Editor’s Note: I’ll be traveling through the end of February and be largely unresponsive in normal channels, please expect delays.

There are a few regular questions that circulate about American Express authorized user and employee cards. All of the answers are easy, but they’re hard to find publicly. Let’s try and fix that:

Q: Will spend on employee or AU cards count toward sign-up bonuses?
A: Yes

Q: Will spend on employee or AU cards count toward retention offers?
A: Yes

Q: If I have a Business Platinum card and I add a Business Gold Employee card to that account, will I get the Business Gold bonus categories?
A: No, bonus payout is solely governed by the primary account card type. All employee and authorized user cards earn as if they were the same type of card as the primary account

Of course if you read between the lines, there’s another nugget of wisdom: If you add an employee or authorized user card to your account that includes its own spend bonus, spend on that card will count toward both the employee spend bonus and a sign-up or retention offer too. True maximizers will triple stack these when it’s possible, so spending a single dollar counts toward a sign-up bonus, and employee card spend bonus, and a retention offer.

Good luck out there!

These slippers could get you $10 spend towards three bonuses simultaneously, and unlimited sideways glances too.

Editor’s Note: I’ll be traveling through the end of February and be largely unresponsive in normal channels, please expect delays.

  1. Staples has a fee free $200 Mastercard gift card sale running through Saturday, limit eight per transaction.

    Your weekly reminder: these are Metabank Pathward gift cards and as a result can be hard to liquidate. Having a plan in place is even more important lately because either Pathward or BlackHawk Network is placing restrictions on regular liquidation methods. (Thanks to GC Galore)
  2. Southwest’s shopping portal has a bonus of 1,000 Rapid Rewards points for $300 or more in cumulative spend through March 8, or in case $300 is too rich for your blood, you get 500 bonus points for $100 in cumulative spend.

    Side note: They’ve tagged this promotion as “Winter Deals”, which while technically correct, seems to violate my sense of the impending warmer weather and the lack of desire to acknowledge the current cold front.
  3. Chase Offers has a promotion for 15% back on up to $38 for domestic Hyatt stays. I couldn’t find this one personally so can’t confirm the terms. (Thanks to DoC)
  4. Meijer MPerks has $10 off of $150 or more in Mastercard gift cards through Saturday, limit one per MPerks account. How do we scale? More MPerks accounts, duh. Just don’t forget to clip the digital coupon.

Happy Monday!

Southwest’s motivation for naming their bonus points promotion “Winter Deals”.

Editor’s Note: I’ll be traveling through the end of February and be largely unresponsive in normal channels, please expect delays.


American Express’s Membership Rewards program has a few quirks:

  • A single cardholder can have multiple Membership Rewards accounts
  • Opening a new Membership Rewards account can be done over the phone
  • Having multiple Membership Rewards accounts side-skirts annual limits, like the 35% Business Platinum Airline rebate’s cap of 1 million points per year

Normally getting into the weeds of Membership Rewards points isn’t part of a churner’s toolkit though, because dealing with multiple pools is hard, cash out mechanisms like the Schwab 1.1 cents per point method only work with points in the same pool, and customer service reps often don’t understand that multiple accounts can exist normally.

The Buggening

Even if you never intended to have multiple Membership Rewards accounts, you still might — between October and mid-December of last year, bugs in American Express’s systems caused many newly approved Business Platinum and Business Gold cards to be issued with a separate account than the one already established for that cardholder.

The good news? It’s fixable:

  • First, collect all of your Membership Rewards account numbers in one of three ways:
    • Grab the numbers from awardwallet after linking your account
    • Find a competent Membership Rewards agent on the phone and ask
    • (advanced) Look in your browser’s developer tools at XHR requests and pull them out of the responses
  • Next, call the number of the back of your card, then ask to be transferred to the Membership Rewards team NOTE: This team is only available Monday – Friday during regular US business hours
  • Third, ask the team to move your points from one account to the other
  • Wait a day and ensure the move completed
  • Get back in touch with the Membership Rewards team after the move has occurred and ask them to combine the two accounts

If you don’t go in the above order, you may get unlucky and have Membership Rewards lost in the ether that will take weeks or moths to unravel, so be careful.

