Snippets: New Accounts, Gift Card Deals, and A $20k Challenge Correction

I’ve got a few different things I want to talk about, but each item doesn’t justify it’s own post so I’m cramming them all into one.  I’m not sure if I’ll make this a regular thing or not, but welcome to the first edition of Snippets.  This post will talk about a new credit that Becky and I BOTH signed up for, a new bank account I opened, the latest gift card deal, and will correct a mistake I made in my latest $20k Spending Challenge Update (Whoops!).

Hopping On The Bandwagon – Two New Citi Premier Cards

Citi has been aggressive with signup offers lately and currently has a public 50,000 point bonus after spending $3k on both their Premier and Prestige cards.  Becky and I ran out of minimum spend requirements and hadn’t signed up for a card in a while (if you count 2 months as a while…), so we decided to both apply for the Premier card on the same day.  Both were instant approvals, and despite my credit score being higher (first time I’ve seen my score over 800!), she ended up with a slightly higher spending limit.  I wonder how those are calculated since we both put the same income down (Fun Fact: you’re allowed to put “household” income on credit card applications).  The annual fee is waived the first year, and the card comes with decent spending categories of 2x on dining and entertainment and 3x on all travel including gas.  All the points earned on the card are Citi Thank You Points which transfer to several different partners along with the ability to spend them directly towards travel (flights/hotels/etc) at a rate of 1.25 cents per point.  I don’t have a specific redemption in mind, but the flexibility of the points means we shouldn’t have trouble finding a way to use them in the future.

I haven’t decided if I’ll also go for the Citi Prestige or not, but it’s very tempting.  The $450 annual fee isn’t waived, but the benefits of the card more than make up for it, especially during the first year.  This one’s definitely on my short list for cards to apply for.

New Bank Account

I opened my first business checking account with Bank of America recently.  I wanted to open it with Capital One because they have a higher signup bonus currently, but unfortunately there aren’t any physical branches near me.  The Bank of America offer was for $100 after depositing at least a $1000 into the account within 60 days (See more details on Doctor of Credit).  A pretty weak bonus, but I actually needed a business checking account so I’ll take what I can get.  Normally for bank bonuses, I set up the account to the bare minimum that gets me the bonus and get let it sit until they let me close it without an early termination fee.  With this account, I actually plan to use it in order to separate my personal expenses from the business and it’s been a little tedious setting everything up how I like it.  Regardless, the process has gone pretty smoothly and Bank of America has been helpful during the process.  This brings my new bank account cash bonuses up to $670 for the year ($1,070 if you include Becky’s accounts).  I hadn’t really made a goal up to this point, but I think I can get over $1,000 by the end of the year.  If I spend the time to plan it out, I could probably open a new account every month given the current availability of bonuses across different banks.  It’s not quite as lucrative as credit card bonuses, but since most banks don’t do a hard pull on your credit, there’s no reason I can’t do both!

Gift Card Deals On Ebay

Ebay once again is having a “Gift Card Madness” sale and while the selection isn’t as broad as last time, there are a few profitable reselling opportunities.  The bigger news in my opinion is Ebates increasing the portal payout for Ebay to 4% for the “Gift Cards and Coupons” category (the best category of course)!  Sears, Cabela’s, and TGI Friday’s are easy winners, but Hyatt can be profitable too if you use the right payment method.  SaveYa does accept Sears cards digitally last time I checked.  By buying ebay gift cards via a 5x bonus category, going through the Ebates portal at 4%, and adding in 2% ebay bucks, you can get ~11% off the cost for any gift card that ebay sells.  Combine that with the current sales and you’ll make a tidy profit reselling them (or even more if you use them for your regular spending!).

If you don’t have an Ebates account already, consider using my Referral Link to sign up.  You and I will both get a bonus after you make your first purchase through the portal!

$20k Spending Challenge Correction

Alright guys, I made an error in my last update and my profit margin wasn’t quite as high as I claimed it was.  No one caught the error (or at least didn’t tell me about it), but I realized my mistake yesterday when I was adding some new sales to my excel sheet.  I thought my margin of 12.8% was too good to be true, but couldn’t find my mistake until now.  When calculating the margin, I accidentally included the pending rebates (portal cash and store bucks) for unsold cards which made my profit margin look much better than it actually was.  The good news is I still made a solid profit!  The actual margin is closer to 9.5% at the moment which is still a significant improvement over the 5% I got on my first $20,000, but it’s still too early to say what my margin will look like for the full $20k.  Wish me luck!

In other spending challenge news, I did make my first purchase of Amex gift cards when TopCashBack was paying out 2.25% this past Tuesday.  The cards actually arrived this morning which was a much faster turnaround than I was expecting and I even used them to buy some of those gift card deals I mentioned above.  By going through Amex gift cards instead of using a credit card directly, I get an additional 1.9% margin to work with on every gift card I buy to resell!  I’m over halfway complete on the $20k spending mark because of the Amex cards, but I still need to find gift card deals to use them up and get my cash back.


In other news, I’ll be on a week long vacation starting this weekend, so don’t expect any blog posts in that time and I probably won’t be buying any gift cards either.  The vacation was paid for in cash without a great deal, so it wouldn’t make for an exciting post, but you can bet I’ll tell you all about our upcoming New York trip that was paid for entirely with points and miles!  If I feel ambitious in the next couple of days or get bored during my vacation, you might still see a post or two, but don’t hold your breath.  As always, comment below or feel free to email me at if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

4 thoughts on “Snippets: New Accounts, Gift Card Deals, and A $20k Challenge Correction

  1. “Hyatt can be profitable too if you use the right payment method”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this? Its not like you can get the OPEN 5% off since you’re not buying these from Hyatt. And the 5X UR thing by buying PPDG first isn’t specific to Hyatt.

    Can’t understand what you’re referring to.

    1. When I was calculating the profit, I used 80% ($160) as the sell price instead of the 85% ($170) Cardpool which is probably the cause of the confusion. I tend to be pretty conservative when reselling gift cards, and because they are physical cards that take time to mail, it’s hard to guarantee that the sell price will still be 85% when they get to you. For that reason, I usually calculate profit using the 2nd highest resell price to give myself a buffer, or 80% in this case. $200 Hyatt gift cards at $175 are an easy profit if you can resell at $170, but barely a margin at all if you can only sell for $160.

      Factoring in 4% from Ebates, 2% from ebay bucks, and a 2% cashback credit card, the actual cost of the $200 Hyatt card is $164.50. If you replace the cc with a gift card bought at 5%, then the buy price goes down to $155.75 and it becomes profitable. While Sears, Cabela’s, and TGI Friday’s are profitable just using a 2% cashback cc, Hyatt requires you to use a better payment method. Hence my comment to use the right payment method for Hyatt.

      My conservative math when calculating profits is probably the main cause for the confusion, but hopefully that clears it up a little bit.

  2. Since the gift cards above have limits of 5 per person for Cabela and TGIF and 2 per person for Sears, I don’t see how this deal makes much of a dent in a 20K spend target, but whatever, good luck!

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