How To Profit From Gift Cards, Pay It Forward With Frequent Flier Miles

Jan 6 2014, 3:36pm CST | by

How To Profit From Gift Cards, Pay It Forward With Frequent Flier Miles
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

While December is about accumulation, January is the month of fresh starts. By now the holiday gifts have been unwrapped, the bathing suits returned to post-vacation hibernation and the uneaten ham or latkes thrown away (hopefully). But leftovers remain. Unsure what to do with that thoughtful but useless gift card Santa left in your stocking? Have more frequent flier miles than your vacation days will accommodate?

With a few clicks you may be able to cash in on your presents or jet some belated holiday joy to others.

Gift Cards: Last year I received a $100 Apple gift card intended to offset the cost of an iPad. A full holiday season later, the silver plastic sliver was sitting at the bottom of my junk drawer. It turned out the tablet still felt pricey with $100 off. Enter Gift Card Granny. Founded in 2009, the site aggregates offers from other sites that buy and sell gift cards at a discount.

A simple search revealed that all seven of the resellers Gift Card Granny works with were willing to buy Apple gift cards for about 90% of face value. At the time the best offer was from Cardpool which was willing to pay me 91%. A few key strokes and snail mail days later an $86 check arrived in my mailbox. (I opted to enter the code online rather than mail in my card, which docked my pay a bit. Not all resale sites accept codes. ABC Gift Cards does and similarly takes 5% for the convenience to you and risk to them. But both Cardpool and ABC offer extra dough if you accept payment in Amazon.com gift cards.) Today you can buy a $100 Apple gift card from Cardpool for $98.50.

Bonus tip: To make the most of your windfall put your earnings toward another gift card from a store you know you will shop at. Put aside 10% as fun money, but use the bulk for budget sucking items like groceries and other household basics. Discounts vary greatly from retailer to retailer, but cards for some national chains such as Trader Joe’s and  CVS Pharmacy, can be snagged at double digit savings.

Frequent Flier Miles: Last month Brian Kelly logged onto American Airlines’ online shopping portal and found that luggage retailer eBags was offering 35 American Airlines miles for every dollar spent (typical airline portal deals are for two to eight miles). So Kelly, aka The Points Guy, purchased $29,000 worth of goods and donated them to Housing Works, a New York based anti-homelessness charity. He then donated the 1 million miles he earned from the transaction to American Airlines Kids in Need.

While Kelly admits his circumstance was “a unique opportunity” the experience converted him to an airline miles giving advocate. Millions of miles expire every year (not all airline’s miles go bad but some run out in as little as 18 moths of account inactivity). If you have a surplus of miles after holiday travels you can use them to give to a cause you care about with out draining your bank account.

In addition to programs run by various airlines, many large charities accept miles. Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes for children diagnosed with life-threatening diseases, the organization uses miles toward wishes that involve travel (74% do). The American Cancer Society uses miles to help cancer patients and their families travel to and from treatment. And the American Red Cross uses them transport volunteers and staff to critical areas.  It’s worth noting however that since you don’t technically own your frequent flier miles you don’t get a tax write off for donating them.

How are you profiting from your holiday leftovers? Tell us in the comment section below.

Related From Forbes:

8 Things Recent Grads Waste Money On

Follow @samsharf

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

BTG Option Launches Its Brand-New Trading Platform
BTG Option Launches Its Brand-New Trading Platform
BTG Option has changed management and has completely re-designed its binary options trading site. Its new and improved trading platform provides a unique trading experience, allowing traders to utilize various financial instruments while trading on a wide range of underlying assets from across all global markets. The site will be providing special offers and luxury terms & bonuses within the near future, alongside a range of helpful trading tools.
 
 
In The Battle For Streaming Supremacy Between Amazon and Netflix, The Only Winner Is The End-User
Yesterday, Amazon struck a major blow against competitor Netflix by announcing it had nabbed exclusive rights to the majority of HBO’s back-catalog of series including The Wire and The Sopranos. Under the new deal,...
 
 
The Creative Force Behind The World's Most Important Causes
“It is our belief that the most powerful way to solve the grand challenges of our time, is to operate at the very intersection of purpose and business. To apply the ingenuity, innovation and scalability that let the...
 
 
Three Ways To Sell Your Business For Top Dollar
The following guest post is by David Ryan, founder and managing member of Upton Financial Group, an advisory firm specializing in business value strategies and solutions. Many business owners wait years to sell their...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

BTG Option Launches Its Brand-New Trading Platform
London, United Kingdom, April 24, 2014 --(PR.com)-- A valuable addition to the trading arena. BTG Option has recently launched its brand-new trading platform, creating a buzz throughout the entire trading community...
Read more on Business Balla
 
In The Battle For Streaming Supremacy Between Amazon and Netflix, The Only Winner Is The End-User
Yesterday, Amazon struck a major blow against competitor Netflix by announcing it had nabbed exclusive rights to the majority of HBO’s back-catalog of series including The Wire and The Sopranos. Under the new deal,...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Creative Force Behind The World's Most Important Causes
“It is our belief that the most powerful way to solve the grand challenges of our time, is to operate at the very intersection of purpose and business. To apply the ingenuity, innovation and scalability that let the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Three Ways To Sell Your Business For Top Dollar
The following guest post is by David Ryan, founder and managing member of Upton Financial Group, an advisory firm specializing in business value strategies and solutions. Many business owners wait years to sell their...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Apple's iPhone Generated Great Results And A Solid Outlook
There weren’t many holes in Apple’s March quarter results. Revenue of $45.6 billion increased 5% year over year and was nicely above the high end of the $42 to $44 billion guidance range. Gross margin was even better at...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Apple's Moves Make The Stock Look Better, But Is It Worth More?
Apple just announced that it plans to split its stock, 7-for-1. Is that impressive or what? But wait, that’s not all! It also plans to repurchase $90 billion of its stock. Impressed even more? But that’s still not all!...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Obamacare's Exchange Signups, Expanded Medicaid Boost Aetna
Health insurance giant Aetna (AET), buoyed by growth of newly insured government- subsidized subscribers under the Affordable Care Act and the Medicare program, expects to double operating revenues by the end of the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Family Business Battle: How To Keep Your Legacy Alive
The following guest post is by Frederic J. Marx, Chair of the Business Law Group at Hemenway & Barnes, LLP.  Whether you’re a second generation manufacturer or running a global conglomerate like Peugeot, you’re...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Nadella, Microsoft Likely To Face Nokia Questions on Earnings Call
It’s been 69 days since Satya Nadella was named chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., and, for better or worse, the numbers officially become his on Thursday. Microsoft will release its fiscal-third-quarter...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Challenge Of Defending Smartphone Leadership
Apple’s earnings release is a good time to take stock of where the smartphone leader board stands. Apple is increasing its iPhone sales in geographies such as India, markets where its high margins were supposed to put...
Read more on Business Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla