Having Fun Cashing Out Gift Cards


Have questions when reading this post? It’s probably already been answered in one of the following related posts.

Related spend threshold posts:
-Is Bluebird The Next Dollar Coin Churn?
-Another Flavor Of Vanilla: My Vanilla Debit Card
-Today’s Escapades
-Meeting A Spend Threshold In One Night.
-Need To Meet A Spending Threshold Deadline? Send And Receive $1,000/Month With No Fees Using Amazon Payments!

Related cards
Chase Ink Bold Charge Card
Chase Ink Plus Credit Card
Chase Ink Cash Credit Card

Related posts:
Want To Boost Your Credit Score? Spend On Business Cards Instead Of Consumer Cards.
A List Of Gift Cards Sold By Office Supply Stores
A Rundown Of The Chase Ultimate Rewards Program And Ultimate Rewards Cards
Credit Score FAQs: Opening And Closing Cards (Including 2bm/3bm info)

So the big news over the weekend is that you can now assign a pin number to gift cards, effectively turning them into debit cards.














Gift cards for sale at Staples. Those $200 ones are the jackpot!

I bought many thousands of dollars of gift cards during previous promotions at Staples and Office Max when they had them on sale for wayyy less than face value, earning me tons of points and cash.  I’ve been cashing them out slowly with several Amazon Payments accounts for free, but as there are always other spend thresholds to be met that process takes time.

Now the game has changed.

The automated call number for my gift cards easily allowed me to assign a pin number for my gift cards. I just dialed the number on the card, entered my card info, and followed the easy prompt on the phone (5) to assign a pin.

Load gift cards directly to Bluebird:

I took a few thousand dollars worth of gift cards to WalMart today and loaded $1,000 onto mine and my wife’s Bluebird cards.  You are able to do this with any cashier.

In the process I learned that you can use up to 3 cards per transaction, so that’s $300 of loads with 3 $100 cards or $600 of loads with 3 $200 cards.  This saves you time over doing a separate transaction for every card. You can load up to $1,000 per day and $5,000 per month.

Once it’s in Bluebird you can use the cash to pay off your credit card bill, your mortgage, write a check to anyone, or even transfer funds to your bank account.  You can even get free checks for your Bluebird account if you request them by 05/21, just login to your account, hover over the dropdown “my account” button in the top-right, and click on order bluebird checks.

Get cash back from gift cards:

I was also able to pickup a 98 cent bottle of Softsoap and select cash back to get cold hard cash from a gift card. However I was only able to get cash back in multiples of $20, so I’ll probably use Amazon Payments to wipe the remaining balance from the cards.

I went to WalMart to be able to load Bluebird and to get cash back on a purchase.  I’m sure it will work at other stores as well so if you try to use a gift card with a pin to make a cash back debit purchase elsewhere please post the results in the comments.

There are no fees to load the cards onto Bluebird in Walmart and there are no fees to get cash back.

I did not have success though with the Mastercards from Office Max and Staples, I only had success with the Visa cards.  If you get the Visa gift cards from Office Max or Staples you should be good to go.  Other brands may work as well, I just haven’t tested them myself.

So is this worthwhile?
When the gift cards go on sale and you can buy them for less than face value there’s no question. What about when the gift cards are not on sale?

If you have an Ink Bold, Ink Plus, or Ink Cash card you earn 5 points per dollar at Office supply stores.
If you buy 5 of the $200 Visa gift cards you will incur $34.75 in fees if there are no promotions.
That means you’ll get 5,174 Ultimate Rewards points of a cost of 0.67cpp (cents per point).

What does buying Ultimate Rewards points for .67cpp mean in layman’s terms?
-A one-way ticket from NYC to Cleveland, Detroit, Montreal, or Toronto costs 4,500 BA Avios. At a cost of 0.67cpp that ticket costs $30.
-A one-way ticket from NYC to Chicago is currently 3,780 Southwest points, or about $25.
-A round-trip business class ticket to Israel on United, USAirways, or Air Canada nonstop from North America is 120,000 United miles, or $804. The 80K coach ticket would be $536.
-A round-trip ticket to Israel via Germany on Air Berlin is 60K Avios or $402.
-A one night stay at a $1,005.950/night Hyatt hotel in Paris, Sydney, or the Maldives is 22,000 Hyatt points, or $147.
-A round-trip ticket from JFK to Asia in ANA’s new first class suite with closing doors is 135,000 United miles, or $904 for what is normally a $19,000 ticket.

