NOTE: I’ll be going on a blogging vacation between December 18 and 31, during which there may or may not be any posts. But, we’ll ring in the new year on January 1, 2024 with the 2023 version of Travel Hacking as Told by GIFs though, so no need to be up in arms. What’s this “may”, you ask? I’m soliciting for guest posts and I’ll use those during the regularly scheduled newsletter. They should be non-sponsored, non-promotional, non-political, and at least travel hacking or churning adjacent. Please reach out to me if you’re interested, it’ll be the third easiest gig you’ve ever gotten!

  1. Do this now: Register for Hilton’s Q1 promotion for 2,000 bonus points per stay, or 2,500 points if you request a digital key on the stay. Valid for stays between January 1, 2024 and May 1, 2024.
  2. Do this now (if you hold an American Express Bonvoy Brilliant card): Register for a targeted 85,000 point free night certificate after $4,000 in spend by March 15, 2024. (Thanks to The_Sultan1)
  3. Staples in-store has fee free Visa $200 gift cards starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit five per transaction according to the current ad.

    These are Pathward gift cards. Yes, there are still working in-person liquidation methods and there are still pajama liquidation methods too, but on average fees are going up, either directly or because the opportunity cost of locking up funds for a few months is increasing with interest rates.
  4. American Express offers has $150 back on $1,000 or more in Air Canada airfare through. (Thanks to Parts_Unknown-)
  5. Holding the Chase Aeroplan card gives you a 10% transfer bonus when converting Ultimate Rewards to Aeroplan miles. That bonus was supposed to be temporary for this year’s launch of the card, but FM reports that it’s now apparently permanent. This bonus stacks with occasional temporary transfer bonuses too.

    The permanent transfer bonus combined with Aeroplan’s partner availability and the ability to earn 3x at grocery stores makes me ready to kick a 5/24 slot in the teeth to get this card.
  6. The Chase Marriott Boundless card has a new link with a heightened sign-up bonus for five 50,000 point free night certificates after $5,000 spend in three months. The $95 annual fee is not waived for the first year.

    It’s no secret that I’m a Bonvoy hater, but this offer is almost good enough for me to care — but not quite enough because it would also kick a 5/24 slot in the teeth, and the Aeroplan card holds more long term value for my use case so that’s a tooth two far. (Thanks to DDG)

The sixth easiest gig you’ve ever gotten.

NOTE: I’ll be going on a blogging vacation between December 18 and 31, during which there may or may not be any posts. But, we’ll ring in the new year on January 1, 2024 with the 2023 version of Travel Hacking as Told by GIFs though, so no need to be up in arms. What’s this “may”, you ask? I’m soliciting for guest posts and I’ll use those during the regularly scheduled newsletter. They should be non-sponsored, non-promotional, non-political, and at least travel hacking or churning adjacent. Please reach out to me if you’re interested, it’ll be the third easiest gig you’ve ever gotten!

  1. has 10% off of $100 Mastercard gift cards with promo code MERRYMC10 or MERRYMC, limit three per order. As usual, try and go through a portal but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t track when you use the code. Fun fact: You’re also limited to $2,000 in e-gift cards per 48 rolling hours, even though the terms and conditions suggest the limit is only 24 hours.

    It’s a good thing you can create new email addresses though, amirite?
  2. Rakuten has a card linked offer for 2.5x Membership Rewards or 2.5% cash back on in store purchases through December 31 at Safeway and Albertsons stores. Gift cards are excluded from the promotion, but a little obscuration goes a long way.

    You’ve got to re-add this offer an hour after using it each time.
  3. Yesterday we talked about a couple of AmEx offers for spending $300 on Delta gift cards, and later in the day Delta launched a promotion for a free $20 Starbucks gift card with a $300 Delta gift card. So, obviously stack those. (Thanks to GCG)
  4. Bilt is sending targeted email to some cardholders for 1,000 bonus points per retailer for using your card for a single purchase at AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint (???), Comcast, Spectrum, Netflix, Hulu, and Xfinity, limit 5,000 total bonus points. Look for the subject: “Earn 5K bonus points this month”.