Good luck!

The source of the Membership Rewards separate account bug that haunted new cardholders last year.

Editor’s Note: I’ll be traveling through the end of February and be largely unresponsive in normal channels, please expect delays.

Since effectively the beginning of time, the display of available American Express offers has been limited to 100 per card.* This matters because there are many more 100 offers available on a given account nearly as often as there are days in which Spirit airlines delays a flight. Often the best offers aren’t displayed because they’re below the other, stupider offers too (probably thanks to copious use of a function named RANDOM() throughout the American Express code base).

So, what’s the remedy? Add a bunch of offers that you don’t care about so that you can see some that you may want. There are even scripts to help you do this in case you don’t want RSI from gaming a credit card. For bonus points, put your least favorite card on a separate login with a different email address so that it’s easy to filter “offer expiring soon” emails too.

*For a glorious month in Summer 2021 there was magic link that would display more than 100 offers)

One of those great American Express offers.

Editor’s Note: I’ll be traveling through the end of February and be largely unresponsive in normal channels, please expect delays.

  1. Do this now: Register for Hyatt’s Q2 promotion for 3,000 bonus points for every two nights after your first stay up to 15 times for nights between March 20 and May 26. You’ll also get 500 bonus points each time if you have a Chase Hyatt card and your nights are in one of several participating hotels in major cities.

    For those of you doing mattress runs, this could be a 50% rebate on award nights or effectively a full reimbursement via points for paid stays at the right properties.
  2. American Express has multiple spending offers on it’s Membership Rewards earning cards. Some of the offers are great (+1 Membership Rewards for up to $2,000 in spend, up to three times), and some seem like a joke or a rounding error that went horribly wrong (Nuhertz got 25,000 Membership Rewards for $248,500 in spend, up to three times).
  3. American Express is also sending out newly targeted no-lifetime language (NLL) offers for the via email and a popup on the website after logging in. So far I’ve heard about:

    – Business Platinum: 150,000 Membership Rewards after $15,000 in spend
    – Business Gold: 90,000 Membership Rewards after $10,000 in spend

    Both have an additional 5,000 Membership Rewards for adding an employee card and spending $1,000 within three months too. In case you didn’t get targeted via email or popup, you can always try the generic NLL links:

    Blue Business Cash
    Blue Business Plus
    Business Gold
    Business Platinum

    Good luck! (Thanks to Draco Malfoy)

Pictured: American Express’s team decides that 25,000 bonus points on $248,500 in spend will increase spending.

Editor’s Note: I’ll be traveling through the end of February and be largely unresponsive in normal channels, please expect delays.

  1. Chase has a new card linked offer for 20% back up to $250 in spend at Quill.com, an online purveyor of Metabank Pathward gift cards and random overstocked items from office supply stores. To maximize:

    – Use a card that bonuses at office supply stores
    – Look for an obscure portal for cash back, often the obscure ones don’t fully follow T&Cs

    Use a business account at Quill if you want to increase your odds of the order going through from somewhere around “having a delay from a dented aircraft nose cone” to the “likelihood of your Allegiant flight arriving on time at the correct airport”.
  2. Chase has a heightened offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card for 75,000 points and a $300 Marriott gift card after spending $3,000 in three months. The card has a $95 annual fee that is not waived for the first year.

