Manufactured Spending

Is it Worth Buying Visa Gift Cards from at 1.25% Cash Back?

While I was away in Europe, I got a notice from Yazing that dropped the payout on Visa gift cards from 1.5% to 1.25%. Even major cash back portals like TopCashBack are now offering just 1.25% cash back on purchases. With the $2,500 purchase limit and $6.95 fee per gift card, the cash back earned through shopping portals like Yazing is an essential part of keeping manufactured spending costs low. Now that the cash back rate has been reduced by 0.25%, does it still make sense to buy Visa gift cards through It certainly does, though you should be aware of the slight uptick in cost.

With the lower cash back rate, should you continue buying Visa gift cards from
With the lower cash back rate, should you continue buying Visa gift cards from

How must does an extra 0.25% cash back amount to?

Gift Card Fees: $6.95 x 5 = $34.75

Shipping fee: $7.45


Total fees: $42.20

– Cash Back Earned: $31.25


Total cost for $2,500 worth of manufactured spending: $10.95

While a 0.25% reduction doesn’t seem like much, it amounts to a $6.25 increase in out of pocket costs for $2,500 worth of spending. This is still much less than the $19.75 cost of buying the same number of gift cards at Simon Mall, but it’s an expense worth taking into account – especially when churning large volumes of gift cards.

How much do you save on large amounts of manufactured spending?

Here’s an example to illustrate what I mean: Generating the standard 25,000 airline miles for a roundtrip economy class ticket at the current 1.25% cash back rate would cost $109 instead of the previous $47. If you’re saving up for an international business class award redemption, you’ll now be paying over $438 for the miles rather than $188. regardless of how you put your miles to use, it’s always good to keep costs in mind and determine whether manufactured spending is worth it for you.

Far too many people get caught up in the idea that something is “free” when it isn’t. Or they do something because others are doing it, without considering whether it makes financial sense for them. Forget the fact that the first class seat you saved up miles for normally cost $10,000+. Instead, consider whether you can actually afford the significantly less amount of money you spent earning those miles. At the end of the day, we’re all paying something for our flights and hotel rooms. Its important to keep that cost in mind along with our respective travel budgets.

Is it worth it?

At the current 1.25% cash back rate, I will continue to buy Visa gift cards from It’s cheaper than Simon Mall, which I continue to incorporate into my manufactured spending routine. And I’m using cash back cards to off-set the cost of acquiring points and miles. It works for me and my budget, but I definitely think its important for everyone else to take cost into consideration as well. If the cash back rate drops further than this, I may consider a strike until they are increased. In the meantime, I will continue to churn gift cards, fully aware of the costs and how to off-set them.

Will you continue to buy Visa gift cards from at the currently reduced 1.25% cash back rate? I’d love your feedback in the comment section.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


  1. I think given other options, it’s totally worth it for the convenience of ordering from home.

  2. Feroz Khan

    I am in California these days. When I go back to Michigan, I will start my first MS venture using the procedures listed on your blog.

  3. I am using to complete spending on new cards and with the Discover It Miles and Arrival. I also use Staples with Ink and Simplycash but it cost more out of pocket, but with a larger return of points. SPG and Freedom Unlimited are also decent options for When I plan travel I know what I paid for the points and use them the best way I can. Hyatt is great and the UR Travel allows me to get other hotels half price so it works out pretty good. I may also use points for United and Southwest. I am excited about the new Sapphire Reserve that is coming, but I wonder if I can get it with the 5/24 rule.

  4. I understand 2500 doll per account is the limit. Like this I have another account with my spouse name. How many accounts like this we can have?

  5. And don’t forget the cost of the money orders and the ‘cost’ of your time to go through the conversion process. Not free

  6. I think so long as we all keep buying from they will continue to lower the rates to see at what point they see a dip in purchases.

  7. Christopher

    How has the shipping speed been? I ordered on July 11 of last month and didn’t receive the cards until July 25, and that was after calling them a few times to push them.

    • Very slow, in my experience. They’re being shipped out of a different city now, so they’re arriving after about a week. Used to be 3 days for me.

      • shipping time take much longer now… gets people more anxious…..

      • Good question and your reply Ariana is interesting. They’ve been telling me that my orders ship (first class) out of Henderson, Nevada. (and thus the 7-8 business days to the east coast from shipment date, nearly two weeks total in some cases.)

        • I’m on the west coast and it’s still slow. I’m still waiting on an order I placed on August 3 – oddly, orders placed the next day (and the day after) arrived, but that one didn’t.

