One weird old trick to get American Express business gift card orders approved

Until today, I had never had an American Express business gift card order approved. In the good old days, this wasn't a big deal: business and consumer gift cards both typically paid out at the same high rates, and I didn't (and still don't) have enough credit lines worth manufacturing spend on outside of bonus categories to justify buying more than $20,000 in American Express gift cards per month (the limit on consumer gift card orders).

Since cash back payouts on American Express gift cards dropped from the 4% that used to be typical to the roughly 1.5% they seem stuck at these days, my inability to get business gift card orders approved started to rankle, since payouts on business, but not consumer, gift cards would occasionally be increased 50% to 2.25%, where they sit today on TopCashBack. But even though I have an IRS-issued EIN, and an American Express small business credit card issued under it, my streak of failures continued unbroken.

Declined gift card orders wouldn't have bothered me so much, except that each failed order would tie up valuable credit lines for 7-10 days, effectively shutting down my manufactured spend on some of my most lucrative credit cards for weeks at a time.

Use your last name and Social Security number to get business gift card orders approved

A few weeks back I read in the comments on Frequent Miler's blog that he had success being approved for business gift cards using his last name and Social Security number, rather than the name of his business and EIN.

With payouts on business gift cards up to 2.25% again today, and having just freed up a fair-sized chunk of credit on my Barclaycard Arrival+ MasterCard, I decided I had nothing to lose, and placed an order for two $2000 business gift cards, using my last name and Social Security number. Then I went about my day.

Less than 3 hours later, American Express notified me that my order had been approved — my very first business gift card approval ever.