash back from ShopDiscover +$5.30
  • Credit Card Reward +212pts (worth $1.66 to $2.00)
  • (?) Free $5 Target Gift Card +$5.00 (?)

When the cards arrive everything will be clear, but when I go to Target store next time, I will look for the card and see if the package describes Includes: $5 Target Gift Card.

New Amex Offer at and Purchase of Gift Card

amex offer walmart onlineThere is new Amex Offer. “Get $5 statement credit when you spend $15 or more at”It is only for online purchases and not valid on gift cards reloads and prepaid cards. I understand what exactly “gift cards reloads” means, but I’m not sure about “prepaid cards.” Since the terms doesn’t say “not valid on gift cards” but “not valid on prepaid cards,” I assumed that the purchase of regular gift cards is eligible for the offer.

discounted starbucks gift cardI browsed gift cards at, and I find that only Starbucks gift cards are useful to me. However, there is no denomination of $15. They have $25 and $30 (3/$10 multi-pack). If I buy $25 Starbucks gift card and get $5 statement credit, it’s like a 20% discounted gift card. It is a lot of discount, but you can find better deals at gift card exchange sites. As you see in the picture, ABC gift cards are selling them with 24% discount.

To maximize the benefit of this offer, I need to one extra step. My plan goes like this:

Buy $15 Walmart GCs -> Redeem Walmart GCs for Starbucks GCs

walmart egift cardAfter adding some gift cards to a cart and pretending to check them out at, I found that Walmart probably allowed to use GCs for purchase of other gift cards except for Visa, MasterCard, and American Express GCs. It seems that they even allow to purchase Walmart GCs with Walmart GCs. And you can choose any amount of Walmart GCs between $10 and $1000 in one cent increment. (e-gift cards are between $5 and $200.) So, when you buy $15 Walmart GC with Amex Offer, you get 33.33% off deal.

I have two AmEx cards that can sync with Amex Offers, Blue Cash Preferred and Serve. Buying $15 Walmart GCs with each card and then redeeming them for $30 Starbucks GC will be perfect to get the full of the benefit of this offer.

Walmart Cancel My Order

walmart cancelled my orderI chose e-gift card to save time and checked out one $15 Walmart GC with Blue Cash Preferred. Almost at the same time as check-out, I received an order confirmation email from Walmart and “Thank You for using your Enrolled Card” email from AmEx. Then when I tried to buy another $15 Walmart GC, a problem happened. Walmart sent another email that told me the order was cancelled because my payment couldn’t be verified.

I don’t know what caused the error, but I’m sure I enter the right credit card information because I received confirmation emails from both Walmart and AmEx. My question is what happened to my Amex Offer now. It can be redeemed only once on each card. I have never experienced this type of thing before. I’d better wait till the pending transaction will be cleared.

Moosejaw Rewards and Coupons

moosejaw rewardsMoosejaw was founded in 1992 in Keego Harbor, Michigan. They sell outdoor clothes and gears. Since there are no local stores in the area I live (NY), I shop online. I have been a customer for more than three years and made many purchases. The reason I keep coming back and shop is its great loyalty rewards program, Moosejaw Rewards.


  • Earn 10 points for every dollar on regular priced items
  • Earn 5 points for every dollar on discounted priced items
  • Purchase of gift cards is not eligible for the reward

You can earn 10 points for every dollar you spend, (except for gift cards and 5 points for sales items). 1 points is worth 1 cent. Reward points can be redeemed at “”. Probably, there are a little fewer items for rewards redemption than a regular online store, but they have many items from major brand. I believe you can find what you want in Moosejaw Rewards.

moosejaw rewards vip statusVIP Status

  • Earn 5000 points in calendar year, 25% bonus on every purchase (Aconcagua)
  • Earn 10000 points in calendar year, 50% bonus on every purchase (Denali)
  • Earn 15000 points in calendar year, 75% bonus on every purchase (K2)
  • Earn 20000 points in calendar year, 100% bonus on every purchase (Everest)

If you spend $500 today, you don’t only earn 5000 points, but also obtain the first VIP status, “Aconcagua.” From your next purchase, you will earn 12.5 points for every dollar. In Moosejaw Rewards, VIP program is called “High Altitude Bonus”, and there are four VIP statuses. The highest mountain VIP status is “Everest.” 100% bonus means you will earn 20 point for every dollar you spend. Again, 1 point=1 cent, thus you get 20% back! VIP status you earn will be valid until the end of the next year.

How to Earn VIP Status Efficiently

A great offer which Moosejaw gives is not only the rewards program but also many useful coupons. One of coupons I use every time it’s available is “3XREWARD.”(it is available several times throughout the year) Literally, you can earn 3x reward points. Say, you are in VIP status “Aconcague” and make a purchase of $500. You earn 5000*3 and 25% bonus of 1250, 16250 points in total. Even if this is the first purchase of the year, you will earn VIP status of “K2″ with only one transaction!

