Buying items for buying groups can be a great way to increase your credit card spending so that you can get more points and more credit card welcome bonuses.
In 2022, I presented at the Chicago Seminars about the ways I increase spending on my credit cards and get most of it back. Probably the biggest way I have increased my credit card spending in the last few years is through buying groups. I use buying groups both to meet minimum spending thresholds for credit card welcome bonuses and to generate additional points and cash back on my existing cards.
Here’s everything you need to know to get started with buying groups.
What are buying groups?
A buying group is simply a resale business that sources its products from a large group of individual buyers. Most buying groups would be considered small businesses, although some of the bigger ones will do at least many tens of millions of dollars of volume every year. The buying group publishes “deals” which individual buyers purchase and then resell, usually at or around cost, to the buying groups.
Buying groups typically source their products from national retailers, and this is why they need individual buyers. Many national retailers limit the quantity of products that they’ll sell to individual buyers. Amazon, for example, places a limit on most Apple products. You can purchase three of any individual item once every rolling seven days days.
Why use a buying group?
Most collectors of miles and points don’t use buying groups as a direct source of income, but rather as a way to generate additional natural spending on credit cards. Additional natural spending can be helpful if you’re going after a credit card welcome bonus or trying to meet a spending threshold on a credit card for something like a status boost on a Delta Air Lines credit card.
The buying groups I use
There are probably hundreds of buying groups out there. And every group has its plusses and minuses. Here are the groups that I use, and the plusses and minuses based on my experience.
In no way is the listing here an endorsement. I am not affiliated with any of these groups. In some cases, if you sign up through the links below, I might earn a commission.
Honors committed prices with minimal hassle.
Promises to reimburse if Amazon screws up.
The person who owns it has a great reputation.
|Deals often close quickly|
Lots of deals.
Many deals require no commitment.
|Need to monitor for price drops.|
Often picky about packaging damage.
|MaxOutDeals||Reasonable payment timelines.|
|Drops prices and checks in at new price.|
Have to submit dispute to get committed price.
|MYS||Easy commitment system.|
Offers the most deals with the most capacity.
Long-established buying group.
|Takes 45-70 days to pay.|
Picky about packaging damage.
Packages go missing.
BuyingGroup.com – Fast check-in and payment, but hardliners on commitments
BuyingGroup.com is based on the west coast and was formerly known as TheDealBuyer. I like them for their quick check-ins and payouts relative to the other buyers groups. They also have a lot of deals where they will provide free shipping labels. The downside is that they are sticklers for commitments. And if you need to have them return an item because you sent the wrong item or you don’t have a locked commitment, they will charge you a fee.
What I like about them: This year, BuyingGroup.com has been faster with payments than anyone else. I’ve received ACH payments into my account within 48 hours of requesting payment most of the time, even during Prime Day in 2023. Their owner is active in a lot of the private miles/points groups and is available to help resolve things if you can’t get a resolution through customer service. Although it has never happened to me, the owner of BuyingGroup.com is very vocal that he will make buyers whole if what is checked in doesn’t match what Amazon ships out.
What could be better: A little bit more flexibility on commitments would be nice. I’m sure that there are bad actors who cause buyers clubs to deal with unexpected excess inventory or who pull out of buying items because they can get 50 cents more elsewhere. And buyers clubs need to protect themselves against those bad actors. But the rest of us will occasionally order a wrong size or color. In the past, I’ve been charged a fee to get items returned. This year, I’ve had several items show up and get rejected or checked in at lower prices because they didn’t have a matching commitment. I suspect it’s because the BuyingGroup link to Amazon sent me to the wrong product, but I have no way to get back and verify this.
BuyForMeRetail – Fast checkins and convenient, but watch out for price drops!
BuyForMeRetail – BuyForMeRetail has by far the quickest and slickest check-in process of any of the buying groups that I’ve worked with. They will check in and receive most items the same day they are delivered. And they will automatically initiate an ACH payment to your bank account the same day they receive an item. The downside to BFMR is that they will be very quick to change prices when retailers drop price. Practically, that means that I’ve found myself canceling a lot of unshipped orders a day or two after I’ve ordered them because BFMR’s payout price dropped.
