1. Kroger is selling Marianos, QFC, and Carrs brandnames (and stores) to C&S, the parent company of Piggly Wiggly subject to regulatory approval, and they’re also selling rights to Albertsons branded stores in California, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. This is a double edged sword, but all things being equal as a manufactured spender, I’d rather have:

    – A Kroger instead of Piggly Wiggly
    – A Piggly Wiggly instead of an Albertsons, at least in recent history

    Markets like California and Arizona with both Safeway stores and Albertsons stores will probably get the best of all worlds.
  2. Some airline shopping portals have a sweepstakes running for 25,000 – 100,000 bonus miles, and all that’s required is logging in and clicking a button to enter:

    Alaska MileagePlan shopping
    AA AAdvantage eShopping
    United MileagePlus shopping

    Last round there were two separate winners in the MEAB community, and if someone’s going to win it might as well be one of you who probably won’t redeem 73,500 miles for a one-way to Lubbock a United Express First seat in a CRJ-700.
  3. First class tickets on China Eastern are now bookable with AirFrance / KLM FlyingBlue in addition to the normally available business class award tickets. To find them, you’ll need to choose La Premier class on the award search tool.
  4. The Bank of America Alaska Airlines personal card has a heightened sign-up bonus for 70,000 MileagePlan miles after $3,000 spend in 90 days. The annual fee is $95 and isn’t waived the first year. As with any Bank of America card, if you’re going to go for this offer probably grab some other cards at the same time.

    If you’re an value maximizer absolutist, you may want to wait a few weeks to see if an in-flight offer surfaces for 72,000 miles. I’d give that offer a 50% chance of surfacing; just keep in mind that my crystal ball broke in “The Great Christmas tree debacle of 2018”.
  5. The no annual-fee Chase Ink Unlimited and Ink Cash cards’ 90,000 Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus is back:

    Ink Unlimited
    Ink Cash

    Referrals still pay 40,000 Ultimate Rewards to the referrer and have a sign-up bonus of 75,000 Ultimate Rewards, so if you’re running in two-player mode you’ll probably do better to refer P1 to P2. I’d also wait a week or two before doing so because it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that the referral bonus will also jump to 90,000 Ultimate Rewards (however, see prior crystal ball reference).

The Great Christmas tree debacle of 2018 shatters the near perfect MEAB crystal ball, or something.

Let’s keep it short and sweet for Labor Day.

  1. Office Depot / OfficeMax stores have $15 back on $300 or more in Visa gift card purchases through Saturday. As usual, link your cards to Dosh, check for Chase Offers at Office Depot and then try and scale this slightly differently than normal.

    These are Metabank Pathward gift cards so have a liquidation plan in place.
  2. American Express has a 25% Membership Rewards transfer bonus to AirFrance/KLM FlyingBlue running through September 25. I don’t currently have an Unusng Heroes series for mileage programs, but frankly this one at least deserves an article in the future. In the mean time, a few sweet spots:

    – Delta short haul Economy and First
    – Business class to and from Europe (assuming date flexibility)
    – Europe short haul Business and Economy

    KLM is also an underappreciated airline in Business class. Fortunately, in a move that will surprise only someone with Alzheimers, it turns out that it’s possible to book KLM flights with the AirFrance/KLM FlyingBlue program.
  3. American Express has an offer for $50 back after $200 in airfare at JetBlue. As usual, gamers can game.
  4. Do this now: Register for Discover IT’s 5x merchants for October through December for up to $1,500 in spend. Amazon.com and Target are the, err, targets this year.
  5. Dell is 15x at Rakuten for the Labor Day holiday which means that now is a great time to place several orders that will be cancelled later this week.

Have a nice holiday!

The Dell Verification team cheerfully works the Labor Day holiday.

  1. The Barclays Lufthansa Miles and More credit card sign-up bonus has increased for the second time in a month to 100,000 miles after $3,000 in spend in 90 days. The $89 annual fee is not waived for the first year.