Of course these rates are all after you’ve already met the spend threshold.
Otherwise buying $5,000 of gift cards to meet the spend threshold will cost you $5,173.75 and will net you 75,869 points at a cost of 0.23cpp, or roughly 1/3rd of the price examples above.
I’ve done a 3BM for 2 Ink cards and a United card and got them approved with just 1 phone call to net over 200K miles after spend thresholds.

Getting a business card is quite simple. You don’t need to be a traditional “business owner” as you might think of one.

For example if Joe Smith sells items on Ebay or on Amazon, or has any other side business/hobby and wants a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures he can just open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business name. You don’t need to file any messy government paperwork to be allowed to do that.
Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.

I’ve had business cards since I turned 18 as a Sole Proprietor and never had a problem getting approved with reconsideration if needed. You can reach Chase business reconsideration at 800-453-9719.

Another card where this can make sense with is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which gives 6% cash back for purchases at grocery stores which also sell gift cards
The Blue Cash Preferred receives 6% back on $6,000/year, the Ink Cash gives 5 points per dollar on $25,000/year, and the Ink Bold and Ink Plus give 5 points per dollar on $50,000/year each.

HT: jk2 via FT (who appears to be the first to break this news online), MMS for his research and yitzf via DDF for the heads up.

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142 Comments on "Having Fun Cashing Out Gift Cards"

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No close wal Mart.

Once it has a PIN, reckon it could be emptied via CA in a bank branch like MVD?


It will very likely work in other stores for cash back as well, feel free to try and post the results.
And feel free to post the results of cashing it out at a bank, though banks don’t actually need a pin to do a cash advance.

Of course it won’t work to load Bluebird anywhere but at Walmart.


thanks. great write up. i dont fully understand why you would go to wal mart to just combine all your GC to your BB? why not just do it online? or that is not possible?


At Walmart there are no fees to load your debit card to Bluebird and there are higher limits there.

mr g

hi dan
could i get a pin on any visa prepaid or just specific brand ??


@mr g:
Federal guidance is that you should be able to do this with any gift card now.
However some brands may not have the technology in place quite yet or may be trying to appeal the federal guidance.

The Visa gift cards sold by Office Max and Staples are good to go.


What’s the current promotion on staples gift cards that you’re talking about?


Hey Dan!

How often does staples have sales on these cards? whats a good sale price?


“Of course it won’t work to load Bluebird anywhere but at Walmart.”

If you can get cash via CA, why do you need BB bichlal?


There is none currently, read the related posts.

I write about them when they happen, there have been perhaps 3 or 4 sales over the past 6 months or so though of course some are better than others.

But even without the sales it’s still really cheap miles and awesome for spend thresholds.

You need to buy something to get cash back. Not the biggest deal if you have stuff you need to buy, but if you’re trying to cash out many cards it will be pretty tedious.
As opposed to Blueburd where you can do 4 cards quickly in one transaction.


@Dan I haven’t found any round trip business tickets for that little. It seems to be 150,000 miles each way, per person. What am I missing?


Finding mileage tickets is somewhat of an art, though if you’re willing to stop in Europe it’s not hard at all to find business tickets to Israel.

Join the DansDeals Forums and look around to learn the tricks of the trade, such as Plan B and more:


So far this seems to work with Metabank cards. Not Vanilla Visa etc.

Ma Nishtana

Why does this only work now that you can assign a PIN, and does this affect VRs?


So stay away from Office Depot.

@Ma Nishtana:
Because you need a pin to load directly to Bluebird or to get cash back on a debit transaction.

Nothing changes for VRs. This just makes life easier for people who can’t get Vanilla Reloads.

Ma Nishtana

Thanks! Sorry for being slow :)


Anything for NYCers without Wal-Mart?


WalMart was just where I went as I was able to do both a Blueburd load and cashback on purchases in the same place.

