1. Delta and Hertz have strengthened their partnership, and you know it’s serious because they paid for a stock photo in the press release. The takeaway is that if you’re a Delta Medallion and you rent with Hertz, consider ensuring that your SkyMiles number is linked to your Hertz profile because the earnings rate on Hertz spend is somewhat compelling for higher tiers:

    – Diamond: 8 SkyMiles per dollar
    – Platinum: 7 SkyMiles per dollar
    – Gold: 6 SkyMiles per dollar
    – Silver: 5 SkyMiles per dollar
    – General: 4 SkyMiles per dollar

    If you have Delta elite status, the linkage will also grant you Hertz President’s Circle (Diamond or Platinum) or Five Star status.
  2. The American Express Business Platinum card now has a public 170,000 Membership Rewards offer displaying under the right circumstances. As usual, if you don’t see the offer on the first round try:

    – Using an incognito browser
    – Connecting to a VPN
    – Switching to another browser
    – Switching between desktop and mobile
    – Hitting the link from a search engine after searching for “amex business platinum”
    – Crying

    This link does have lifetime language, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the pop-up. If you’re approved and have spend capacity, maybe lob in an app for another Business Platinum at a different link because reasons. (Thanks to DoC)
  3. There’s an IHG status challenge promotion open to everyone for paid stays between tomorrow and April 30. The status lasts through the end of 2024. You’ll earn status based on the number of nights:

    – Gold: 2 nights
    – Platinum: 5 nights

    IHG status isn’t super-compelling, but I’d register in case you end up at an IHG property anyway.
  4. I apologize in advance for the vagueness but here we go: If you’ve been using a product from four letter FinTech company to pay a four letter credit union through an intermediary, watch for a mass of charge reversals and refunds for payments sent last week, and double check that anything that should have been refunded actually was because the four letter FinTech doesn’t always handle refunds properly. If you don’t keep track, you’ll almost certainly lose some refund money in the ether. 🪦

Happy Tuesday!

IHG’s Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lubbock Central has an unpublished elite benefit: no broken car windows (by the hotel staff). Unfortunately this member didn’t have status.
  1. Citi has been emailing targeted offers for an additional 5% back up to $1,500 in spend on PayPal purchases, the subject for mine was “Matthew, activate this special offer to earn 5% back with PayPal”. In case you haven’t seen an email, you can check to see if you’re targeted at this link.
  2. Discover has 15% off of airbnb gift cards for cash-back redemptions to gift cards. It’s also a good time to remember that Discover’s 5% cash back can be more than 5% by selling gift cards.
  3. Bank of America has a weird, targeted $1,000 sign-up bonus for the no-annual fee Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Back card. This link circulated on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, but the applications seemingly didn’t work so I never wrote about it. After submitting basic information, applicants didn’t see a credit-pull and the application ends in a blank screen.

    Reports from the weekend say that even if you get a blank screen during application and you don’t have a credit pull, the new account may be approved and will just show up in your online Bank of America profile, so I see now downside in lobbing in an application. This is a business card so it won’t show up on your credit report after it’s been opened either.

Bank of America engineers working through questions regarding the credit card application workflow.

  1. Staples has a promotion for fee-free $200 Mastercard gift cards starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit eight cards per transaction.

    These are Metabank Pathward gift cards, so have a liquidation plan before you’ve got a stack of them taller than an ostrich sitting on your desk.
  2. The Chase IHG Rewards Premier credit card’s public sign-up bonus was just upped to 175,000 IHG points after $3,000 in spend in 90 days, but unfortunately the heightened bonus doesn’t show up with referral links; if you’re in the market for this card, I’d wait a few days to see referral links get the same increased offer (they probably will), then generate a link from P2’s account or from a friend’s account.

    The highest offer we’ve seen in the past for this card was 140,000 bonus points and a free night certificate, but I’d take the all points version anytime.
  3. Kroger.com has $10 off of $150 or more in Visa and Mastercard gift cards purchased online with promo code JAN2023. These earn 2x fuel points too, and unlike several recent Kroger promotions this one worked flawless for me on the first try.
  4. Some Bilt news:

    – On February 1, there will be a 100% transfer bonus to Hawaiian miles
    – You can access a stripped-down, not-all-airlines version of Point.me through the Bilt mobile app on the “Travel” tab using the “Transfer Partners” search mode
    – It’s been kept relatively quiet in the churning-sphere for unknown reasons, but Bilt credit cards have had widespread fraudulent charges posting, so double check your account
  5. Alliant Credit Union has a $400 new account bonus for opening a checking, savings, and certificate account with at least $100 deposited in each and $10,000 in funds combined between the three through April 30. This credit union used to have a compelling credit card offering, though they’ve nerfed the program a bit and it’s moved from compelling to interesting.

Have a nice weekend!

The news-dump-mobile was spotted in the wild running on discounted fuel from Kroger purchased with a hacked Bilt card.

Gamers gonna game, and when they have a P2, P3, … Pn, the games multiply in both scale and complexity. Sometimes that complexity turns into a social problem when P1 makes a call to the credit card company on behalf of P2 or P3 (with their permission).

