With a buying group, you can earn thousands of points simply by ordering products online and shipping them directly to someone else. Yet, many in the miles and points community do not know these groups exist, let alone how to join them.

In this post, I will walk through what these groups are, how you can join them, and provide you with details on some of the largest groups that are currently open to new members.

Why you should join a buying group

I am a huge proponent of any method that allows you to generate points and miles from the comfort of your home. I will gladly do whatever I can to avoid going to Staples or my local grocery store to purchase MasterCard gift cards.

Buying groups offer you a convenient way to earn points for relatively little effort. Unlike reselling, you do not need to deal with listing products on Amazon or turning your home into a warehouse.

For those in locations with limited local manufactured spending opportunities (talking to my fellow churners in NYC), these groups can be a saving grace. For most of these groups, you do not even need to be in the United States to take advantage.

While the volume of deals these groups offer fluctuates throughout the year, you can easily spend tens of thousands on Prime Day and Black Friday.

Yet the 2018 demise of the Plastic Merchant, a gift-card focused reseller, was a stark reminder that these groups carry risk.

The vast majority of buying groups operate in good faith and will make payouts in full and on time. Unfortunately, there is always the chance, however small, that checks will begin to bounce or a group owner will disappear.

Yet, there are ways to mitigate these risks. Several groups offer physical drop-off locations where you can receive payment immediately. Additionally, doing research on the group owners can help you determine where to place your trust.

The Structure of Buying Groups

Buying groups, also known as Buyers Clubs, source quantity-limited and deeply-discounted products from their members. The groups benefit by reselling the merchandise for a profit, and members earn cash back, points, miles, and sometimes even a commission.

Some groups allow anyone to join, while others require an application or are invite-only.

Similarly, the products range from rare coins sold by the U.S. Mint to consumer electronics, gift cards, and concert tickets. In all cases, the products are either quantity-limited on deeply discounted.

From the perspective of the buying group member, the process is the following:

  1. Groups notify you through email, a private slack channel, or their website of a particular product they are purchasing.
  2. You purchase the products using the payment method of your choice (although sometimes you will only breakeven or make a profit on deals if you use a particular credit card)
  3. In most cases, you have the product shipped directly from the store to the buying group. Depending on the group, you may need to add your member ID number to the shipping address or submit the tracking numbers to the group. Alternatively, some groups allow you to ship to your home and re-ship it to the group using a prepaid label provided by the group. Groups will indicate for each deal whether it needs to be shipped to your home or to their warehouse. Some groups also offer local pick up or drop off locations.
  4. Once the group receives the item they will credit your account and you can request a payout.

Ocassioanly, groups will pay above or below the purchase price. For example, it is common for groups to offer 2-3% below the purchase price for some Amazon deals. In that case, it may only make sense to purchase use specific cards (such as an Amazon card that earns 5% back on purchases). On the other hand, some groups will also offer a small commission, anywhere from $3-50 on certain deals. Groups will always make clear the price at which they are purchasing.

Several groups also run a referral program whereby you can earn a bonus if your referred member completes a deal.

Tips for Success with Buying Groups

  • Create multiple accounts: Many stores will limit the quantity of a given product you can purchase. Often you can easily circumvent these limits by creating multiple accounts and using several credit cards.
  • Forward all order emails to one account: Given the need to create multiple emails for multiple accounts, set up forwarding rules to forward all mail from these “throwaway” emails to one account.
  • Buy gift cards to earn more: Use an Ink card to purchase Amazon or other merchant gift cards from office supply stores and earn 5x Ultimate Rewards. Alternatively, use an Amex Gold card to earn 4x from purchasing gift cards at grocery stores. You can also consider the MileagePlus X app to earn United miles. However, as discussed below, using gift cards may lead to more scrutiny from Amazon.
  • Use different shipping addresses: For multiple orders, either from the same or separate merchant accounts, modify your shipping address in slight ways. For example, use “Suite” or “Apt” instead of “Unit.” This makes it less likely your order will be automatically canceled by the merchant.
  • Use a portal: Always check Cash Back Monitor to ensure you receive the highest portal cashback on any order.

Recommended buying groups

Below is a list, in no particular order, of some public buyer clubs that I have vetted. Among those listed, MYS and PointsMaker usually run deals most frequently, followed by BuyForMeRetail. Whereas USA and PFS seem to have deals less frequently.

It makes sense to sign up for each of those groups to maximize the number of deals available and because groups may be offering different commission rates for the same deals.

