A few weeks ago, Chase introduced Chase Offers on its small business credit cards. We received several Offers on our Chase business cards, including Offers for FedEx, Samsung, Enterprise, HP, Microsoft and Norton.
One Chase Offer that caught our eye was the Offer for BJ’s Wholesale Club – $25 back when you spend at least $150. We knew that BJ’s sells some gift cards online – could this be an Offer that we could use to turn a small profit?
Please note that the current Chase Offer for BJ’s expires on Monday 12/16/2019 – thus, if you want to use this Offer, you’ll need to get going soon! Fortunately, as you’ll see below, things processed quickly, so you should still be able to use the Offer this weekend.
We’ve been traveling and busy with a couple of major projects recently, so we only got to begin our BJ’s Chase Offer experiment yesterday. The good news is that we had success – and thus, we wanted to get an article published as quickly as possible to let our readers know about the opportunity and our positive data points.
Answering Some Initial Questions for Our BJ’s Chase Offer Experiment
1. I’m not a BJ’s member – can I still do this?
The short answer is yes. BJ’s is a membership club, of course. However, it has two very convenient options for online-only shopping. First, you can get a one-day online pass for free (a one-day trial membership, if you will). Second, you can purchase an online-only membership at the very modest price of $10 for one year.
We went through the registration process, and BJ’s automatically set us up for our 1-day online pass. The good news is that we were able to successfully place a Visa Gift Card (VGC) order through BJ’s using the free 1-day pass. So, if you only want to use the BJ’s Chase Offer on one card, you should be able to do this for no charge using the free 1-day pass.
We have 5 Chase business cards with the Chase Offer, so we wanted to spread out our purchases over a few days. So, on Day 2 (today for us), when BJ’s prompted us to pay for the $10 online-only membership, we went ahead and did so. This will allow us to space out our orders on our 5 Chase business cards, plus we’ll have a full year to take advantage of any other opportunities at BJ’s that may present themselves during that time.
Another important fact is that we were able to sign up for a BJ’s 1-day trial and then an online-only membership even though we live in Texas, a state where BJ’s does not have physical stores. We believe that the online-only memberships are available nationwide in the US.
2. Will the Chase Offer work on Authorized User cards?
Our situation is that Philly is the primary cardholder on some of our Chase business cards, and I am an authorized user. We wanted to get just 1 BJ’s membership, in my name. And to minimize the potential for purchasing problems, we wanted to use AU cards in my name for purchases. That way, the name on the card would match the name on the BJ’s account.
We found this answer in the FAQs for Chase Offers: Yes, spend on an AU card should trigger the Chase Offer. The exact language from the Chase Offers FAQ is: “For business debit and credit card accounts, any cardholder can redeem offers added to the account.”
3. Can I use a shopping portal?
BJ’s is available through several shopping portals, as shown in these screenshots we took from Cashback Monitor yesterday (Thurs 12/12/19):
Unfortunately, if you’re planning to purchase gift cards from BJ’s, the terms and conditions of all the portals we checked excluded gift cards. Here are the terms and conditions from Rakuten for BJ’s, which illustrate the point:
Even though we’d be purchasing gift cards at BJ’s, we decided to go ahead and go through a portal, on the off chance that it might work.
We decided to go through the Rakuten portal using our Membership Rewards (MR)-earning account, which would earn 1.5 MR points per dollar of spend if it tracked and paid. At our baseline value of 1.5 cents per MR point, our return would be about 2.25%.
If you’ve studied the Cashback Monitor listings carefully, you might wonder why we didn’t choose to use Top Cashback (TCB) instead of Rakuten, as TCB shows earnings of “Up to 3%” for BJ’s. The answer lies in the details of TCB paybacks. TCB has a chart for BJ’s with different levels of payout for different categories of purchases, as shown here:
Plainly, TCB tracks BJ’s purchases by category. Gift cards aren’t listed at all (not surprisingly, since they’re excluded by the terms). Given the category-level tracking, we thought there was a lower chance that we’d receive anything by going through TCB.
What Are the GC Options at BJ’s?
