Ultimate Strategy of Fuel Rewards Network 2/2

If you never sell stuffs online, the strategy described on the previous post might be a little overwhelming. If there is a way to turn an AmEx gift card into cash easily, you will earn the reward over and over. Of course, there is no such a perfect method. However, there is a way to do so with a little work and some conditions.

Sell AmEx Gift Card on eBay

selling amex gc on ebayThe fastest way to turn AmEx gift cards into cash is to sell them on eBay. Look at the picture. It shows how much fee eBay and PayPal charge you. To get $500 by selling $500 AmEx gift card, you have to sell a gift card at the price of $574.40 (plus shipping cost). Obviously, it is a bad deal for eBay buyers. I guess nobody buys it. But what if you sell five $100 gift cards? For $100 gift card, you need to sell it for $115.15. On eBay, some gift cards are very popular. For whatever reasons, some people pay more than face values for those gift cards. Please remember about $3.95 purchase fee on each card when you buy AmEx gift cards, and $115.15 doesn’t include it. American Express offer free-purchase-fee promotion very often. You can take advantage of the promotion when you sell AmEx gift cards on eBay.

eBay’s Policy of Selling Gift Cards

ebay gift card policyHowever, actually I have never tried to sell any AmEx gift cards on eBay because of eBay’s gift cards policy. According to the policy, you cannot sell Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express Prepaid cards regardless of the amount on the card. You cannot even sell used (no-value $0) prepaid cards as collectibles if an expiration date on the card is within 10 years. Despite the policy, so many cards are sold on eBay. You rarely see active listings of Visa, MarsterCard, Discover, and AmEx because they are sold quickly. If you click “complete listings” or “sold listings”, you will see a lot. It seems easy to sell $100 AmEx gift card for $115.15, but what if buyers report a charge-back? The items are prohibited by the policy, so I don’t think eBay’s seller protection covers these transactions. I sent a question about it to eBay by email, and I’m waiting for an answer. Until my question is clear, I don’t want to risk losing money by selling AmEx gift cards on eBay.

Buy Visa Gift Card

visa gift cardThe reason of converting AmEx GCs into Visa GCs is that Visa GCs are much closer to “Cash form” than AmEx GCs. Unlike AmEx GCs, Visa GCs have some features of Debit Card. Depending on stores, you can get cash back at registers. And more conveniently, you can load BlueBird or Serve with Visa GCs, and then pay bills, withdraw cash at ATM, or transfer to your bank account.

Now, the cycle is completed. You can buy another AmEx GC. There is one problem, though. That’s Visa GCs charge a purchase fee. Purchase fees vary depending on types and denomination of Visa GCs. You should choose a GC with low percentage fee.

Ways to avoid the purchase fee

There are ways to avoid the purchase fee of Visa GCs. Exactly speaking, you can never avoid a purchase fee, however, by using the following store’s gift cards, a purchase fee are offset. Here are what I have found so far.

  • Buy 6% or more discounted Target GCs, and then buy $100 Target Visa GCs with Target GCs
  • Buy 3.5% or more discounted Staples GCs, and then buy $200 Visa GCs with Staples GCs

target and staples gift card secretBoth and allow to purchase gift cards with their own gift cards. If you can get these store’s GCs with equal to or more discount than a purchase fee of Visa GCs, you may as well avoid a purchase fee. It is kind of hard to find 6%-discounted Target GCs, but you can always find 3.5%-discounted Staples GCs at Gift Card Granny. This step may take extra time (a week or so for store’s GCs to be delivered). Instead, you don’t lose money in transactions of purchasing Visa GCs.


That’s all I can come up with so far. To earn a lot of rewards, you have to spend a lot of money. American Express Gift Card is the perfect choice. Use AmEx GC for everyday’s spending unless your credit card has a better reward, such as Blue Cash Preferred 6% Cash Back at grocery stores and Chase ink 5% Cash Back (5X) at office supply stores. And you can buy Visa GCs to boost up the speed of the cycle. The reward shows up and is available for you to use approximately 30 days later. By keep doing this strategy, you get a steady flow of gas reward.

You can join in Fuel Rewards Network online. FRN card will arrive 7 to 10 business days. You need FRN card to redeem the reward, but you don’t need it to earn reward. Start earning today! Click here to sign up (it’s free!)

