Now that the US Mint has stopped allowing you to buy coins with credit cards with free shipping to earn miles (you used to then just put the coins in the bank and pay off your credit card), I’ve gotten lots of questions about cheap and easy ways to meet the minimum spending requirements for credit card signup bonuses.
See, lots of those great 50,000, 75,000, and 100,000 mile signup offers don’t fully kick in until you’ve put a reasonable chunk of change on those cards. And most folks (including me!) aren’t comfortable playing games like buying diamond rings on the Costco website with a Visa or Mastercard and returning them in-store where they only process American Express. Play that game too many times and you can easily get banned from Costco.
So I thought I’d remind y’all that back on May 3rd I posted about using Big Crumbs to earn cash back buying gift cards. You earn the miles for the purchase, and even after paying any fees and shipping you make money on the deal. The promo code I posted to buy those gift cards fee-free expired June 30th, but thanks to Dan’s Deals you can use promo code EMSVCA through January 31, 2012 to get fees waived.
Search for ‘American Express’ at Big Crumbs and you’ll see that you can get 1.6% cash back for your purchases. The cash back you earn is greater than the cost of shipping which is why you make money on the deal.
Dan’s Deals says you can get free trial next-day air shipping (normally $99/yr). Given the cash back from BigCrumbs, a piece that Dan’s Deals doesn’t mention, I think I’d skip this part. Although you should be able to cancel within the three month trial online, and the next day air shipping really is free…
Now, one caveat is that I can imagine there are some cards out there which would treat this as a cash advance. I know that the US Bank Flexperks Card treated Mint purchases as cash advances. So anyone who has ever seen this, please note it in the comments. But most cards I understand will post this as a purchase, thus earning miles and counting towards your minimum spend.
Of course you now have Amex gift cards which you have to spend, and in general that just means you’ve met your minimum spend for the bonuses, pulling future spending into the present. These aren’t as easy as coins to get funds back into the bank! But if you need spending quick, but don’t have anything to buy, this lets you spread the spend out over a longer period of time.