We’re all over the map with today’s post, sorry friends. It’s just going to be a hot-mess and there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

1. Are you ready for a bunch of fee free $200 Visa Gift Cards again? Well, Staples has got your back. Between Sunday and the following Saturday they’re fee free, limit five per transaction. Make sure you have a plan for liquidation before buying a bunch. EDIT 9/26/2021: Katie let me know that the ad is wrong, it’s actually Mastercard Gift Cards in this sale.

Related followup: Safeway, like Walmart and Kroger, does indeed have a $99 per transaction debit card limit on these cards. So if worst comes to worst, I guess you could buy a couple of money orders to get rid of a card, but ewww David.

2. Yun wrote in to let me know that by chatting with Point debit card support, he was able to get the $99 annual fee refunded on multiple accounts and keep the card open after their walk-back of an offer for a $0 annual fee. I’d suggest that if you signed up for the rewards card with the first year fee free and were still charged $99, you chat with their support online and try and get it refunded. I’d try a few times if it doesn’t work out the first time.

Related followup: I opened a spite Point debit card and I think you should also. Talk about burying the lead on this one too — Point has a new streak for $30 back after using the card once per day for five days, as long as the total works out to at least $200 in spend before October 3. It’s a debit card so getting your spend going is easier than in quite a few other cases, and now that I have a spite card I can get the streak an extra time.

3. I had a several people send questions, notes, and clarifications about American Express upgrade offers. To sum it up:

  • On the personal card side (like the business card side), opening a new card or upgrading an existing card will almost never result in a hard credit pull. However on the personal side a new card will always result in a new account on your credit card which matters if you’re trying to be under 5/24.
  • The “almost” in the above statement comes from what American Express sees when they do a periodic soft credit card pull (which doesn’t show up on your credit report). If something on that soft pull looks very different than before, they may do a hard inquiry for a new application.
  • On business card upgrades you don’t need to wait 12 months before getting an upgrade; the reason you have to wait that long on the personal side is due to legislation in the CARD act.
  • The downgrade/upgrade game is alive and well for some of you, don’t discount the play.
  • There are multiple reports that upgrades have been seen on more than one business card, check them all, and just because you’ve upgraded one doesn’t mean there’s not another offer right behind it.
  • You almost certainly don’t need worry about the presence of lifetime language restrictions in an upgrade offer. I’m not aware of any reports of that condition being enforced, and I’ve seen hundreds data-points that say the conditions don’t matter (including my own).
  • If you get a popup during application for a new card or during upgrade that says your’e not eligible for a sign-up bonus, believe it. There was a brief period where that wasn’t true, but unfortunately that period has passed.

4. Check here for a spend offer on your United credit card. I got 500 bonus miles for spending $500 on my card, which is worth about $7.50 best case, gee thanks. I guess I could use that $7.50 to buy myself a gourmet, marine-life shaped croissant.

5. I finally decided to start using Venmo for in-store payments this week, and my first purchase was a large one at CVS in a different state than where I live. That resulted in my Venmo account being locked and a few annoying email threads with Venmo support. Don’t be like me, try a little harder.

It’s been a long winded week on this site, hmm 🤔.

My prize from the grab-bag? A croissant croisshark. You knew this picture was coming even before you saw it, right?