Earn 3X Gas Rewards on GC purchases at Stop and Shop

earn 3x on the purchase of gcs at s&s6/6/2014 thru 6/16/2014, you can earn 3x gas rewards when you purchase any gift card at Stop & Shop. I was lucky enough the store has $20-$500 Visa gift cards. I knew the store had lots of gift cards including Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, but I have never seen $20-$500 gift cards. There is a bunch of them now. It seems the store have just restocked them. Without thinking, I picked up and took it to the cashier. I had it loaded $500, and a fee is just $5.95. That is only 1.19%.

I used American Express Blue Cash Preferred so I will get 6% cash back ($30.36) in addition to 3x gas rewards (1500 pts = $1.50/gal).

I don’t know full potential of Visa GC, but at least I know that you can load American Express Serve at Walmart and withdraw money to your bank account. There is no fee in this process. It is just you need a trip to Walmart, and it takes up to 5 days to withdraw money to your bank account.

visa gift card

On the other day, I tried to get cash back with Visa GC (issued by the same bank, MetaBank) at the register of Target, but it couldn’t succeed. A PIN pad said, “Access denied, contact issuer”. At that time, I used $100 Visa GC (issued by the same bank, MetaBank), and tried to get $40 cash back. What if I choose a smaller amount of cash back? What about other stores. I will have to find out.

Of course, you can use the gift card normally, at grocery stores, gas stations, online purchases, etc. After you add the GC to your PayPal account, you can spend it on eBay purchases, too.

You don’t have to buy Visa gift cards. Any gift cards except Stop & Shop gift cards are eligible for 3x gas rewards. I chose $500 Visa gift card because:

  • A purchase fee is the lowest against a face value of gift card
  • I can use anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted
  • There is a way to turn it into cash
  • It may be possible to get cash back at the register
  • I can buy gift cards at Stop & Shop or elsewhere again

If I buy an amazon gift card with the Visa GC, there is no credit card cash back. However, since there is no purchase fee on amazon gift cards, you can buy $500 amazon gift card with $500 Visa gift card. And I will get another 1500 pts! This is just one example, but starting with $500 Visa GC, you will be able to choose a lot of options and earn a lot of gas rewards as well!

Comparison of Gas Rewards Programs 3/3

Stop & Shop Gas Rewards vs Fuel Rewards Network

stop and shop gas rewards vs fuel rewards network

Although both programs let you redeem the reward at Shell gas stations, the reward’s points can’t be combined or redeemed together. Let’s see what is the difference between these two programs.

  • Stop & Shop Gas Rewards (S&S) needs to earn at least 100 points to redeem 10¢/gal discount, while FRN needs none. Even when you don’t have any reward in FRN account, you can always get 3¢/gal
  • S&S can save up to $2.20 per gallon per transaction, while FRN has no limit. (Actually, you need to pay at least .019 to .109 cents per gallon)
  • S&S reward can be redeemed up to 35 gallons, while FRN can up to 20 gallons
  • S&S reward can earn at Stop & Shop only, while FRN can earn at participating supermarkets, restaurants, bars and clubs, on convenience store purchase or auto service at Shell gas station, and a shopping through Online Shopping Mall


pay 1 cent per gallon with frnBoth programs are great. I found it very easy to earn S&S reward. But there is only one problem with this program. That is “It has a limit, $2.20 per gallon Max per transaction.” Even if you have lots of points, you can’t redeem more than 2200 point. For FRN, you can lower the price to almost $0/gal.

Even if you use the most effective way to earn FRN rewards that fits your regular spending, it is probably not enough to make the price down to $0.01/gal. In the FRN website, you can see at least five FRN members paid $0.01/gal every day. If you want to become one of those, you’ll have to work at it. If you are interested in $0.01/gal, read blog “Ultimate Strategy of Fuel Rewards Network 1/2“.

Ultimate Strategy of Fuel Rewards Network 1/2

fuel rewards networkI believe the best way to save gas money is use Fuel Rewards Network (FRN). FRN is a reward program for Shell gas station. It is free to join. Sign up and request a membership card. You will need the card to redeem rewards, but you don’t need it to earn the rewards. Start earning today! There are two reasons this program is so great. One is there are many ways to earn the rewards, and the other is you can redeem as much reward as a price of gas. (it’s possible to pay only $0.01/gal.) Here are all the ways to earn FRN reward.

