$20k Challenge for 100k British Avios Points (Part 3)

BA100k (normal)This is the last of the 3-part series on my $20k challenge to earn 100k Avios points for using the Chase British Avios credit card. If you haven’t already, read the previous two parts first.

In part 1, I wrote about the Chase British Avios 100k bonus offer for meeting $20k spending requirement in a year. I had a plan as to how I was going to meet the $20k challenge.

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after the first $2,000 in purchases within 3 months of approval
  • 25,000 bonus Avios after $10,000 in purchases within the first year
  • 25,000 bonus Avios after $20,000 in purchases within the first year

In part 2, I met my $20k challenge in less than three weeks! I bought almost $20k worth of gift cards because Safeway was running a promotion for 20% discount on Gap gift cards. In the process, I also earned over $3k worth of gas points, which I gave away.

10 Trips to Safeway

In this last part, I’ll break down the details of all the transactions, costs, and earnings from this $20k challenge. In part 2, I said I spent $19k on Gap gift cards and $1k on miscellaneous bills. I went back to Safeway to purchase another $1k worth of Gap gift cards to make reporting and calculating my $20k challenge easier. I will only include the numbers for $20k of gift cards (actually worth $25k!) and not include the bills I paid.

Below is a screenshot from my credit card statement showing all 10 trips to Safeway.

Chase BA transactions

Peeling, Scratching, and Scanning the Gift Cards

Scotty PeelerThis part is a little tedious but it’s mindless so I do this while I watch my favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix. I have a system down so I can peel, scratch, and scan 20 cards in less than 5 minutes. Thanks to the recommendations from Chasing the Points, I bought a Scotty Peeler from Amazon to remove the PIN stickers. The metal one works the best for me, not so much the plastic ones.

Then I use the Barcode Scanner app on the Android to scan the barcode. I can quickly scan 20 cards in 30 seconds! Beats manually entering the numbers (and making mistakes)! After the scan, I forward the codes to my Gmail inbox, open with Google Docs, perform a quick search/replace to remove extra digits, then copy/paste to my gift card spreadsheet. I do have to manually add the PIN to the spreadsheet, but at least the error rate is much lower since the PIN is only 4 digits compared to the 16 digit gift card code!

I found these Barcode Scanner settings work the best for scanning multiple cards at once.

Barcode Scanner Settings 1Barcode Scanner Settings 2

Selling on Raise

All $25k worth of Gap gift cards were listed and sold on Raise.com. I made a small profit of about $844. Many readers have asked me about Raise’s 15% commission rate and how I was able to generate a profit when the current discount on Gap (as of 11/17) is around 12-13%.

Selling on Raise

I’m a bulk seller, so my commission rate is much lower due to volume. I also sold most of the Gap gift cards after the Safeway deal was over (10/24), when the inventory wasn’t as flooded. The 20% discount is back at Safeway right now. Staples has a 20% discount on Gap gift cards AND there’s an AMEX Offer for $20 off $100 at Staples. Everyone is selling or wanting to sell Gap gift cards! The discount is high and the payout is low. There’s not much profit to be seen and people will be lucky if they can break-even.

Slow and SteadySometimes, exercising a little patience pays off. I have high volume and can easily break-even even at today’s rates, but I have no interest in undercutting other sellers and pushing prices to unprofitability. I wait until when the inventory goes down and the payout is much better. I have plenty of other gift cards to sell right now like eBay, Target, Southwest, Best Buy, and Amazon gift cards. Slow and steady wins the race. That’s how I was able to generate a nice profit on the Gap gift cards the last round.

Portal Cashback

You can earn $1.50 cashback per gift card listing on Raise.com if you link via TopCashback. This is a rather tedious process because you have to list each card one at a time AND you can’t list them back to back because they won’t track. I don’t know exactly how long you have to wait before listing another card, but for me, I had a window open on my computer and would list a card whenever I remember to until all 112 cards were listed!

TopCashback Raise offer

Not all of them tracked though. Of the 112 gift cards I listed, 96 tracked so I earned $144 cashback from TopCashback. It would have been MUCH faster if I had just imported all 112 cards using Raise’s bulk listing form. That would have taken only a minute to do so, but I wanted to maximize my ROI so I listed all the Gap gift cards via TopCashback, one at a time! 30 seconds per card meant an extra 2 hours of work. For an additional $144 gain, that’s still $72/hour. I don’t know about you, but that’s more than what I get paid for my day job!

