1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard, an original MEAB Unsung Hero, now allows for points redemption to Visa e-gift cards at the same redemption rate as other gift cards, making this the new best points cash-out option and making the card even more valuable.
  2. Lowe’s has an in-store promotion for a $15 Lowe’s gift card with the purchase of a $200 Mastercard gift card. The Mastercards are Pathward and have an activation fee of $5.95 to $7.95 depending on the variety, and the resale rates on the Lowe’s card are between 82% and 84% making this a profitable deal without considering credit card rewards.

    There’s a limit of two per $15 Lowe’s cards per email address, but someone told me it’s possible to get more than one email address. I know, sounds weird right?
  3. Fake Points Travel Blogger notes that the Bilt credit card company (Bilt Technologies, Inc) is suing another company also named Bilt (technically BILT, Inc) over trademark infringement for a mobile app that’s existed longer than credit card company, and that lawsuit spawned a counter-suit. Also revealed in court filings is that since its inception, the credit card Bilt has made a total of $41.4 million in revenue through January of this year.

    The action item on this one? Start thinking up new names for the Bilt rewards program and share them around your circles. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.
  4. Reader Kevin was the first to let me know that there’s good (?) news to go along with yesterday’s bad news that Walmart has $3.74 load fees BlueBird cards: You can now load BlueBird cards at Family Dollar fee-free, just like with Serve cards.
  5. You’d better sit down for this, because I think you’re going to be blown away, err, wait. The opposite actually:

    Staples will be selling fee free $200 Visa gift cards in-store starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit eight per transaction. As usual, try for multiple transactions back-to-back to minimize the time spent in a 12,000 square foot store manned by two employees, one of whom is in the back room watching TikTok.
  6. American Express’s Delta co-brand cards have increased sign up bonuses:

    Personal Gold: 75,000 SkyMiles after $2,000 spend in six months
    – Personal Platinum: 75,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQM after $5,000 spend in six months
    – Personal Reserve: 100,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQM after $5,000 spend in six months

    AmEx used their random number generator with these offers so if you don’t see them, switch browsers, go incognito, connect to a VPN, try mobile, yell at Richard Kerr between lawsuits, or something similar until you do see them. (Thanks to rep-swe)

Have a nice weekend!

The real surprise isn’t Staples, it’s what’s at the bottom of the slide.

It’s the end of the month, don’t leave money on the table with expiring credits. Check the following:

1. Make sure you’ve spent any American Express credits in Uber Eats or Uber by tomorrow night.

2. Check for any credit cards that have had annual fees post and call the bank for a retention offer. I suggest saying: “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.” Bonus if you add “COVID has made it hard to use the benefits”.

Caveat: If you take a retention offer from American Express, plan on keeping that card for 12-13 months to avoid getting popups denying you credit card bonuses in the future. Good retention offers are well worth the extra year.

3. If you have an American Express co-branded personal card (Marriott, Delta, Hilton), make sure you’ve attached the dining offer to your card and that you’ve spent it. The easiest way to do this from home seems to be to buy an exact value DoorDash gift card on Fluz, which will should code correctly as dining. Amazon Meals is another decent option. As always, find a Fluz referral from a friend to make their day if you don’t have an account already.

4. Spend any American Express co-branded business card wireless credits before tomorrow. I prepay my cell phone bill with this one and all of the credits over last year and this year mean that my bill will be $0 after the credits are applied for a long, long time.

5. Make sure you’ve spent any $10 American Express Personal Gold dining credits by tomorrow. The easiest way IMO is to buy something for pickup for $10ish at a local coffee shop on GrubHub, but a combo meal at a ShakeShack is also a good option for many of you.

6. Cancel any cell phone burner accounts that you’re done with (and for which you didn’t use a virtual credit card number that already expired).

7. Spend your AmEx Personal Platinum $30 PayPal credits. The easiest way to get these out under the wire is with PayPal Digital Gifts which has been paying the credit even though the T&C says that it shouldn’t. If you’re set up as a gift card reseller, you can alternatively buy gift cards for resale on Fluz or eBay gift cards on Slide.

8. The time remaining for Q2 bonused spend is already one third over. Check the current Q2 categories and reassess your strategies.

9. Still with me? Get yourself a drink, you won!

An illustration of a woman in a green shirt holding her hand up to her mouth as she would hold a glass, and tilting it back as you would to drink.
American Sign Language motions for “drink”.