  • Linking your participating grocery store card and make a purchase (Participating grocery stores are not around the area I live. If they are in your neighborhood, you can get a steady flow of FRN reward on every day purchase)
  • Shopping at Shell convenience store, get a car wash or auto service at Shell (Buying bonus items in Shell store give you extra reward)
  • Purchasing Quaker State or Pennzoil motor oil (Find a special code under the caps)
  • Linking your MasterCard and use at restaurants (Choose a credit card which offer the best reward on the purchase at restaurants. You will earn both FRN and credit card’s reward)
  • Referring FRN to your friends (Send e-mails with a referral link to your friends. When your friends join FRN, you will earn 5¢/gal discount)
  • Other limited time offers
  • Shopping at FRN Online Mall

When I became a member and found the Online Mall in FRN, I got excited. The Online Mall is similar to credit cards’ such as ShopDiscover and Ultimate Rewards. I’m receiving lots of Cash Back from them on online purchases. I thought it was good opportunity to add another type of Online Mall for gas money. However, soon after I compared FRN Online Mall with ShopDiscover, I got disappointed. Because ShopDiscover’s reward would be better than FRN for all online retailers I usually shop. I might as well forget about FRN and keep using ShopDiscover.

2x reward with fuel rewards networkI couldn’t give up though, because $0.01/gal is so appealing. I looked for another way, then I found “2X Rewards at American Express Gift Cards“. In FRN Online Mall, every $50 purchase gives you 5¢/gal discount. For example, if you buy $500 AmEx gift card:

  • The reward is 5¢ x $500/$50 x 2(Bonus)=$1/gal
  • Since you can redeem the reward up to 20 gallons per transaction, the reward is worth $1×20=$20
  • Amex charge $3.95 as purchase fee and $8.95 for shipping cost, total fee is $12.90
  • $20-$12.90=$7.10 You even made a profit so far (plus, you may get cash back from credit card)

You now have $500 gift card which can be used anywhere it accepts American Express. You may buy groceries at a supermarket or wholesale items at Costco. But, let’s get more reward out of this gift card.

Buy Gift Card by Gift Card

buy gift cards to get frn rewardsGo back to FRN Online Mall and buy store’s gift cards with AmEx gift card and then make a purchase with store’s gift cards. As long as online store accepts AmEx, you can buy stores gift cards with AmEx gift card. It depends on stores that a purchase of gift cards or a purchase with store’s gift card is eligible for FRN reward. If both transactions are eligible for the reward, you will get another 5¢x$500/$50+5¢x$500/$50=$1/gal discount. (If the store gives bonus, $1/gal will be multiplied.) Great! you will have to spend $500 anyway, but you will get at least $2/gal discount.

This is a strategy for those who already have a plan to buy something online. You earn the reward on the purchase of AmEx gift card, and turn AmEx gift card into store’s gift cards, but you will have to make a final purchase at the stores with store’s gift cards. What I do (as an eBay and amazon seller) is buy items with store’s gift cards, and then sell items on eBay and amazon. I set the prices by adding only selling fee and shipping cost to the price I paid to the stores. I don’t make a profit from the sales, but the reward stays! For some items, I buy only on sale. For some items, use coupons, that helps me compete with other sellers. And not only FRN reward, but I also earn the reward of store’s loyalty programs, which will be also your profit!

Is there a way to only earn rewards without such a work as selling on eBay and amazon? See the details in the next article “Ultimate Strategy of Fuel Rewards Network 2/2

Note you need to avoid using Discover cards to purchase AmEx gift cards. Discover treats the transactions as Cash Advance and charges a fee. As long as I know, Chase and Amex cards are safe to use for the purchase of Amex gift cards.

Comparison of Gas Rewards Programs 2/3

Shop Your Way GAS REWARDS vs Stop & Shop Gas Rewards

shop your way gas rewards vs stop & shop gas rewards

Both are free to join. The benefits of these programs are that you can earn reward through every day purchase, and reward is much bigger than the programs introduced in the previous post. (Both discounts can be applied for a single fill-up.)

  • Shop Your Way GAS REWARDS – Spend $50 or more at Kmart and you will get 30¢/gal off coupon, up to 20 gallons at BP, Speedway, Sunoco, or Shell (depending on the location of Kmart)
  • Stop & Shop Gas Rewards – Earn 1 point for every dollar spent at Stop & Shop, save 10¢/gal for every 100 points, up to $2.20/gal to redeem and up to 35 gallons per transaction at Shell

shop your way gas rewards couponAt a glance, Shop Your Way looks better and easier to earn the reward than Stop & Shop. However, Stop & Shop offers extra points on the purchase of some items. See weekly circular and make sure that they have a type of price tag in store. (as pictured below) stop and shop gas rewards bonusAccording to this week’s circular, you must buy any of 8 items to earn 500 points=50 cents per gallon. Aside from the reward, the price of them are good deals. If you regularly buy some of these items, stock up on them. It allows to earn 10 offers per household (5000pts=$5/gal!) If you don’t find any items necessary, wait for next week. The bonus items change every week.price tag of gas reward bonus item

