1. Do this now: Add your American Express Personal Gold cards to your Uber wallet. You’ve probably heard elsewhere that American Express is getting rid of the Personal Gold card’s $100 airline fee credit in 2022, and to make up for it they’re adding a monthly $10 Uber/UberEats credit in 2021 and beyond; its arrival is imminent and it’ll show up automatically as long as those cards are in your Uber wallet.

Don’t forget that if you have Uber Cash from a gift card or from simply loading it on your own in your wallet, you should probably spin up a burner account for holding your AmEx Uber credits. See AmEx Uber Credit Woes for more info.

2. It’s time to check for any credit cards that have had annual fees post and call them for a retention offer. I suggest saying something like: “I’m thinking of closing this card given its high annual fee, but before I decide what to do I was wondering if there are any retention offers or spend bonuses.”

3. If you’re a Delta Platinum or Diamond Medallion, make sure you’ve chosen your Choice Benefits for the 2020 Medallion year by January 31, otherwise you lose them. To be as clear as mud: You earn your 2020 Medallion status in 2019, and it expires at the end of February 2021, but you choose the benefits by the end of January 2021. Easy, right?

4. Expedia is devaluing its VIP rewards at the end of the week (points will no longer be worth double on VIP hotels starting 02/01/2021). If you have any points, see if you can sneak a booking in before they’re worth a lot less.

Twirling toward freedom cleanliness.

1. There’s a widely targeted American Express offer for $99 off of a $99 subscription at the Motley Fool. I guess now I can learn all about $GME and $AMC, but the play here isn’t the subscription. Instead, the play is that the Chase UR portal is offering 7,500 Ultimate Rewards for a $99 1 year sub at the Motley Fool. Check other portal rates here (AA is high too). Set a reminder in your to cancel the subscription in 11 months so they don’t auto-renew and auto-bill for another year.

2. If you’re not tuned in to the GC resale market, here’s another reason to jump in: You can currently buy Home Depot gift cards at Bitmo using the promo code HDBONUSJAN and resell them for a few dollars profit. Yes, I hear you — a few bucks isn’t interesting. Except that it is: Bitmo lets you pay with PayPal, so you get credit card spend, you get a small profit, and you can turn that AmEx Personal Platinum monthly $30 PayPal credit directly into cash.

Note: Am I a broken record yet? Bitmo has a referral program and accounts are based on phone numbers. You have burner SIMs by now, yeah?

A picture of a broken record.

The accidental Southwest Airlines change trick is back for March through late April. If you’re planning on traveling for Spring Break, now is the best time to lock in the lowest fare. A primer:

  • Use the lowest fare calendar on the city pairs you want to travel between (e.g., LAX-DEN)
  • Find the lowest fare two weeks before or two weeks after your desired travel date
  • Book the lowest fare
  • Log out and log back into your Southwest account
  • Under ‘My Trips’, choose ‘Change’
  • Switch your flight to the desired routing, date, and time with no up-charge

In case this booking window closes, make sure you do the above within 24 hours because you’re entitled to a full refund for the initial booking in that period.

These free changes are a weird conglomeration of Southwest’s antiquated reservation system, the 737MAX, and COVID travel waivers. It’s been around for a couple of years and I’ll be sad when the trick vanishes.

A breakfast consisting of: A partially eaten yellow pepper, yogurt with currents, and a bagel with cheddar cheese and a hot sauce 'S' on one side, and a hot sauce 'O' on the other.
Pictured, the start of a really, really weird breakfast that spells out Southwest.

There are a few easy manufactured spend deals kicking around this week. The first, an old familiar, is that you can still get fee free physical Visa Gift Cards at vanillagift.com using promo code FLASH2020. You’ll pay $8.95 for shipping, even if you order $10,000 worth of cards. These cards don’t work well at Walmart but they work well most everywhere else.

The second is that Staples is offering fee free $100 MasterCard Gift Cards, limit 2. These are sold by Staples directly, so use a Chase Ink card or an American Express Business Platinum with the +4x office supplies offer. Fun side note and a random hint: Staples shut me down in 2014 because they didn’t like me buying a couple hundred hard drives a week for two months. Fortunately for me and for people like me (you), you can always get yourself back online with address, phone, and/or name variations. Different checkout methods work too. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Third, you can still get two Ting SIM cards for $0.99 each at Best Buy. I’ve been able to get an order in every few days. You can still parlay each of these into ~$100 at Visible.