High Rate of Cash Back from Portals

Moosejaw pays good cash back to shopping portals. The best rate is ShopDiscover 10%. During ShopDiscover’s promotion, the rate goes up 15%! If you don’t have Discover credit cards and can’t access to ShopDiscover, visit It is a free-to-join shopping portal and offers between 7% to 9% cash back.

With All Combined….

I’m in VIP status of “Everest”. When I shop with a coupon “3XREWARD” through shopping portal, ShopDiscover:

  • Earn 30% back in point with a coupon
  • Earn 10% back in point for High Altitude Bonus (100% bonus of a base point)
  • Earn 10% cash back from ShopDiscover
  • Earn 1% cash back from credit card reward

It is more than 50% off deal!


Basic Moosejaw Rewards (10% back) is already great. Plus, you can get VIP Status to earn more reward points. And obtaining VIP status is easy with “3XREWARD” coupon. ShopDiscover pays 10% cash back, and I have never had a problem with it. The “3XREWARD” coupon is available quite often. You can check currently available coupons below.

Plink Shut Down, All Points Are Gone

I received email that tells Plink shut down. Nothing lasts forever, but my concern (probably all Plink users’ concern) is what happens to points we had. I sent email about it, and I received the following message in a second.

Thank you for contacting Plink. We are sorry, but no more points can be redeemed.

Plink was officially closed on Sept 11, 2014. Unfortunately, no staff remains to answer emails.

Team Plink

It seems that it is an automated email. I’m very disappointed. The last email and their current website say “Any further questions can be directed to “, but they had no intention to give a costumer support. All they did was set up an automated answering email.

plink rewards programI was a new member of Plink. I had 4900 points when they shut down, and that was my lifetime points. I had never redeemed the points. I wanted to see what would happen when I earned more than 5000 points and how many points they needed for $50 or $100 gift cards. I was expecting that I could get some discount such as 4750 points for $50 gift card, but when my points reached 4900, $50 gift card stayed unlocked (not redeemable). So, at this time I learned there was no discount. It might have had, but it would have been less than 100 points ($1). It was not much worth, so I decided that I would redeem the point when my points got over 5000.

However, they haven’t posted points since August 15th. I made five transactions at Advance Auto Parts since then. It was worth 2000 points. Plus, Plink was even offering a promotion last month, which you could earn extra 25% bonus points for Advance Auto Parts purchases. Some transactions were made during this promotion.

As I said earlier, nothing lasts forever. But when things went bad, they could have done something such as sending a notice, instead of shutting down all of a sudden. What I’m angry about is that they were offering a promotion in the last minutes!

At least, it gives me a lesson. It is better to redeem off as soon as it gets available in case of a sudden closure. Starting with a similar program, ShopKick, you can redeem for a gift card in as little as $2 increment.

And Chime Card, (it is totally different reward program.) The new rule will be implemented on Oct 8th. They will probably start charging a fee to load Chime with PayPal debit card. I have been using the card without a problem, but new offers haven’t been added this week. What is going to happened to this program?

AmEx Gift Card Deals Dead

fuel rewards network back to school promoToday, I received Fuel Rewards Network rewards a week earlier than expected. Currently, FRN has a back-to-school promotion. Through Sep 14th, you can earn double rewards on its shopping portal. I purchased $2000 AmEx GCs on Aug 14th. A base reward is 5¢/gal discount every $50 purchase, and this gets double. So, 2000/50*5*2=$4/gal discount was posted to my FRN account. Since you can redeem FRN reward for up to 20 gallon, $4/gal is worth $80, which is like 4% cash back. This was great. I wish I could earn another one during the promotion, but AmEx GC link had disappeared on FRN online mall at the same time as other shopping portals stopped Amex GC cash back offer. (See details here)

On Sep 2nd, I made AmEx GC purchase through “Simply Best Coupons”, which offers 1% cash back and a promo code to waive a purchase fee. Since then, Simply Best Coupons had been the best portal for AmEx GC purchase, but that has been gone, too. All you can find in the website is a promo code that waives a purchase fee.

Here are the today’s screenshots of and

cashbackmonitor amex gccashbackholic amex gc

80 percent cash back on amex gcThere are much fewer portals, and most of them are not famous or reputable sites. The picture on the right is the page of AmEx GC at This is obviously an error. 80% cash back is just impossible!

It seems that AmEx GC deal has been dead, and $99 I paid for Premium Shipping Plan just a few month ago will be wasted until the deal is back. It may not be going to be back forever, though.

I was using AmEx GCs for purchases where my credit cards doesn’t offer bonus cash back. For example, Costco. The only AmEx credit card I have is Blue Cash Preferred. Since Costco is not in “Grocery Stores” category but “Wholesale Clubs”category, there is no bonus. Cash back from Blue Cash Preferred is only 1%. And cash back at grocery stores is 1%, anyway because I have already spent $6000 at grocery stores this year.

AmEx GC purchased through the portals had given me around 2% to 4% discount. I can’t find a way to get 4% discount, but around 2% is easily obtained in the other ways. Here are some ways I came up with.