  8. Joshua Ackerman

    Is it possible will send GCs that are not pin-enabled?

    • Some people have reported receiving gift cards issued by Sunrise Bank, which are not PIN-enabled. This depends on design, but if you choose the ones in the photo, they will be issued by Metabank.

  9. Are all of the gift cards issued by Metabank? Have there been any issues liquidating these at WM?

  10. Also, I’m a little confused by the math here:

    “Generating the standard 25,000 airline miles for a roundtrip economy class ticket at the current 1.25% cash back rate would cost $109 instead of the previous $47. If you’re saving up for an international business class award redemption, you’ll now be paying over $438 for the miles rather than $188.”

    If the cost is currently $109 at 1.25% cash back, what was the previous cash back rebate to be able to get the cost down to $47? My math got me 2.89% CB but that sounds way too high (and maybe I’m bad at math).


    • Previously, the cash back rebate was 1.5%. On a $2,500 order that amounted to $37.50 cash back, which left out of pocket costs at $4.70. Multiple that by 10 to get $25k and your cost increases to $47. Now, you’re earning $31.25 towards $42.20 in fees, leaving your out of pocket to $10.95 per 2,500 or $109.50 per 25,000 miles.

  11. scott daniels

    Slow your roll, people. The reason $2500 in GCs costs what it does is the added shipping fee, required for such a large purchase. Instead, drop the quantity dowqn to 4 x $500 GCs, and shipping (by snail mail) is free. So 4 cards costs you $25, and the 1.25% CB yields $25. A perfect wash, net out of pocket is $0.

  12. Free shipping? Not in any of my orders. You must be thinking of something else besides gc…com. They always charge shipping.

  13. sorry — I meant — free 1st class shipping for orders under the $2500 max.

    • Thanks Scott for the clarification. I’m still nervous about using 1st class instead of priority so I can get tracking and confirmation. But, taking the risk is cheaper. I miss the days when you could order AGC (large denominations) and get free annual Fed Ex shipping using a code, plus get 2.25% cb on regular days and even more on promo days. Fees were so little because of ordering large denomination cards, but now portals won’t pay out cb on any denoms over $200 on AGC. That ended in late summer 2015. 1.25% for VGCs with all the fees is to the point it’s not worht the hassle to me unless I really need the cc points. 1.5% was worth it. They’ve already lost business since they dropped to 1.25%. They drop anymore then there’s no reason for anyone to buy them, but instead they’ll just buy in store.

      • Christopher

        With these changes at it doesn’t seem to matter what shipping option you choose, you still don’t get tracking. I chose Priority last time and they told me that they don’t provide tracking numbers anymore for security.

    • I don’t see an option on GiftCardMall for free shipping on 4 cards. What am I missing? I am not sure this is a good option because there is no tracking.

      Subtotal $2,000.00
      Fees $23.80
      Shipping $10.95
      TOTAL $2,034.75

      • Thank you LIz – I’m getting the same exact thing as you. If you drop it down to $500×3, the free shipping option becomes available.

        I guess we just have to do $1500.00 at a time?

        • Can you do both gift and On the same day or just one or the other. Don’t they all go through Blackhawk? Thanks

        • 499 seems to work also. It must need to be right under $2000. 7-15 days for delivery if you can wait.

          Subtotal $1,996.00
          Fees $23.80
          Shipping $0.00
          TOTAL $2,019.80

          • Both my orders were canceled from GCM so I will stick with and try Yazing again since they do pay out faster. I need to try Bill Pay at WM and I think I am going to like it a lot.

          • Yeah I haven’t had much luck with GCM lately. I’ll try a smaller order, but it’s been frustrating.

          • One DP from flyertalk that GCM has been in the process of phasing out the bancorp cards and would strictly carry only metabank cards ‘because they have additional features such as a pin which bancorp doesn’t offer.

  14. I’m new to MS and am trying to follow this. Do you buy the gift cards at using the topcashback portal? Thanks for the clarification. I think I log onto and then go to gift Is that correct?

    • There are 2 online options using a portal like TopCashBack, and I have only used but will try the mall with the free shipping on 4 cards. This hobby is always changing, but it is fun. I like saving my real money for real life, so this hobby is great to treat the family to some fun.

    • That’s one way of doing it. I buy them from and use Yazing as a cash back portal.

  15. Just an FYI — I had made 2 separate orders of VISA GC thru GiftCardMall (with CB thru Yazing), at $505.95 each. I just got a notice from Yazing. Looks like Yazing CB is being calculated at 2%, vice the 1.25% that has been publicly mentioned. Hope for the best!

