Are you sick of all the running around that’s been caused by the great MS opportunities this year? I am, sorta, but man it’s so worth it. Here’s some more to get you running around:

  • Staples is offering fee free $200 Mastercards starting Sunday and running through April 3. Limit 5 per day (or, more likely per transaction). As always, remember that Visa isn’t the same as Mastercard, though with Metabank GCs they’re not all that different. Thanks to reddit user kawnipi.
  • Check this link for a possible American Express 20,000 Membership Rewards targeted Pay-Over-Time bonus. I personally would leave it on until the next annual fee posts, though it may not be necessary. Remember to turn it off eventually though so that you can get this bonus in the future.
  • There is an upgrade offer floating around for Delta Gold and Delta Platinum American Express cards for the Delta Reserve, check the American Express mobile app or watch for it via email. This one offers $300 plus 60,000 redeemable miles after spending $4,000 in six months. I’d take that offer, but sadly I’m not targeted, probably because I “upgraded” my Delta Reserve to a Delta Platinum last week using another offer. Thanks to Chris for noting that it’s available in app.

Happy weekend, watch out for the spring breakers! If you’re a spring breaker, I mean all the other spring breakers, not you. You’re like a firework.

A fireworks store on fire.
Spring breakers showing the store who’s boss.

A couple of things:

1. Chase has a few mildly interesting spending bonuses from April – June for up to $1,500 total spend. On this round, pay extra attention to your offer. Some give you 5x on all spend, some only on grocery and restaurants, some include gas stations and drugstores, etc. Another variant is 1x-1.5x bonus on $3,000 or $6,000 in spend. Honestly, Chase has gotten AmEx weird this time — go home Chase, you’re drunk! Eligible cards include: United, Starbucks, Hyatt, IHG, Disney, Marriott, and British Airways; but check any other co-brands you have with Chase too. Use this link to see your offer and enroll.

2. Did you know that downgrading your AmEx card will prorate the annual fee? Yeah, you probably knew, just don’t do it in the first year after opening or after a retention offer to avoid a potential bonus clawback. Here’s something related that you may not know: Downgrading an AmEx with an attached offer retains the offer on the card, even after downgrade. For example, if you’ve attached the monthly $20 dining credit to your expensive Hilton Aspire card, you can downgrade to the no annual fee Hilton HHonors card, get the prorated refund, and keep the monthly $20 dining credit. Boom goes the dynamite!

Brian Collins tells us about a nifty AmEx trick.

1. Office Depot OfficeMax is offering 25% back in rewards on Happy Gift Cards, limit $25 back per account. In case you’re a Happy GC newb like I used to be, these cards are basically Visa debit cards that work only at certain stores, and there are multiple varieties that work at a different set of places. An example: Buy a $100 “Happy Treats” gift card which can be at GameStop and at a few other places, then go to GameStop and buy two $50 Steam cards with the Happy card. The Steam cards resell at 90-93%, so you can really come out ahead if you can make good use of OD/OM rewards and have more than one account. Often you can liquidate the Happy cards online too, no need to make an in-person trip in many cases.

If you don’t yet have a liquidation channel for manufactured spend gift cards, several good options include SCO GC and TheCardBay. Shane at SCO GC announced this weekend that they’re onboarding more gift card resellers focused on MS, so email him at [email protected] with the subject “JOIN” to sign up if you need another outlet.

2. Danny points out that there’s a really, really great $1,500 sign-up bonus for the no-annual fee “AmaZing Business” Visa Card, provided you live in Colorado or in California. Too bad the scope is so limited on this one. Side note: what name is worse than Office Depot OfficeMax? The answer is clearly AmaZing Business. Why the capital Z in the middle friends? WHY?

3. I had a request from reader Jeff for email subscriptions to daily blog posts, because for some reason it seems that a few of you think it’s a good idea to give me a direct line into your inbox. In case that description resembles you, you can sign up on the Email Subscriptions page.

A weird ice cream sundae that looks like an animated character -- M&Ms for eyes and nose, licorice for a mouth, and bananas with raspberries for arms and an extra banana sprouting out of the top of its head.
This abomination is apparently the Sponge Bob embodiment of a triple. I can’t say I understand, but I can say definitively that it’s scary.

If you have an American Express Personal Gold or Green card that’s been around since at least last year, you’re likely to see an upgrade offer to the Personal Platinum worth either 25,000 Membership Rewards or 75,000 Membership Rewards after spending $2,000 after logging in to your account and scrolling down to the offers section. On the face of it, “meh 25,000 points for a high annual fee card, so what?” Here’s what: This upgraded card inherits the Unicorn AmEx Platinum Card’s 10x up to $15,000 spend in the first 6 months at Gas and Grocery after upgrade. I was able to see it on one of my AmEx Golds, even though I already have a few Personal Platinum cards.

If you don’t see it, detach your Gold or Green card from your login at this link and create a new login with just that card. It’ll almost certainly appear under your new login.

While the American Express Personal Gold card is my favorite AmEx card, I couldn’t turn down this upgrade from one of my Gold cards. I’ll spend through the 10x to earn 150,000 MR, earn the $200 airline credit and the $30 / month PayPal credit through June, earn the upgrade bonus, then I’ll downgrade it back to a Gold card. No harm, no foul.

