1. The CapitalOnTap business credit card has a $1,200 sign-up bonus with $50,000 in spend. The card normally earns 1.5%, and combining the two you’re looking at a $1,950 in cash back or a 3.9% everywhere card for exactly $50,000 spent.
  2. After a long drought, reports are coming in that the American Express no-annual fee Hilton card once again has juicy upgrade offers. This round is 100,000 points after $3,000 in spend in 90 days when upgrading to the Surpass card. Check your inbox for email with the subject: “Don’t miss out on this 100,000 Hilton Bonus Points offer…” (Thanks to great_bunbino)
  3. In case you don’t have a no-annual fee American Express card yet for an upgrade offer, AmEx has you covered with 100,000 Hilton points after $1,000 in spend in 90 days and a $100 statement credit for Hilton properties in the first year. Unfortunately the Federal Reserve’s Regulation Z prevents you from being charged a higher annual fee in the first year, so you can’t get an upgrade offer like the one above until a year after approval.

    This sign-up bonus offer has lifetime language, but personal Hilton cards usually don’t have the pop-up so you’ve got a good shot at getting this bonus if you’ve had the card despite its lifetime language.

  4. Do this now: Register for 5,000 bonus points for every stay at Best Western booked by Saturday for travel through November 21. Also, sorry in advance if you end up at a Best Western, especially because of me. (Thanks to FM)

Fun fact: The Best Western Plus Lubbock proves that it is indeed technically possible to mix brown, red checkerboard, burnt orange, green, and polkadot curtains in a single room without causing a singularity.

  1. The AirFrance and KLM FlyingBlue program has great economy award availability for 15,000 miles each way or 30,000 miles round trip between the US and Europe. I’m a diva when traveling internationally though, and because economy doesn’t start with a “J” or an “F” I’m not personally interested.

    If you want good availability direct to CDG or AMS, look for plane+train tickets and accidentally miss the train portion of your travel.

  2. Do this now: Register for IHG’s September promotion. The promotional offer is varied, my offer was:

    – 10,000 bonus points for staying 5 nights
    – 20,000 bonus points for staying 10 nights
    – 30,000 bonus points for staying 15 nights

  3. Apparently Chase business credit card applications are occasionally being denied based on erroneously tagging your IP address as outside of the US. If you’re affected by this, apparently you can get it straightened out by calling (888) 270-2127 and asking to speak to the New Account Lending Department.

A traveling diva.

  1. Office Depot OfficeMax, in addition to having the most cromulent retail store name in the United States, has another $15 back on $300 or more in Visa gift cards sale running through Saturday. As usual:

    – Try for multiple transactions in the same trip
    – Use multiple Dosh accounts, one per credit card for an additional 2% back
    – Buy the Everywhere variety of cards for a lower overall cost

    Note that these are Metabank gift cards, and that the Everywhere variety doesn’t actually work everywhere because truth in advertising. (Thanks to GC Galore)

  2. American Express has a few interesting targeted offers:

    – $60 back or 6,000 Membership Rewards on $300 in Delta gift cards
    – $100 back on $500 or more at Hyatt hotels in Mexico
    – 20% back up to $250 in spend at Marriott properties in North America

  3. Giant, Martin’s, and Stop & Shop stores have 8x points on Happy and Giving Good gift cards purchased through Thursday, limit $2,000 per account. Some of these cards can be converted to BestBuy and Home Depot gift cards, which means those of you living in New England outside of Kroger’s footprint can have some fun with third party gift cards too.
  4. Get 2,400 Wyndham Rewards points and $0.35 by downloading the Bakkt mobile app, linking your Wyndham account for 1,000 points, and redeeming 100 points for $0.35 in cash for another 1,500 point bonus. Afterword, delete the Bakkt app because feng shui on your phone demands it.

Pictured: A feng shui phone captured immediately after deleting the Bakkt app.


When you start manufactured spending, the biggest limiting factor for scale is usually your lack of knowledge and experience in the field. Once you learn a few techniques and find the right plays, the limiting factor will probably turn into your float; that is, outstanding available cash and credit line balances.

