1. If you’re part of a private fitness group that’s currently exploding and you’re still inside the blast zone, I’d like to offer a few unsolicited suggestions: first, archive everything and export your chat histories to a safe place in case you need them in the future. Second, double check on exposure and potential fallout with gift card brokers, buyers groups, and anyone else with whom you exchange big chunks of money.

    I have no personal exposure but I sincerely hope everyone who does is made whole. (Perhaps we’ll see a MEAB mini-rant in the future on what happened here.)
  2. Giftcards.com has a promotion for 5% off of Visa egift cards using promo code POTOFGOLD or SHAMROCK, though reportedly the latter isn’t working. The best portal offer as of this writing is Capital One Shopping at 3x, but double check other portals before buying. There’s a limit of $1,500 per order for the promo code, and a limit of $2,000 in egift cards per rolling 48 hours.

    These are Metabank Pathward gift cards, so have a liquidation plan in place. (Thanks to MattyB via MEAB slack and to H)
  3. The Amtrak Preferred credit card has an increased sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after $1,000 in spend, good for a bit over $1,000 worth of train tickets. This card has a $99 fee and earns 2x on dining, travel, transit, and rideshare.

    If you don’t live in the Eastern US between about Virginia and New Jersey though, it’s probably not worth your time because the US and trains mix about like scotch and tomato sauce.

The HBFC recovery drink: layered shots of scotch and tomato juice.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard, the Adam Driver of credit cards and the original MEAB Unsung Hero, has sent new rounds of targeted spending bonuses through both email and USPS. Offers reported:

    – $50 back on $750 or more in online spend through April 14 (Ben)
    – 100,000 bonus points on $750 or more in online spend through April 14 (Me)
    – 90,000 bonus points on $300 or more in travel spend once a month for 10 months (FlashStash)
    – $60 back on six or more transactions of $50 per month once a month for three months (FlashStash)

    Clearly the Shop Your Way Rewards program isn’t worried about a run on the bank, probably because that already happened to them years ago with Sears and they’re still around.
  2. Do this now: Activate Q2 5% cash back categories for various cards:

    Chase Freedom: Lowes, Whole Foods, and Amazon, all of which sell gift cards
    Discover: Restaurants and wholesale clubs, the latter of which sells gift cards
    Citi Dividend: Drug stores and grocery stores, both of which sell gift cards
    US Bank Cash+: You choose, I cheat and use utilities, but electronics and department stores are good choices for the gift card inclined

    Remember there are multiple gift card plays including cashing out Visa and Mastercard gift cards or selling third party gift cards to brokers.
  3. Kroger online has 5% off of Visa and Mastercard gift cards through March 27 using promo code MADNESS23. These will earn fuel points too, but won’t code as grocery unfortunately.

I guess it’s time for the Membership Rewards program to learn something from SYWR? Nah, bad idea.

  1. Meijer has a promotion for a $15 Meijer gift card with a $100 or more purchase of a Choice or One4All gift card, some of which can be easily converted to higher value cards like Home Depot online, or you can do even better in-store. This one is limit one per MPerks account.
  2. American Express has an offer for $30 off of $110 in cell phone payments up to two times. This is great and all, but with a few players that each have upwards of double digits of Business Platinum cards (with $10 monthly cell phone credits each) it may be a garbage offer.
  3. Plastiq is again processing payments after their funds with Silicon Valley Bank became available. They however haven’t gotten back together with Colon-Aide Colonnade.
  4. There are multiple reports that Chase Ink Cash and Ink Unlimited cards aren’t currently subject to 5/24 rules for most applicants, so if you don’t mind a hard pull (and in general you probably shouldn’t), consider going for another Ink card.

    There’s no hard-coded limit on the number of Ink cards an individual can have, and there’s no lifetime language on bonuses with Ink cards either, don’t be afraid to experiment a little.

A text message exchange with Chase’s 5/24 guard bot.

No doubt you’ve heard from dozens or hundreds of sources about Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, and while it looks like all deposits will be available and accessible, we can still learn something here.