Apply “Citi Double Cash Card”

Earn 1% cash back when you purchase, and another 1% when you pay the bill. It is simply 2% cash back on all purchases. Since Citi Double Cash is not AmEx (Visa or MasterCard, not sure which one), I can’t use at Costco warehouses, but I can use it online to buy a Costco gift card and use it in warehouses.

Apply “Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card”

Another 2%-cash-back credit card. Since this card is AmEx, I can use it directly in Costco warehouses.

Load “AmEx for Target” with grocery-stores-bonus credit cards

I have never done this before, and it is not verified. According to Visa Supplier Locator, Target is categorized as Grocery Stores. Using Visa credit cards such as “US Bank Cash+” and “BankAmericard Cash Rewards” (both cards offer 2% cash back on grocery purchases) to load AmEx for Target may give you 2% cash back. As a rule of AmEx for Target, the maximum amount per load is $1000, and it is charged $3. If the transaction is eligible for 2% cash back, you will earn $20-$3=$17 each load. So, you get 1.7%-discounted AmEx prepaid card. This doesn’t work AmEx Blue Cash cards. That is because AmEx doesn’t consider Target as “Grocery Stores”, but “Superstores”. It is clearly stated in their website.

Currently, I don’t have any of these credit cards. Now that AmEx GCs deal is dead, I definitely need one of them, especially “Citi Double Cash Card” or “Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card”. After doing some more research, I will apply at least one of them.

Cashback Rate of ShopDiscover back to Normal Sears/Macy’s/Starbucks

Today, I noticed that ShopDiscover cashback rate of lowered from 10% to 5%. I checked other retailers, and as long as I remember the following retailers’ has been reduced by 5%.

  • Sears 10% ⇒ 5%
  • Kmart 10% ⇒ 5%
  • Lands End 10% ⇒ 5%
  • Moosejaw 15% ⇒ 10%
  • Macy’s 10% ⇒ 5%
  • Sport Authority 10% ⇒ 5%
  • Starbucks 10% ⇒ 5%

mothers day bonus shopdiscoverThey reduced, but actually the rates of these retailers got back to normal. The rates are the same as they were a month ago. (read previous post to see details) After all, it seems that it was ShopDiscover’s temporary and seasonal (maybe back-to-school?) bonus offer. Before, ShopDiscover shows bonus as pictured. And they might stop doing it for some reasons.

Despite the reduction, ShopDiscover is still one of the best cash back portals. No other portal sites beat ShopDiscover’s cashback redemption options. (See details here) And I think there is another seasonal bonus offer just around the corner.

Can’t Find Cash Back Portals for American Express Gift Card

amex gc cash back comparisonRecently, the rate of cash back for the purchase of American Express Gift Cards got lower. (see details here) But now I found it worse than ever. In the last few months, the cash back rate for AmEx GCs were between 2% and 3%. Last night, before buying AmEx GC, I went to to see which portal offer the best rate. As you see, 2.1% from Befrugal was the best. I was hoping for a better rate, but there was no choice. The amount of the previous AmEx GC was nearly zero. And although 2.1% was not really great deal, but I could still save money with it.

However, there was a problem. I couldn’t find a page of AmEx GCs at Then I went to TopCashBack, that offers 2.0% (according to cashbackmonitor). Same here, there was no page or link at TopCashBack. I checked some other portals. I didn’t check all of them, but I could manage to find a few portals that offered cash back, Simply Best Coupons, Ebates, and Mr. Rebates. The rate was merely 1%. The only consolation was that Simply Best Coupons had a promo code to waive a purchase fee of $3.95.

In July and August, I purchased four AmEx GCs with a promo code which is not posted on the portal site. As a result, all pending cash back ($175.50 in total) was cancelled. (see details here)

amex gc cash back portalsToday, I checked cashbackmonitor. As you see, all travel reward portals have gone, and there are only seven cash back portals. 1% is the highest, and promo code to waive a purchase fee can be found ONLY at Simply Best Coupons.

Is 1% cash back still worthwhile? It depends on face value of AmEx GC you buy. Say you buy $1000 AmEx GC with AmEx Blue Cash credit card. You can waive a purchase fee of $3.95 at Simply Best Coupons.

  • Purchase fee $0
  • Shipping -$8.95
  • 1% cash back from credit card +$10.09
  • 1% cash back from portal +$10.00
  • Total profit is $11.14

The profit is only 1.11% of $1000. This isn’t great. However, if you buy $5000 AmEx GC, total profit is $91.14. It’s 1.82% of $5000. Not bad. If you enroll in Premium Shipping Plan (see details here), shipping cost may be calculated less. So, you can manage to get close to 2% discount.

Just a few months ago, I had already enrolled in Premium Shipping Plan. I usually order 3 or 4 AmEx GCs per month. So, shipping cost is calculated less than $3 each order. After considering all of these calculations, I placed an order of $2000 AmEx GC. Simply Best Coupons already posted a pending cash back.

I hope Befrugal or TopCashBack offer cash back for AmEx GCs again, but for now Simply Best Coupons with a promo code is the best option for purchasing American Express Gift Cards. Click here to visit Simply Best Coupons and don’t forget to use promo code when you purchase AmEx GCs.