Published on December 4th, 2014 | by Chuck47
Everything you ever wanted to know about Buying Gift Cards at Best Buy
Introduction to Gift Cards at Best Buy
There are at least four reasons why we’d be interested in purchasing gift cards at Best Buy:
- We regularly see Amex Offers of $25 off $250 at Best Buy – a 10% discount. This may be a good deal on actual Best Buy purchases, but it’s definitely a good deal on gift card purchases. Gift cards do trigger the Amex credit, which can give a 10% discount on much more than the purchase of an electronic device. We saw this offer during the holiday season 2013, we saw it once in the middle of 2014, and we see it now in holiday season 2014.
- Citi Dividend has rotating categories in which they offer 5% cash-back at various retailers. The fourth quarter of 2014 (September 1 until December 31, 2014) has Best Buy as one of the options. Best Buy also released their 2015 categories, and it includes Best Buy for the fourth quarter 2015. By buying gift cards, we can get increase our options of leveraging that 5%.
- US Bank Cash+ has electronic stores as one of its 5% category. This could be used at Best Buy for up to $2,000-per-quarter/$8,000-per-year of 5% spend.
- Best Buy credit cardholders receive 5-6% back in Best Buy Rewards for Best Buy purchases. We’ll discuss how that applies to gift card purchases. Additionally, in the past, Best Buy has released offers of 10% Rewards for Best Buy credit cardholders for certain periods of time.
One additional note is that gift card purchases at Best Buy earn Best Buy Rewards, so purchasing gift cards at Best Buy may be slightly interesting even without any of the above reasons.
Gift Cards They Sell
Q: Which gift cards are sold by Best Buy?
- Visa variable load $20-$200 with a $5.95 activation fee.
Amazon Kindle gift cards which function as regular Amazon gift cards for all Amazon purchases. Denominations of $25 and $50.
- Gas – Shell and Exxon/Mobile in $25 and $50 denominations.
- eBay – Sometime in 2015 they started carrying eBay gift cards.
- Restaurants – Lots of restaurant gift cards available. Some options are: Chili’s, Buffalo Wings, Olive Garden, IHOP, Cracker Barrel, Darden, TGI Friday.
- Southwest Airlines was spotted in September 2016
- Electronic Related – Skype, Google Play, XBox, Sony, Valve, iTunes, Nintendo, Netflix, and more.
- Phone refills from: Verizon, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, AT&T, Boost Mobile and Metro PCS.
- Best Buy gift cards, obviously.
Q: You say Best Buy sells gas and restaurant gift cards, but others only mention Visa, Amazon and iTunes gift cards?
A: They used to just have the Visa, Amazon, and electronic-related gift cards, but in 2014-2015 they added the gas and restaurant gift cards.
Q: I can’t seem to find the Amazon Kindle gift cards. Any suggestions?
Q: Do they sell any gift cards online?
A: For all online questions, see below Bestbuy.com Online.
Q: Can I split my purchase and put $250 (or whatever amount) on each card?
A: Yes. Max 10 cards per transaction.
Q: If I pay with a gift/prepaid card such as Bluebird/Serve, do I need to tell the cashier to do split-tender?
A: No, the Best Buy POS will automatically drain the balance from a gift/prepaid card.
For example, if you want to spend $250 on your Bluebird/Serve, you can make sure that there’s exactly $250 on it, and just swipe your card without telling the cashier a thing. The POS will drain the $250 and let you pay the balance with another card.
Q: I tried splitting between a few credit cards, and something errored out and froze the transaction. What’s going on?
A: Since mid-2016, perhaps, there’s a glitch that hits some people when trying to split tender. The bug seems to be related to chip cards, but it’s not clear when it hits and why it effects some and not others.
Just be assured that the system will automatically refund any cancelled transactions.
Buy Gift Card with Gift Card
Q: Can I use a Best Buy gift card to purchase a different gift card?
Q: Even a Visa gift card?
A: Yes, the POS allows it. Most cashiers won’t blink an eyelash, but there are some stores who taught their cashiers not to accept it.
In both instances in which I was turned down by the cashier trying to buy a Visa gift card with a Best Buy gift card, the cashiers clearly mentioned the fact that Visa is open-loop and can be used anywhere. Buying other third-party gift cards with a Best Buy gift card shouldn’t be a problem anywhere.
[UPDATE 2/26/15: There are varying reports (1, 2, 3, 4) whether the Best Buy POS will still allow the purchase of Visa gift cards with Best Buy gift cards, and they’ve updated their T&C to exclude it.]
Q: Will a merchandise credit work to buy a Visa gift card?
A: I personally had two conflicting experiences with this. One time it worked and once the system didn’t allow it. On other third-party gift cards it would probably work.
Q: Why is buying a gift card with a gift card important?
A: Many reasons. One simple reason is if you want to use a credit card your spouses credit card. They can just purchase the gift card online, and then you can go in-store and buy the other gift card.
I personally like buying a gift card with a gift card for a second reason, because I usually do split-tender transactions between a few cards, and I feel more normal paying part with a gift card and then using less credit cards in the transaction.
Of course, if you manage to buy Best Buy gift cards at a discount, you can possibly turn those into cash by purchasing Visa gift cards with the Best Buy gift card. Remember, though, that not all stores will allow this, and that merchandise credits may not work for the purchase of Visa gift cards.
Q: How many Best Buy gift cards can be used in one transaction?
For an online order the max is 10. In-store, I believe the max is higher, possibly 99.