First, let’s talk about some of the relevant ripple effects that we’ve seen over the weekend:

Next, we can project a bit about what will happen in our game based on these datapoints:

  • Bank bonuses will become more important from a risk avoidance perspective for high net-worth individuals and businesses in case the next failure doesn’t have assets to cover beyond FDIC limits and the Fed’s new emergency fund doesn’t come through
  • Banks will be more willing to offer bonuses in the short to medium term to win new high net-worth customers
  • Credit card companies sign-up bonuses will probably go down because banks will want to increase their banking bottom line in the short term
  • Big banks will offer more credit card incentives for deposit holders to keep them locked into the ecosystem (like BoA’s Premium Rewards program) – JPMC is a notable exception to this though
  • FinTechs will be less rewarding as competition lags and the need to diversify banking partner risk increases
  • Businesses and characters that need loans to continue may find themselves in a rough spot because long term financing prospects look hard and expensive

Blah, blah, blah, how about something immediately actionable poindexter MEAB? Fine, let’s get back to basics: Office Depot/OfficeMax has $15 back on $300 or more in Mastercard gift cards through Saturday. These are Metabank Pathward gift cards, so as always, have a liquidation plan in place (unlike Silicon Valley Bank, amirite?)

An excerpt from the Silicon Valley Bank rate hedging playbook.

  1. Brian M shares via MEAB slack that Chase has a website for anniversary gifts for Southwest credit card holders. Gifts include tier qualifying points, companion pass qualifying points, and bonus Rapid Rewards points. My gift for four years? Nada.
  2. Giftcards.com has 6% cash back on Visa and Mastercard gift cards through the Capital One Shopping mobile app, which is available whether or not you have a Capital One card.

    It’s only 3% on the desktop site though, and still absent from airline shopping portals.
  3. Target’s RedCard has a new $40 online + $40 in-store sign-up bonus through April 8, and yes, a $80 SUB is sometimes actually interesting because reasons, though new POS terminals have made it less so.

    Churning these used to only require waiting three business days between closing an account and opening a new one, but lately it seems to be 10-15 business days.
  4. Chase Offers has two new offers for Quill.com running through mid-April. Quill is mostly interesting for its $300 Visa Gift cards and occasional success with weird portals. The offers:

    – 10% back up to $250 in spend
    – 20% back up to $250 in spend

    The bad news? The gift cards are Metabanks Pathwards.

My anniversary gift from Chase for holding a Southwest credit card.

  1. American Express has a few new offers for travel:

    – $200 statement credit after $1,000 in spend at Hilton
    – $200 statement credit after $1,000 in spend at Marriott (properties vary)
    – $100 statement credit after $100 in spend at Hyatt
    – $150 statement credit after $600 in spend on Delta through AmEx Travel

    Double check the terms and conditions for your offer because there are certain geography restrictions, though they’re very broad and you’re covered in the US and Mexico at minimum.
  2. Staples has fee free $200 Visa gift cards starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit eight per transaction.

    Make sure you’ve got a good liquidation channel before you scale this deal. Currently it seems that Black Hawk Network is blocking more than $500 in transactions at the same store for some undetermined time period. (Previously I thought it was Metabank Pathward implementing these restrictions, but cards from other issuers running through Black Hawk are having the same issue.)
  3. Do this now: Register for Wyndham’s Q2 promotion for 7,500 bonus points for two night stays, 15,000 bonus points for three night stays, and another 5,000 bonus points if you hold a Wyndham credit card. Valid for stays between March 1 and May 14.

    The max earn over the promotion period is 30,000 bonus points plus the 5,000 cardholder bonus.
  4. There are two new airline transfer bonuses:

    Citi ThankYou Points 20% bonus to Avianca Lifemiles through March 31
    Capital One 30% bonus to Virgin Red (which transfers to Virgin Atlantic) through March 30

    Both programs have some great sweet spots in both coach and in premium cabins.
  5. Giant Food, Martins, and Stop & Shop stores have 10x back through Thursday on some gift cards, but most notably Home Depot which will resell for between 91% and 93%. Unfortunately there’s a limit of $2,000 per rewards account, but you can get around that right? (Thanks to GCG)

Have a nice weekend!

That $200 statement credit at Marriott will cover the damage from your Bonvoy resort fee rampage.

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.

  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.