Which Gift Cards to Purchase at Smart & Final & Why This May Be the Best Amex Offer Ever!

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amex offer smart and final

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Smart & Final Amex Offer

This morning I covered the brand new Amex Offer for Smart & Final. In that post I explained why this fantastic offer was enough to finally get me to overcome my laziness and setup an automated system for registering my Bluebird and Serve cards to Amex Offers. I highly recommend taking a look both for the offer and the system.

While I will refer you to this morning’s post for the full details, the basics of the offer are this: Receive a $25 statement credit with a $50 or more purchase at Smart & Final. Oh and there is a limit of three which is both fantastic and rare!

How to Maximize the Offer

This morning I didn’t want to speculate as to how to maximize the offer since I didn’t have all of the relevant information. Thankfully I did my due diligence and headed out to my local Smart & Final store to see what was available. Here is what I found:

$100 Visa/Mastercard Gift Cards

amex offer smart and final

As you can see, Smart & Final carries $100 Visa & Mastercard gift cards which are issued by Metabank & U.S. Bank respectively. These cards are pin-enabled and can easily be loaded to Bluebird/Serve at Walmart and liquidated in other ways. Each card comes with a $5.95 fee, so the best option would be to try to split the transaction between two cards. (They also carry Amex gift cards, but I prefer Visa & MC.)

Here is an example of the purchase of a $100 Visa gift card split over two American Express cards.

  • Value of Card Purchased: $100
  • Fee paid: $5.95
  • Credit received: $50
  • Total profit: $44.05

Merchant Gift Cards

amex offer smart and final

Smart & Final also has a number of merchant cards available as you can see in the photos. I tried to capture as many cards as possible, but there are numerous stores including a variety of restaurants and electronics retailers like Amazon and Best Buy.

One of the best ways to maximize a deal like this is to purchase gift cards for merchants that you are going to frequent anyway. For example, purchasing a $50 gift card for Best Buy will result in a 50% discount on any purchase. (Where was this last week?)

Groceries

amex offer smart and final
Among the cards that are hard to see are: Southwest, Disneyland 1 and 2 day tickets, Shell, AMPM, AMC & Bass Pro Shops.

Smart & Final isn’t the fanciest store around, but they tend to have decent prices on a lot of items, so you may want to consider picking up groceries while you are already there. Another alternative is to purchase $50 Smart & Final gift cards to make sure your transactions amounts are even.

Caution

There is one word of caution that I need to pass on. Between my wife and I, we completed transactions on 12 different cards and did not receive the normal email. For that reason I am going to hold off on doing any more until I verify that the credits have posted in a few days.

Update: The emails finally came in about three hours after the transactions were completed.

Conclusion

Hopefully this post and this morning’s prove that this is indeed one of the best Amex Offers that has ever been released. The combination of a 50% discount, large selection of gift cards and a limit of three makes this deal a true winner!


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34 COMMENTS

  1. Was getting them to do the split transaction fairly easy? I wanted to get out of there b/c the first location told me no CCs on gcs, but that may be a location or cashier-specific trait.

  2. FYI,

    I completed my Lowe’s offer today as it was expiring in a few days. I did not receive the email either, I am guessing they are having system issues as I did the same exact purchase on my wife’s card a day earlier at Lowe’s and did receive the email.

  3. Hey Shawn,
    Truly appreciate all the legwork you do to bring us accurate info from the field. Just a little confused, can I take advantage of this offer with my AMEX REDBIRD?
    Walter

  4. Just got told you can’t buy gift cards with a credit card and its fraud by the cashier at Smart and Final. Trying another store.

  5. Hey Shawn,
    Did you do all the transactions (I assume 12 cards x 3 transactions = 36 transactions) in one go? Did the cashier ask to see the ID or checked the name on the cards? Thx

  6. Fraud alert after 2x$50 transactions on same card. Might want to rotate. Cashier said people were buying $1,000 in gift cards.

  7. Thoughts on how long this offer might last?

    Have an amex card coming but can take 7-10 days. Normally I’d think there’s no chance of adding it at that time, however two reasons leave me with hope.

    With offerbot gone it means less sign ups. Related to that note is the fact that Smart & Final is a west coast thing so even less people have reason to add the offer. Granted, amex might’ve adjusted the offer limit accordingly since it’s regional. Either way, fingers crossed.

    The fact it lasts through 6/30 is awesome because I won’t have to feel rushed into using the deal elsewhere if I run into complications with cashiers.

  8. completed this today on both of our cards, all emails came through, waiting for credits to post. Already unloaded the GCs at wally for MOs.

  9. This is more with regards to your post about possible crack downs. I just left a store in San Diego county, and I was successful again. After reading your post, I decided I better get moving on this in the event S&F starts making things difficult. They were out of Amazon $50 so I grabbed 4 $25 GC and 1 $50 HD GC. I had them on the conveyor belt and before I could tell her to split them she separated them, and as I started to tell her I needed them split into three purchases she said, “I know”. She clearly knew what I was doing and she was polite and helpful during the entire transaction. The GC racks were starting to look a little empty, so I am sure they are seeing a lot of Amex cards.

    • Says “per statement” and AU charges show up on the same statement so I am curious too if AU cards will get separate discount.

      • I have received 63 credits on 21 cards with this deal including on AU cards. Since AU cards have a different number, they are eligible separately from the primary card.

  10. Wanted to add a data point.

    Went to the S&F in Santa Rosa yesterday and picked up $100 vgc x3 and $50 Amazon x1. This is my second trip here, and 2 for 2 on gc purchases.

    I bought $116 worth of stuff too. They actually have great prices and quality on their produce, it’s been surprising.

    Unfortunately there’s no S&F in my city so I was able to go because we were visiting family. That’s the only reason I went on a weekend.

    Went to the checkout and told the cashier I’d split the purchase on to 2 cards and to let me know when it hit $50. She was obliging (although quiet). She never checked for any ID. I was going to do the gift cards after but a quick look behind me and I realized it would be better to put the groceries in the car and come back and then buy the cards. Told her I’d be right back for the gift cards.

    Came back inside and waited in her line despite it being the longest one open. I figured I built goodwill by buying actual goods from them so I’d be less likely to be turned down for using cc for the upcoming 7 card swipes on gcs. I was able to do my purchases without issue. She didn’t even check ID, which had tempted me to use a friend’s Serve card but ultimately I didn’t like the idea of using cc method in someone else’s name.

    The fact this deal is good through the end of June is awesome. It’ll allow us to go one or two more times and space out the purchases.

    I’m a believer in slow and steady wins the race. Less risk of being turned away, not killing a deal faster for others and I feel good about actually using an offer for it’s intended use. I’m sure they’ll have tons of data on these Amex Offers for future partners and I hate to even think about how much we take them for lol.

  11. I am going to Vegas and going to say in Wynn, can anyone tell me which smart and final store nearby that place i could buy gift cards?

    • The one on Tropicana and Maryland Pkwy isn’t that far away and some people (including me) have had success there. I have heard mixed reports though, so it really isn’t guaranteed.

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