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October 03, 2011


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Another way to save is buying them online using one of the giftcard services.

Thank you! With the end of my Charles Schwab card nearing, your credit card posts/updates have been very helpful.

Unfortunately, it may not always be realistic to fully realize these benefits as many gift cards now charge a $5 service charge or something similar. I found this out recently when I wanted to get a relative a gift card for his birthday. Instead, I cut him a check for the amount I intended to put on the card and shared a valuable lesson about what I had learned. :)

Paul --

I'm guessing you purchased a Visa, MC, or Amex branded gift card, no?

I agree one must check the gift card type since they are not all the same. VISA cards charge a fee to purchase their cards.

The other caveat to take into consideration is that at any single moment a restaurant chain can go out of business and the company is able to discharge any IOU's from the day they file. Doesn't seem the event is likely to occur until it happens to you.

I noticed Meijer cards are listed on the grocery store list. Does that mean your shopping at a Meijer store? I had assumed they wouldn't fit in the grocery store category. Am I wrong about that? If they do, my interest in the card has definitely increased.

David --

I do and they do. ;-)

The key is to ALWAYS do a test charge to see how a card company treats a purchase. You can't take anything for granted (or assume) either positively or negatively.

WHat's to keep you from just using your card at these establishments.

Norm --

Nothing. But then you only earn 1% cash back. Use the cards and you make 6% cash back. Details here:


I believe the card FMF uses only gives 6% cash back for specific categories of stores, i.e. 'Grocery', and less (1%?) from other stores.

So, if he can use his grocery store as a proxy for other stores, he'll get a 5% cash back difference.

I do a similar thing. I don't have the 6% amex card, but whenever the 5% rotating categories come around to grocery stores, I max the rewards out with gift cards.

I like your thinking FMF - if there isn't a fee to buy a giftcard, why not get 5-6% back, especially if you shop there anyways!

- @ Paul, I just got dinged with the dumb VISA gift card fee. It was close to $4 to buy a gift card I wanted to use as a giveaway. Don't think I'll be going that route anymore.

I use the gift card /American Express Blue Cash Preferred strategy as well. My family is taking a Disney Vacation and I bought gift cards to pay for it -- 6% back plus another ~4% of value in reduced gas prices at Kroger. Now that, I call a win-win!

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