One of the few good things we’ve had going for us in the midst of a devaluation cluster**** has been the ability to manufacture spend with Simon Mall gift cards. At just $2.95 per $500, they’ve been a cheap and reliable ms tool. Sure, Simon Mall began imposing purchase limits both in store and online, but for the most part all was well. Reader Tim, who might as well be writing this blog with the number of breaking news items he sends in, just alerted me that Simon Mall has increased gift card fees to $3.95 each.
It’s certainly not on the level of CVS no longer accepting credit cards for Vanilla Reload purchases, but it’s worth noting that Simon Mall gift cards are no longer the cheapest gift cards in town. While a $1 increase doesn’t sound substantial, it ads up if you’re buying large quantities. For example, if you’ve been doing $60,000 in manufactured spending annually, your gift card fees are increasing from $354 to $474.
The new $3.95 fee is on par with what a Giftcardmall Visa gift cards at Safeway will cost you. Factor in Safeway’s gas rewards, category bonuses, and the occasional coupon deal and you may just be better off buying Visa gift cards at Safeway. These gift cards can still be loaded onto Bluebird, though I imagine you won’t be able to buy enough of these to warrant a police escort out of the store. That’s something I highly discourage you from doing anyway.
Since I’ve wrapped up my $82,000 spending challenge along with the other $22,000 I took on shortly after, this doesn’t really affect me. Outside of meeting spending requirements, I like to earn my miles through the Amex gift card/Amex for Target route. It’s much more convenient and who doesn’t love a trip to Target? With the 1.5% cash back from shopping portals, I’m just about breaking even on this method. To me, shopping portals pulling Amex gift cards was much more devastating than a $1 increase in gift card fees. Free ms is better than cheap ms.
What are your thoughts on Simon Mall increasing their gift card fees? Does this affect your manufactured spending strategy?