Your fourth easiest gig.

NOTE: I’ll be going on a blogging vacation at the end of the year and there won’t be any daily posts between December 18 and December 31. After that, we’ll ring in the new year on January 1, 2024 with the 2023 version of Travel Hacking as Told by GIFs though, so no need to be up in arms.

  1. I did my best not to even mention the Hyatt 2024 changes because literally every other travel blog out there has a long form boring essay on the updates (and also probably because for some reason I suck at conformity), but here’s a quick review of the changes with an eye toward gaming:

    – Guest of Honor stays work for paid and award stays and will be earned. When you gift a stay, you also earn an elite qualifying night which sounds splendid in two player mode
    – There are more awards tiers with more options in each tier, some of which are quite valuable
    – There’s at Category 1-8 certificate available if you earn 150 qualifying nights
    – Suite upgrades will soon be bookable online, and Guest of Honor stays will be even sooner

    tl;dr: If you’ve got excess manufactured spend capacity, 2024’s 10 night tier awards could make spend on Hyatt cards, especially the business version, worthwhile.
  2. We’ve had American Express offers for adding up to five employee cards online since July, and a new round of offers for adding up to 99 employee offers by phone since October. Unfortunately the online version of the July offers died, but a new, different set of offers for adding employee cards with a new POID has surfaced:

    – Business Platinum: Spend $4,000 get 15,000 Membership Rewards, limit five
    – Business Gold: Spend $4,000 get 15,000 Membership Rewards, limit five
    – Blue Business Plus: Spend $4,000 get 15,000 Membership Rewards, limit five

    Remember the AmEx offer mantra: New POIDs = new bonuses.
  3. The Gift Card Shop has 50% off of purchase fees on orders over $150 using promo code 2023HOLIDAY through December 8. This is an exact repeat of their Halloween promotion, even down to the same promotional code. Note that InComm spend doesn’t currently award points on American Express cards.

    I’d recommend squirreling this promo code away and trying it again in the future, and also watching for glitches on the sister gift card retailer sites also run by InComm.

Have a nice weekend!

MEAB trying to conform.

There’s a lot going on today, remember to focus on the bigger stuff and ignore the smaller stuff:

  1. H-E-B grocery stores have a $20 H-E-B gift card with the purchase of a $100 gift card in several travel related and bulk resale brands through tomorrow night, limit one per account. Your best options for resale is Home Depot, and Airbnb for travel.

    It may be worth a quick trip if you’re not already in H-E-B land if you’re confident in your ability to scale. It is possible to mint thousands of dollars quickly. (Thanks to GCG)
  2. Alaska has a paid and award ticket sale through Wednesday night. I’m seeing transcontinental flights, Hawaiian flights, and some international flights pricing at 7,500 miles each way in economy, short haul flights are showing at 4,000 miles each way in economy.

    The sale is for travel booked 21 days in advance for travel through March 9, and there are a few blackout dates in late February.
  3. The IHG mobile app has 20% off of paid hotel stays booked by tomorrow night for nights through April 30, 2024, and 15% off of points and cash stays for nights in January and February 2024.
  4. Amazon has holiday weekend shopping promotions for using a single bank point:

    American Express 40% or 50% off
    Chase Ultimate Reward 50% off
    Discover 50% off
    US Bank 50% off

    Of course you should combine these with buyers groups or gift card reselling activity when possible. If you’re not targeted for one of them, remove those cards from your profile, add them back, then wait a day and check again.
  5. Citi ThankYou Points are redeemable toward Apple e-gift cards today only with a 25% bonus (or 20% discount per Citi because they’re bad at marketing). The resale rate for Apple gift cards is well above a 20% discount making this a nice way to cash out ThankYou Points at above regular rates.
  6. has 6% off of $100 Visa e-gift cards through tomorrow night with promo codes CYBER6, CYBERVISA, or VISACYBER, limit three per purchase. The limit makes it hard to get to $2,000 per rolling 48 hours but if you’re looking for cancels this is a low cost way to get there.

