Manufactured Spending

How to Unload Your American Express Gift Cards

Shopping portals have pulled American Express gift cards, but some folks may still end up with a bunch of them for one reason or another. Simon Mall accidentally sends an American Express rather than a Visa gift card (happened to me), newbies buy them at the grocery store without realizing they’re not PIN enabled, and other have purchased them in large quantities before shopping portals decided to stop offering cash back for them and are unsure of where to go next. So how do you cash out your American Express gift cards? Here are some options:

Amazon Payments. This option is ending next month with the demise of Amazon Payments, but you still have time to unload upwards of $2,000 until then. If you’re still left with a large balance after October 13, you can head to your local Target store…

American Express for Target. This is more frequently becoming a hit-or-miss situation, but loading the American Express for Target card is still an option if you’re looking to get rid of your American Express gift cards. American Express for Target cards can then be unloaded via ATM withdrawals. Just make sure you load at the customer service desk rather than the regular check-out. Often the cashiers at check-out have no idea how to load Amex for Target cards, they’ll call a manager, and check your ID. In my experience, the cashiers at customer service know how it’s done and they’re in a rush to keep the line moving, so they don’t care to look at the card and ensure there is a name on it.

Other Visa or Mastercard gift cards. Simon Malls have clamped down on the ability to purchase their Visa gift cards with American Express gift cards. However, I have gotten reports from readers who are still able to do so from time to time. You can also try using your Amex card to buy Visa or Mastercard gift cards at your local grocery or drug store, then load those onto your Bluebird card or use them to buy money orders at everyone’s least favorite retail store.

Google Wallet. Google Wallet isn’t the cheapest option here, by any long shot. Fees are hefty at 2.9% + $0.50 but it is the easiest option of them all. You simply send someone you trust (or have them send you them money) money and use the Amex gift card to pay for it. Just make sure to leave a buffer of about $1 otherwise your payment may get declined. 

If you want to unload your American Express gift cards cheaply, the best way to go is Amazon Payments. Other than that, using them to buy another prepaid or gift card is a good way to go. So if you’re stuck with thousands of dollars in American Express gift cards for whatever reason, there are several options to get your money back.

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  1. Why not Amazon’s Local Register given the introductory promotional rate of 1.75%. Sure it won’t stay at that level forever, but while the sun shines?

  2. I have a few questions about Amazon Local Register. Since it’s a toll for small business to be able to accept CC, wouldn’t you have to declare it and pay Federal Income tax as well as State Sale’s tax on that money? I’d love to find out more about it and so far I haven’t seen any posts about it on travel blogs. Maybe Ariana can shed some light into this. Thanks!

  3. Gisele – you only pay income tax on profit you make over the costs of your expenses. So if you buy AmEx GC for $503.95, liquidate using ALR at a cost of $8.75, total cost is 512.70, your “profit” via ALR is $500. So you actually have a net loss of $12.70, so no taxable income. Any miles/points you accrue are not considered income (at this time).

    • @ tscateh – thank you so much for taking the time to explain it to me. I still have a few more questions about this topic.

      So, you’re saying that I won’t have to pay Fed Income Tax on it because I’m not turning a profit. I like the sound of that. However, not having to pay income tax is not the same as not having to declare it. For example: People who make less than $24K a year (I think that’s the break off) don’t need to pay Fed income tax, in fact, they’ll get their tax refunded. However they still need to declare their income and file for Fed income Tax, regardless. I wonder if that wouldn’t still be the case for something like this.But, it’s also possible that I’m just totally confused about it.

      My other question has to do with the State Sales Tax. The sales tax is collected at the time a purchase transaction occurs. Whether you’re turning a profit or not, you still need to collect that tax and then in turn, declare and pay that sale’s tax to your state. At least, that was my obligation to the state a few years ago when I was running an internet business. (I live in VA).

      I’m going under the assumption that in order for you to sign up for Amazon Local Register, you need to sign up as a business owner (either sole proprietor or with an LLC). That being the case, I don’t see a way around the sale’s tax. Unless, people are simply ignoring the state sale’s tax thing and not declaring it and hoping for the best or, there’s a way that you can use the ALR for transactions that don’t involve a “purchase”. Can you just transfer money from person to person, or something like that?

      Thank you!

  4. Where can I find an American Express for Target card? In a Target in Tuscaloosa, AL, I looked around the cash registers, the gift card rack, and the customer service area. I didn’t see any. What’s strange is that on the American Express website, that particular Target is on the list of stores that have the card. Which Targets in the Bay Area do you know for sure have the card, and where in the store?

    • I always found it odd that they wouldn’t sell these online. Usually they can be found by the register. I bought mine in Fairfield, but I can’t say for sure which Bay Area stores carry it.

  5. Giftcardmall no longer accepts AMEX gift cards.

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