Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

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tbradnc
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Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by tbradnc » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:25 pm

We spend about $800 a month on groceries (2 teenagers, lots of friends...) so I'm enjoying the 6% back on groceries the Amex Blue Preferred offers.

Standing in line the other day I noticed a rack holding prepaid Mastercards and the thought occurred to me that I could buy an $800 prepaid Mastercard and get $48 back from Amex *if* this purchase counted as "groceries".

Does anyone know if "6% back on groceries" excludes non-food items - specifically prepaid Mastercards..... :)

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momar
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by momar » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:31 pm

Read the terms and conditions. You'll likely get the cash back, since the coding is done for the store not for the items you buy, but...
Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of American Express Travelers Cheques, purchases or reloading of American Express prepaid cards or purchases of other cash equivalents.
It sure sounds like fraud to me. The incidental purchase of gift cards at the grocery store probably won't trigger any action, but I would guess that going from $800/month on groceries to $3000 per month (or whatever you might do) and having 99% of your spending be at the supermarket will tip them off.

At least that was my conclusion when I was thinking about this.
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tbradnc
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by tbradnc » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:34 pm

That's what I was thinking too... If it seems too good to be true....

jbk
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by jbk » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:38 pm

tbradnc wrote:We spend about $800 a month on groceries (2 teenagers, lots of friends...) so I'm enjoying the 6% back on groceries the Amex Blue Preferred offers.

Standing in line the other day I noticed a rack holding prepaid Mastercards and the thought occurred to me that I could buy an $800 prepaid Mastercard and get $48 back from Amex *if* this purchase counted as "groceries".

Does anyone know if "6% back on groceries" excludes non-food items - specifically prepaid Mastercards..... :)
Sorry, Amex is a step ahead of you. From the Amex Blue website under Terms and Conditions:

You will receive Reward Dollars for eligible purchases. You can redeem Reward Dollars for statement credits, or, at our discretion, additional items like merchandise and gift cards, whenever your available Reward Dollar balance is 25 or more. The number of Reward Dollars you will receive each billing period is based on a percentage of the dollar amount of your eligible purchases made during the billing period. Each eligible purchase shall qualify for a reward of 6, 3, or 1% of the purchase amount as follows: 6% for eligible purchases at supermarkets (excluding superstores and warehouse clubs), 3% for eligible purchases at department stores and for automobile gasoline purchased at stand-alone gas stations, and 1% for all other eligible purchases posted to your account. Eligible Purchases means purchases for goods and services minus returns and other credits. Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of American Express Travelers Cheques, purchases or reloading of American Express prepaid cards or purchases of other cash equivalents. Additional terms and conditions apply.

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Liquid
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by Liquid » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:43 pm

Spam is like cash in some circles.

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modal
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by modal » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:48 pm

I buy gift cards with the card.

Most of the gift card money funneled through Walmart (Grocery, SuperCenter, Murphy's and Sam's Club).

If you buy prepaid Visa/MC cards, it's not really a good deal till you go over $200 at which point it's ~97c for $1. <== I don't do this.

chipperd
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by chipperd » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:16 am

Do you happen to know the annual max cash back with this card?

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schnoodlemom
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by schnoodlemom » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:36 am

I am unaware of any max.

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Village Idiot
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by Village Idiot » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:51 am

chipperd wrote:Do you happen to know the annual max cash back with this card?
no max on my amex
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Tom_T
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by Tom_T » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:40 am

momar wrote:Read the terms and conditions. You'll likely get the cash back, since the coding is done for the store not for the items you buy, but...
Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of American Express Travelers Cheques, purchases or reloading of American Express prepaid cards or purchases of other cash equivalents.
It sure sounds like fraud to me.
I disagree. All the person is doing is buying a gift card with a credit card. Is he not allowed to do so? "Eligible purchases" means transactions that Amex will count toward the rewards program. It is not the consumer's job to keep track of that -- it's Amex's. If there is a loophole in their rules, that is their problem, not the consumer's.

Carl53
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by Carl53 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:11 am

momar wrote:Read the terms and conditions. You'll likely get the cash back, since the coding is done for the store not for the items you buy, but...
Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of American Express Travelers Cheques, purchases or reloading of American Express prepaid cards or purchases of other cash equivalents.
It sure sounds like fraud to me. The incidental purchase of gift cards at the grocery store probably won't trigger any action, but I would guess that going from $800/month on groceries to $3000 per month (or whatever you might do) and having 99% of your spending be at the supermarket will tip them off.

