$1 Million Travel Rewards Reselling Business
While we cover a lot of gift card reselling ideas and deals on the site and in our Facebook reselling group, I have also from time to time written about my endeavors reselling merchandise over the years. Mark has also written some awesome posts about his forays into reselling tickets, merchandise and gift cards. Check out our posts: 5 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About Merchandise Reselling for Manufactured Spend! and Amazon Reselling Demystified: Lessons, Tips & Tools to Succeed!
Why Resell? It’s All About the Points!
One of the reasons we have been drawn to reselling is because it can be a great way to generate points. We earns thousands/millions of points on purchases and then turn around and make a profit when selling what we buy. If this all sounds more like a business to you than a hobby, that is because it is. Reselling is a business.
My Reselling Journey
I have been reselling stuff on and off for about a decade. Up until a couple of years ago I would only sell something when I found the occasional homerun deal. For example, I scored a few Nexus phones back in the day when they were hard to get and flipped them for a nice profit. I probably did this with various products a handful of times per year. Easy money and some nice rewards too!
Then, back in 2015 I was finding more and more deals. I remember for example an iPad deal that earned thousands of points with minimal risk and a nice profit. As I began to sell things more, I became more comfortable with it. Finally, back in October, 2015 I decided to go all in. I had been finding so many deals that I decided it was actually time to focus more on reselling.
4th Quarter 2015
Given that I made a commitment to merchandise reselling late in October, 2015 I didn’t have a lot of time to build up inventory before Christmas, but I still made a solid effort. More importantly, I learned quite quickly how magical November/December can be for someone who sells merchandise. Prices go crazy and things fly off of the shelf. Despite my lack of inventory, it was a great start.
Growing in 2016
With lessons learned from my first “Q4”, I forged on into 2016. Given that reselling has always been a second job, it became tough over the course of the year to balance my other work with the need to feed the machine (inventory), but I managed a modest effort. Thankfully I was able to pull some of my wife’s time as well and we slowly settled into a system where we each had a “job” within this new business.
My wife began handling all of the prep work and I continued buying. It took a long time for us to implement an efficient system, but we eventually evolved and managed to finish 2016 with about $440,000 in merchandise sales including our first month over $100K in December. Not bad for a first full year.
Setting Records in 2017
By the beginning of 2017 our business was fully established. The more we worked at it, the easier it became. My wife continued to improve her ability to prep and ship stuff faster while I became better at finding deals and more confident when determining how much to buy.
Then, towards the Summer a few paradigm shifts towards retail arbitrage really opened the flood gates. I had suddenly learned a new skill and used it to obtain a ton of profitable merchandise in stores. It was more time consuming than buying stuff online, but in many cases it was much more rewarding.
March to $1 Million
My “stretch” goal for 2017 was to hit $1 Million in merchandise sales with over $400K in sales for December. While I fell a bit short, I did manage to hit $940K in sales (97% was Amazon FBA) for the year with a fairly healthy $352K in sales for December. If you add in ticket and gift card sales the number jumps high above $1 Million in sales for the year!
$1 Million Sales = How Many Rewards?
But how many miles/points/rewards did I earn?
To look at the rewards side, let’s look at a few numbers. I’ll use just Amazon sales to make things a bit simpler.
- Amazon Sales 2017: $921,144.79
- Cost of Goods Sold: $478,998.69
My business generated almost $479,000 in spend in order to get $921,144.79 in sales. Another way to look at it is that I purchased my merchandise on average at 52% the cost of what it sold for. Not bad profit wise (there are many fees too of course), but it also means I earned a lot of rewards.
CLICK HERE to compare travel rewards credit cards.
Citi ThankYou Points – All of our online purchases earned 3X ThankYou points due to our AT&T Access More Card.
Chase Ultimate Rewards – We earned 5X on A LOT of purchases thanks to our small army of Chase Ink Plus/Cash cards. Unfortunately we have lost some of those 5X avenues, but not before we racked up over 1 million Ultimate Rewards points in 2017.
American Express Membership Rewards – We racked up a modest amount of Membership Rewards (about 400,000) thanks to the Blue Business Plus earning 2X everywhere and points earned for various Amex Offers on our other cards.
There are a few other cards we used to max out our rewards on spend:
Alliant 3% Cashback – A nice little addition to our lineup was the Alliant Credit Union cashback card which earns 3% on all purchases the first year.
BofA Premium Rewards – Since we are Platinum Honors with Bank of America, we earned 2.625% cashback on all purchases with this card. It has a much higher balance than the Alliant card, so it gave us more flexibility when spending big.
CLICK HERE to compare these and other travel rewards credit cards.
What started as a miles/points obsession has turned into a pretty large business which not only generates profits, but also earns me a TON of points. While we certainly aren’t even close to being the biggest resellers, we are happy with our journey, the miles it has generated and of course the memories we make with them!
Want to learn more? Join our Facebook Reselling Group!