Gift Card Churning Advice – Merchandise Credit Is Not A Gift Card

I purchased a few hundred dollars worth of gift cards and learned two very expensive lessons.

The gift card I purchased I thought was a phenomenal deal. It was listed 9% off the face value, 2% back for buying, and then 2.5% back for selling. I had calculated they would buy the card at 87%, so in the end, I was going to spend 1 cent for 171 US Airways miles.

First lesson, always pay attention to the rate that the vendors will buy your gift cards. I did not double check and calculated the percentages incorrectly. I was expecting to sell at 87%, but it turns out it was 84%. I was disappointed in myself, but nonetheless willing to eat the loss and sell.

Deflated, I learned the second lesson. As the title says, Merchandise Credit Is Not A Gift Card. When I tried selling the card, the website came back to me and said we do not accept merchandise credit. I was beyond stunned. The card’s value was worth $188 to a vendor that I do not spend much.

Finally, to add insult to injury, I sold the card at 79% instead of 84% because I had to use an online redemption. After the calculations, I expect the loss to be about 11% and the miles came out to be $.13/mile

How do you protect yourself? Buy from places that clearly mark the card is a true gift card and not merchandise/store credit and sell to places that accept both types.

For those that gift card churn, can you guess where I bought from and sold to?

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