The cash back will likely work in other stores as well.
Go to Staples or Office Max and buy prepaid Visas, try it out in other stores, and post the results here!


so I go to staples buy let say a walmart card and then I can automatically put in in bluebird?


No, you buy a prepaid visa card at staples, assign a pin over the phone, and go to walmart to load that onto your bluebird card.
Or to get cash back from it as a debit card purchase.


no walmart near me — any other options?


Would it work @ an ATM ??


No more 200dollars gift card at staples in Lakewood!!!


When i have asked American Express about earning points/miles with the Blubird card I got a negative answer.Nobody there knew anything about it.How does one verify this is real?Thanks


Can you get $500 cards from any of the 5x office stores? What about other stores (for spending thresholds)?


2 commenters with that same question have already asked and been answered.

Highly unlikely.

So venture out of the shtetl?


$500 gift cards are no longer sold at office stores.


This is cool. On my VISA gift card, I could set the pin online (www.giftcardmall.com/mygift).

What is the gift card with the lowest fees? Is there anything that matches or beats the Vanilla Reload card ($3.95 fee for $500 card value)?


the way this whole thing works is that you get points by buying the gift card (or alternatively the vanilla reload card) with your regular points-earning credit card. you then use the gift card to load that money onto your bluebird account which can then be easily transferred back into your checking account.


Forget office stores. Why cant i just go to walgreens and buy 4 $500 visa gift cards and add them to my bluebird account to meet my 2000 dollar spending threshold instead of having to deal with amazon payments to cash out the gift cards? Amazon is making it harder and harder to have multiple accounts…


i have a united mileageplus explorer,the year is up and i dont want to pay the yearly fee coming up. can i apply for the united business now and close down the regular one?


@A S:
Vanilla Reload isn’t sold at office supply stores, so to get 1,000 points it will cost $7.90.
A $200 Visa GC from Staples/Office Max earns over 1,000 points for a $6.95 fee due to 5 points per dollar with Ink and is more readily available than Vanilla Reload.


Because you don’t earn 5 points per dollar at Walgreens.

Why not? You can always have them close an older card to approve any newer card and shift over the credit line.


Can it be done at self checkout in walmart or do you need a cashier ?


I applied for the Ink Bold and ink Plus cards. They asked me questions about my business and said that my gross revenue was $3,000. They only let me have one becuase my business income is not hight enough. I asked them to split the 5,000 creit limit on 2 caards, but they said that 5,000 is the minimum. I huca’d 3 times with same results. Any ideas?


If they are now debit cards I can pay taxes for a flat fee of 3.95….from here https://www.payusatax.com/Visa.aspx

So load up cards at Office store with Ink card and pay my taxes…

I see alot of points coming


I have a Sapphire preferred VISA chase card. What is the “process” of changing it to a Mastercard?


When I call to assign a pin there is no prompt asking this and when I speak to customer service, they say its not possible


Good question. Anyone ever get cash back from self-checkout?

$3,000 is not much revenue…

Right, but I think you are only allowed to make 2 payments per quarter.

Call Chase.

Where did you buy the card?


How do you calculate .67 cpp aNd .23ccp


$34.75 (fees)/5,174 (points)=0.0067=0.67 cents per point.
$173.75(fees)/75,869 (points)=0.00229=0.23 cents per point.


So you can use VR to load $5K to the bird and visa gift cards (with pin) to load another $5K at Walmart, $10K in total per month?


Staples Amex 200


Sounds like the BB load at WM only works for certain types of cards:

– Vanilla Visa (Bancorp) from OD – fail
– Visa GC (Metabank) from OM – ?
– Visa GC (USBank) from OM – ?
– MC GC (USBank) from OM -?

Can anybody confirm the last three?


Thanks dan!
Btw I just did a 3BM (freedom bold sapphire) all are pending decision when should I start with reconsideration?


KMart has some special MasterCard Debit Cards that have NO purchase fee. Must look for the special packages that state that.


Hi Dan,Great site!!!! Pls help us out here in Toronto!!!!! where and which gift cards can we get here ????


>>>>>>>>>>So you can use VR to load $5K to the bird and visa gift cards (with pin) to load another $5K at Walmart, $10K in total per month?

