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

Jan 6 2014, 2:52pm CST | by

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

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 by 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 Apple

 
 

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

Is your college going kid more active on weekends?
New York, Aug 20 (IANS) Parents always suspect that their college going kids prefer weekends to weekdays. Now there is proof that college graduates are more active on weekends compared to non-college goers.
 
 
How brain can multitask better
Toronto, Aug 20 (IANS) Cooking while having a conversation, watching a movie while browsing the Web, or driving while listening to a radio show - multitasking is an essential skill in our daily lives. Make it better now.
 
 
NASA's Mars rover stuck in 'Hidden Valley'
New York, Aug 20 (IANS) NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity may have to find a new route to its destination Mount Sharp after getting stuck in sand in the "Hidden Valley".
 
 
New species of non-venomous snake discovered in Brazil
Brasilia, Aug 20 (IANS/EFE) Scientists from four Brazilian institutions have announced the discovery of a new species of non-venomous snake that inhabits the savannas in the central part of the country.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

US admits failure to rescue journalist in Syria
Washington, Aug 21 (IANS) The US had recently attempted to rescue a number of American hostages, including slain journalist James Foley held in Syria by the Islamic State, but the mission failed, Pentagon Press...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Zoe Saldana finally admits pregnancy
Los Angeles, Aug 21 (IANS) "Avatar" actress Zoe Saldana has for the first time acknowledged that she is pregnant via a video of her ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, an activity where people dump a bucket of ice water on one's...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Robin Williams to be honored by Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal will honor the late Robin Williams at the upcoming Emmy Awards. The 66-year-old comedian will lead tributes to his longtime friend, who was found dead at his home in Tiburon, California on August 11 after...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kourtney Kardashian thinks cravings are 'fun'
Kourtney Kardashian thinks cravings are a ''fun'' part of pregnancy. The 35-year-old beauty, who is expecting her third child with boyfriend Scott Disick, admits she can't get enough of cheese and pickle sandwiches at...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Gwyneth Paltrow approves of Jennifer Lawrence
Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly approves of Chris Martin's new romance with Jennifer Lawrence. The 'Iron Man 3' star, who recently started dating 'Glee' co-creator Brad Falchuk, has reportedly given her estranged husband,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Israel to step up Gaza offensive: Netanyahu
Jerusalem, Aug 21 (IANS) Israel will step up the offensive in the Gaza Strip until rocket firing from there into Israel stops, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday in response to renewed Gaza rocket attacks...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
UN chief hails destruction of Syrian chemicals
United Nations, Aug 21 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Wednesday welcomed the destruction of Syria's declared chemical weapons material on board the US Maritime Vessel Cape Ray. "This marks a significant...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
UAE president issues anti-terror law
Abu Dhabi, Aug 21 (IANS) UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan issued the country's anti-terrorism law Wednesday, state media reported. Though the media report did not specify the details of the law, but so far no...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Sports meet in Kenya cancelled over Ebola fears
Nairobi, Aug 21 (IANS) The International Netball Federation (INF) cancelled an international meeting in Nairobi owing to deadly Ebola virus attack that has visited parts of Africa, Xinhua reported Wednesday. Kenya...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Egypt to have three new provinces
Cairo, Aug 21 (IANS) Egypt is to establish three new provinces and demarcate others including Cairo, Giza and Suez, a government official said Wednesday. The new three provinces will be Middle Sinai, Alamin and Wahat...
Read more on Politics Balla