You know you’ve hit float as a limiting factor when you immediately want to use a deposit that shows as “available” in your bank account on Tuesday morning to pay down a balance on your credit card, so that you can go spend and repeat the cycle on Tuesday afternoon. Listen Trigger, I know that in the modern world of Zelle, ACHs, and other electronic money transfers, it sure looks like money is available to pay a credit card the moment the bank tells you it is. The problem though, is that the bank is lying to you.

Cleared Funds

Even though a bank shows your balance as available and lets you send it away with a few clicks, it’s really not fully available because banks are still living in a technology world that’s a decade behind our own at best. Your electronic or money order deposits aren’t actually cleared funds (definitively in the accounts of the receiving bank) when most banks make them available to you. When are they actually cleared funds?

  • ACH, Zelle, and other electronic deposits: Three business days
  • Wires: Up to one business day
  • Cashiers checks and money orders: One business day

There’s an additional rub: there are different cut-off times depending on the bank, how large its assets are, and the type of transaction, but typically it’s safe to assume that if you make a deposit or receive an electronic transfer after 2PM Eastern, you’ve missed the bank’s business day and a deposit after that time is effectively no different than a deposit the next morning.

Kiting and Shutdowns

Kiting is floating money in-and-out before it clears, intentionally knowing that ultimately it won’t clear and running away with the funds before the bank knows what’s happened. Kiting is illegal and if all that happens from actual kiting is a bank shutdown, you’re really lucky. But a manufactured spender paying their credit line the moment deposits are available isn’t kiting because the funds will clear, so what’s the problem?

Easy, when it looks like you’re potentially kiting, a bank’s risk department will take a look at your accounts and almost certainly shut you down. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t actually kiting and your deposits all eventually clear, the bank still sees major movement before money is cleared as a big risk, and when you’ve scaled your manufactured spend that risk eventually becomes untenable and you’ll get the axe, “out of an abundance of caution“.

How does one stay alive? Be aware of the timelines for cleared funds, and don’t move money out of your bank account before funds are cleared, even if the bank shows your balance as available and lets you move money out the same day. Stay alive friends!

Another consequence of kiting.


Most credit card shutdowns from any bank can be attributed to one of the following:

Citi’s Special Behavior

Citi is its own kind of special when it comes to shutdown triggers, and we should chat about Citi shutdowns because it seems to be on our collective conscience right now:

Unlike most other banks, Citi hasn’t automated its rules for shutdowns and you can’t get around most of its automation with slow ramp-up and similar gaming. Instead, Citi’s algorithms for everything except spend patterns are largely rigid and exclusively for flagging accounts for human analysis. It’s always up to a human to determine whether or not your account stays alive once you’ve been flagged.

The Impact

Citi’s human analysis means that when you look surface deep you’ll find certain conundrums. My favorite is that some churners report cycling Citi credit lines without any issues, and you’ll find other reports of shutdowns after accidentally cycling credit lines by a few hundred dollars. A similar story comes up with bill pay services like CheckFreePay, and the list goes on.

When you dig a bit deeper with the knowledge that Citi shutdowns are human based, you’ll find that all of these reports are probably true. The real shutdown trigger at Citi is if your transactions look suspicious at a glance when an analyst examines your account. Repeated $200 payments don’t look normal and will probably lead to a shutdown, but four invoice payments to a legitimate business with one-to-two sizable payments in the middle is probably fine even if credit lines are cycled.

Avoiding Shutdowns

Thus, to avoid shutdowns with Citi, you’ve got two options, but only one of them is needed to keep you alive:

  • Don’t get an analyst looking at your account
  • Don’t have a strange looking transaction history

Personally, I shoot for the former always, and the latter to the extent possible. Either way you’ve got options.

Good luck!

Inside view of the server responsible for Citi’s suspicious credit card behavior algorithms.

