Churning and manufactured spend opportunities go away all the time; just this month we’ve seen:

That list isn’t comprehensive either, other deals have been lost in July too. Fortunately July has also brought a hand-full of old deals back from the dead, including some hinted at just yesterday, the week before, or a few weeks ago. What’s the lesson here? Deals often don’t stay dead. When it’s time to get out there and probe, spend a bit of time looking for deals that want to attack Brad Pitt. They’re out there, and they’re often very fruitful.

A Walmart employee prepares to attack Brad Pitt.

A thought to start your Tuesday: Sometimes this hobby is slow, but based on my experience it’s definitely not slow right now. If it feels slow to you, use the time to get out there and start probing. Keep building your network too; fellow churners and manufactured spenders probably have a few tools that you haven’t used yet. Anyhooldes:

  1. The Point debit card refunded annual fees on a pro-rated basis and announced the existing version of the card would be shutdown on September 23. They also announced that existing members will get a free year of PointCard Titan when it launches later this year. A few action items:

    – If you have a Point card, cash-out your balance sooner rather than later
    – If you don’t have a Point card, I’d try and get one now in case the free year of Titan is worthwhile [Update: Point seems to have pulled the application link]

    I earned over $10,000 in cash back with the Point card, most in the first half of 2021 after launch. I also got quite a bit of no-fee manufactured spend in the first half of 2021. Based on those two experiences I’m hopeful that the new Titan card will present a few nice opportunities. (Thanks to Nathan via MEAB slack)
  2. Alaska and AA’s shopping portals have a spend bonus like last week’s Southwest and United portal bonuses:

    Alaska: 1,200 bonus miles after $600 in spend
    AA: 2,000 bonus miles after $600 in spend

    A manufactured spending hall of fame payment processor is still running some cards in a favorable way.
  3. Clear is running a $75 Uber credit promotion for new accounts. If you still have an unused American Express Platinum $189 Clear credit or two, sign up for an account with new information to cash-out that credit. So far, none of the Clear promotions like this have needed a complete enrollment at the airport in order to pay out.

    Remember, if you don’t cash-out every one of those Clear credits, the terrorists win. (Thanks to FM)
  4. According to DoC, more people have been targeted for an American Express Business Gold or Green upgrade offer to the Business Platinum for 140,000 Membership Rewards after spending $10,000 in three months. To see if you’re targeted, login to AmEx, set a Business Green or Gold card as your default card, then click ‘Request an Upgrade’ at this link.
  5. In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, starting tomorrow and running through Tuesday, August 9th, Kroger is having another 4x fuel points promotion on third party gift cards.

A probing tool recommended by my network (In retrospect, I should have been more specific).

First, a quick tip: If you’re having issues with AmEx SafeKey, try another browser. With that out of the way, it’s an interesting Monday:

  1. Office Depot/Office Max has an offer for $15 back on $300 or more in Visa gift card purchases through Saturday. The drill:

    – Register your credit cards with Dosh, one Dosh account per card for 2% back up to $10 per day
    – Try for multiple transactions back-to-back to maximize your time
    – The “Everywhere” variety of cards doesn’t actually work everywhere, but they’re cheaper and they work at some of Everywhere
    – Combine with a targeted Chase offer for 10% back

    These are Metabanks so have a liquidation strategy, and do note that while Metabank liquidation channels have gotten better lately, that’s largely a Mastercard phenomenon. (Thanks to XscapeVelocity)
  2. Meijer MPerks has a $50 future store credit back on $500 in third party gift cards running through August 13. 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, several of which currently have bulk resale rates well above 90%. Scale this one with multiple MPerks accounts. (Thanks to GC Galore)
  3. Capital One has confirmed to me that the Business Spark Travel Elite credit card won’t report on credit reports, so it won’t affect Chase 5/24 status.

Nailing that Monday triple.

  1. There are shopping portal spend bonuses at Southwest and United, and currently shows up on both. Coincidentally some types gift cards are again easy to liquidate at an old favorite payment processor with the right type of target.

    Southwest: 2,000 bonus miles after spending $550 or more plus 2x per dollar
    United: 2,500 bonus miles after spending $600 or more plus 2x per dollar

    Likely Alaska’s portal and AA’s portal will add similar back-to-school bonuses shortly, so keep an eye out.
  2. Chase is now giving out retention offers on even more co-brand cards. We’ve recently seen:

    Hyatt $95 statement credit
    – Sapphire Preferred $100 statement credit
    – Sapphire Reserve $200 statement credit
    – Marriott Premier Plus: $100 statement credit
    – United MileagePlus Explorer: $50 statement credit

    It’s probably worth calling Chase when you’ve got a minute and saying something like: “I’m considering canceling my Chase Credit Card Type, and I’m wondering if there’s any spend bonus or retention offer available?” (Thanks to Sharky’s reports via MEAB slack)
  3. Kroger will do something this weekend that they’ve done every single weekend for the last month-and-a-half, and frankly I’m surprised they keep doing it: 4x fuel points on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercard gift cards, Friday – Sunday.

    The continued Kroger fuel points promos have effectively killed most of the major buyers’ capacities for the first time in a very long time. I don’t expect much traction this weekend, and if you want to take advantage of the deal you may find that selling fuel points on ebay is your best bet, which is almost never the case in the normal, right-side-up world. (Thanks to GC Galore)

Cheering for the Tuesday Triple.