This is a BIG question, anyone? I thought it was $5k total? U can PM me, I don’t blog about these things:-)

david g.

Is this not my original idea to load bb. with debit(mvd) via walmart checkout..(posted this mehalach on ddf months ago…)


I dont live near walmart. is there another way?


Hey Dan, I bought a box of toothpicks, but there aren’t any instructions. Is it okay if I jam one in my eye and the other in my ear?

Cannot believe the intelligence level and laziness of your readers. Appalling. Why even respond to such moronic questions? You only encourage them…


does the bluebird card go on a social security # ?


@Paul- LOL


u mentioned that u can do 4 transactions at once in walmart (4* $200). i tried twice and didnt work. had to do each separately. people waiting on line weren’t happy to wait 10 transactions….. separately…


Get the Visa.

I used metabank.

You can do them all today.

@david g.:
MVD can be cashed out at a bank.
Gift cards can’t.

Read the previous comments.

The cashier has to program the amount you’re going to use. The ones at the return line may be more knowledgeable on how to do that.

david g.

I know that mvd can also be cashed out at a bank. just pointing out that I was first(months ago) to report on ddf the concept of loading at walmart with pin number (in regards to mvd)


Those GC that u can get at staples in a package of 4 at 50$ each that also uncluded? I know its a dumb q but im not 100% sure which GC you mean, bec i think younhaventonregister these GC and wait for the real ones to come in the mail.


@david g.:
That may be true, but what Dan was trying to tell you is- that idea isn’t really so helpful, because you can cash out MVD at a bank via a cash advance anyways. So there’s no real need to load them onto Bluebird at WalMart! But with these Gift Cards, one CANNOT cash them out at a bank, so loading them onto BB at WalMart with a PIN is very helpful. Completely different situations.


Dan can I buy a money order with these GC and pay my credit card with it??? if yes then…….



This is from the FAQ section of the Visa Prepaid website:

How do I get cash at an ATM with my Visa Prepaid card?
To get cash at the ATM, insert your card into the machine and enter your PIN. Select “checking” to make a withdrawal and enter the amount of cash you want to withdraw. Then take your cash, card, and receipt to keep track of your balance.

Perhaps with the implementation of the PIN ATM withdrawals will now work?


Can anyone answer 58 or 59 they seem to be good questions???


Dan how is this better than purchasing prepaid debit cards and transferring them to BB at a walmart store(or online). I think the purchase fee for a prepaid debit card is less than a gift card


Doesn’t work with my Vanilla Gift card…any suggestions?


Just left Office Depot. They will not sell any of the Vanilla Visa Gift Cards with Variable Amounts. The best I could do was $200 Vanilla Visa GC for $6.95 fee. Purchased with my Chase Business Ink card, that got me 1035 points at a cost of $6.95 = 0.67 cents/point.

Hopefully the higher size ($500) GCs will be returning…


Any where to buy these Vanilla cards in Lakewood NJ?


@ari: You can load the visa onto the BB on line for an additional $2 fee. So if you buy it with an Ink at an office supply store. You pay a $7 fee to buy and another $2 to load. cost $9 for 1035 points or .87cents/point
alternatively you can try for a cash back (with purchase)


Image of meta bank visa. http://www.cr80.com/giftcardcollector.com.old/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=49753
Tried the American Express $200. Could not get a pin


Thanks Dan!
I completed my 5k spending today on my ink following your instructions! Thanks for our clear guidance.
The $ is already available on my BB.


The $200 card as in the pic.

You can try though that costs money and BB/cashback is free.

Feel free to try.

Not sure what cards you’re talking about.

Get a different gift card. This doesn’t work with Vanilla.

As I said, Vanilla is a no-go at this point.

Or just look at the image in this post.



Dan thanks for all your wonderful info. I was just curious I got chase ultimate points through the Ink bold and transferred them to United and booked a ticket in business class to Israel. However on the itinerary I see that my flight is being operated by Tyrolean airlines do you know anything about them in general and their business class in specific?


Rumor has it that Vanilla Visa card pins will be working soon too. Chatted with a rep and he mentioned it should start working on 4/9

somewhat clueless

I know it might be the wrong thread but you answered #36 before. When I change the SP Visa to a MC, do I get sign-up bonus again? And what do I say, just that I want a MasterCard? Do they assign a new card #?