Specifically, suppose P2’s name implies a specific gender that doesn’t match the implied gender of P1’s voice. Sometimes customer service representatives don’t care, but sometimes they very much do and there’s a referral to the fraud team waiting for you at the end of the call. There are a few ways to address this:

  • Have P2 on the phone with you at the start of a call and ask them to give you permission to talk on their behalf, then take over
  • Add yourself as an account manager either online or over the phone ahead of time, then call as the account manager
  • Open cards with a more gender neutral nickname of P2‘s legal name

Let’s focus on the last item: It’s not necessarily well known, but all major credit card issuers will issue cards and accounts with nicknames instead of exact legal names, as long as the nickname relatively closely resembles the name. So, when you open the a new credit card for P2, consider whether a nickname might help you in the future. Some examples:

  • Robert → Roberta
  • Alexis → Alex
  • Beatrice → Beatri
  • Mary → Maryo
  • Vanessa → Vane
  • Tyler → Tyla
  • Josh → Jos
  • Victoria → Victor
  • Kieran → Macaulay

Obviously this trick should only be used with permission from your other players. Good luck out there!

Sometimes gender neutral names can be great for churning, just ask Fire Penguin Disco Panda.

  1. Hilton has targeted status extensions for current elite members, most requiring a single night stay in the next two months for status extension through March of 2024. You can check to see if you’re eligible at one of the following links:

    Diamond
    Gold
    Silver

    Thanks to AirDreamer2 who initially posted the UK variant of this promotion.
  2. DoC notes that there’s now a public landing page for the targeted $200 sign-up bonus after $1,000 in spend for the Synchrony Venmo credit card.

    Normally I wouldn’t care about a $200 sign-up bonus from a second tier bank, but Synchrony is special because reasons which makes this card interesting, even more so with any sign-up bonus.
  3. United has a promotion running through tomorrow for $75 off of round-trip flights to Europe, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Dubai, or Amman in Economy or $250 off of round-trip flights in Business Class. When booking using promo code VACAYABROAD for the discount, which sounds to me like something Rory Culkin would say. The code covers travel between February 1 and May 17.
  4. MEAB Public Service Announcement: I’ve gotten a continuous stream of reports about 99 employee card offers on various American Express business cards since mid-last year; the party’s still on friends.

Happy Wednesday!

A passenger models the complimentary international economy United Amenity kit.

  1. The American Express Business Green card’s public sign-up bonus no longer includes a waived first year’s annual fee as of yesterday. Parts_Unknown_ notes that referral links still include a waived annual fee for the first year, and indeed that’s how it’s working for me. There are two ways to squirrel this away in case you might want a Business Green in the next several months:

    – Generate an email referral link from your AmEx Dashboard today, then save it for the future
    – Apply for the card now (especially if you’re not eligible) by referral link, then reconsider after a denial within 60 days

    The Business Green is the Kieran Culkin of credit cards (for those playing at home).
  2. Do this now: Register for IHG’s Q1 promotion, 2,000 bonus points for every two nights stayed between February 9 and April 14.
  3. Do this now: Register for targeted Marriott Q1 promotions. Links we’ve seen so far:

    2,000 bonus points per night and double elite night credits for stays February 7 though April 23
    2,000 bonus points after one stay that includes a Friday or Saturday, and 3,000 after a second

    You may have better luck if you login to your Marriott account first, and if neither link works check the “Promotions” tab in your Marriott account. (Thanks to VFTW)
  4. Simon online has a code for 35% off of purchase fees for Visa and Mastercard gift cards. These are Metabank Pathward gift cards, generally speaking.

The Courtyard Lubbock’s beautiful three hole golf course could earn you an extra 2,000 Bonvoy points, which should cover the cost of a golf tee.

  1. Office Depot/OfficeMax has $15 back in $300 or more in Visa gift cards through Saturday. Recently, the Visa version has been better than the Mastercard version at scale. For best results:

    – Try multiple transactions back to back
    – Link your cards to Dosh (UPDATE: Fixed link, thanks to Gary)
    – Look for the Everywhere variety, some of them are easier to liquidate than the generic version
    – Look for a Chase Offer for 10% back in spend

    Have a liquidation plan in place too because these are Metabank Pathward cards, the Macaulay Culkin of gift cards. (Thanks to DoC)
  2. OfficeDepot.com has an offer for $10 off of a $100 shipped Visa gift card through Saturday, limit three per account. They won’t code as office supplies though, so it’s better to run these on a normal spend card than an Ink.

    These are also Metabank Pathward cards.
  3. Shop-Rite stores have a promotion for $10 off of a future grocery purchase when you buy $50 or more in third party gift cards through Saturday, including Happy, Uber, and Metabank Pathward One4All gift cards. Scale this one with multiple accounts. (Thanks to DDG)
  4. United has a new MilePlay promotion with targeted offers for discounts, miles or upgrades. My offer was was “book and take a trip two times for 2,500 bonus miles” by March 10. That’s a big fat Metabank meh.

The aftermath of a trip to Shop Rite for a gift card explosion.

There are a a few categories of manufactured spend techniques:

  • Those we talk about plainly like Kiva and BravoPay
  • Those we hint about and aren’t terribly fragile, but are kept slightly quiet just in case
  • Those that aren’t discussed in public places because they’d likely die with scale

Today’s focus is on the middle type:

  1. Not all American Express cards are credit or charge cards.
  2. Often you can hold more than one of a card, even if it seems like you can only hold one.
  3. Dollar General isn’t just for expired candy.
  4. You can liquidate Visa and Mastercards at Walgreens with the help of the photo department.
  5. Family Dollar competes with Dollar General, also not just with expired candy.
  6. Some malls sell different kinds of cards.
  7. Regional grocery chains are often key to in-person scale.
  8. Sometimes FinTechs have hidden modes for advanced users.
  9. Some banks can liquidate Visas and Mastercards directly.

Good luck out there, and have a nice weekend!

Bonus: Newtonian physics hints.