There’s a lot going on this week:

  1. Staples has fee free Mastercard gift cards running through Saturday, limit five $200 cards per transaction. They’re Metabanks, so there’s that. (Thanks to DoC)
  2. Citi ThankYou Points is running a 20% off redemption offer on Happy Treats gift cards through July 31. If you want to do a bit of legwork at a Gamestop and convert them to another gift card, you can get an increased redemption rate over the standard one cent per point:

    – Steam: Resell at 90%, netting you 1.125 cents per point
    – Vanilla Visa: After a $5.95 activation fee and ~$1.00 liquidation fee you’ll net 1.163 cents per point

    (Thanks to GC Galore)
  3. AmEx Resy increased card offers are back. The base Membership Rewards bonus must be met in six months.

    Platinum: 125,000 Membership Rewards after $6,000 in spend + 10x at restaurants up to $25,000 in spend for six months
    Gold: 75,000 Membership Rewards after $4,000 in spend + 20% back at restaurants up to $1,250 in spend for 12 months
    Blue Cash: $200 statement credit after $2,000 in spend + 10% back at restaurants up to $1,500 in spend for six months

    Manufactured restaurant spend is actually not as hard as you may think. PayPal and Venmo don’t always code quite the way you’d expect, for example.
  4. The AmEx no-lifetime language links that have been floating around since the beginning of the year have targeted more people in the last week. The links:

    Business Gold: 90,000 Membership Rewards after $10,000 in spend in three months, plus 10,000 additional points for adding an employee card and spending $1,000 in three months
    Business Platinum: 150,000 Membership Rewards after $15,000 in spend in three months, plus 10,000 additional points for adding an employee card and spending $1,000 in three months
    Business Platinum (alternate): 150,000 Membership Rewards after $15,000 in spend in three months

    (Thanks to iheartpoints via MEAB slack)
  5. Do this now: Register for ANA’s 1.5x points promotion on paid international flights in 2022. UPDATE: RabbMD points out that registration isn’t actually required, it’s automatic.

Have a nice Monday!

Maybe you could exchange a Happy Treats card for this, uh, treat if Gamestop doesn’t work out.

There have been a few significant developments in manufactured spend over the last week or so, and I think a quick summary is in order:

  1. Speedway is temporarily awarding 500 points per card on certain Visa gift card purchases, both advertised and unadvertised brands.
  2. Another Metabank liquidation channel vaporizes: the Play+ card stopped taking Metabank Mastercard gift cards last week, and Metabank Visa gift cards the week before.
  3. There have been sporadic reports trickling in for about a week that several US Bank gift cards compatible with paying Citi cards over the phone have stopped, well being compatible with paying Citi cards over the phone. It appears that this issue affects cards with an earlier expiration, so all is not lost.

There are still plenty of techniques out there, always be probing.

Look, I’m not going to say that all probing is good. Props to Henton’s for exploring what meals could be, but I’d chalk this one up as a failure.

Watch for a barrage of promotions over the holiday weekend, especially for the gift card resale markets. In the mean time, there are a few interesting promotions to kick off the weekend:

  1. Starting today and running through July 15, the OnJuno debit card has 10% cash back on spend of up to $1,000 provided that’ve set your spending source to USDC. Effectively any manufactured spend should work to meet this promotion.
  2. Many Hilton free night certificates are expiring today thanks to past COVID extension policies. Some customer service representatives will extend these for you, and I have multiple reports of successful reinstatement and extension of the certificates if you call the day of expiration and ask to use them.

    You may have to try a couple of different times to get a representative who knows how to extend though, and you shouldn’t sleep on this if you’re affected because it’s not likely to work after today.
  3. Yun was the first to let me know that the Upgrade rewards debit card has a new referral bonus program of $100 for the referrer and referred after three debit card transactions within 60 days. Upgrade’s debit card pays:

    – 2% at drug stores, gas, subscriptions, restaurants, and utilities
    – 1% everywhere else (including PIN transactions)

    Nearside’s 2.2% cash back debit card is currently more interesting, but at the end of 2022 their rewards rate will also be 1% so it may be worth grabbing a $100 sign-up bonus from Upgrade in anticipation of that if you’re in the rewards debit game.
  4. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard, a MEAB Unsung Hero, has a new targeted offer for 15% back in statement credits on gas, grocery, and restaurant spend up to $90 for each month between July and September. (I got and maximized the same offer for April through June too.)

    Check your inbox for email with the subject: “[NAME], activate your limited-time statement credits offer now”

Finally, I’m going to be like a normal blogger for a second and vent about something that none of you care about and isn’t related to the site’s mission — sorry in advance: The Crown City Classic is a 7.4 mile race for July 4 (7/4), and it’s something that P2 and I have participated in for years. This year though, they moved it to July 2 because reasons, and we didn’t figure that out until a week ago after our travel was already booked. Why do I bring it up? Always double check dates for events that you’re traveling to. I wish I had.

Have a nice holiday weekend!

The Crown City Classic race organizers trying to figure out exactly when 7/4 is.

Gift cards come in two varieties, roughly speaking:

  • Closed loop, which can be used only at one or a small hand-full of stores, for example:
  • Open loop, which can be used at essentially any US store that takes a credit card:

One of the least talked about unicorn factories in manufactured spend is a store that will let you convert a closed loop gift card to an open loop gift card, and even better if the closed loop gift card can often be bought at a discount. Some now-defunct examples from the past:

Unfortunately, now there’s another we can add to the list: Bed, Bath, and Beyond. First reported a couple of months ago by Stephen at GC Galore and now confirmed by multiple reports nationwide, Bed, Bath, and Beyond has removed all third party gift cards from their stores. BB&B gift cards can often be found for a 20%+ discount, so this is a big hit for a technique that’s been working for over a decade.

Not all hope is lost though, unicorn stores still exist. Maybe next time you’ve got a Happy Card or a random third party gift card, try and buy another gift card with it and see what happens. Good luck!

Ok, so technically Sears may still be working, but first you have to find a Sears that doesn’t look like this.