Gift Card Churning – Quarter Percent Or Free Shipping

I still cannot believe and how dumb I was that I transacted over $15,000 worth of gift cards with Cardpool in 2013. All of it was through the mail, without tracking.

This year, 2014, I plan to churn safer and smarter. When I started this post, I was going to choose Gift Card Zen all the way for the peace of mind of free trackable shipping and because I have been working with Gift Card Zen through a few transactions and so far everything has been pretty smooth if I can follow the directions even after Cardpool gave me a raise. I figured the .25% was not worth it.

After I wrote about saving on postage, the hamster wheel in my head caused me to revisit Cardpool and play with the math. Without the raise, GCZ would have earned all of my business.

With the raise let’s look at how the math breaks down with my favorite card to churn, Nordstrom:

Gift Card

I would need to transact 4 cards with Cardpool in order to hit the same cost basis number with Gift Card Zen where as I could start with card number one. However, as you can see with the math, starts to work out in favor for Cardpool once we exceed selling 4 cards even after the shipping charges. With the math all laid out, the economy of scale and the flat rate works in Cardpool’s favor.

Final Thoughts:

When I posted about my biggest secret, many readers felt that churning Nordstrom for a penny a point was not worth while for all the work. With the .25% raise, it has dropped the rate and to me a little more palpable rate of $.0088/Ultimate Rewards point.

I’ve made my decision that if Cardpool and Gift Card Zen have the similar rates, I will go through GCZ especially if it is a wash or if I have one or two cards to transact. All BP and Shell gas cards will go through GCZ because they sell on GCZ for 90.50% vs Cardpool’s 90.25% that I could earn.

8 comments… add one
  • It’s still a waste of time. You can effectively do unlimited MS at drug/grocery/office at lower cpp if using cards with bonus categories. And there are numerous opportunities to do MS at negative cost with almost any card. So why anyone would go thru so much hassle churning gift cards for 0.88 cpp boggles the mind. If I were you, I’d spend my time learning what methods I’m talking about and start doing things differently…

    • Gift card churning is an avenue that I explore the most because coverage is not as well documented. There’s less fuss with indignant cashiers and oftentimes, gift card churning is done online and frees time from bouncing back and forth between all the stores.

      In addition, I like to write about it to provide others the opportunity to see what else is available.

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  • Hi, Just a quick suggestion. I have never run a blog so don’t know how hard/easy this is, but the column titles are awfully hard to read on the charts here, specifically the last two. Only on copying and pasting them into this comment did it become clear that you meant “Gift Card Amount” and “# of shipping charges.” I initially thought it said: “Gift Card # of shipping amount charges.”

    I have noticed the same thing in some of your other posts so anything you can do to make charts (column titles and column numbers) line up better would be much appreciated!


    • Thanks for the suggestion, I fixed the offending posts

      • Ever so much better! Thanks so much! 🙂


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