Black Friday Weekend Recap


On Monday of last week I was bright-eyed for a blow-out Black Friday weekend for manufactured spend, and unfortunately that was a bit of misplaced optimism on my part. Big box retailers faced with supply chain issues didn’t want to discount things that are going to take months to restock and thus didn’t have a major incentive to discount hot items.

Are you ready for Miles Earn and Burn “Economics 1010”? I’m not sure I’m ready to deliver it, but here we go anyway — let’s discuss this weekend’s macro economic picture to start us off, and then we’ll look at the effects on our game.


The major causes for this year’s lackluster MS opportunities seem to be:

Impact on Us

Ok, so what happened that’s directly related to us?

  • BestBuy gift cards
    • Bulk BestBuy gift card buyers stocked up on their gift card reserves in the week leading up to the sale in anticipation of the weekend’s deals
    • BestBuy effectively blocked buying bots for their few hot items from Thursday – Monday (but then seems to have ceased those measures yesterday); this meant it was much harder to spend existing gift card supply
    • The bulk gift card resale market became saturated, so much so that one aggregator reportedly had a backlog of $7M in gift cards over the weekend
    • Spot rates for $500 BestBuy gift cards dropped to 96% or lower, and most regular gift card buyers stopped buying
  • Other bulk gift cards
    • The BestBuy gift card debacle pushed serial MSers into Apple, Marshalls, Nike, and Home Depot gift cards
    • Buyer capacity for Apple, Marshalls, Nike, and Home Depot dried up with a new glut of supply normally spent on BestBuy
  • Non-bulk gift cards
    • Second tier gift cards (Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Gap, etc) had great deal flow with many above-cost opportunities
    • Third tier gift cards (Subway, Red Robin, Dominos, etc) had great deal flow too with many at-cost deals
  • Buyer’s groups
    • The deal flow across second tier retailers was lower than a typical Black Friday weekend, though higher than a typical week
    • Big-ticket item deals (> $400 or so) were more scarce than years past
  • Resale groups
    • Many hot items were unavailable for purchase due to supply issues
    • Big-ticket item deals (> $400 or so) were more scarce over the weekend than even a typical week in 2021
  • Kroger rewards
    • Kroger’s 4x promotion hit a road-block on Sunday continuing into late Monday: 4x rewards weren’t posting
      (incidentally, I believe that this happened because Kroger is trying to fix a loophole in its rewards program to improve profitability, and it seemed to work only to a small extent)
    • Without grocery rewards at a boosted, bulk gift card purchases at Kroger ground to a screeching halt
  • Travel sales
    • There weren’t any major sales from the US carriers beyond what comes every month or two throughout the year. Frankly, it’s a sad state of affairs when the best deal was $50 off of a one-way flight with JetBlue
    • Marriott had 25% off of certain hotel points redemptions, but the list of asterisks associated with that deal was longer than the number of hotels participating (or at least close)

In summary, the weekend was the lamest Black Friday weekend in recent memory.

How I Fared

I still had a great weekend despite everything — that’s because opportunities that I’ve developed over the year continue to work, and even though the weekend wasn’t as great as past iterations there were still plenty of deals to keep me busy. In the end, I hit approximately $60,000 in manufactured spend over the course of about seven hours of focus scattered over a few days, with the rest of the time being spent with my loved ones. I consider that to be a huge success.

I hope you hit your MS goals, or at least struck a nice-balance between MS and time with those you care about. Happy MSing going into the holiday season! There’s still plenty of opportunity.

A BestBuy sales associate helps the mob of Black Friday weekend customers customer.

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