The Deal

Meijer is running its best promotion for a manufactured spender, an instant 10% discount on $500 in purchased gift cards after clipping the digital coupon. The sale runs today and tomorrow, limit one per MPerks account. The deal excludes a few major gift card resale brands like Apple and Amazon, but does work on others like Nike, Home Depot, Adidas, Best Buy, and Disney.

There are years where it’s been worth traveling to Meijer land just to take advantage of this deal, but thanks to effectively a month of crazy Kroger fuel points deals, rates and demand on major brands are at a local minima. As a result, it probably only makes sense to travel into the region if you’ve got quite a few 99 AmEx AU card offers to blow through or you can find a cheap way to get there.

A Reader Report

At the last of these Meijer sales in November, 2021, reader Mike booked a roundtrip flight to Ohio for a Saturday day trip. His experience:

  • He had a little over seven hours between his outbound and return flights
  • He made 15 MPerks accounts the night before, but that only lasted him a couple of hours
  • He traveled to six stores over the course of his time on the ground
  • He bought 36 $500 BestBuy gift cards for $450 each
  • He took his time but believes he could have been much more efficient with a plan

At the time resale rates for BestBuy were about 97%, so with $35 per BestBuy card in profit, he netted about $1,260 in cash and $18,000 in grocery store spend.

A favorite trope in the manufactured spend community is that “all manufactured spend is local”. The good news is that we can just redefine local with a quick trip.

Fly-over country becomes fly-to country. If not for Meijer, it’s for, err, whatever this is.

First, a note: if you’re playing the Kroger gift card resale game, always make sure you clip any coupon that could be, even remotely, related to what you’re buying.

And with that out of the way, let’s dive into the week with a few above-average offers and a below-average offer to balance it out.

  1. Forums lit up over the weekend with news of the Capital On Tap business credit card increasing the sign-up bonus to $750 for $7,500 in spend.This is interesting because:

    – Capital On Tap isn’t performing a hard-pull on your credit
    – The card doesn’t report to credit bureaus
    – Credit lines are typically large
    – They support payments with debit cards from their payment portal

    There are a few downsides too: This is only available by a TPG affiliate link and reportedly it’s tough to get approved without a corporation, LLC, or other registered entity.
  2. Bank of America has been emailing targeted, uncapped bonus spend offers through December 31 for:

    – +2% bonus cash back on Customized Cash Visa
    – +2x miles on the Alaska Airlines Visa
    – +2x miles on the Travel Rewards Visa
    – +2x miles on the Amtrack Visa

    Check your email for any messages from Bank of America from the weekend, especially in your spam folders. I wasn’t targeted sadly, so I’m going to have to live vicariously through you on this one.
  3. Jim was the first to let me know that OfficeDepot / Office Max has a $15 instant discount on $300 or more in Metabank Visa gift cards through Saturday. To maximize:

    – Buy the “Everywhere” cards which have a lower fee and are typically easier to liquidate
    – Link your credit cards to Dosh
    – Try and run multiple transactions back to back
  4. Meijer MPerks has a $5 Meijer gift card with the purchase of $500 in Happy Gift cards through May 28, but you have to clip the coupon first. (Thanks to GC Galore)

    Normally I wouldn’t write about a $5 back deal but it gives an opening to talk about a Happy Gift Card that’s now available in both physical and digital form (EDIT: Thanks to yehuda for the corrected link): The St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital Happy card, which can be swapped to BestBuy. This is great from a velocity, resale, and anti-fraud perspective.

The outline for this post.

We’re all over the place today:

  1. There’s a new option to cash out orphaned ANA miles. You can now convert them to Amazon gift cards at 0.83 cents per point. The value isn’t great, but if you’ve got miles sitting there from a COVID cancelled-trip with no prospects for burning them soon this could be a good way to temporarily exit the program. (Thanks to T C)
  2. There have been many reports over the last two days that more people are targeted for a 20,000 Membership Rewards bonus for turning on Pay-over-Time on AmEx charge cards. To check each of your cards, you’ll have to set the card to be the default, then check the landing page.
  3. Staples has fee free $200 Mastercard gift cards starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit five per transaction. Coincidentally (or is it?), this deal starts the day after the Office Depot/OfficeMax variant ends.

    These cards are Metabank issued so have a liquidation plan in place other than buying a money order at Walmart, Kroger, or Safeway. How are other national retailers treating you though?
  4. The onJuno banking and rewards debit card, a favorite for some of you, is now paying a 3% annual bonus on Bitcoin and Ethereum crypto holdings. I guess that bonus helps offset some of BTC’s 36.6% loss over the last 365 days? (Too soon?)

Have a nice weekend!

In fairness, this car probably also depreciated 36.6% in the last 365 days.

Kroger’s current 4x promotion on third party gift cards combined with the following gives you quite a bit of opportunity over the weekend:

  1. Lowe’s has a free $15 store gift card offer with each $200 Mastercard purchased through May 11. A few notes on this deal:

    – The resale rate on $15 Lowe’s gift cards is approximately 87%
    – The capacity on this is effectively unlimited if you get a friendly store
    – The deal terms say “limit 2 per email address”, but in the past that’s never been an actual limit. If it turns out to be an issue, use the gmail plus or dot syntax

    These cards are Metabank issued gift cards so make sure you have a way to liquidate those. (Thanks to GC Galore).
  2. Staples has fee free $200 Visa gift cards starting Sunday and running through Saturday of next week, limit five per customer (per transaction in practice). As usual, they’re Metabank issued gift cards so make sure you have a way to liquidate those.
  3. Simon has 55% off of all purchase fees through tomorrow evening with code 22CINCO55, including the $1,000 Visa variety. Blah, blah, Metabank, blah blah though.
  4. The Point debit card has 5x on up to $1,000 spend between now and Sunday at Walmart and up to $1,000 spend Whole Foods, both of which sell gift cards and potentially other interesting manufactured spend things.