@Dan: netspend Greendot etc.. and all of the other prepaid debit cards can’t those be transferred to BB at a walmart cashier?


Some promising-sounding posts here. Just signed up, so I’m waiting for my bb to get delivered. But I have to wonder why any cashier is allowed to “do 4 transactions at once in walmart (4* $200)”, even if they program it in the system as one transaction.

Here’s a quote from the BB FAQs online:
Fees: From a Debit Card ($100 daily limit)
Amounts:(per transaction) $2


Nope, sorry.
I’d keep checking to see if any nonstops open up.

Here’s hoping!

@somewhat clueless:
Yes, as you want rental coverage in Israel (though that’s not provided from Chase, it’s from MasterRental).

Once you have a MC you can always apply for the Visa again and get the points though they may make you close the MC to get approved for the Visa.

No idea.

Those limits don’t apply to in-store loads.

Jack L

@Jack L:
Would be awesome if you can load to BB or cash out. Any reports yet?


@Dan, if there is a sale on these visa prepaids, aren’t they going to have 1 per customer limits? did you run into this?


Yesterday at Walmart, was a great run..

Today, all the cards wore declined from CashBack.

Whats Happening?

Jack L

@Dan, Those are the key Qs. I have not seen any reports yet, I think it’s too soon to know.


Thanks for replying. I found economy saver on a direct flight, does united plan b still work?


There are workarounds.


i s

how do you make “several” amazon payment accounts under 1 name?


I figure the no-fee chase GC is temporary. I’m hoping they will work with Blubird, so I just ordered 3 $500 cards. If it doesn’t work w bluebird, I’s still not out anything. I’ve just moved my future spending to today.


Is the 5000 dollar monthly limit with Bluebird a total limit or just a limit for VR’s? It’d be great to load 5K in VR’s and then another 5K in Visa GC’s!


dan i went to walmart and i got declined sad sad


As of today at Walmart (BB load):

– Vanilla Visa (Bancorp) from OD – fail
– Visa GC (Metabank) from OM – success
– Visa GC (USBank) from OM – ?
– MC GC (USBank) from OM – fail


tried to get cash back using a pin with when making a purchase from a Visa (non-vanilla) gift card at a self checkout lane at CVS and it woudn’t give me any cash back, but it did work to make the purchase as a debit card with the pin. store clerk said they can’t give cash back from gift cards, even when used as a debit card.


Just did a Bluebird load 10 minutes ago at Walmart.

Pyrate Baruch


I just did a 2bm for a Chase British Airways and Ink Bold. They wouldn’t give me the BA card saying I applied for 8 accounts in the past year. I asked about shuffling around credit and closing another account but they refused. Do you have any advice?

Thanks in advance.



@Pyrate Baruch:
Call back again, offer to close cards to get it approved.
Or you can SM.


walmart near me said that they don’t accept GC (with PIN), only ‘real’ debit cards with a name


major problem i have an amex starwood personal for about year and half about 2 months ago got the bus. one for not “such a real” bus. got a call today that both are being put on hold till i answer few q’s and maybe some paper work but don’t got any. if i don’t get back in 5 days they’ll shut both. any tips


as per 2 amex reps Amex will NOT award you triple points if you book flights through third parties(ie Orbitz, priceline, kayak etcc.)Is this accurate?


They’re wrong.


No as those sites don’t charge you, they pass it through for the airline to charge you.


anyone successfully cash advanced a gc?


dan im new to the game so bear with me please, can i purchase with the ink bold gc in walmart go over to the return people and put that money into bluebird then take the money from bb and pay off that cc bill and still get the points?thanks


I bought a gift cards and got the pins. Walmart and all the food stores I tried in AZ and Bay area would not accept it for MO. They all say it is a credit card, although it says it is a gift card card.



You can only transfer $100/day with a $2 fee from debit card to BB online.

It will cost $10 to transfer $500 from a giftcard. You can do the calculation.


AS a follow up from my previous post, WM would not let me load into BB either in AZ and Bay Area.


It depends on the issuing bank of the gift card.

The Visa from Metabank sold by Office Max and Staples still works.