Manufacture small amounts of spend with Plink

There have been a couple fun articles recently about the new rebate service Plink, which allows you to earn points worth one cent each towards gift cards (Amazon and Walmart being two of the gift card options). For example, everyone should be doing this, and this is a fun way to get discounts on Sears merchandise.

I want to point out that is it also possible to manufacture spend using Plink and get virtually all your money back (partly in the form of Amazon credit), or turn a small profit. As Frequent Miler describes in this post, first add Kmart to your Plink wallet, since Sears gift cards appear as Kmart purchases on your credit card statement. Then, click through to Sears from the ShopDiscover mall, where you earn 10% cash back on Sears purchases. Then, order a physical gift card for exactly $50. So far, you'll have earned $5 in cash back through Discover, plus 300 Plink points, worth $3 in Amazon credit. Then, go to to a gift card reseller and sell the $50 gift card for $42 (you'll have to mail the card in). For example, here are the current rates offered by a number of gift card merchants for Sears gift cards, according to Gift Card Granny:

Thus, after buying a $50 gift card, you'll receive back $47 in cash and $3 in Amazon credit.  Of course, you'll have to pay for postage to mail in the gift cards. On the other hand, you can do slightly better than this by clicking through to Cardpool through TopCashBack to earn another $2 in cash back through that site.

Of course, this is a wildly inefficient way to manufacture spend, and there's a lot that can go wrong: Cardpool in particular has a reputation for "losing" gift cards that are mailed in for sale: I myself won't be doing it myself.

Keep in mind that the value of any technique like this depends on the value of each dollar of manufactured spend, and there are cards that would make it somewhat more lucrative: if you ran this hack through the US Bank Cash+ card and had "department stores" selected as one of your 5% cash back categories, you could earn $100 per quarter this way.

Likewise one of the 4th quarter bonus categories for the Chase Freedom card is "select department stores," and it might be worth running $1,500 through this technique for 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points, especially if you can transfer them to a flexible Ultimate Rewards account.

At any rate, I wanted to make readers aware of this opportunity.