    If you want the Point debit card, use a referral for a bigger sign-up bonus than the public offer. Note that referral bonuses currently vary from person to person, so ask around for one in the $100-$200 range; I wouldn’t consider one below $100 as the card now carries a $99 fee.
  5. American Express is targeting more accounts this week for 20,000 Membership Rewards after turning on pay-over-time. Unlike past iterations of this offer with a specific link and embedded offer code, this one is showing up on the regular pay-over-time landing page for your default (starred) card. If your default card isn’t showing an offer, switch another charge to be default and check the landing page again. (Thanks to Justmeha for helping me clarify the language)

Have a nice weekend!

Visiting the Lowe’s clearance section to find Mother’s Day gifts after buying Mastercards.

First, let’s look forward to the weekend with a few deals:

  1. Lowe’s has a free $15 gift card with each $200 Visa gift card purchased deal running now through Wednesday, April 27. If you get a friendly store there’s effectively no limit on these purchases, and the “Everywhere” variety of gift cards with a lower purchase fee work too.

    With the current spot rate for Lowe’s $15 gift cards hovering around 87%, you’ll effectively get a $200 Visa gift card for $191. (Thanks to GC Galore)
  2. Staples has fee free $200 Mastercard gift cards starting on Sunday and running through Saturday, April 30, limit five per transaction. I wouldn’t bother though, because waves hands at the previous deal.
  3. Vinh reports that Safeway rewards coupons no longer apply to Visa gift cards. Points earning on Visa gift card purchases isn’t what it used to be either.
  4. If you’re a high level elite at AA and have a bunch of (mostly worthless and soon to be eliminated) 500 mile upgrade certificates in your account, consider trying to get them converted into miles with a little bit of back-and-forth: There’s a report on Flyertalk of an Executive Platinum member being able to exchange each certificate for 5,000 AA miles but the road wasn’t exactly painless.
  5. Bank of America has an offer for targeted double cash back on its credit and debit cards for purchases made today and tomorrow. Check the obviously-named-by-a-committee “BankAmeriDeals” here, save the offer if you see it, and then pair it with any other BankAmeriDeal to double it. Yay coupon books!

And second, have you gone zombie hunting this week? Not all dead deals are still dead. Happy weekend friends!

Deals don’t die when this is what companies use to kill them.

First, a mini Ventana Big Sur (a Hyatt / Alila property) review:

  • Great food, especially when you consider that it’s all included in the rack rate
  • Excellent value at 30,000 Hyatt points a night (my booked rate)
  • Probably a good value at 45,000 Hyatt points per night (current rate)
  • It’s not easy to get to (you’ll likely spend more time driving than you spent flying to northern California)
  • Three nights is about the perfect length
  • I’d give it four out of five stars, I may come back but it wouldn’t be anytime soon
  • And finally, it seems that most reviews and the hotel’s main web page don’t mention that the resort is partially “clothing optional” so do what you will with that info

Ok, with that out of the way, here are a few things to keep you occupied for the weekend:

  1. Staples is going to have $5 off of the $6.95 activation fee for $200 Visa gift cards. If you wait a few weeks they’ll probably bring back the fee free version so this is really only if your other spending avenues are dry. (Thanks to kawnipi)
  2. I’ve heard from multiple readers in Florida and Georgia that Publix has blocked Metabank Visa and Mastercard gift cards at their customer service desk in the same way that Safeway did last year. I’m guessing that $99 or smaller transactions will continue to work but haven’t heard definitely either way.

    It’s time to look for other regional grocers for a new liquidation channel.
  3. Southwest is rolling out end of June schedule changes this week and will likely start its July changes shortly, so now is the time to travel hack your way to cheap Independence Day travel with the schedule change trick.

    Don’t forget to layer this with 20% off of paid fares through Monday with Point.app, maybe a few times.

Have a nice weekend friends!

A clothing optional Big Sur squirrel.

Starting a year or two ago with a slight murmur, which then turned into a rumbling, and now into an earthquake, sportsbooks have the hit the manufactured spend community and churning world in force, now at peak with an exposé article at Bloomberg. Whether or not you’re a gambler or have any interest in gambling, sportsbooks ought to be a part of your manufactured spend and churning toolkit because:

Sounds a lot like the manufactured spend and churning playbook, eh? With that in mind, a few notes:

  • Even if sportsbooks aren’t legal in your state, you can still participate anytime you’re in a state where they are legal
  • You can play both sides of a bet on two different sportsbooks to avoid losses (betting arbitrage sites help make this easy)

Great. So, let’s chat about how to avoid shutdowns:

  • Bet all the money you add before cashing out (just play both sides to avoid losing)
  • Bet in roundish numbers like a normal person would

Good luck, and have a nice weekend!

How is this related to sportsbooks? I’m not sure, but it had to be published so here we are.

It’s time for a companion article to Wednesday Wisdom: Shutdowns Aren’t Always Shutdowns. But this time we’re focusing on deal limits. Specifically, deals often have language like:

  • Limit $200 per month
  • Limit one per customer
  • Limit $50 per transaction
  • Only valid once per month

Never take those limits at face value. For over a month there’s been a profitable play with language similar to the above and the stated limits are actually stated suggestions. Keep in mind that experimenting could net you a few thousand dollars and just take a couple of minutes of your time. Remember ABP: Always Be Probing.

Am I being intentionally obtuse? Unfortunately yes and I apologize for not sharing more on this one right now, but we’ll give a recap at some point in the future to help find similar deals. Good luck!

A store as empty as the direct information in this post.