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Anatomy of a Deal
Over at Frequent Miler this morning I wrote about one of today’s eBay Daily Deals. For today only (these deals don’t usually last that long), Paypal Digital Gifts is selling $100 Staples e-gift cards for $85 with a limit of 5. That is a pretty good deal in and of itself, but I thought I would breakdown my approach and show you how you could go even further.
eBay Bucks, Portal Cashback & Credit Card Rewards
One of the great things about eBay lately has been targeted eBay Bucks promotions. Right now many eBay users (including myself) have been targeted to receive 4X eBay Bucks. Normally you receive a 2% rebate via eBay Bucks, however with this promotion that jumps to 8%. Pretty good.
Additionally, for some reason purchases of gift cards from Paypal Digital Gifts via eBay have been paying 5X Ultimate Rewards points when you pay with a Chase Ink card. Another nice return on investment.
Finally, both BeFrugal and Top Cashback are paying a 1.5% return at eBay. Not much, but it is better than nothing and when combined with all of the other savings, the math is very nice.
Let me walk you through the basic math of the deal with the rebates and savings I mentioned:
- 5 Staples Cards @$85: $425
- 8% Rebate via eBay Bucks: $34
- 1.5% Rebate via Top Cashback: $6.38
- Total Cost: $384.62
- Points Earned = 2,125
All that is great, but what should you do with the gift cards. One option is to buy merchandise at Staples and resell it. If you want to go that route, the AAdvantage Portal is currently paying 5X AAdvantage miles at Staples to further your savings. Since I am not a reseller, I will forward you to Big Habitat for some ideas.
The other option (other than to buy stuff you need/want) is to resell the gift cards. To find the best rate I searched Gift Card Granny and found that a number of gift card resellers would buy the card at 86%. For a second I got excited, however for that rate they require you to mail in the physical gift cards. These are e-gift cards so that won’t work.
Fortunately I did find that Cardpool would pay me 81% for just submitting the codes online. (Update: You can also receive an additional 4% back by going through Top Cashback to Cardpool.) Sure I would be taking a loss on the price I paid at eBay, but overall I am still coming out ahead. It took about 15 minutes for the Staples e-gift cards to come via email and I was able to quickly go to Cardpool, enter the codes and checkout. They had confirmed the balances and mailed a check within an hour.
- Total Up Front Cost: -$425
- Plus total proceeds from Cardpool: $405
- Loss: -$20
- Plus Portal & eBay Bucks: +$40.38
- Plus Cardpool portal rebate: $16.20
- Points earned 2,125
It is important to note that I spent a total of about 10 minutes to complete this transaction from beginning to end. It was as quick as placing an order, waiting for the gift cards to come via email and then entering the codes in Cardpool’s site. While the profit wasn’t substantial, it is still a very nice ROI considering the time spent.
Since I write about deals like this all of the time, I thought this post might be helpful to some of you. If you are interested in gift card churning, Chasing the Points has a very interesting series of posts about it. Did you buy Staples gift cards with this deal? Let me know in the comments and have a great afternoon!
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