PFS Buyers Club

  • Launched: 2015 (although the owner has been running deals for over 10 years)
  • Frequency of deals: Infrequent – anywhere from once a month to once every few months.
  • Delivery: In addition to shipping, previous deals have included the ability to drop off products in NYC or LA.
  • Payment: Through PayPal or Check within 7 business days of receiving the product.
  • Types of deals: Usually focuses on quantity limited deals, such as rare coins released by the U.S. Mint, concert or sports tickets.
  • User feedback: All positive, no reported issues found.

BuyForMeRetail

  • Admission: Open for sign up.
  • Launched: Domain was registered in 2016 but it appears they did not officially launch until early 2018.
  • Owner: Unkown. The legal entity is listed as BuyForMeRetail LLC, but I was unable to verify that exists.
  • Frequency of deals: Frequent – usually at least once a week.
  • Delivery: BuyForMe offers several NH addresses where purchases can be shipped. The ability to ship to separate addresses makes it less likely orders will be canceled by the store. They do not appear to offer local dropoff or pickups.
  • Payment: Through ACH, usually the day after soon as the merchandise is received. BuyForMe offers some of the fastest payments among all buyers groups.
  • Types of deals: Consumer products (iPhones, Airpods, laptops, Xbox, etc.)
  • User feedback: All positive, no reported issues found.

MYS

  • Admission: Open, but sign-ups are manually approved.
  • Launched: Unclear – the domain was registered in March 2018
  • Owner: Yosef Greenwald. Registered as MYS Buying Group LLC, and the buying-arm of SGM Socher Inc. which was incorporated in Feb 2016. Located at (781 East New York Ave. Suite 5, Brooklyn, NY 11203)
  • Frequency of deals: Very frequent – multiple times a week
  • Delivery: Depends on the deal, some can only be shipped to DE. Other times, you can drop off at any of their several locations including NJ, NYC, and West Holywood.
  • Payment: 6-12 business days when “busy”, but often within a day or two. However, on at least one occasion, payments took longer than 12 business days after MYS took a scheduled week off for holidays.
  • Types of deals: Consumer electronics
  • User feedback: Overall, very good. There was an issue with some bounced checks in Jun e 2019, which MYS attributed to a problem with their bank. While this issue was resolved, there were some complaints about the lack of responsiveness of the owners.

PointsMaker (PM)

  • Admission: Open, but sign-ups are manually approved.
  • Launched: Unclear – the domain was registered in Dec 2017.
  • Owner: Sheldon Blumenfel, Shlomo Mandelbaum, and Avi Inzelbuch. POINTSMAKER.COM LLC was registered in NJ in Dec 2016. The physical address listed in the signup terms as 1790 Swarthmore Ave, Unit 8A, Lakewood NJ 08701 The group is associated with BMI Traders which brands itself as a “global consumer electronics distributor.”
  • Frequency of deals: Frequent – multiple deals a week.
  • Payment: Via check or e-check. Within a few days, however, some users report payment times of up to three weeks.
  • Types of deals: Consumer electronics
  • User feedback: All positive, no reported issues found.

USA Buyers Group

  • Admission: Open, but sign-ups are manually approved.
  • Launched: Unclear – the domain was registered in Sep 2016.
  • Owner: Owned by Moshe Cohen Associated with USA Supply Source Inc, which appears to be a supplier of safety, construction, and utility gear. 
  • Frequency of deals: Multiple deals per month.
  • Delivery: Can ship products to USA’s warehouse in DE, or drop off at several locations including Miami, DE, NJ, Baltimore, and NYC.
  • Payment: Check. Drop-offs during designated times are paid immediately, otherwise, drop-offs are paid within 1-2 business days. Shipments to their DE addresses are typically paid within a week of delivery.
  • Other Incentives: Often offers a commission on deals.
  • Types of deals: Consumer electronics.
  • User feedback: All positive, no reported issues found.

Gift Card Buying Groups

These groups offer to buy gift cards from you in bulk, usually at a predetermined price. Typically, they’ll offer a higher payout then you could get from listing or selling the cards on a gift card marketplace such as Raise or CardCash.

The Card Bay (TCB)