At least that was my conclusion when I was thinking about this.
AMEX also determines what are groceries, choosing not to include those purchased at Target or similar stores since the store coding comes back as discount store. Likewise for choosing what stores are department stores.

We have bought probably the better part of $2000 of gift cards over the last year at Giant Eagle and Krogers for Macys, Lowes and others and not given it a second thought as 'a cash equivalent'. I figure if they did not want to include such purchases that they would figure out how to automatically ascertain that the purchase was not eligible. I did like getting 4X fuel points around holiday time worth about perhaps 10% for a typical 25 gallon fuel purchase and another 6% for the grocery rebate.

Another reason that I suspect that at least the store gift cards will fly under the radar is that the groceries get a significant discount on them, making them a large profit center for very little effort. Notice that only AMEX cards are specifically cited.

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slug
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by slug » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:03 pm

I also buy gift cards with this card. The only time I've heard of people running into trouble is when that purchase is the only purchase so it's obvious that you bought a gift card. If the gift card purchase is nestled among other groceries, then there is no way for AMEX to know since they only see the purchase total, not the items.

I just miss the days of buying the dollar coins from the US Mint. That was far better arbitrage.
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snyder66
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by snyder66 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:13 pm

Our grocery stores do not accept it...

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momar
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by momar » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:32 pm

Guys, all I am saying is that Amex clearly has stated cash equivalents are not eligible. Now, I recognize they have no way to track that since merchandise is coded for at the store and not the item level. Again, I doubt buying gift cards here and there is something they care about.
"Index funds have a place in your portfolio, but you'll never beat the index with them." - Words of wisdom from a Fidelity rep

Tom_T
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by Tom_T » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:27 pm

momar wrote:Guys, all I am saying is that Amex clearly has stated cash equivalents are not eligible.
OK, but I interpret that as "we're telling you which purchases won't get reward points in our system", not "please don't use your Amex card to buy gift cards."

dc5vt05
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by dc5vt05 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:10 am

FWIW. AMEX considers commissaries at military bases a grocery store.

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tinscale
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by tinscale » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:48 am

Buying pre-paid credit cards is a quick and easy way to cash-in a stolen credit card before it gets turned off, and stores like Home Depot have a limit on the $ value you can buy using a credit card. And, before you hit the limit the associate may call the CC company just to check it out.

If one agrees to the CC company terms and conditions, and is then is going to violate that agreement to earn a few points, then I think there is a quest of integrity in there somewhere.

Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by yobria » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:33 am

Liquid wrote:Spam is like cash in some circles.
Honolulu circa 1943?

Tom_T
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by Tom_T » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:24 am

tinscale wrote:Buying pre-paid credit cards is a quick and easy way to cash-in a stolen credit card before it gets turned off, and stores like Home Depot have a limit on the $ value you can buy using a credit card. And, before you hit the limit the associate may call the CC company just to check it out.

If one agrees to the CC company terms and conditions, and is then is going to violate that agreement to earn a few points, then I think there is a quest of integrity in there somewhere.

Just my 2 cents.
Well, we'll just agree to disagree. Here are other items listed as not being eligible for reward points: American Express Travelers Cheques. Cash advances. So, I can't use my card for either of those of those unless I confirm with Amex that they are properly ignoring them for reward points?

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tinscale
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by tinscale » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:41 am

I suppose I'll agree that if Amex can't track it then it's their problem.

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Liquid
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by Liquid » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:28 am

yobria wrote:
Liquid wrote:Spam is like cash in some circles.
Honolulu circa 1943?
Yes, and well into the 1990s! I wonder how current Hawaiian Spam futures are looking.

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momar
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Re: Amex Blue Preferred 6% back on groceries

Post by momar » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:54 am

Tom_T wrote:
momar wrote:Guys, all I am saying is that Amex clearly has stated cash equivalents are not eligible.
OK, but I interpret that as "we're telling you which purchases won't get reward points in our system", not "please don't use your Amex card to buy gift cards."
It's there so that they have some recourse in case someone severely abuses the card.

It's not very hard to imagine someone hatching a scheme where they buy obscene amounts of gift/cash cards at 6% cash back and then turn them into real cash.
"Index funds have a place in your portfolio, but you'll never beat the index with them." - Words of wisdom from a Fidelity rep

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