I heard from quite a few of you this week and I appreciated your insightful questions and discussion. Thanks to all of you.

Now let’s sail into the weekend with a few items:

1. We’re far enough into 2021 to have good data-points on what’s working with American Express airline incidental credits and you can expect a writeup on that next week, but after a few positive reports we’ve gotten new reports yesterday that United TravelBank errors when you manually enter your credit card information.

It might seem like that avenue stopped working, but it didn’t. You can still purchase those United “incidentals” as long as you pay with a credit card that was saved to your MileagePlus profile.

2. You can get Star Alliance Gold status through February of 2024 by combining a promotion that started in April of last year with Singapore’s newly announced “loyalty measures”, and no, I didn’t make that term up. To do so, you’ll need to transfer 250,000 Chase, Capital One, Citi, or American Express points to Singapore (watch out for expiration of those miles after three years though).

This is very useful if you fly United domestically regularly because it gives you access to United Clubs while you have a same-day United flight, so you can drink yourself numb on cheap whiskey to reduce the pain of travel on your upcoming ERJ-145 or CRJ-200 United flight.

3. We had a nice three weeks without thinking about those pesky $200 MetaBank gift cards, right? Well, party’s over man. Staples is having a fee-free sale starting on Sunday running through the following Saturday for $200 Visa gift cards, limit five per transaction. To maximize:

  • Use a card that bonuses at office supply stores (duh)
  • Try for multiple transactions back-to-back, five per transaction

Unfortunately the Rakuten in-store card linked program for cash back at Staples is no longer around.

4. Related to the above? Maybe a little. The final payment date for Q4 2021 estimated taxes is Tuesday, and there are three major payment processors that accept debit cards. The IRS limit is technically two payments per quarter, but in practice they accept two payments per processor for each quarter at a cost somewhere around $2.50 each for using a Metabank debit card (EDIT: Thanks to Gary at VFTW for the correction on IRS limits):

Overpaying the IRS and getting it back as a refund was a nice manufactured spend technique in the before times, but now due to staffing shortages and tax code changes realize that refunds are now taking six months or more (though you do earn a 3.2% interest rate from the IRS while waiting for your refund).

Happy weekend!

The United ERJ-145 makes this cabin feel spacious and luxurious, but you won’t be focused on comfort after drinking the United Club’s “premium” Dewar’s Scotch.