  • Admission: Open, but sign-ups are manually approved and can take several weeks. A brief phone interview/onboarding with one of the administrators is required before you are approved to join.
  • Launched: The domain was registered in Oct 2017, although it was incorporated in Oct 2018, and it appears the group did not start until 2018.
  • Owner: Fred Doctorovich is the CEO. Legal entity registration documents are available here.
  • Selling process: Members have access to a list of gift card brands and the corresponding price that The Card Bay is paying. TCB will also list the “capacity” for each brand, which is the total amount of any particular card and denomination they are buying across all members. Members are required to reserve part of this capacity to be guaranteed payment. Once capacity is reserved, members need to submit cards within 48 hours or within 14 days if they upload a picture or screenshot showing proof of purchase. TCB may also impose a pre-member limit for certain brands in an effort to allow more members to participate in deals.
  • Frequency of Deals: TCB maintains a Slack group where they share gift card deals. Many of the deals are sourced from GC Galore. However, members can sell cards at any time that TCB has buying capacity for a particular brand.
  • Delivery: Regardless of whether it is a digital or physical gift card, sellers submit the card number, pin, and denomination on The Card Bay’s website. Occasionally, TCB also requires a picture or screenshot of the card as well.
  • Payment: Payouts are based on the cards submitted during each “submission period” from every Thursday through Wednesday. Payment for all cards submitted during a given submission period will be paid out the second Friday after the submission period has ended. However, payout won’t occur until a member has a balance of $750 or $350 for new members in their first 30 days.
  • User feedback: All positive, no reported issues.

Gift Card Wiki Trading Club (GCW)

  • Admission: Open, but requires an application. There is no timeline for approval, so it may take several weeks before you are contacted. Alternatively, you may never be contacted.
  • Launched: Domain was registered in 2015.
  • Owner: Unkown, supposedly someone named Jerry. A search for a legal entity turned up nothing.
  • Selling process: Unlike TCB, sales through Gift Card Wiki are not guaranteed. Anyone can see the prices GCW is paying for each brand,. However, they note these rates reflect GCW’s “best effort, not a firm offer.”
  • Frequency of Deals: Similar to TCB, deals are promoted through a private Slack Channel. However, users can submit a sell request at any time.
  • Delivery: Sellers submit the card numbers, pins, and denominations.
  • Payment: Unkown
  • User feedback: Some users complain the administrators are not responsive and sales can take a long time to occur after a card is listed. Others report a lack of transparency and having their accounts shut down without any explanation. Still, there have been no reports of delinquent payments.

Closed Groups

Simtec

  • The owner shut it down in early 2019: Appears to have fulfilled all payment obligations and provided advance notice to suppliers.

The above is an ever-evolving list. Please comment below or email me if I missed a particular club.

Risks of Buyer Groups

Payment: Nearly all of these groups do not remit payment until they have received the item. There is always a chance any of these groups will stop paying or a check will bounce. Furthermore, you should always be prepared to float the cost of any merchandise sent to these groups for at least a month or two. This is especially true during peak times (such as Black Friday) or holidays.

Shipping: There is always a risk that products will be lost or damaged in the mail. When this happens, particularly if this occurs when you are re-shipping an item to the club’s warehouse, it is not always clear who takes responsibility.

In their terms and conditions, MYS states:

When using a shipping label (even when provided by MYS), we will only take responsibility for the items, once we acknowledge receipt and check-in of the items, regardless of what was sent, or what proof you have of what was sent, you are shipping at your own risk. 

Terms on MYS sign up page

Store bans: Stores may cancel your order if they see multiple orders going to the same address. The cancellations are common with some stores such as Best Buy, Walmart, and Target.

Less common, some stores may close your account. Some who have used Amazon for large or recurring buyers club purchases have received an email from Amazon warning:

We are writing in regard to your Amazon Gift Card usage. Your ordering and shipping behavior, and related use of our Amazon Gift Cards, is inconsistant with account activity normally associated with the personal use of Amazon services. Your use of Amazon services and Gift Cardcs cannot be used for unathorized commercial purposes.

Email from Amazon.com

Given the language of the email, it appears Amazon may give more scrutiny to orders that use Amazon gift cards as a payment method.

Although I have not seen any reports of accounts being fully shut down by Amazon. It may be wise to open a separate Amazon account from the one you typically use for household purchases.

Are buying groups right for you?

Ultimately, you need to assess the risks and determine if these groups make sense for you. If you are looking for other ways to generate miles and points, read my post on 9 Manufactured Spending Techniques for 2019.

Photo by Arnold Francisca on Unsplash

Legal Disclaimer: While I have made every effort to research each of the groups listed above, you need to assess the risk for yourself. As mentioned, there is always a risk you will lose money with these groups.

This content s for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

4 thoughts on “Buying Groups for Credit Card Points [Reviews]”

  1. Longitude-n-Latitude

    Smart move to clean your own domain registry before posting this. Quick question, what made you decide to choose a Russian Logo? It appears ruvisa.me included it in their copyright, so are you an affiliate of that site?

  2. Stephen Schwarzman

    Be careful with “The Card Bay”, seems like a sweet deal until they rip you off and then you will be out thousands of dollars.

  3. Just did some digging for ya, found BFMR’s registration.

    BUYFORMERETAIL LLC, incorporated 11/9/2018, 1209 ORANGE STREET, Wilmington, DE 19801

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