This is a quick post about Starbucks gift cards. I had recently bought a Starbucks card for $160 in order to flip on Raise.com but they do not accept Starbucks cards over $100. I was able to go in store and have these card split in two with two brand new gift card codes and thus was able to sell both smaller cards separately on Raise.com
A couple months ago, I saw a huge arbitrage opportunity in Dunkin Donuts gift cards. The cards were being sold at about 35% – 40% off face value from CardCash.com and trading on Raise.com at around 12%-16% off. At the time the Chase Ink Cash was coding as 5x on CardCash yielding a return of about 30% (even if you had a 2% cash back card at this time your return would be over 25%).
Anyway it turns out that over 80% of these cards I bought from CardCash were FAULTY. I started noticing after I would sell on Raise and then got hit for selling a not working giftcard. Raise just debits your account for the amount it was sold for with no penalty but obviously this is a problem because you could be losing 100% of the price you paid for the card. I started panicking because at this point I had bought thousands of dollars worth of Dunkin Donuts cards and listed them on Raise. It turns out to figure out if these cards were faulty you had to CALL a Dunkin Donuts hot line and enter each 16 digit gift card code individually using a touch tone phone! This was brutal. Turns out once these Dunkin Cards were transferred to someone else the company started deactivating them but it was a bit of a Grey area because some of the cards still worked for people who bought my cards on Raise.com.
I submitted refund request after refund request on CardCash.com because they give you a 45 day guarantee for all the cards and they are very good at honoring this policy. In about a one week period I had gotten refunded for all the “faulty” cards that I bought from CardCash. I watched my Raise account getting debited for more faulty cards but sooner or later it stopped and I had about $1000 worth of cards that I had been refunded for but were never debited by Raise! Thats all profit.
Last Summer I signed up for the “Chase Ink Cash” business card and was able to earn 5x points on various gift card websites due to the way Chase was coding the purchases.
Buying Websites for Giftcards:
Cardcash.com (a huge moneymaker)
Selling websites for Giftcards:
I started off buying and selling starbucks digital cards. I would buy about $1000 worth of Starbucks cards per day from Cardcash at around 15% – 17% off their face value. I was then able to sell these on Raise.com for around 2% off their face value (and Raise also takes a 12% fee). I’ll explain my returns below:
$1,000.00 $980.00 Raise
Discount 16.0% Discount 2.0%
PricePaid $840.00 Fee 12%
Points 5x 4200 Net Money $862.40
Points 1.5x 6300
Breakeven $777.00 Return
Profit $85.40 10.17%
Now lets walk thru these numbers. I bought $1000 face value of Starbucks cards at 16% off for a total price of $840 which Chase codes as 5x because the purchase is considered a Utility. 5 x 840 is 4,200 Chase Points. Now if you have the Sapphire Reserve you achieve a 1.5x multiple on travel on points earned so these points are really worth 1.5 x 4200 = 6300 (or $63). So I then subtract the price I paid $840 – $63 = $777.00 to see what my breakeven price would be. After selling my cards on Raise for 2% off and them taking their fee I receive $862.40 which is a profit of $85.40 and a return of 10.17%. This was done in a matter of hours or a few days. I was able to find profitable arbitrage opportunities in many other brands and used a variety of websites and plan to post a bit more about my strategies. At the end of the day I sold about $75,000 worth of gift cards to pay for the honeymoon of my dreams.