20k Spending Challenge Update 3: Spending Complete and Over $11k Sold

We’re now at the half way point of the 90-day $20,000 Spending Challenge.  If you haven’t been following along, myself and several other bloggers decided to try our hand at reselling $20k worth of either gift cards or merchandise.  The challenge was inspired by the $20k minimum spend requirement on the Amex Business Platinum card that offered 150,000 Membership Rewards once completed.  Myself and most of the others started on May 5th, so we’ve just passed the halfway mark in the 90-day challenge.  I chose to do what I know best and attempt to resell $20,000 worth of gift cards and hopefully make a decent profit along the way.  Check out my introduction and first two updates if you want more details about what’s happened so far (Update 1, Update 2).  I’ve now completed the spending part via the help of Amex gift cards and am over halfway towards getting the money back into my bank account.

Finishing Off the $20,000 In Spend

As I mentioned in my last update, I purchased $6,000 worth of Amex gift cards when TopCashBack was offering 2.25% cash back on them.  After fees, this gives me an extra 1.9% profit on top of all the other money I’m making by reselling the gift cards.  While 1.9% may not seem like a lot, if you extrapolate it to the entire $20k, that’s an extra $380 in profit for buying and selling the exact same gift cards!  I was not able to use Amex gift cards for the entire $20k because I was a little slow on jumping on them, but I did purchase another $8,000 worth when TopCashBack raised the cash back to 2.25% again, so a good chunk of my spending will be through them.

The latest order of $8,000 worth of Amex gift cards brings my spending total to just over the $20k required for the challenge, so technically the spending is complete.  On the other hand, the goal was to generate a profit and several thousand dollars worth of Amex gift cards aren’t exactly the same as cash, so I’m currently working my way through spending them on gift cards to sell and turn back into cash.  The true circle of life for reselling.

Progress at 45 Days: 102% Spent, 53% Sold, and 8% Profit

At the end of 6/19 (halfway point of the 90-day challenge), I have spent $20,419.56 which brings me just over the $20,000 required to meet the minimum spend.  I know I’m a little over, but I typically try to do that anyway in case something gets refunded that would make me fall back below the required spend.  As mentioned above, the bulk of the spend has been on Amex gift cards which I then use to buy retail gift cards to resell.  I currently have a little over $6,000 left in Amex gift cards, so you could consider that the spend I have left to truly start closing out the challenge.  My profit margin is a little lower than the last update, but still ahead of my margin of ~5% on the first $20k I ever sold.  Keep in mind the 8% profit margin doesn’t take into account any credit card rewards earned, so in the reality outside of this challenge, the numbers look even better!

The Numbers Breakdown

Spending Complete: $20,419.56

Unused Amex Gift Cards: $6,382.18

Inventory Total: $3,456.69 (this reflects the cost of inventory, not the value, not the expected sell price)

  • Waiting for gift cards to arrive: $2,349.66
  • Waiting to sell gift cards: $724.03
  • Gift Cards Listed for Sale: $383.00

Pending Earnings Total: $1,802.18

  • Cash From Sales: $950.10 (just waiting on the check)
  • Shopping Portal Cash Back: $545.21
  • Store Bucks: $306.87

Realized Earnings Total: $10,093.49

  • Cash from Sales: $10,082.90
  • Other: $21.22 (fuel points earned via gift cards that I used towards gas)

Total Time Spent: 9.3 hours

Thoughts And Looking Forward

I’m right on track to completely liquidate the $20k worth of gift cards back into cash by the end of the 90 day challenge, so that’s great news.  I had a small lull last week where it was a struggle to find gift card reselling opportunities, but have since bounced back and am right on track.  One thing that’s a little tricky is going to be fully using up the Amex gift cards because the cards I buy with them are all very random in value.  For example, I currently have cards with $4 and $9.78 respectively that I won’t be able to put towards resellable cards.  My usual plan is to simply cash them out towards Amazon gift cards because I spend a reasonable amount of money there anyway, but we’ll see if I can come up with something more creative for this challenge.

My other competitors in this friendly challenge have been quiet about their progress since my last update a couple weeks ago, so hopefully they provide updates soon.  I’m sure they’re well on track and just haven’t found the time to crunch the numbers, but I’m excited to see how my progress stacks up against theirs.  Anyway, there’s still 45 days to go and it’s still anybody’s race.  Best of luck to everyone in their reselling adventures!


8 thoughts to “20k Spending Challenge Update 3: Spending Complete and Over $11k Sold”

  1. Great job Noah! Your profit margins are great.

    You’re right about me, I had a return from Amazon and an item was returned before it got to me because of shipping issues. The last return went back onto one of my AMEX gift cards. The math is getting a little complicated and I want to get it right. Hopefully I will crunch the numbers at some point this week.

    1. Thanks!

      I’ve had a couple ebay purchases refunded and the amount was also returned to the Amex gift cards. I was going to cash out a few of the smaller ones to Amazon gift cards like I mentioned and then decided to wait a while to make sure everything I spent them on completely goes through first. That way I can minimize the value I have to redeem non-optimally (by not having to do it twice!).

  2. Nice post Noah! Where do you typically use your Amex gift cards to end up with such small balances? And I think I saw it somewhere that you can call and ask them to combine them together.

    1. The gift cards I buy are often random balances (for example, my most recent purchase was for $62.50), so a bunch of those going onto a $2,000 card eventually ends up with an odd balance in the $0-$50 range. I keep a sticky note on each one with the current balance so I know which one to use for the next opportunity that pops up, but it’s near impossible to use them up completely because most places I buy gift card don’t let you split payments (I wish ebay/paypal allowed this…).

      I’ll have to look into the combining thing, that sounds like it would work well for me if it’s not too complicated.

  3. This is awesome. Your posts inspired me to start gift card reselling as well. Seriously, love your posts.

    I haven’t found any good deals in about 5 days though. So just waiting for good opportunities to buy gift cards to resell! If you are feeling generous I would love a response (email is fine) with additional suggestions on places to find profitable sources. I have bulk status on saveya, raise, and cardpool – I just haven’t been finding profitable deals over the past few days. I did burn through about 10k in the 2 weeks prior to that, so I know they are out there and I’m just missing them.

    I won’t be offended if you choose not to share, as I also wanted to thank you for your posts!

    1. Thanks for reading!

      It sounds like you’ve done very well with gift card reselling so far and 10k in a couple weeks is awesome. I go through dry spells as well because the volume I’m able to move is very dependent on what deals are available at any given time. Unfortunately, I don’t have any secret places to always find deals but let me know if you find one!

      I’ve heard the last few months of the year are gift card reselling heaven because of all the different retailers trying to get the holiday money, so we can always look forward to that.

  4. I am looking forward to the reselling heaven months with combination of Discover 10% online shopping quarter!

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