Manufactured Spending India: An opportunity to meet your spend limits

One of the key criteria that a lot of banks put out these days is to meet a certain amount of spend before you can have access to a bonus kitty of miles. The intention is to get the customers to spend a certain amount of money on the card in a certain period of time, and get them used to the card. Take for instance the following:

Now, sometimes you may be able to spend the money and take the benefits off the table, sometimes you may not be able to meet the spend limit in the amount of time the banks tell you to fit in. In which cases, I find it very easy to buy gift cards, which allow me to store monetary value today for usage later.

Don’t confuse this gift card churning like in the USA. Around there, you get to maximise the categories of your Gift Cards by buying them from drug stores and so on, and you can then just reload them back via certain accounts and circle the cash back into your pocket, or pay your bills from it.

Around India, most Gift Cards from banks are not offered to buy via credit cards, only via account debits. However, American Express offers Gift Cards which you can buy for use at a later date, and use for yourself or gift to someone else. These can be bought at a website called which is the only authorised website to sell them on behalf of American Express in India. It takes 4-5 working days for American Express to process the purchase and ship the cards to you, and I hear it may be faster if you use an India-issued American Express card to pay for it.

These Gift Cards can be used for online and offline purchases in INR but not at ATMs to withdraw cash. Also, they are valid for a year from issuance date.


Anyhow, the reason this becomes interesting is because American Express Gift Cards are being offered at a 2% discount these days on the website mentioned above. This means, you get INR 5000 worth of gift cards for INR 4900 each. These gift cards are available in the denomination of INR 1000, INR 2000 and INR 5000, and you can buy at the most 5 in one transaction. There is a shipping charge of INR 50 as well, so it makes sense to buy the most number of these in one go for your needs.

Interestingly, this opportunity existed last year with 5% off, and now, just 2%. But it is still free money on the table and earning miles to use these gift cards.

While there is no end date for the discount specified here, I assume this is going to be valid only for a few days. So enjoy it while it lasts.

Any other Indian MS opportunities out there you’d like to share? write to me at aj at livefromalounge dot com.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. How buying gift cards from chains like shoppers stop or lifestyle. u can redeem them in next six months. only drawback is the limited choice

    another choice is gift cards from amazon india (not sure if flipkart/snapdeal has them) for a range of Rs 10 to Rs 10,000. they are valid for ONE year 🙂

    Amazon is currently running an offer where if u purchase GC for Rs 1,500 u get Rs 200 free. valid only till 11 Aug 14

    • @Nilesh good one. but with Amex, I can use them anywhere with Amex terminals. Any other gift cards are captive to the vendors who issue them. So, the closeness to cash is much much lesser. For instance, I pay my phone bills with these Amex Gift Cards when I order them.

  2. Many logistics companies sign up for Amex Corporate card which is then used at HP Petrol pumps for large number of transactions. The money is returned back to these companies by pump dealers in cash. Companies are able to jack up expenses and also earn MR points.

  3. Another good one Ajay. I didn’t buy but the 5 limit is only in the first page it seems. In the next shopping cart page, I could go beyond 5

  4. @AJ – Nice tip!
    @Vivek – What you are talking about is a balance transfer which does not earn you any points and all your purchases on the SBI card start attracting interest until you pay off the balance transfer amount. Not recommended!

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