Possible Banana Republic Point Arbitrage

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Please don't crucify me in here as I am a first time poster if I break some etiquette.

I got a promotion in the mail today for the Banana Republic credit card that I have for earning 200 bonus points for every purchase not at the Banana Republic chains of stores (Gap, Old Navy, Athleta... et al) for Nov and Dec of 2012. According the bottom of the advertisement the promotion is called "BR200PTSN12" in their corporate speak.

My immediate thought was is there potential for purchase/point arbitrage here. So, I called BR's customer service line to find out the maximum number of points that can be accrued during this promotion and the minimum dollar amount purchase to qualify. The supervisor told me that minimum purchase is $1 and there is no maximum.

Now, here is the potential for arbitrage (please help or correct me if I am wrong). 200 points roughly correlates to $2 (after you cross the various thresholds that trigger gift cards mailed - usually 2000 or 5000 points). If what the supervisor stated was correct, then I have a printing press of gift cards to their stores by making hundreds or thousands of $1 purchases - as $1 spent (spending no more than $1.00) equates to $2 in rewards.

I read the T&C on BR card website and it appears that they will only issue $250 in rewards per billing cycle. Hence, as I understand it, to game this particular promotion, I ought to make precisely 125 $1.00 purchases during November and 125 $1.00 purchases in December of 2012. Please help me vet this logic to see if it is airtight.

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My heads hurts from reading this.

michaelgraham said:   I ought to make precisely 125 $1.00 purchases during November and 125 $1.00 purchases in December of 2012. Please help me vet this logic to see if it is airtight.

No, making 125 $1.00 purchases isn't logical.

So would extra rewards carry over to the next billing cycle? If not, it's a waste of time given the small profit potential.

Where would you find $1 item in Banana Republic?

Are you saying you use a GC to buy a GC?

Otherwise it's not quite arbitrage, you're just buying gift cards at a discount.

is this for all Banana Republic cards?

That's a helluva lot of beverages at McDonalds (the easiest way I know to charge $1 plus tax where applicable).

Your explanation is pretty good but I just want to confirm one thing - are the gift cards that are issued via this credit card promotion only Banana Republic gift cards? Someone else will have to confirm that 200 points = $2.

Your logic is OK, but if you were going to spend money and charge an item anyway (gas, etc.) you could simply charge those items to your BR CC and reduce the number of $1 charges you need in a month. Since you'll be charging at least $250 in Nov/Dec to get $500 in gift cards, you would be reducing any charges you normally wouldn't make if you use the card for regular purchases.

Not exactly an arbitrage, but you've found a way to get BR gift cards for approximately half off. That's assuming there is no fee for the CC (at least during the first two months).

Good luck with your endeavor and thanks for posting this. BR is not a place I shop but those who do might like this deal.

I got the same offer and there is a decent thread on Slickdeals about a similar program that ran last year and people were able to max it out. What is not clear is what happens to any rewards over $250 per month - did they rollover or did they just expire?

It clearly is an arbitrage. You can buy $0.15 gift cards at Amazon.com. Each purchase is worth $2 in rebates. So you do 125 of these ($18.75 in Amazon.com funds) to obtain $250. Or more if you think they can rollover. I plan to go big and hope they rollover and pay for all my clothes in 2013

JohnGalt69 said:   So would extra rewards carry over to the next billing cycle? If not, it's a waste of time given the small profit potential.

There is a useful thread on this on slickdeals from similar promo last year but it is not clear whether or not the rewards carried over

However it is a bit ridiculous to suggest the profit potential is so small. 125 x $0.15 Amazon gift cards gets you $250 in Banana Republic, which given their frequent 40% off days buys you over $400 worth of clothes. Sorry if that is not enough profit for you.

Personally I plan to go bigger and hope the rewards carry over. With two months to run it's a min of $500 in clothes and possibly a whole lot more

ma91pmh said:   

However it is a bit ridiculous to suggest the profit potential is so small. 125 x $0.15 Amazon gift cards gets you $250 in Banana Republic, which given their frequent 40% off days buys you over $400 worth of clothes. Sorry if that is not enough profit for you.


