This is great info! One piece of advice before you spring for a bunch of gift cards to get 5% back in points: check www.GiftCardGranny.com first, where you can buy unused or partial gift cards. You can buy discounted gift cards to many stores and restaurants and often get much more than 5% off every single day, and not have to worry about loading up during one quarter. I check that site all the time, especially before making large purchases. Last year, I purchased about $600 in gift cards to Bass Pro and saved about $100 when I bought a kayak. Plus, I got the additional 1% back on buying the gift cards, increasing the savings. Some of the more common, larger stores like Target and Home Depot don’t yield much in savings (1–3%), but I know Bass Pro is usually 12–16% off. I also use the site for Barnes and Noble cards and usually get around 12% off.
It is a legit site (I read up on it prior to making any purchases). The first one I bought was a small one just to test it out, and I’ve since used it many times. Sometimes it takes a day or so to receive an electronic gift card by email. I’ve tried getting electronic gift cards an hour or two prior to going to a restaurant or store but sometimes don’t receive it right away. Better to give yourself a day or two prior to actually needing it.