TopCashback Raise Cashback

Safeway Gas Reward Points

Cheap GasOne unexpected bonus from this $20k challenge was all the Safeway gas reward points I earned! I had a 3x gas reward points offer on my Safeway app. The reward points are based on the gift card value, not purchase cost! In addition, I was also liquidating $6k worth of American Express Gift Cards (see Part 1 & Part 2 of the AMEX Offer series) as well as meeting other spending requirements!

In total, I purchased over $75k worth of gift cards and accumulated an INSANE number of gas points, which I’ve been giving away. I don’t live near a Safeway gas station, but did manage to use the points once when I was in Dublin the other day. I paid only $1.51/gallon for gas! The last time I paid that much for gas was almost two decades ago!

Breakdown of all the transactions:

Gift Card Purchases Gap / Old Navy / Banana Republic gift cards from Safeway @ 20% discount

  • 80 x $200 x 0.8 = $12,800
  • 28 x $250 x 0.8 = $5,600
  • 4 x $500 x 0.8 = $1,600
Costs Fee:

  • Credit card annual fee: $95 NOT waived the first year

Time:

  • 10 trips to Safeway: ~5 hours
  • Peeling and scanning the gift cards: ~2 hours (while watching TV)
  • Listing on Raise: ~2 hours
Earnings Credit card:

  • Sign up bonus: 50k Avios points
  • $10k spend bonus: 25k Avios points
  • $20k spend bonus: 25k Avios points
  • Points from the gift card purchases: 20k Avios points

Gift cards:

  • Total payout from Raise: $20,844
  • Total profit on the Gap gift cards: $844
  • Safeway gas reward points @ 3x: $25k x 3 = 75k gas points
  • Cashback from TopCashback for listing gift cards on Raise: 96 x $1.50 = $144

Summary:

  • Total cash profit: $844 + $144 = $988
  • Total points earned: 120k Avios (worth $2k+ in travel)
  • Total gas savings: 75 fill ups @ $1/gallon savings, up to 25 gallons = $1,875
  • TOTAL HAUL: Worth over $4,500 in cash, points, and free gas for about 10 hours of work!

DisneylandI didn’t know what to expect when I first applied for the Chase British Avios credit card. Matter of fact, after I applied for the card, I kicked myself for having done so because I could have just applied for two cards (one for my husband, one for myself). I’d earn the same 100k Avios points since BA allows you to have a family account and would only have to meet $4k spending requirement.

What’s done is done and I pulled off the $20k challenge in 3 weeks with a total return worth over $4,500! Minus the gas savings, that’s almost $3k worth of money/travel that will be used towards FPT Gift Box’s vision of sending 5,000 sick kids to Disneyland! The cash profits will be used to purchase Disneyland tickets. The Avios points will be useful for booking short-distance flights, like flying families to Anaheim. I’ll need to find ways to earn points to book hotels near Anaheim, but that’s another post for another day. For now, I’m very pleased at how the $20k challenge turned out!

That’s what “The FPT (5+2) Model is all about – turning limited resources into abundance and blessings!

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5 Comments

  1. Brilliant. Well done. I’ve done MS to the tune of 6 figures but hadn’t thought to look for discounts like this at supermarkets, etc and go the gift card resale route. Sold a few gift cards here and there on different sites but most MS I’ve done is Visa/MC/Serve/MO. Opened my eyes. You having Bulk Seller status certainly helped. Congrats!

    • Hi Kent, I haven’t done any MS with money orders. Have to learn how to do that. I used to get lots of prepaid AMEX gift cards back when TopCashback had a higher payout and AMEX Target Redcard allowed credit card loading. Since then, I haven’t done much AMEX/VGC. Our neighborhood Walmart doesn’t have a KATE and cashiers are trained not to accept prepaid gift cards without a name. I only have time after kids are in bed anyway so it’s easier for me to buy/sell gift cards since I can do most online (not the Safeway / Gap cards though). It’s probably more work than unloading prepaid cards and getting money orders.

      Also, the other nice thing about buying/selling gift cards is that I always keep a few extra cards to use myself or give away. I source mostly popular gift cards (Amazon, Target, eBay, Southwest, Disney) so they come in handy for gifts, birthday presents, donations, etc.

  2. Can you explain how you get $20,844 from raise for selling $20,000 worth of gift cards? That looks as though people are buying the cards for more than face value on a discount site….or am I missing something?

    • @MelsAntiqueJewelry — I bought a total of $25k worth of Gap gift cards for $20k with the 20% deal from Safeway. That means I listed $25k gift cards and received $20,844 from Raise.com. Hope that makes sense. When I sold these cards, the rate on Raise was much better at about 6-8% discount. With bulk seller commission rate, I was able to make a little profit. Now, everyone is selling Gap gift cards so the rate is closer to 12-14%, it’s almost impossible to break even.

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