What I like about them: They are fast. If they receive an item from you during the day, you get an email summary of what was received during the day an ACH transfer into your bank account that same night. This is simple and fast. And it works well.
What could be better: BuyForMeRetail is aggressive about dropping their payout prices if any retailer drops its price. Prices lock when you enter your tracking number, so be sure you give them your tracking number as soon as you get it. If you’re going to use BuyForMeRetail, be sure that you monitor the site for price drops. When the price of something they’re buying drops, even at another retailer that doesn’t drop-ship to BFMR, they’ll drop their payout price. I’ve been burned a few times by price drops.
MaxOutDeals – Lots of deals, but you’ll spend a lot of time fighting price drops
MaxOutDeals is a newer buying group and I started ramping up the buying that I’ve done for them this year. Operationally, they seem to have their act together. Check-ins are quick and payments happen within a few weeks. The have an active Discord channel where they seem to be responsive to customer service inquiries. If the price they’re offering on an item drops, they’ll just check in previously committed items at the lower price. In my view, if you require a commitment, the commitment works both ways. I currently have several pricing disputes outstanding with them. How much of a pain it is to get the price I was promised on the items I shipped to them will determine whether I use them going forward.
What I like about them: Commitment process is simple and they seem to have their act together operationally. Payments come within a few weeks. Discord is updated with where they are at on payments. They seem pretty good at communication.
What could be better: They check in items at the lowest price they’ve offered, not at the price you’ve committed to. If they drop the price they offer on an item you’ve ordered, expect to spend time submitting payment disputes. If they would simply honor the committed price, it would save a lot of headache.
MYS – Consistent and fair, but payments are very slow
MYS is one of the older buying groups, based in the northeast. MYS is consistent and fair. Deals require a commitment via Google form, but they don’t police commitment compliance. If a retailer cancels an order, I won’t get dinged if I forget to update my commitment. They’ll honor their committed prices, even if the price drops. And they’ll work with me if I make a mistake. Recently, payment timelines have stretched with MYS to be 45 days or more, despite the website commitment of 5-7 days. I’ve had packages shipped to them go missing more often than with other buying groups. Likely this is because of criminal activity in the area or within Amazon’s distribution network. Others in Facebook groups I’m in have reported similar issues.
What I like about them: They have a commitment system that is simple, works well, and is fair. When I fill out the Google form and commit to buying an item, I get a receipt for that commitment in my email. If something is checked in a the wrong price, I can reference my emails and get it resolved. Sometimes I’ve screwed up and ordered the wrong item or the wrong size/color. Even without a commitment, I’ve found that they just accept the item at the current price. If they can’t accept the product, you’ll get a request to return the product.
What could be better: Check-ins and payments are slower than the other buyers groups. As of publication, payment takes 40-70 days. They seem to be very picky about damage to packaging. Expect occasional returns for items that are delivered with any packing blemish.
UEarnPoints – Just starting with this one
I’ve started buying a few things for UEarnPoints. I don’t really have enough data on them to have an opinion yet.
So what does ordering an item from a buyers group actually look like? The process will vary by buying group, but it will typically follow the same steps. Here is what to expect when you order an item from a buyers group.
The buying group publishes a deal
How a buyers group actually distributes its deals varies by buyers group. Some groups use What’s App or Telegram to publish their deals. Some have Slack channels or Discord servers. Some simply publish the details on their website. Many will send you an email when they publish a new deal.
Here’s what a deal looks like on a typical email from MYS, one of the buying groups that I use.
The deal information will generally tell you the price you can expect to pay for the item, any additional commission the buying group is paying, and details about where to source the item.
You lock-in your commitment to buy the item
Buying groups want to know how much inventory is coming. And they often have a limit on how many items they can accept. Most buying groups will require a commitment for most items. Commitment are a bit of a pain, but they offer some important advantages to both the buying groups and the buyers:
- The buying group can estimate how much inventory is coming,
- You get a guarantee that a buying group will pay you a certain price on an item, even if the price drops later.
