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Meet your credit card ‘minimum spend’ requirement with new Amex gift cards

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(EDIT:  A reader report in March 2015 suggests that gift card purchases are no longer earning points.  This was only one incident but be aware!)

American Express has launched its pre-paid gift cards in the UK.  Take a look at their website.

Basically, you can now (in theory) walk into a WH Smith, Sainsbury or Superdrug and a buy a £20, £30, £50 or £100 Amex gift card.  The fee payable on top is £2.45, £2.95, £3.45 and £4.45 respectively.

This opens up an option if you are struggling to meet the minimum spend requirement on a new credit card to trigger the sign-up bonus.  One option I have mentioned in the past is buying supermarket gift vouchers, which have no fee attached.  However, it will take you a while to work through (say) £500 of Waitrose vouchers.

Whilst these Amex gift cards carry a fee, you can obviously spend through them more quickly than you could with ‘store specific’ gift vouchers.  The 4.45% fee on the £100 card is not cheap, but you may consider £22 a fair price to pay to get £500 of spend through your card.

These cards cannot be topped up.  The biggest problem with them is getting the available balance down to exactly £0 to clear them out!  What I recommend, when you are down to the last couple of quid, is to order yourself an Amazon gift voucher.

You can buy these for any amount (pounds and pence, so if you had £2.96 on your gift card it is OK to order a £2.96 evoucher) and you can pre-load your Amazon account with them immediately, even if you aren’t buying anything now.  The money is there to spend next time you visit Amazon.

Note that you can get similar gift cards from MasterCard and Visa – even Tesco sells them.  However, they tend to cap out at £50 which makes the fee disproportionately more expensive for buying large amounts.

(If are struggling to meet the minimum spend on a credit card to get the bonus, also look at this post from Friday.  You can buy HMV or Waterstones gift vouchers at a 20% discount, which should be ebay’able for 90% of face value.)

Comments (10)

  • Given that you’ll get Nectar (and possibly bonus rewards on your card), your net cost at Sainsbury’s should only be a couple percent.

  • Dominic says:

    I have had a few of these sorts of things before. A good way to get them down to zero is to go to Sainsbury’s/Tesco etc. and use the self-checkout. They’ll happily take an Amex card for even a few pence, and you don’t have the embarrassment (well, it embarrasses me, anyway) of asking a cashier to take separate payment for something so small.

  • idenvillage says:

    the post office have a one4all card that be used at {Can be used in over 17,000 retailers including Argos, Boots, B&Q, Currys, Debenhams, Hamleys, House of Fraser, JJB Sports, New Look, Pizza Express, River Island, TopShop}, as well as others.It can be bought in any denomination up to £400, is fee free but costs 99p+p, although there is a free deliovery promo code on their website at the mo. You can pay with visa or mastercard ( good for those with a bmi mastercard) but not amex. Rememebr its not a visa or amex card, so is limited to the retailers listed on its website

    • Sir Stamford says:

      Is JJB sports still listed? Can’t see it on the one4all card website. They went into administration in October 2012.

    • trickster says:

      Good idea, but they do have quite short expiry dates, so need to be used . Plus, I wouldn’t want to misplace one with £400 on it!

  • James says:

    Just spotted an offer that will start on Boxing day and run until New Year’s day whereby if you buy Amex gift cards you get either £5 or £10 back depending on the value bought. If you buy £100 it will cost you £94.45 including this rebate- nice. The only caveat is that ‘a non-refundable monthly fee of £1.50 will be charged starting 12 months after the date of activation of the Card’

    • Raffles says:

      This looks good (and will fill a spot for a post on Boxing Day when I’m not expecting much else to write about!)

    • Roger says:

      Hmmm. Buying a £100 gift card costs £9.40, offering a mighty 60p bonus .(Purchase fee £4.45 plus non-optional delivery charge £4.95.)

      Buying several cards is charged at £4.95, so a better deal if you want more than ione.

      • Roger says:

        I see WHSmith had an ad in yesterday’s Daily Mail (possible other newspapers) with a coupon offering £4 off the purchase of two of these cards.

        Still not par, but could help anybody wanting to buy cards anyway.

  • Sandgrounder says:

    I find buying petrol is always a good way to clear out remaining balances exactly.