Bank of America credit cards are really underrated in the travel hacking space, which is one of the myriad reasons the Cash Rewards family of cards was awarded the coveted Miles Earn and Burn Unsung Heroes award. Why you should look into them:

  • The business card portfolio is churnable
  • They have offers like American Express and Chase for statement credits at certain merchants
  • You can get great uplift on the Personal or Business Cash Rewards (5.25% back)
  • They combine hard pulls in the same calendar day, so you can apply for a card, get approved, then apply for another without a new hard pull
  • They’re great MS targets
  • They send targeted spend offers somewhat regularly

On that last note, check your email inbox for spend offers from Bank of America. (I’d search my email program for from:bankofamerica.com in:anywhere and look at the last couple of days worth of messages. Thanks to ukinny for the updated query which will also catch messages that wound up in spam.) People are seeing various offers including:

  • 2% cash back on Alaska Airlines family of cards, up to $150 total cash back
  • 1% additional cash back on the Cash Rewards family of cards, up to $150 total cash back
  • 3% additional cash back on home improvement spend on the Cash Rewards family of cards, up to $75 total cash back

Remember that the cash rewards cards can have multipliers up to 1.75 with the Preferred Rewards program, which could mean up to 10.5% back (3% additional + 3% base) * 1.75. That’s bananas.

A group of people at a party holding up drinks for a toast, except all of the drinks have been replaced with various Bank of America credit cards
Bank of America credit card party! (With inspiration from Danny of the Alchemy podcast on the Milenomics Podcast Network.)

There are a couple of deals out there that’ll net you $1,022, or $1,031.80 with some shenanigans:

1. Brex will give you $1,000, or 100,000 miles transferred to various airlines, for setting up PayPal merchant processing. It took me about 3 minutes which makes it one of the biggest hauls I’ve ever gotten for the time required for a US airline to show you how to use your seatbelt before you depart. Here’s what you do:

For the fastest phone call possible, tell the PayPay merchant services agent them you want to set up a merchant account with “online invoicing” as the only payment method that your business needs to accept and that you’re setting it up as part of the Brex integration. They’ll walk you through sending a test payment to yourself of $1.00, and put you on the list for 100,000 points. Just make sure your PayPal and Brex accounts have the same email address — create a new PayPal business account if they don’t already match.

If you don’t already have a Brex account, find a friend who has one and get a referral, you’ll both earn a $250 Amazon gift card, which as far as I can tell is the current best sign up bonus available. If you absolutely can’t find anyone, my link is here, but that’s not why I’m in this.

2. Swagbucks will pay you $110 for signing up for a Walmart+ annual membership, which costs $98+tax. But, you can make it better with a Chase or Bank of America credit card offer for $5 or $10 back. You can also get a Dosh 10% back if you’re willing to play some shenanigans (there are more specific instructions here if you like, just ignore the Google Pay instructions as they’re out of date). My Chase Sapphire Reserve had an offer for $10 back, so I’ll net $110 from Swagbucks, $10 from Chase, and $9.80 from Dosh for spending $98, which gives a total of $31.80 when all is said and done. And oh, I guess I get a year of Walmart+, which I predict I’ll use approximately zero times — SCORE!

Another hint/technique: You know there are states out there that don’t charge sales tax, right?

A picture of a Walmart store with fallen shelves, products scattered on the ground, and spilled liquids all over the floor.
My local Walmart as it looks on any given Tuesday. Why wouldn’t I want to shop here?

1. USAA is offering a shopping portal bonus of $20 back on $100 in spend through May 4. Use Thursday’s trick to liquidate American Express Business Platinum credits if you still have them, or buy a $100 Visa or Mastercard gift card from GiftCards.com after clicking through the portal if you don’t. Unfortunately though, not everyone is eligible to become a USAA member so this one isn’t for all. Don’t forget that if you’ve got USAA, your P2 and your kids are eligible to join for free too so you can scale this deal up to your family size easily.

2. CashApp’s cash back boosts have been snoozers for a few months, but as of this weekend they’ve gotten back in the business of transferring money from venture capitalists’ wallets into yours: A new boost for 5% back on Sam’s Club purchases up to $400 spend for a total of $20 cash back. Sam’s sells Visa and Mastercard gift cards, and they sometimes track on the Rakuten shopping portal (and probably others, but why would you care?)

In case you’re unaware — CashApp is basically a Venmo like program but you also get a real debit card. When you spend on that real debit card, you can get cash back by applying boosts, even with PIN transactions. CashApp has a referral program too, so find a friend or family member to refer you. You’ll both get $5, which is better than a swift kick in the pants or 500 Italian Lira.

An image of a bank note of 500 Italian Lira.
CashApp’s $5 beats 500 Italian Lira in value, but not in coolness. Stay classy, Roman deity.