    Date Brand OrderID Cash_Reward Type Status
    08/08/2016 ORDXXXX $10.12 cashback pending
    08/08/2016 ORDXXXX $10.12 cashback pending
    Total Rewards $20.24

  16. Hey Scott – Based on the $10.12, it looks like you got free shipping on yours orders too, right?

    • Raymond — YES, I did get free shipping, by 1st Class, “7-15 DAYS”. Total each order was $505.95., for (1) $500 VISA GC.

      • Scott – how were you able to get the itemized information regarding cashback from Yazing?

        • Raymond — that report from Yazing was sent automatically after each purchase.
          Note that you can’t find out any other way., as the Yazing page for your Account does not show anything about “clicks” or purchases, like the other CB sites I am used to, eg mrrebates.

  17. What its the difference between yazing and to cash back? I did not see cb on using website

    • scott daniels

      SJSPC — not sure what you mean. Yazing _is_ cashback, much like other such sites, eg ebates, topcashback, etc. Once you setup an account there, if you use their link to a merchant (eg, you’ll earn CB from Yazing, which will be aid out to you eventually (actually I’ve heard they are pretty prompt with their payouts).

  18. scott daniels

    Update: just got both the VGC’s I purchased thru a week ago. BTW, note that my account Order Status still shows “Processed” and no indication they were ever shipped. Nor did I ever get any notice they were being shipped. I guess GCM is kind of a Black-Box operation.

  19. This is nothing unusual. I recall pretty much the same situation a year ago with gcm. Guess they just don’t want to be bothered keeping the buyer informed 🙂

  20. Whoopsie! Was putting in an order for (4) GCs at GCM, and it came up with a Shipping charge, with signature required. I cleared the shopping card and made it for QTY (2), like I did 2 wks ago, and still shows s Shipping charge. What gives? Anyone else experiencing this?

  21. I see from last week that GCM only offers free shipping with total order under $2000, hence typically 3 x $500 GCs. Just verified this myself. Sorry if I was a little slow on the uptake.

  22. Was anyone able to place an order for 5 $500 VGCs on It only allowed me 4 because 5 exceeded the $2500 limit.

  23. At the Galleria Mall in Dallas, TX, $250 gift cards cost $2. Owned by some firm but operated by Simon. Maximum 4 cards daily. So, a $1,000 money order in Walmart costs $8 + 67c fee.

  24. Boarding Happiness

    Hi Ariana, I’m a fan of your blog! I have a question: I’m an American expat living in Italy, so obviously, I can’t just go to a Walmart. I was wondering if you might know of ways to MS spend online? Maybe there’s a blog post you wrote about MS spending online that I didn’t see.

  25. Hi Ariana, I have been a reader of your blog but first time posting a question.
    I normally buy my vgc from Simon Mall.
    I started looking into the costs of buying vgc online after reading this blog. fees are $1 lower and standard shipping is free.
    Is this the vendor of choice to buy vgc online?
    If not what are some of the reasons I should be aware of?

    • GCM does offer lower rates but there have been issues with cancellations. All of my credit cards have been getting declined there, so I stick to

      • Ariana: YES, I experienced firsthand the cancelling of a GCM order just this week. Shortly got an email from them saying cancellation was because “this purchase was not approved by our security screening process”. No specifics tho. So I ordered from GC, order was approved and shipped out forthwith. I would say tho, that given GC’s fees ($6 per card + $2 shipping), I would fare better buying $500 VGCs at the local Toys R Us — only $5 fee per card. And you get them right away.

  26. Do Citi cards work for or GCM without CA fees?

  27. Does anyone know is a there a daily on monthly maximum of VGC that can be ordered from

  28. What are the proven card designs from GC that work at Walmart?

  29. Chrisderfer

    What do you do with the VGCs once you receive them? Is the idea to re-sell them for a little loss, and make up that cost in the value of flights/hotel stays eventually attained through the miles/points earned from the VGC purchase?

  30. If you all of a sudden have a ton of 2k+ purchases from, does that not instantly send a red flag to your cc company to keep a watchful eye on you?

    • I don’t think so. It also depends on the bank. I wouldn’t make a habit of these $2k purchases with a bank like Amex. Just make sure you mix in regular activity and don’t spend more than your stated income.

      • Jerry Mandel

        To ROBERT. Don’t go near your credit limit on a card and pay it off each month as soon as you get a bill. Never a card problem.

Leave a Comment