According to the OP, only purchases of $1 or more qualify for the bonus points. You should verify this before you spend the time making purchases that may not qualify.

I have the BR store card (not the Visa), and the rewards issued are certificates, not gift cards. They have to be used by a cardholder (and possibly they are specific to the card that earned them) so you can't readily sell or gift them. I'm not sure if the Visa works the same way.

ma91pmh said:   JohnGalt69 said:   So would extra rewards carry over to the next billing cycle? If not, it's a waste of time given the small profit potential.

There is a useful thread on this on slickdeals from similar promo last year but it is not clear whether or not the rewards carried over

However it is a bit ridiculous to suggest the profit potential is so small. 125 x $0.15 Amazon gift cards gets you $250 in Banana Republic, which given their frequent 40% off days buys you over $400 worth of clothes. Sorry if that is not enough profit for you.

Personally I plan to go bigger and hope the rewards carry over. With two months to run it's a min of $500 in clothes and possibly a whole lot more


Except as per the OP, the minimum purchase to qualify is $1. If true, it is 125 x $1 Amazon gift cards (or whatever) that gets you $250 in Banana credit.

I have the flyer here on my desk and there is nothing about any minimum transaction size. Simply states you will get "200 bonus rewards points for each purchase"

Even if you do assume a $1 minimum to play it safe. First of all you are getting $2 back in certificates for $1 spend. My AT&T bill is $200 a month. I can run $1 200 times quite happily for that. Same for Time Warner Cable, or DirecTV. And I can buy as many Amazon $1 gift cards as I think I can use. It's really not hard to manufacture huge numbers of transactions.

So the big question remains is this ultimately capped at $500 in free clothes or do they drip out any overage over the following months?

Sorry yes I am aware they are certificates and in my experience you do have to have the card with you to redeem. Obviously I have the card too as this is a targeted offer to specific card-holders. I'd quite happily spend $250 a month at BR for as long as this thing can be stretched out for

Also when does the reward certificate expire? If they send you $250 reward certificate that expires before the next one is able to be used, then this could end up being quite a hassle.

Good catch though on the offer, definitely a good deal at the very least for someone who would regularly shop at BR.

A few clarifications:
-yes this is a targeted offer for BR card holders
-the rewards come in the form of certificates to BR
-it looks like the max per paid period (ie. month) is $250. It is not clear as to what happens to amount above that if it rolls over or not
-the promotion goes on for Nov. and Dec. of 2012 - so you could max out at $500 in BR certificates over this time period
-typically these certificates are good for ~6 months

Question: can someone point me to a tutorial on how to buy $1 GC's to Amazon?

here is your tutorial - enter "gift card print at home" in the serach, click the first thing that comes up, select amount "$1" or "$0.15" if you want to be more aggressive, click add to cart, proceed as normal

one additional point is that the card has now gone to handing out certificates online for printing at home. i wonder how this will impact the delivery limit of $250 per month and may even remove it.

even with the limit having $250 per month to spend at BR is not much of a hassle for me. lol

reports from those who participated last year confirm that if you have over $500 you continue to get $250 per month until you drain the rewards.

Is there any viable alternative to Amazon certificates for this? Is it for all BR CC holders?

The real question -- is how do you get this card/promotion. I heard it was targeted -- any way to get "targeted"? or sign up for this card WITH the promotion in tact?

Thanks OP! Here's the exact verbiage from the Terms & Conditions:

"Any Points in a billing cycle that are either less than the amount required for the lowest denomination of Reward Card on the Account or worth more than $250 in Reward Cards will be applied toward a Reward Card in a future billing cycle."

So, it's clear the points roll over to next stmt cycle.

I assume that you could pay your mobile phone wireless bill in $1 increments... whenever I have excess cash on a Visa gift card (including less than $1) I use it towards my mobile bill.



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