Maxing Out 10% Off with the Military Star Card

Here is a guest post by Christian.  It’s his first time at bat here at TMFF so let him know if you want more.

My name is Christian.. I’ve been on active duty for about 4 months. I enjoy the points/miles world, personal finance, early retirement, and travel. I’m been a fan of the Military Frequent Flyer for some time. I also write on 2 blogs. 1. and I happy to write a guest post today and hope you find it useful/interesting.

Military Star Card 10% Off First Day’s Purchases

About 2 months ago I walked into the main PX and was asked by an employee if I wanted to apply for the Military Star Card. I said, “No thank you“.

I’m pretty selective when it comes to getting any new credit cards and this card does not come with any sign up bonus offer. I like to “save” my credit report hard hits for larger more lucrative credit card bonuses.

She continued trying to convince me to get the card and she mentioned 2 things that caught my attention:

1.  There is only a soft credit hit when applying for the card

2.  I would get 10% discount on all my FIRST day purchases. The only exclusions were that the purchases had to be at any of the military stores/gas stations/etc.

There are also some other nice perks of having the card. For example, I get 10% off food court purchases on my post, discount on gas, 2% rewards on all purchases, and other seasonal promotions.

This was enough for me to go ahead and get the card. I was instantly approved (I don’t think that is hard to do) for a credit line of $4500 (max CL is $6500).

The plan for using this card was to max out the credit limit on day ONE for the 10% discount. Of course I don’t spend thousands on gas, shopping, etc. That would be pretty stupid to spend thousands on shopping to get a 10% discount (unless there were things you were already planning on getting). I was going to go straight to the GIFT CARD RACK.

Some of the gift cards available at the gift card rack at the Exchange (Ft. Bliss):

  • Tons of restaurant gift cards
  • Hardware/shopping stores
  • Vanilla Visa Gift Cards (including some variable load up to $500)
  • PayPal My Cash
  • Other miscellaneous cards

I wasn’t really interested in any of the restaurant/hardware/shopping gift cards because I can get discounts on those any time with gift card reselling sites.

My 2 other options for maxing out the $4500 in one day were the Vanilla Visa Gift Cards and PayPal MyCash reload cards. Vanilla Visa GC are issued by Bancorp, which have become very difficult to liquidate lately, especially with the Target Redbird card going the way of the dinosaurs. I could unload them on to my Bluebird/Serve cards at $49 at a time, but that would be very painful. Soooo….I decided to go with the PayPal MyCash reload cards.

I’ve never purchased these before, but there are some issues with this option. PayPal is known for closing down accounts if these cards are repeatable purchased and loaded onto your PayPal account. Once your account is closed, it could be a huge headache to deal with PayPal to get any funds remaining back to you. It can take months I’ve heard. Usually the do give you a warning or two before they shut down you account.

Well, I’ve never bought these cards before and I’m not on PayPal’s radar, so I figured I would be able to at least liquidate $4500 between my account and my wife’s account. They are very easy to load onto PayPal and once on PayPal, you can send money to “friends”/family or use it to make purchases with. I plan on withdrawing it over about a months worth of time.

I was waiting to get the physical Star Card in the mail to make my DAY ONE purchase, but it was taking over a month to get to me. Then I saw that there was a promotional week that would give you 15% back on your first day purchases instead of the normal 10%. You are able to use a receipt with your card number to make purchases so I went ahead and purchased $4500 worth of PayPal MyCash cards.

Sure enough about 2 weeks later I got my statement with the 15% discount on the purchase! Here is a screen shot:

This also earned over $90 in rewards (the 2% rewards points on all purchases), so the net profit from this deal was over $700!

I don’t know if the 15% off first day purchases happens very often. 10% is still a pretty good deal though.





  1. Glenn – Totally unrelated, but I wasn’t sure if you heard about the changes to the NFCU GoRewards card. It’s now offering 3x at restaurants, 2x on gas, and 1x on everything else. No forex fees. Chip and pin and no annual fee. The card updates are sweet and since I spend way too much eating out this may become one of my new go to cards.

  2. The NEX nearest me didn’t have Visa gift cards in any increments above $200 so it wouldn’t have been as good a deal for me…still got 10% off on my $1,000 or so of commissioning uniforms. Was worth it for me.

  3. So a few points of interest/concern here. Our local exchange limits Paypal MyCash or any cash-like gift card purchase to $1000 per day. The way around this is to get a exchange gift card and then to upgrade to PayPal MyCash at your own pace. The thing is, while I cannot find any exclusions in the very short 10% off the first day purchase T&C I have been told that gift cards will not earn cash back. Clearly they did for you, at AAFES, right?

    Also may CL is not $6,500. I personally have $6,800. I plan to buy $1000 of MyCash and then put the rest on a gift card, but I am interested in confirmation that will work.

  4. TWoK – Yes, I got the cashback (15% actually) as you can see from the screenshot. I think the cash back will be for any purchases you make on that day. Not sure if there is a good way around a store limit, except to make multiple transactions with different cashiers during the day. that could be too much of a pain though. I’m not sure if you can buy PayPal MyCash cards with store gift cards. Good luck!

  5. I can confirm that you can upgrade from AAFES gift card to both Visa Gift Cards and Paypal MyCash. I can also confirm that there is nothing automated preventing gift cards from earning the 10% or 15%.

  6. I know this is a bit old, but we just got the star card yesterday, since we were making a big purchase. The rules got updated.

    “Please note that the star card CAN NOT be used at these locations:
    – movie theater, commissary, starbucks, nex vendors, food service, or itt/mwr.

    Also, your temporary star card cannot be used to purchase 3rd party gift cards.”

  7. You say you could take advantage of the 15% back but you didn’t have your card yet. How did you manage to use the star card account without the card. I see you say use a receipt. I’m a little confused.

  8. Hi, quick question on the Military Star card. Do you need to use the card within 24 hours of being approved of the card to get the 10% discount, or does the 24 hour window start once you make your first purchase (even if it is a few days later)?

  9. I can vouch this works- mostly. It was a somewhat hassle for me, but I earned $900 in the end. I did like the author said, got the card, was approved for 6500. I went to the BX first thing in the morning, I was able to get 4 $500 cards no problem. I went back at lunch and tried to get 4 more- a different cashier only let me get 2 this time. I tried the clothing store- but they were out. I tried the gas station and got 2 more. The end of the day was nearing. I went to the commissary and just got BX gift cards thinking I could use those later to buy the GC. At the end of the day, I was able to max out the card. The hassle came later when I tried to use the BX gift cards. Every cashier would not let me buy GC. Ugh! I went to a different base a week later and converted them no problem. My advice- do not buy BX gift cards if they day is running out. Preplan where you will go around base to purchase them. The credits were posted about 3 days later. 5 or 6 $20 BX GC came in the mail two weeks later. Huge shout out to the author- otherwise I wouldn’t have known this. Don’t tell your friends though- we don’t want this getting shut down. I also wonder if manufactured spending would be frowned on by UCMJ. But then I think of what our president said about him paying zero in taxes…as long as he is operating within the rules, it doesn’t make him a crook, it makes him smart!

  10. This Vet applied online for the MSC and just happened to be 15% time and I don’t know yet if I will get the 15% back on the visa gc but on the shopmyexchange only offered 100 cards and I bought 8 to see. I don’t know if you can load them on paypal but I will find out.

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