Almost There With The 20kChallenge And Outing A Method That I Did For $5000 Spend

Let’s jump right into the spending, I’m a little over 35 days into the challenge and Noah has done a pretty good job of updating everyone on his spend. My next update will likely be my last as I plan to have completed the challenge and could include the amount of time spent for both buying and then selling the gift cards.

The Spend:

I’ve spent $16386.54 worth of eligible spend. When I say eligible it means that the $200 airline credit or $100 Global Entry fee does not count when it’s reimbursed, I’ve never received points from American Express, so I won’t count that as spend.

Where did it all come from? $10,000 came from the $25 method. $4857.52 came from the method I’m about to explain at the end of this post and $1220.12 came from eBay gift card deals. The timing for the 20kChallenge has played nicely into the eBay deals. The remaining is a trade secret that I am testing.

With that, I’m about $3600 away from completing $20,000 in spend. So far, the entire operation has been completed at home. I never left the house to do any purchases. The only time to leave the house was mailing out the gift cards and that’s always a quick process because I’ve gotten the packaging down to a science.

The Unknown $5000:

As mentioned, it was all thanks to eBay and their eBay Bucks program. 1 day after activating the American Express Business Platinum card, this little guy shows up in my email. I had no time to buy eBay gift cards to turn this one around.



They were offering a generous 10% cash back. That made things simply easy. Before factoring in any portals, what gift card can I buy at 90% of the value and sell. Given that this deal is on its last really has passed, maybe when they change their policy again, it’ll be profitable churn. Either way, I’m going to out my method that covered 25% of my spend or $5,000 in the $20,000 challenge.


The Answer:




Target. It started with this incident. Resellers bought out all of the collaborative effort from Target and designer Lilly Pulitzer and resold the merchandise higher than manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) sometimes MSFRP with the F being full. Either way, that made people very upset. So Target instituted a ban on all resellers. This domino affect caused Target gift cards to fall through the floor. Remember, I posted this image?



Every gift card exchange immediately reduced the rate at which they would buy Target gift cards. Any way, I sold all the gift cards to Cardpool at 91.25%, making this one a money maker. It was funny because they never made any announcements when I had almost $5k worth of Target cards and the online site was giving me an issue. It was very slick of them.

I recently was able to sell to Cardpool at par to physical gift cards, so as I was loading the 48 cards into one order Cardpool gave me some message saying they couldn’t accept the cards. That was from this post. I didn’t realize until now they were trying to prevent bulk sellers from selling all the Target cards at 91.25%. They were regrouping to figure out how to handle the future rate change.

I skirted their limitation by selling less cards per order and they accepted it electronically. A week later, I had another $5000 batch of gift cards for Target. While I was waiting for my next batch, Cardpool announced to bulk sellers they were dropping the rate to 88.25% in 5 calendar days. I received my $5000 just in time and attempted to sell at 91.25%. I’m assuming it was because of me that they turned off the electronic card redemption. It didn’t matter how many Target cards I entered it said they weren’t accepting the electronic version at that time. That was fine to me as I had physical gift cards that needed to be mailed.

Also, at this point I had already had the UPC scanner, but not the Scotty peeler. I was able to scan in the barcodes in 2 minutes for the 48 cards, but had to scratch the security stripe and that took a little bit, I’d say 10 minutes for all 48 cards. After which, I manually typed in the PIN in my spreadsheet and sold to Cardpool. That part of the operation took about 20 minutes.


The Math:



The above graphic breaks down my spend, how much eBay paid me for buying the gift card and how much I earned from UPromise and the cash back from the portal. For this particular churn, I spent $4857.50 and earned a profit of $56.23. I couldn’t buy more cards because I had a small balance in eBay bucks and made eBay and their math really weird so I only purchased 48 cards. Let’s round up the time to an hour for ease. I made $56.23/hour with this churn not including points.


What This All Means

Just because the deal is dead today, doesn’t mean it’ll be dead tomorrow. The expectation is the rates for Target will improve and the next time eBay has this crazy offer you can meet your minimum spend quickly. I hope this also opens your eyes to new opportunities that gift card churning and reselling is an easy, efficient, and fairly reliable way of manufactured spend.




15 comments… add one
  • You and Noah are both making me think about increasing gift card reselling. I love that you are able to do it so quickly.

    • I love GC churning. I can’t do product reselling due to limited space and laziness in shipping, so GC churning is awesome. 🙂

    • I am seriously reconsidering my stance and looking into it some more, but gift card churning is just another avenue to do some spend

  • One thing to note. Ebay bucks is not cash and will have some costs in converting it to cash.

    • You use it on buying other items on eBay (like more GCs), no?

    • That’s true, it’s not entirely cash, but I’m fortunate that my brother likes to buy bullion and he will use it up and he will pay me for it.

      And as star mentioned, you could use it to buy other things on eBay

      • Even if you use it for another purchase, it isn’t quite as good as cash. That purchase could have been made via credit card so you lose out on those points. The more eBay Bucks you have the bigger of an issue it is. That being said, it is only 2-5% of your eBay Bucks balance so it isn’t terribly significant.

  • Well done.

  • Loving the Beep app…but how do I get rid of the preceding numbers (7XXXX) that appear before the actual gift card #?

    • Excel functions 🙂

  • Funny you outed the Target deal. I found the same deal and pulled the trigger despite there being very little written about it publicly. Even in private I was the only one who suggested this option but didn’t seem to generate much interest. I bought in $1k increments to save on the GCM shipping.

    As you know the rate has dropped twice since the 91% Cardpool so it’s no longer feasible anyways.

    • Sometimes it’s the ideas that don’t generate interest are the real winners. What I am surprised is the floor fell out of the Target cards, but the discount to buy them haven’t moved in lock step.


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