  1. LATAM has a no-fee status match program running through October 31 for status through March 2023. The principle benefit for a US based flyer is access to Delta SkyClub lounges when flying Delta, even on domestic on international flights for Platinum, Black, and Black Signature elites (UPDATE: Thanks to VFTW for the correction on lounge access). They’ve provided a status match table and a FAQ too. (Thanks to Kathy at Will Run for Miles)
  2. Xfinity Mobile has a bring your own device $200 Visa gift card sign-up bonus when you port in a line and keep service for 90 days. It’s even more interesting because there’s a limit of $2,000 in gift cards or 10 lines per account, and there’s a “By the Gig” plan that costs $15+taxes per month regardless of the number of phones on the plan, just don’t use your data and your bill will be tiny. A few notes:

    – If you don’t have an Xfinity Mobile account there’s a $10 setup fee
    – You have to have Xfinity cable or internet to be eligible
    – Go through a shopping portal, ideally once per line

    Now, if only there were a way to get cheap phone numbers to port in, like I don’t know, say a $1 line from Boost or Ting. (Thanks to Derthsidious via MEAB slack)

  3. Check your Chase offers and Bank of America deals 10% back on Alaska Airlines airfare up to a total of $45 back. (Thanks to DoC)
  4. Southwest has a fare sale running through Friday for travel from September 6 to February 15 of next year, but it excludes major holiday dates and is only for Tuesday or Wednesday travel. The real utility here is that Southwest’s schedule changes haven’t rolled out for November and later.

Xfinity Mobile’s dedicated cell towers help make sure that you’re not using any cell data.

  1. Southwest will now let you buy an earlier boarding position during online check-in, which pairs well with the annual fee reimbursements from the Southwest Personal Priority orSouthwest Business Performance credit cards. (Thanks to Brian M via MEAB slack)
  2. The Capital One Venture card is now showing a targeted 100,000 mile sign up bonus through the pre-qualification tool. The bonus requires $10,000 in spend in the first six months. (Thanks to stillwaters23)
  3. A gentle reminder that the current best Chase Sapphire Reserve offer is 70,000 Ultimate Rewards as long as you have a Chase account, or 60,000 Ultimate Rewards if not.

    Background: everyone seems to be excited that the Reserve’s referral program is back with 10,000 Ultimate Rewards per referral and a maximum of five referrals per year, but the referral bonus is currently only a 50,000 Ultimate Rewards, so those referrals should only be for your enemies I guess. (UPDATE: Reader Doug notes that his referral offer is 60,000 Ultimate Rewards, so for non-Chase account holders a referral may be a wash)

  4. Stephen at GC Galore notes that Kroger is having another 4x fuel points sale on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercard gift cards from Friday through Sunday. At this point I’m nearly speechless on the subject, and I suppose it’s time to be surprised if there isn’t an upcoming weekend 4x fuel points sale.

Southwest’s economy lie-flat seating is easier to get with early boarding.

  1. Amtrak is running an award sale through Thursday for travel through September 30, excluding Labor Day weekend. Many routes are 40% off though some are closer to a 25-30% discount.
  2. American Express has a “targeted” sign-up bonus on its personal Gold card for 100,000 Membership Rewards points after $4,000 in spend. To be “targeted”, try this link on different operating systems, browsers, in incognito mode, and even even a different IP address until the offer appears. (UPDATE: Corrected link, thanks to Shashank)
  3. You can buy 2,000 AA miles for $9.99 by signing up for Homer through the AA portal and cancelling after one month (just set a reminder in your phone). There’s apparently an AmEx offer for $9 back on Homer purchases too. Note that I wouldn’t normally post a deal this small, but the AA Loyalty Points that you’ll earn pushes this slightly above the line. (Thanks to Frequent Miler)
  4. Juno (formerly OnJuno) has been paying 6% on USDC crypto holdings since early this year, which made it one of the best backdoor interest bearing accounts available. On Friday they sent a note that the interest rate is falling ever so slightly to 0% on September 1, which makes the platform largely useless as a place to park money.

    The company also announced in the same message that they’ve raised a Series A financing round. When FinTech companies raise more money, profitable promotions usually come our way, so stay tuned.

A garbage can with the stenciled message: "GARBAGE ONLY NO TRASH"

Juno’s nuanced march to 0% interest rates.