Q: Do they sell any gift cards online?
A: Yes, but not as many as in-store. Online options include dining, music, gaming, movies, and phone refills. View the whole list here. And, of course, Best Buy gift cards. More recently they added eBay, Southwest, and Disney online.
Q: Will I get the Amex Offer credit with an online purchase of a gift card?
A: Yes. Both Best Buy gift cards and third party gift cards have triggered the Amex credits in the past.
Q: What about a Best Buy e-gift card? Will that trigger the Amex credit?
A: No. Best Buy e-gift cards are issued by Cashstar and won’t trigger the Amex credit.
Q: Will an online gift card order trigger the 5% Citi Dividend cash-back?
A: Yes (personal experience). Again, only the physical gift cards, not the Best Buy e-gift cards.
Q: Will online gift card purchases trigger the US Bank Cash+ 5% cash-back?
A: They explicitly include bestbuy.com in the category. Any physical gift card should work for the 5%.
Q: I’m looking for the $250 denomination of the Best Buy gift card at bestbuy.com, but it’s not there?
A: It used to be possible to buy the $250 denomination, but it doesn’t seem to be available online any longer.
Q: I made a few orders on Bestbuy.com, each order was a $250. Now, they started canceling my orders. “We were unable to verify your information.” What gives?
A: I’ve run into problems like this a few times with bestbuy.com. They seem to have a overactive fraud-detection system in place. You can definitely go ahead with lots of orders, and hopefully they’ll all go through, but don’t be surprised if they don’t.
Q: How many Best Buy gift cards can be used in one online transaction?
A: For online orders the max is 10.
Q: Can e-gift cards be used in-store?
A: Yes, you can print it out and use it in-store.
Q: Will I earn portal points/cash-back when purchasing a physical Best Buy gift card from bestbuy.com?
A: Best Buy used to pay out for gift card purchases, but then they stopped paying out. I’ve tried Topcashback, Southwest, and some more with no success.
Q: What about buying third-party gift cards on bestbuy.com? Will they earn portal rewards?
Best Buy Rewards
Q: What are Best Buy Rewards?
A: It’s the Best Buy store rewards program which gives 2-2.5% back which can be redeemed by purchasing items in Best Buy and applying a reward certificate to the purchase. More details in this dedicated post.
Q: Do you earn Best Buy Rewards on gift card purchases?
A: Yes, even Best Buy gift cards, and even Visa gift cards.
You can even earn Best Buy Rewards when purchasing a Best Buy e-gift from Cashstar if you input your Rewards number there.
Q: Do you earn Best Buy Rewards when you purchase something and pay with a Best Buy gift card?
A: No. Rewards are earned for purchasing gift cards, but not when using gift cards.
Q: Can you use a Best Buy Rewards certificate to buy a gift card?
A: Rewards can not be used to purchase a Best Buy gift card, nor to purchase a Visa gift card. This is in the T&C, and it’s hard-coded (I tried).
However, Rewards can be used to purchase a third-party gift card, including gas or restaurant gift cards.
For example, if you have a $25 Reward certificate, you can purchase a $25 Shell or Exxon gift card with it. I’ve done this many times. I used to use them for Amazon gift cards, now I started using them for Shell/Exxon gift cards.
This makes Best Buy Rewards very valuable, since you’re not limited to buying products in Best Buy. You can instead redeem them for lots of great gift cards.
Q: As a Best Buy Elite member, I’m supposed to be earning slightly more than 2% back in rewards, but I’m only getting 2% on Visa gift card purchases. Why?
A: This is a recent thing that Visa gift cards and Best Buy gift cards are coded to earn a straight 2%, even for Elite members. Third-party gift cards still earn the additional Elite and Elite Plus bonus points.
Interestingly, when I ordered $250 of gift cards at bestbuy.com while I was logged into my bestbuy.com account, the system calculated the points that I’ll earn on the purchase, and indicated that I will earn the additional Elite Plus points on the gift card purchase. But when the points posted, it posted without the additional points.
Update: As of 8/28/16, Best Buy Rewards is just 1% for non-Elite members. Also, a data point indicates that Visa gift cards don’t earn Best Buy Rewards anymore at all.
Q: Any other rewards I can earn at Best Buy?
A: Yes, aside from Best Buy Rewards, you can earn Shopkick points for all your purchases at Best Buy, including gift card purchases. You’ll earn the equivalent of a $5+ gift card for $250 in spend, up to twice per week. Above $250, you’ll only earn slightly more per dollar spent. Remember to have the cashier scan the Shopkick bar codes at the time of purchase.
Best Buy Credit Card
The Best Buy credit card earns 5-6% in Best Buy Rewards. The first 2-2.5% is what’s earned without the Best Buy credit card, and an additional 3-3.5% is earned with the Best Buy credit card.
Q: Does it earn 5-6% on the purchase of gift cards?
A: Not on Visa or Best Buy gift cards. They’re coded to earn a straight 2% for everyone. However, I experimented with third-party gift cards, and I can confirm that they do earn the 5-6% in Rewards.
Q: Does that mean I can get 5-6% off all gas and restaurant purchases?
A: Yes, you can buy gift cards at Best Buy with your Best Buy credit card, and get 5-6% back in Rewards. After you accumulate enough Rewards, you can then use those Rewards to buy more gift cards.
This also means, that when Best Buy has an occasional promotion of bonus Rewards, as much as 10%, you can get gift cards at a 10% discount.
Did we miss something? Please let us know in the comments.