    These may be worth your time for American Express cards in particular, but only if you have a low cost liquidation channel, since portals are no longer tracking when a promo code is used. (Thanks to TeddyH)

The internet standard measurement of a banana for scale really isn’t big enough on cyber Monday. Instead, use comically oversized carrot for scale to filter through the madness.

There’s plenty to overwhelm you out there, this weekend more-so than normal. My quick advice is set a profit threshold for yourself and skip anything that doesn’t look like it’ll pass that amount as fast as you can. I promise there are other things around the corner that will. In the mean time:

  1. Rakuten has 5x or 5% cash back for in store purchases at Staples through December 24, but unlike past variants this one is limited to three redemptions per account and $15 cash back per transaction.

    Fortunately for us, we have the technology to combine Rakuten’s card linked program, American Express Business Gold or Chase Ink cards, and Staples fee-free gift card promotions to help make this a good use of time. (Thanks to Douglas)
  2. Avianca LifeMiles has a 15% transfer bonus for incoming transfers from American Express Membership Rewards accounts through December 10.
  3. The Bilt card has double points on 1x categories other than rent between today and Cyber Monday. They also have 16x through linked Visa and Mastercards on Bilt Restaurants, but uh, good luck finding one of those and wanting to eat there this weekend.

    Double points on general spend that can transfer to AA and Hyatt is worth a double take.
  4. Kroger online has $10 off of $150 or more in Visa or Mastercard gift cards using promo code THANKFUL23 through Wednesday of next week. These are US Bank issued cards.
  5. Breeze Airways has a tiered fare sale running with promo code CYBER for flights booked by Monday night. The discount is between 10% and 60% based on how far out the flights are, with the closest flights having the largest discount.

    As is custom at MEAB, a new promo code for Breeze means another drawing for “Breeze dartboard route map bingo”. Ladies and gentlemen, today’s dartboard route is: Cincinnati, OH to Providence, RI! If this completes your Bingo board, please collect your prize (spoiler alert, the prize involves the word CYBER).
  6. Virgin Atlantic has a 33% discount on flight award redemptions on Virgin Atlantic metal through Monday evening for flights through September 30, 2024. (Thanks to FM)
  7. It’s been dead for a minute,

Have a nice weekend!

A sage reader once told me that with hoarders, you really need to think in terms of three dimensions, not just floor space. Ditto for deals this weekend.

It’s been a short three weeks since I decided we wouldn’t see another Q4 American Express referral bonus this year, and I was wrong. Reader Tom let me know that two of his players are seeing +3x referral bonuses, and I’ve confirmed the same thing on P2’s account. The referral bonus text:

You can earn: 15,000 30,000 Membership Rewards® points for each eligible referral – up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® points per calendar year. Plus earn +3 more Membership Rewards points dollar spent per on eligible purchases for three months, on up to $25,000. Terms Apply.

What’s an eligible purchase? Anything that would normally earn Membership Rewards qualifies. Note that so far we’ve only seen the +3x bonus on roughly 20% of accounts, and only on personal Gold cards, though it’s probably sporadically available on other personal cards too. If you have $25,000 in restaurant or grocery spend, err “restaurant” and “grocery” spend, then you’ll net 7x with the referral bonus on the Gold with this promotion.

Because this is only available on some cards for some account holders, I’m going to riff off the Milenomics naming of “3 for all” in 2020 and “4 for us” in 2021 and call this one “3 for thee (but none for me)”. Hopefully you’re one of the chosen some, and happy Thanksgiving!

American Express has a targeted Thanksgiving surprise for another 10% of accounts too: Remotely detonated yams. Check in later to see if you’ve been targeted for that promotion instead.

Today, MEAB features a special guest who will respond to each news item: Your annoying Uncle Kyle that always seems to have a take that’s tangential to reality but not grounded in reality. Why? Practice my friends, practice – because you probably only see Kyle at Thanksgiving and Christmas and it’s time to gear up.

  1. Southwest flights are now bookable through the Chase travel portal, but only Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away Plus fares.