A picture of a soccer player in a red jersey shrugging.
With this AmEx upgrade/downgrade, I’m calling “no harm, no foul”.

1. One of the Miles Earn and Burn Unsung Heroes has a great offer floating around: The Bank of America Business Cash Rewards MasterCard has a $750 cash back after $5,000 in spend, no annual fee offer. It’s not just worth the sign up bonus, the card is a great ongoing one too. As a reminder, it ears 3% on several methods of online MS shenanigans and you can bump that to 5.25% back by parking some cash, brokerage accounts, or retirement accounts at BoA.

Another bonus hint: BoA Business credit card applications credit inquiries are combined when you apply for multiple on the same day. If you’re instantly approved, maybe lob in another BoA business app too. Just don’t go the same card. An excellent choice is this Alaska Business Card with 40,000 miles and $200 cash back after spending $2,000.

2. Delta sent me an offer for 2,500 Skymiles for changing an already booked flight via the website or mobile app. Thanks Delta, I’d love to do that, but literally every single itinerary I’ve booked says I need to contact Reservations to make the change. Thanks.

Hopefully, you’ll have more luck than I do. The T&C language says that you have to be targeted to get the bonus, but there are reports that it will work for anyone as long as your ticket was booked prior to March 2, 2021.

They left off the real reason I can’t change: Delta IT sucks.

It feels like everyone is talking about deals on Simon Mall $1,000 gift cards right now (40% off of prepaid Visa fees with promo FS21FEB40). Yeah, they’re good at stores that aren’t Walmart, they’re high denomination, and you can buy a bunch at once easily. There’s a big problem with them though: They don’t earn points when purchased with American Express cards because AmEx blocked earning on Simon purchases.

If you’re trying to put spend on an AmEx and get something out of it, use Vanilla Gift Cards with the promo code FLASH2020, which amazingly is still working. You’ll earn spend when you go this route, and the fees are almost non-existent. They still work at most grocery chains too, just like BlackHawk gift cards.

Bonus hint: Simon business volume accounts are better than personal ones, but that has nothing to do with AmEx.

A man passed out on a tan couch wearing a Mario costume.
A guy dressed up like Mario dreaming of earning Membership Rewards through manufactured spend.

American Express has a few “no lifetime language” (NLL) card offers kicking around. The great news is that if you got the Unicorn Platinum card around when it came out in November, your 90 days is up and you’re eligible for another American Express charge card. As a reminder, if you apply for an NLL card and American Express doesn’t give you a popup saying you’re ineligible to receive a bonus, you should get it after meeting the spend requirements.

The best wisdom out there is to avoid obvious manufactured spend on American Express welcome bonus spending, though you can ignore that advice and probably be fine if you can’t gin up spend in any other way (just like you can drive without a seatbelt and probably be fine, but you may also die.)

Bonus tip: Check here to see if you’re eligible for 40% off up to $40 back, when you pay for an item sold buy Amazon and use at least 1 Membership Rewards point.

A Gold American Express card with the text "Click It or Ticket" overlayed on top.
American Express’s failed joint safety campaign with the US DOT.

There are at least three really good credit card offers to fly you into the weekend:

1. The American Express Personal Gold Card

Why to consider it: The offer kicking around right now is the no lifetime language version, which means you should be eligible for the 75k MR sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 in three months regardless of whether or not you’ve already had a bonus from a Personal Gold. The 75k bonus is historically high too.

Why to skip it: You no longer get the $100 airline credit as of last week. It could throw you over 5/24, You’ve already been approved for another American Express charge card in the last 90 days. The offer didn’t appear for you (like me). You don’t have a way to gin up $5,000 in spend.

How: Check for pre-approved offers at this link.

2. US Bank Business Cash Rewards Card

Why to consider it: It’s offering $500 for $3,000 in spend in 90 days, which is a historically low spend requirement. It won’t affect Chase’s 5/24 rule because it’s a business card that won’t show as a new account on your credit report. It has no annual fee and great categories for earning unlimited 3% on spend (gas, office supply, telecom). It gives a 25% bonus on earned rewards every year, up to $250.

Why to skip it: US Bank sometimes doesn’t like approving credit cards if you don’t have a banking relationship with them (YMMV). You don’t have any sort of actual or made up business, such as selling goods on ebay twice a year.

How: Apply directly here.

3. Rakuten Visa Credit Card

Why to consider it: It earns +3 Membership Rewards points on your MR earning Rakuten account when you purchase items through the Rakuten shopping portal. It’s the original MilesEarnAndBurn Unsung Hero. It has no annual fee. You get $10 after your first purchase. Synchrony doesn’t have many interesting cards, so you can hit this one hard and if you get shut down, 🤷‍♀️. There are opportunities to manufacture spend online through the Rakuten portal.

Why to skip it: You haven’t converted your Rakuten account to a Membership Rewards earning account yet. You don’t ever shop online. Synchrony is known for giving small credit lines. It could mess up your 5/24 plans.

How: Apply directly here, after you’ve converted your account to a Membership Rewards earning account.

Is My Advice Good Advice?

Of course! I’m some rando on the internet that you’ve never met, so what could possibly go wrong? Let’s fly into the weekend together.

Monday morning after flying into the weekend together.