Submitting a commitment is usually straightforward. Often, you’ll just submit a Google Form with the number of each item you expect to buy, your email address, and your buyer ID.
Here’s what adding a commitment looks like at BuyingGroup.com:
How buying groups handle commitments varies widely. Some buying groups are pretty lenient and, as long as you generally commit to items before sending them and send approximately the number of items you have committed to, you’ll be fine. Other buying groups are sticklers. If you send more items than you committed to, you can often expect items to be rejected or to be paid out at a lower price.
You order the item
Ordering an item is straightforward. Almost all buyers groups will provide a link to the exact item and the retailer to order the items from in their deal notifications. Order the quantity you committed to and drop ship it to the buyers group’s warehouse.
Unlink devices from your account
Some Amazon devices, like Fire tablets, Echo devices, and Fire TV sticks can be automatically linked to your account. This is great if you’re buying an item for yourself.
But if you’re sending the item to a buyers group, you don’t want to link the device to your account. If you remember to un-check the “Link device to your Amazon account to simplify setup” box, you can save yourself some hassle later.
If you don’t remember, you can do so later after the device ships. You can either go directly to the devices in your account or search for “my devices” on Amazon.com.
The item ships, and you provide your tracking number
At some point, the item will ship and you’ll get a tracking number.
While most buyers groups have some way to identify your package. In pretty much every case, providing the tracking numbers of your orders to the buyers groups before they receive them will ensure faster, smoother check-ins. Some buyers groups even award a small bounty if you give them the tracking number before they receive your package.
The item is received
Once your item is delivered to a buyers group, they’ll receive it, confirm that the items in the box were what they expected, and make payment on those items available to you.
Not all buyers groups provide confirmation via email. Pointsmaker, for instance, provides the same receipts as MYS does, but they are available only on the buyers group website.
When an item is received, it is important that you verify price and quantity. Some buyers groups will check in items at the lowest published price, even if you’ve committed at a higher price. If this is the case, you’ll have to open a customer service ticket to get the higher price.
You get paid for the item
Cutting checks and initiating an ACH to your bank account costs money. And most buyers groups prefer to pay for batches of items, rather than incur transaction costs for each item. So, they simply keep track of how much money they owe you as they receive items.
To get paid, you’ll submit a request for payment. This is a 15 second process through pretty much every buyers group that has a web portal. Depending on the group, an ACH or e-check will show up a few days to a few weeks later.
Different buyers groups have different processes for this. BuyForMeRetail simply initiates an ACH transfer to your bank account when they check your items in.
Risks to buying groups
There are a few risks to working with buying groups. And you should be aware of these before you jump into the game. You could lose money. You could get banned from retailers. And you could (temporarily) hurt your credit score if you’re maxing out your credit cards.
Many buyers groups are very large, established businesses. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t risk to working with even the most established buying groups presents no risk. Businesses do fail. And you could be working with a bad actor who steals your money. The story of what happened to The Plastic Merchant is instructive.
Ultimately, when you work with a buying group, you’re effectively floating a short-term loan to someone you don’t know over the internet.
Generally, I will only work with a buying group run by someone that I know personally or a large buying group that has an established track record of consistency. And I have a hard cap on the amount of money that I will float to any one buying group at any one time.
Be sure that you are operating within your own tolerance for risk.
Bans from retailers
The buyers groups frequently publish details on deals that can be sourced from large national retailers. Not all retailers are friendly to people buying for and dropshipping to buyers groups.
In my view, Amazon handles buyers groups the best. And it’s the retailer that anyone starting out with buyers groups should start with. Amazon very much knows what the buyers groups are up to and they are okay with it. Stay within Amazon’s clearly established limits and you’ll be fine.
- On the items where Amazon wants to limit the quantity, it sets a quantity limit per SKU and per account. Once you’ve bought the limit, your can’t buy that item again on your account for seven days.
- You can have two Amazon accounts that you share your Prime membership with: One personal account and one small business account.
- Amazon makes you ramp up with buyers clubs. Don’t try to do Prime Day or Black Friday with the buyers clubs on an Amazon account that has never ordered to a buyers club before. Start small and ramp up.