    Marriott typically isn’t welcome around MEAB, at least for regular stays when free-will is involved. There are times where Marriott is the best bad choice though, so even I’d go for this card if I weren’t already bumping up against a 5/24 credit card limit. Worst case you can sell the Marriott gift card for about 88% of face value to pay for your award stay’s resort and parking fees, and you can transfer the Bonvoy points to an airline of your choice.
  3. Wells Fargo has a $2,500 sign up bonus for opening a Premier relationship and bringing $250,000 in new funds to the bank. You have keep the assets there for at least 90 days too. Normally I’d assume this 1% bonus wouldn’t be worth your time, but you can probably transfer retirement accounts over directly through an ACAT transfer which won’t involve any stock buy or sell events. If you’ve got assets of that size sitting in a retirement account somewhere it’s probably worth letting them sit in a different somewhere for a 1% bonus. (Thanks to DoC)

A different somewhere that happens to have a Marriott, so there’s that.

  1. American Express has an interesting new sign-up bonus for the Business Platinum card provided you can manufacture spend at office supply or hardware stores (see below for an example). The sign-up bonus is 120,000 Membership Rewards after $15,000 in spend in three months and 10x on spend in several manufactured spend friendly categories for up to $7,500 in spend. To maximize:

    – Spend $7,500 at office supply or hardware
    – Spend another $7,500 elsewhere

    You’ll earn 202,500 Membership Rewards, or slightly more if you spend the second $7,500 in a 1.5x category.
  2. The Paceline credit card is shutting down on March 31, so go ham on 5% cash back through then. What are they going to do, close your card? Oh wait.

    It’s unclear what will happen to any owed Apple Watch statement credits after March 31, but my guess is they’ll honor them eventually, perhaps after being forced to do so by the CFPB.
  3. Plenty of datapoints have been shared about the new state of Metabank Pathward gift cards and the short summary seems to be: Pathward has implemented a card issuer block on transactions using a PIN over approximately $500, and they limit PIN transactions at a single POS to once every few minutes (perhaps in the 5 to 10 range).

    I’m going to go ahead and say that Friday’s hypothesis that “spite” was Pathward’s driving factor just got even more likely.
  4. FM notes that IHG has a Diamond status challenge for status through the end of 2025. The challenge requires eight paid nights by the end of March.

    The best Diamond benefits are: breakfast at full service hotels, increased points earning, and the ability to match to top tier in other hotel programs. Also once at an IHG near the Atlanta airport I got an elite gift bag with peanut butter sandwich crackers and skittles, so you might get, err, lucky and get that too.
  5. Office Depot / OfficeMax has a sale on Visa gift cards, $15 off of $300 or more through Saturday. To maximize:

    – Link your cards to Dosh
    – Try for multiple transactions, back-to-back
    – Explore what happens when you scale a single transaction
    – Look for the Chase Offer for 10% back at Office Depot and activate it

    (Thanks to GC Galore)

The result of a fever dream for an overworked IHG front desk agent in College Park, GA.


It’s almost a national past time around MEAB to poke fun at Metabank Pathward gift cards, but it’s not without cause: they’re harder to liquidate than almost any other issuer, and often they make you pay higher fees than the competition too. I can only assume that’s out of spite. And now they’ve given us another reason to be annoyed, also presumably out of spite.

The Stupidification

Reports came in privately and publicly that things got worse earlier this week. For background, it’s been an open secret with Metabank Pathward gift cards that while many of them stopped working for cash equivalents at Walmart, Kroger and Safeway, some expirations and variations continued to work at both without much consternation. It was also an open secret that most of them worked without a problem at mid-tier grocery chains too. That all changed.

The situation now seems to be that rather than grocery chains implementing blocks, Metabank Pathward has implemented its own issuer-side blocking. That means that in one fell swoop we’ve lost effectively all money center liquidation mechanisms on Metabank Pathward gift cards, and I believe it was intentional too, again presumably out of spite.

What Now?

So what do you do with a tractor size stack of Metabank Pathward gift cards now? You’ve got options:

  • FinTechs
  • Lending platforms
  • Non-money center transactions
  • More, err, liberal payment processors

Good luck out there!

“Now Metabank Pathward can’t see my liquidation technique…” – MSer