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

Play what smart kids play
New York, Sep 18 (IANS) Plan to enrol your kid into an extra-curricular activity like music or sports? Do not just go by popular names, instead look for a place that has high achieving members.
 
 
Revealed: What sets tectonic plates in motion
Sydney, Sep 18 (IANS) The mystery of what kick-started the motion of our earth's massive tectonic plates across its surface has been solved by researchers at the University of Sydney.
 
 
Chimp violence not linked to human influence
New York, Sep 18 (IANS) Chimpanzee violence is a result of adaptive strategy that gives the perpetrators an edge and not due to human disturbance, says a study that looked into patterns of inter-group aggression in chimpanzees and their close relatives, bonobos.
 
 
Sensor that measures effect of wine in your mouth
London, Sep 18 (IANS) Researchers have developed a nano-sensor that can mimic what happens in your mouth when you drink wine.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

San Jose Sharks Sign Justin Braun to 5-Year, $19M Extension
The San Jose Sharks signed defenseman Justin Braun to a five-year contract extension on Sept. 17.The Sharks issued a press release on Braun's new deal on their official website:"San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) General...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Got married for kids: Neil Patrick Harris
Los Angeles, Sep 18 (IANS) Actor Neil Patrick Harris, who tied the knot with his longtime partner David Burtka, says they got married for the sake of their children - Harper and Gideon. "How I Met Your Mother" star...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Man found selling IS flags in Australia
Canberra, Sep 18 (IANS) A man in Australia was found selling flags of the terrorist group Islamic State (IS), media reported Thursday. Rob Boot, 62, who sells flags from his home in Carrum in Melbourne, raised the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
US lawmakers, Sikhs disappointed at basketball body's headgear decision
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) Two US lawmakers and Sikh community bodies have expressed disappointment over International Basketball Federation's (FIBA) decision to allow athletes to wear religious headgear, such as patkas...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Sensor that measures effect of wine in your mouth
London, Sep 18 (IANS) Researchers have developed a nano-sensor that can mimic what happens in your mouth when you drink wine. To put it simply, the sensor is a kind of mini-mouth that uses salivary proteins to measure...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Pakistan's flood-hit to receive aid before Eid
Islamabad, Sep 18 (IANS) Under a chief minister's package for the flood-hit people of Pakistan's Punjab province, each family will be given a one-time financial aid before Eid al-Adha Oct 4. According to officials,...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Windies women take 3-0 ODI lead against New Zealand
Basseterre (St. Kitts), Sep 18 (IANS/CMC) Seamer Shakera Selman inspired the West Indies women to an eight-wicket crushing of New Zealand as they took a 3-0 lead in the four-match One-Day International (ODI) series...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Why people in power need to be attentive listeners
New York, Sep 18 (IANS) Leaders in powerful positions often fail to listen properly and take into account the perspective of others, thus jeopardising the impact they could have, shows new research. The CEOs,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Typhoon-triggered floods trap 395 students in China
Beijing, Sep 18 (IANS) A typhoon-triggered flood has trapped 395 students and teachers in China, officials said Thursday. Heavy rain brought on by typhoon Kalmaegi since early Wednesday has submerged the first floor...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Modern Europeans have three ancestries: Study
"There are at least three major, highly differentiated populations that have contributed substantial amounts of ancestry to almost everybody that has European ancestry today," explained David Reich, an investigator at...
Read more on Apple Balla