    Kyle’s response: WGA+ fares as a 1.5 cent per point booking with low friction means that brokering of Southwest flights is going to skyrocket. Watch out!
  2. Office Depot/OfficeMax stores have $15 off of $300 in Mastercard gift cards through Saturday, limit eight per transaction. As usual, link your cards to Dosh, liquidate your American Express Business Gold $20 monthly credits, try for multiple transactions back-to-back, and experiment with different purchase amounts.

    Kyle’s response: You’re waiting in line behind someone arguing about a $0.45 coupon at a store with staffing levels lower than the half-sized aisles of InkJet toner to buy a Mastercard with a Visa? Are you even listening to yourself talk?
  3. Chase Offers has 13% back on at least $50 and up to $307.69 in airfare booked by tomorrow. (No, I didn’t make that number up, why do you ask?) This is gamable in multiple ways.

    Kyle’s response: I haven’t known anything about gaming since Tetris, but you know that booking airfare means flying Southwest right? Their boarding process is a mass psychological experiment and you’re the subject!
  4. UPDATE: Dead! There have now been at least a half dozen reports of successfully transferring the pseudo Ultimate Rewards with a fixed 1.0 cent per point from the Ink Business Premier to real Ultimate Rewards accounts from other premium cards, but only by phone.

    It’s unclear if this is a bug or intentional, but either way the 150,000 pseudo Ultimate Reward sign up bonus for $10,000 spend in three months available in branch or perhaps via Green Star offers looks extremely attractive right about now, especially if you can earn it quickly.

    Kyle’s response: You know that those pseudo Ultimate Rewards points are how the government tracks your spend, right? Converting them to a variable value point throws them off because they can’t know exactly what you spent.

Have a nice Monday!

Kyle’s response: You do know Mondays suck, right? Everyone knows that because Garfield taught us. Stop being so chipper.

Even the Thanksgiving pie will be fed up with Kyle.

  1. Staples has fee free $200 Visa gift cards in store through Saturday, limit eight per transaction. This stacks nicely with the American Express Business Gold $20 monthly office supply credit.

    These are Pathward gift cards, so have a liquidation plan in place. If your liquidation plan includes major nationwide retailers, there’s a $480 per six minute per store velocity limit.
  2. There’s a, umm let’s say “targeted”, Bank of America promotion for 5% off of ebay purchases of up to $1,000 with promo code TAKE5BOFA through December 31. The coupon has a limit of 10 uses, and presumably the limit is per ebay account. Notably you don’t need to use a Bank of America credit card to be eligible.

    The promo code isn’t working with the most obvious plays like gold bars, but you’re enterprising people right? Sometimes it makes sense to be on both sides of a transaction, just calculate the spread first. This may stack with portal cash back too. (Thanks to DAMU)
  3. It’s been just three days since we discussed the time value of points and how devaluations are one of several factors that erode the future value of loyalty currencies. Southwest decided that Veterans Day was the perfect time to illustrate the principle, announcing that points would be worth 4% less starting on January 1, 2024.

    As usual, head-on bookings with the Chase Sapphire Reserve continue to be more valuable for redemption than transferring points to Southwest and booking that way (1.5 cents plus mileage earning vs about 1.35 cents and no mileage earning), that is unless the risk premium for free cancelations and redeposits on points bookings and not dealing with flight credits is worth more than 0.15 cents per point to you.
  4. Meijer MPerks has 15,000 in points back on Choice, Happy, and One4All gift cards of $100 or more, limit one per MPerks account. Fortunately for Meijer, it’s not possible for a single person to have multiple email accounts, and therefore multiple MPerks accounts. (Thanks to GCG)
  5. There’s a targeted American Express offer for $175 back on $1,000 or more in cumulative spend with Cathay Pacific by December 31. It’s an interesting choice on AmEx’s part to make this one cumulative, almost inviting gamers to game. (Thanks to TeddyH)

Happy Monday!

An NFT sold on ebay showing the relative value Ultimate Rewards Southwest bookings compared to Rapid Rewards bookings. Limit one NFT per MPerks account.