And finally there’s a bit of bad news: apparently Walmart Money Order fees are going up from $0.88 to $1.00 today. Boo.

Actual photo of the Staples representative who shut me down for buying too many of their clearance hard drives.

1. Check for a personalized United MilePlay offer at this link. I got 3,700 miles for booking a ticket of $125 or more and flying by the end of March. Nice try United, but I don’t really want to tour the country on a GoJet CRJ-700, which seems to be approximately 82% of their domestic fleet, or on a Mesa CRJ-200 which is the remaining 29% of their domestic fleet according to my measurements.

2. You got a couple of Ting Mobile SIM cards for $0.99 a few weeks ago, right? Here’s how to turn that spent $0.99 into about a hundred bucks, with inspiration from this Reddit post:

  1. Sign up for Visible by shopping through the Rakuten portal for $20-$40 cash back or 2,000-4,000 membership rewards
  2. Choose the “$100 Prepaid Mastercard Virtual Account” Bring Your Own Device plan
  3. Use the promo code SAVE2021 at checkout
  4. Keep the service for two payments $20 and $40 + taxes
  5. If you have the offer, pay with a credit card that has $25 cash back, found on Chase and Bank of America cards

Out of pocket, you’ll pay approximately $60. You’ll earn between $120 and $165 depending on how you do it and what offers you have available. If you do this with two burner numbers, you can set up a “Visible Pay Party” and save $10 on the two monthly payments. Also, don’t forget to refer yourself to Uber, Fluz, DoorDash, CashApp, etc with the new burner phone number. That’s gotta be worth a few bucks more, right?

What’s the tale? A little bit of leg work usually means a much bigger win. Don’t be afraid to dig in a little!

My empirical measurements of 111% of United’s domestic fleet.

A couple to take you into the weekend:

1. Use promo code GOTENJAN or GO15JAN for $10 off of $20 or $15 off of $25 at UberEats, respectively. Have you scaled up on burners yet?

2. I wrote a guest post at Milenomics on the major US carriers’ travel banks and their rules. MS Hint: It’s a good resource for what to do with the results of cashing out premium card travel credits.

Have a great weekend hackers!

A young adult woman wearing a pink sun hat and a sundress slumped over a chair holding (presumably) a beer.
Not pictured: Grand weekend plans. Pictured: Actual weekend.

Are you participating in reselling or in buyer’s groups? I could write a book on the former after years of playing and scaling that game; but first I’d have to recover from my mental battle damage and figure out how to restate some of my feelings in a less hostile way, because it actually can be a very good gig.

In case you are, Amazon is sending out offers for $100 off of $300 for creating an Amazon Business account. To get one:

  • Create a new personal account — I used the same information as my normal personal account, other than the email address.
  • Get identified by Amazon’s algorithms as a business buyer — Buy a few things over a few months that are clearly for resale (high value electronics, not normal household items)
  • Watch for en email with the subject “Get $100 off your first Amazon Business purchase”

I already had another personal and business account, so I believe you can churn this. It’s not an instant money maker, but after a couple of months you’ll probably be able to get $100 in your pocket for buyer’s group or resale activities. Just watch for falling fireball-laden mind bombs.

A wooden crate on fire
3D rendering of my memories of reselling.

1. Watch for mailers from American Express for Delta SkyMiles cards with a big bonus and small spend (e.x., 70,000 points for $2,000 spend). Reportedly some of these have no lifetime language attached to them, so you can get the bonus even if you’ve already gotten it in the past.

2. Do you have a P2 or a close friend with an AmEx card? Have them refer you for a Business Platinum card. The referrer gets up to 30,000 membership rewards and the referred offer could be as high as 110,000 membership rewards. If the offer isn’t showing as 110,000 points, try incognito, a mobile device, FireFox, Edge, Safari, standing on your head, and/or a VPN. It is around for most with some effort. Note that there is a high $15,000 over 3 month spend to earn the bonus on the cardholder side, the referrer gets the bonus on card approval.

A random spinning wheel with an arrow and 50 potential values.
Just spin a 3.1415 to win a 110,000 membership rewards sign-up bonus.