Clearing out points balance with gift cards

Old Aug 23, 15, 6:57 pm
  #1  
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Clearing out points balance with gift cards

I'm curious, if I were to completely (or nearly completely) clear out my Membership Rewards points by ordering a dozen or more retail gift cards, would that cause any problems. I.e. would it get flagged, held up, etc.? I'm thinking of using a large portion of points for some furniture and household items from Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrel. Since the maximum denominations on those cards is fairly low, I'd probably be ordering something on the order of 10-15 gift cards all at once. Seems like the kind of thing that might sound fraud alarms, etc....

Obviously I can just try it and see, but I'm wondering about others' experiences. We haven't fully decided what we're buying, so we don't know exactly how much we need yet. But once we do decide, I'd like to be able to order the cards and finish the purchase ASAP...

[I realize I can get more value from my points via other means, but I'm not really looking to debate that in this thread...]
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Old Aug 23, 15, 8:33 pm
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No problems, I know someone who's cleared millions of points during promotions.
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Old Aug 25, 15, 7:35 pm
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Clearing out points balance with gift cards

Bigger issue might be how many cards you can use for a single purchase. If the couch is $2000 and you show up with 20 $100 gift cards, it's an issue if their POS system can only split the transaction on five cards.
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Old Aug 25, 15, 7:50 pm
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Much better off to just sell them to a broker and have cash. You'll get quite a bit more money that way too.
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Old Aug 25, 15, 11:27 pm
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Originally Posted by tev9999 View Post
Bigger issue might be how many cards you can use for a single purchase. If the couch is $2000 and you show up with 20 $100 gift cards, it's an issue if their POS system can only split the transaction on five cards.
Keep buying $500 items and returning them for store credit?
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Old Aug 26, 15, 12:22 am
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It worked out fine. I was able to use as many cards as I needed to, no reason to do tricks. And no, I'm not interested in selling to a broker.
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Old Aug 26, 15, 1:36 am
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Originally Posted by Cardboard55 View Post
And no, I'm not interested in selling to a broker.
Just curious... Why not?
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Old Aug 26, 15, 7:11 am
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mia
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Originally Posted by 4bidden View Post
Just curious... Why not?
There is no mechanism for transferring point to another Membership Rewards account, and there is no longer any mechanism for transferring to another person's frequent flyer account unless that person holds a Supplementary Card on your American Express account. This means that you would have to transfer the points to one of your own airline accounts, and redeem an award in the name of a stranger when instructed by the broker. This violates the terms of most frequent flyer programs.
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Old Aug 26, 15, 2:26 pm
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Someone got into my account last Thursday and took the liberty of clearing out my points for me by ordering various gift cards. Luckily AE caught it and called me asking if I had made those transactions. They intercepted the tx and I got my points back.
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Old Aug 26, 15, 2:45 pm
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Originally Posted by tbrein View Post
Someone got into my account last Thursday and took the liberty of clearing out my points for me by ordering various gift cards. Luckily AE caught it and called me asking if I had made those transactions. They intercepted the tx and I got my points back.
You sure it wasn't OP?
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Old Aug 26, 15, 6:46 pm
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Originally Posted by tev9999 View Post
Bigger issue might be how many cards you can use for a single purchase. If the couch is $2000 and you show up with 20 $100 gift cards, it's an issue if their POS system can only split the transaction on five cards.
Why would it be an issue? No different than showing up with $1s or $20s. Actually better for the store with the cards.
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Old Aug 26, 15, 7:40 pm
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Originally Posted by zer0k1 View Post
You sure it wasn't OP?
Curses, foiled again!

Originally Posted by mhdena View Post
Why would it be an issue? No different than showing up with $1s or $20s. Actually better for the store with the cards.
Every gift card is a different "payment method" on the transaction. At least that's how it looks on the receipt. 10 "gift card" lines and one "credit card" line for the balance. Cash is obviously just one line item. They don't create a separate line for every bill. It's easy for me to believe that POS systems have some maximum for the number of gift card lines they can handle, but I didn't run into it in this case.
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