It’s time to slide into some easy weekend manufactured spend:

1. Lowes is offering a $15 Lowe’s eGift Card free with the purchase of a $200 Visa Gift Card in store. Currently, you can sell Lowe’s gift cards instantly at 80%+ of face, so that leaves a net cost of $194.95 after the activation fee. This is a great way to liquidate the Q2 Chase Freedom 5x earning at Home Improvement stores, which will net you, per card:

  • A $200 Visa Gift Card
  • A $15 Lowes eGift Card
  • 1,000 Ultimate Rewards
  • 600 JetBlue TrueBlue Points (don’t forget to register your Freedom cards here for 3x purchases at Lowes)

The deal runs April 22 through April 28. If you’ve been on the fence with MS or gift card reselling, this is a good one to use to get your feet wet. Note that the promotion terms explicitly state “Limit 2 per email address.” They’re practically asking us to just create more email addresses to scale this one (email is only required upon redemption, not during purchase). Hint: Not all Visa Gift Cards are equal.

Dean let me know about an AmEx offer floating around for 10% back at Lowe’s too, so check for that as a backup to your Freedoms.

2. Staples is back with $200 fee free Mastercard Gift Cards, limit 5 per transaction between Sunday April 25 and Saturday, May 1. Use a Chase Ink Cash, Chase Ink Plus, or American Express Business card with a +4x office supplies offer attached. Update: Thanks to reader Nutella for the correction on Mastercard instead of Visa.

Both of these gift card deals are issued by Metabank, so make sure you have a way to liquidate them. There are definitely ways to cash these out in person, just don’t try at a Walmart Money Center. There are ways from home too, especially if your cost is $194.45.

A man wearing a green shirt, black shorts, a blue bicycle helmet, and black hiking shoes with white ankle high socks sliding down a mostly dirt and weed hill, on his back, seemingly out of control.
Sliding into the weekend, smooth like butter.

Remember yesterday’s Alaska Airlines shopping portal bonus that I thought wasn’t worth doing? Well if you have an American Express Business Platinum card, it’s probably worth it now because Dell has a promo offer for 10% off of Xbox Gift cards with code XBOX10. To take advantage of it:

  • Ensure you’ve activated your Dell credit with your American Express Business Platinum
  • Check for any Dell cash back or 2x/3x spend American Express offers
  • Start at the Alaska portal for Dell Home, and click on SHOP NOW. UPDATE: RabbMD let me know that Dell Technologies earns 3x instead of 1x.
  • Add a $100 Xbox Gift Card to your cart
  • Add a $25 Xbox Gift Card to your cart
  • Checkout, and enter promo XBOX10
  • Pay with your Business Platinum

The promo will only apply to one card, but it’ll pick the more expensive one. So, you’ll spend $115, but you’ll get:

  • $100 back from AmEx as a statement credit (or more if you have an offer attached to your card)
  • 615 Alaska miles
  • $82-85 in resale value for the Xbox cards (thanks to Katie for the correction in rates)
  • 115 Membership Rewards points (or more if you have an offer attached to your card)
  • Rid of the Dell credit that expires June 30 and can be hard to use

If you have multiple Business Platinums, create new Dell accounts with new email addresses to use the code again, and don’t ever let the Business Platinum cards co-mingle between accounts. UPDATE: The code works on the same account multiple times, thanks to RabbMD for letting me know.

A prepared stir-fry of vegetables in a wok.
A stir-fry is just co-mingled ingredients.

1. I know that there’s mixed love and hatred out there for AirFrance, but in my opinion they’re an absolutely wonderful airline for Business Class or La Premiere. (Yes, I’m even including the older shrinking fleet with angled lie flat cabins, just make sure you sit in the middle section of Business Class for direct aisle access.) The food and wine is hard to beat, and the service for me has always been outstanding. AirFrance is also great for racking up Delta MQM and MQD on mistake or ultra-cheap business fares. To help with that, AirFrance has a new promo code: SPRINGAF21 for $70 off of your next flight to Europe or Africa, just book by May 14, 2021 for travel between May 1 and October 31.

The code is ok, but honestly I’m writing about this principally because Spring AF is about the funniest thing I’ve seen out of an airline in years. If it was any other code, I’m not sure I’d write about it. Well played AirFrance, though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t played on purpose.

2. Do this now: Register for bonus points at Hilton. It’s a snoozer at 2x or 3x points, but you never know when you might end up at a Hilton anyway and it may be too late to register or you may forget register. Don’t be in that boat!

3. Thanks to the AA 40th’s sweepstakes, you can get 20% off of standard rates at Hyatt properties booked by May 31 for stays through September 12, 2021. Use code AA40TH.

Hot AirFrance. Wait, that’s not what it means.