Kmart has a reward program called Shop Your Way Reward (A gas coupon is something additional. This is the main loyalty program of Sears, Kmart and Lands End). SYWR is a great program. When you combine with coupons, you can earn lots of reward points, and you can redeem for the next purchases. But deals are so timely. In my opinion, Kmart is not a good store to buy every day items, especially groceries. Besides, the 30¢ discount coupon can’t be combined with another 30¢ discount coupons. Only one coupon can be used each transaction. As for Stop & Shop reward points, you can redeem up to 2200 points (save $2.20 per gallon), up to 35 gallons per transaction.

Please note that there is an expiration date on both rewards. For Shop Your Way GAS REWARDS, a coupon is valid for 30 days. The exact date is printed on the coupon. For Stop & Shop Gas Rewards, points you earn expires 30 days later. You can check the exact date in the website.


Considering bonus items, Stop & Shop Gas Rewards is much easier to earn more rewards. Saving $2.20/gal is very appealing. And the discount is applied up to 35 gallons. If you own 2 or more cars, fill it up at the same time to get discount as much as possible. It is not difficult to earn thousands of points every week and redeem a maximum reward every fill-up!

Fuel Rewards Network (from the previous post) and Stop & Shop Gas Rewards are both for Shell gas stations. Let’s unveil the potential of Fuel Rewards Network and compare them in the next post, “Stop & Shop Gas Rewards vs Fuel Rewards Network“.


Comparison of Gas Rewards Programs 1/3

BP Driver Rewards vs Fuel Rewards Network

bp driver rewards vs fuel rewards network

Both of them are free to join. After signing up, membership cards are sent to you. Every time you pump at a gas station, insert the cards and you will get the following discount:

  • BP Driver Rewards – Save 5¢/gal, up to 20 gallons, every 20 gallons with 2 transactions at BP
  • Fuel Rewards Network – Save 3¢/gal, up to 20 gallons, every fill-up at Shell

Both cents-per-gallon discounts are eligible for up to 20 gallons with one fill-up. “one fill-up” means that even if you redeem the reward and purchase less than 20 gallons, the discount won’t carry over for the next fill-up. To earn BP’s 5¢/gal discount, you have to make 2 transactions that total at least 20 gallons. To maximize the reward, use a sign up bonus (10¢/gal discount) and purchase 20 gallons at the first pump. Then make another transaction, but this time pump as little as possible. This meets requirements for the reward, and you will be able to use for next purchase of 20 gallons. By keeping this cycle, you will receive almost 5¢ discount on average. However, this way works for vehicles that have big fuel tanks. If you have a small vehicle that has 10-gallon fuel tank, you will receive only 2.5¢ discount on average. Fuel Rewards Network (FRN) is no requirement to get a discount. All you need to do is insert the FRN card before pumping at Shell.

BP Driver Rewards expire at the end of the month of 90 days after the rewards are earned. You can always receive FRN 3¢ discount as long as you have the card and insert it before pumping. (an additional reward earned through a purchase at supermarkets, online portal, etc have expiration date.)

As a sign-up bonus, BP offers 10¢/gal for the first fill-up, up to 20 gallons, and FRN doesn’t have any. (but there are several bonuses from online portal, dine, supermarket, etc after earning the first reward through each of them)


Because BP Driver Rewards needs 2 transactions to earn the reward, if you have a SUV or truck which have larger than 20-gallon fuel tank, you can constantly receive (almost) 5¢/gal discount in the way described above. But, if it’s 12-gallon tank, you can earn 3¢/gal discount on average. So, if a capacity of fuel tank of your car is more than 12 gallons, BP Driver Rewards gives you better rewards on average. If it’s less than 12 gallons, use FRN and you will earn 3¢/gal discount every fill-up.

This is only a comparison of rewards you can earn through gas purchases. While BP Driver Rewards doesn’t have any other strategy to maximize the reward, FRN has various ways to earn more and more rewards. I will explain this later. Before that, I’d like to introduce two other reward programs in the next post, “Shop Your Way GAS REWARDS vs Stop & Shop Gas Rewards“.