There’s some good news for those wanting to buy VGCs at BJs, which is that BJ’s does sell physical Vanilla VGCs that can be mailed to you, and shipping is free. The bad news is that the maximum denomination is $100, and there’s a purchase fee of $4.95 for each card.
BJ’s also carries a modest variety of other types of gift cards, which you can view here. Potentially popular choices include Disney, Delta, Uber, and several different restaurants.
Our VGC Orders from BJ’s and the Math
We chose to purchase VGCs for this deal, with each order consisting of 2 $100 VGCs. Frankly, the math may be more in your favor if you purchase 1 $100 VGC and then at least $45.05 in some other gift cards (or products), or if you simply purchase third-party GCs or real products outright. For us, the situation was just that we didn’t really need any of the third-party GCs that they sell at the moment, and we didn’t want to take the time to figure out if there were any products we wanted to purchase (we can get good deals on those elsewhere).
1. Our Ordering Process
Our ordering process with BJ’s went remarkably smoothly. Even with just our free one-day trial membership, our order processed and shipped quickly. First, after placing our order we immediately received an email from BJ’s showing that our order had been received.
Within 15 minutes, we received a second email from BJ’s informing us that our order had been confirmed and processed:
And by the end of the day (10:38 pm Central time), we received a third email from BJ’s, informing us that our order had been shipped:
This entire process was remarkably quick and easy. We’ve had so many experiences where a first-time GC purchase from a merchant errored out or required additional confirmations, that we were somewhat surprised and quite pleased that the process with BJ’s was so smooth and fast.
One note here about subsequent orders from BJ’s and switching payment methods – It’s actually somewhat confusing and potentially problematic to switch payment methods when checking out at BJ’s. The website keeps wanting to switch back to the first card you entered, as a default payment method. We were able to work around this issue on a subsequent order by entering the new payment method and then deleting the previous payment method from our profile (so that the new card was the only payment method available). Be sure to watch out for this issue if you’re doing the BJ’s Chase Offers on multiple credit cards!!!
2. Profit Calculations
Our profit calculation assumes that you can liquidate the VGCs for a 2% fee. That’s what we can do online using the Bravo app, with virtually no effort. We certainly understand that others have methods of liquidating in-person for lower cost.
The math on purchasing 2 VGCs and liquidating them works out like this:
- Two $100 VGCs including purchase fees = $209.90
- Plus liquidation costs at 2% = $3.92 ($200 / 1.02)
- Less Chase Offer = -$25.00
- Net cost = $188.82
- Profit = $11.18
In addition, we’ll earn some credit card points for our spend. BJ’s doesn’t fall into any bonus category for any of our eligible Chase business cards, so we’re looking at 1 Ultimate Rewards (UR) point per dollar of spend. That will give us 210 UR points. At our baseline value of 1.5 cents per UR point, that gives us an extra $3.15 in value, bringing our “profit” amount up to $14.33.
That’s a small but pretty easy little profit for each order using a $25 BJ’s Chase Offer. For us, the total profit for 5 orders, less the $10 online-only membership fee would be ($14.33 * 5) – $10 = $61.65.
And again, sophisticated manufactured spenders would be able to liquidate for less – plus, perhaps more importantly, you could do better with the Chase Offer by using it for real products and/or third-party GCs. For us, this is merely an opportunity to make a few extra dollars using the VGC method – and to report it to our readers!
What About the Potential Portal Benefits?
Somewhat surprisingly, as of this morning, our first VGC purchase from BJ’s has tracked through Rakuten and MR points are showing in our account:
It still won’t surprise us if these MR points are removed or clawed back at some points, but for now they’re there.
If the points stick, though, at our baseline value of 1.5 cents per MR point, the 315 MR points would be worth about $4.72 to us. That would bring the “profit” for each order up to $19.05, and the overall “profit” for 5 orders less the $10 online-only membership to $85.25. Fingers crossed that the MR points hold!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our report on this experiment with the BJ’s Chase Offer. We’ll make a few dollars of profit from it, and we hope that some Middle Age Miles readers can do the same! Good luck in your own efforts!
Do you have any additional tips or data points on using the BJ’s Chase Offer? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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