If you play by the rules with Amazon, you’ll be fine. If you spin up accounts to try to circumvent Amazon’s rules, you’ll suffer the wrath of Amazon’s bans.
With retailers other than Amazon, your mileage will vary. A lot. Many buyers just stick with Amazon… and for the most part, this is what I do. You can get plenty of spending through with just Amazon.
Some retailers, like Bed Bath and Beyond and Walmart recognize the drop-ship addresses of the buyers clubs and will simply cancel any orders shipped to these addresses. Some buyers try to circumvent these restrictions by modifying the address slightly. I generally advise against this.
Other national retailers may let you order massive quantities of items to buying groups and ship them out for quite some time. And some of these retailers will limit quantities per order, rather than per account. So you can submit as many orders as you want. But at some point, you’ll get eyes on your account and they’ll decide they don’t want you as a customer anymore. If you value your ability to shop at Costco, place a drive-up order at Target, or order items from BestBuy.com, it’s probably best to avoid these retailers.
Here are some of my biggest tips based on my experience with buyers groups.
I generally avoid ordering bundled items to buying groups. I did one of those as a test recently and it confirmed my belief that bundles are often more trouble than they’re worth.
When you order a bundled item, often the order gets split into two separate orders, creates a pain for tracking and payment. Here’s an example that I recently ordered.
Immediately after ordering, I got an order confirmation letting me know that my single order was divided into two orders:
- An order for 1 Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen, 2023 release) @ $30.78
- An order for 1 Ring Video Doorbell @ 34.21
Because this email was formatted differently than other order confirmation emails, it didn’t get picked up by my automation tools and entered automatically into my tracking spreadsheet. So, I incurred more bookkeeping overhead immediately. And, of course, since it is two separate orders, the items probably aren’t going to ship together.
On the receiving side, a split order means that you’ll get two different tracking numbers to track and how buyers clubs check in bundled items varies widely. And if part of your bundle order is canceled, how Amazon handles the charge for the items that are shipped varies. I’ve lost money on bundles a few times.
Make sure you select delivery options during business hours
You want your packages to be delivered to buyers groups when they are open. Most buyers groups only receive packages during business hours, so if Amazon or another retailer attempts delivery outside of normal business hours, you might get an email with the message on the right.
Honestly, the message on the right is what you *want* to see. Sometimes the package will get delivered outside of business hours… and then not received. This is a pain.
The bottom line: Know the business hours of the buyers groups you are working with and set your delivery preferences to match those hours.
Use No-Rush Shipping to earn additional cash back
On Prime Day and Black Friday, Amazon offers additional cash back if you use your Amazon Prime credit card and are willing to wait a week before an item ships. This can be a great way to get some extra cash back during peak times, and to spread out your bookkeeping overhead.
Only use no-rush shipping if you have a firm commitment on an item price that lasts past the no-rush shipping date.
Unlink devices from your Amazon account
If you order Kindle devices, you’ll want to unlink them from your account. I’ve never had an issue with a device I’ve sold through a buyers group, but if a device is linked to your account, it might be able to access your account and purchase content…which you probably don’t want. The ultimate seller also doesn’t want the Kindle device that they just bought linked to someone else’s account.
Fortunately, it’s easy to make sure that the Amazon devices you buy don’t get linked to your account. Just uncheck the box “Link device to your Amazon account to simplify setup” during the checkout process. As long as this box isn’t checked, it won’t be linked to your account.
Respond to return requests promptly
Occasionally, an item will arrive damaged and need to be returned. In this case, most buyers groups will ask you to generate a return label and send it to them. In some cases, they may ask if you want the item returned to you.
Respond to these requests promptly. Returns don’t always happen same-day during busy periods and you don’t want to miss a return window. Also, buyers clubs will discard items that have outstanding return requests after a certain amount of time.
Bottom line: Buyers clubs are a great way to make some extra cash or generate spending
I’ve had success with buyers clubs as a side hustle, mostly to generate a bit of extra cash through my Amazon Prime Visa card, but also to generate spending on cards to earn large welcome bonuses on new credit cards. It isn’t without risk or hassle, but I think that it’s a side hustle that can pay enough to make it worthwhile.