    The main use for this card continues to be to earn Miles and More, err miles, for access to awards that you can’t normally get otherwise like Swiss First. (Thanks to DoC)
  2. British Airways is one of the merchants available on the TopCashBack shopping portal with different rates for short-haul and long-haul. Apparently this has been around sporadically in the past but I just learned of it and I’m intrigued at the gaming possibilities which may or may not exist. Special thanks to Mason for bringing it to my attention.
  3. Do this now (if you live in Washington or if your SkyMiles account lives in Washington): Register for Delta12 status which earns you miles based on the Seattle Seahawks NFL season performance and Main Cabin 1 boarding during the season too.

    It’s strange, but I’ve heard of SkyMiles accounts with addresses that don’t match the address of the owner, probably because they moved and forgot to update the account or something.

Have a nice float into the long weekend!

This guy floated to Washington for Delta12.

  1. The Chase Freedom Flex and Freedom Flex Unlimited cards have a new sign-up bonus:

    – $200 (20,000 Ultimate Rewards) after $500 in spend in three months
    – 5x on gas and grocery up to $12,000 in spend in 12 months

    The offers will stack. These cards are churnable if you’re under 5/24. (Thanks to DoC)
  2. Delta’s shopping portal has a rare bonus for 1,000 bonus SkyMiles with $400 or more in purchases through August 10 which works out to an additional 2.5x on your first $400 in spend through the portal.

    Sadly, Giftcards.com remains absent from airline portals.
  3. Southwest will email you a 50% off of a future flight promotional code if you book two one-ways or one round-trip flight by tomorrow night for travel through the end of September, and of travel on those flights too. A few notes about the promotional code:

    – It’s only good for paid fares
    – There are block outs for holiday travel between Thanksgiving-ish and New Years-ish
    – There are more block outs for travel around MLK day, Valentines Day, and randomly March 3

    Because I’m my own kind of special, I investigated what might cause March 3 to be included in the blackouts. The best I can find is it’s exactly one week before Daylight Savings Time which is peak travel for obvious reasons, so hooray I guess? (Thanks to FM)
  4. American Express has a few transfer bonuses for Membership Rewards through August 31. I’ve rated them on a scale of 1-5 because exactly no-one asked me to:

    – 15% transfer bonus to Avianca LifeMiles (3 stars)
    – 25% transfer bonus to Hilton Honors (2 stars)
    – 30% transfer bonus to Iberia Plus Avios (4 stars)
    – 30% transfer bonus to British Airways Avios (3.8 stars)

    You’ve got to login to see the transfer bonuses, or at least I did.
  5. Chase has a transfer bonus for Ultimate Rewards through September 30. I also rated this one on a scale of 1-5 because I couldn’t help myself:

    – 50% transfer bonus to Marriott Bonvoy (1 star)

    Remember, a Bonvoy point is probably worth 0.40-0.65 cents in general unless you’re trying to sell someone a credit card, especially when you factor that you’re going to be paying resort fees and parking for your free award stay. So, is (0.40 to 0.65) * 1.5 cents interesting for you for an Ultimate Rewards point?

Sure, the Marriott Igloo Valley looks like a bargain at 12,000 Bonvoy Points, but you still pay the $200 resort fee.

  1. Alaska and American’s shopping portals now have spending bonuses to match United and Southwest’s:

    – Alaska: 1,200 bonus miles for $600 or more in spend through August 14
    – AA: 2,000 bonus miles for $700 in or more in spend through August 13

    For AA Loyalty Point hunters, remember that portal bonuses don’t become Loyalty Points but regular spend does, often even when it shouldn’t.
  2. Alaska Airlines has a great promotion for flights between Kona, Hawaii and the continental US with promo code KONABOGO: Buy one, get one free tickets booked by this evening for travel between August 13 and October 31. There are day-of-week requirements but they’re not too onerous. Given Alaska’s route map, this should be extra exciting for best coasters west coasters.

    Word on the street is that the BOGO isn’t actually coding properly in the buyer’s favor, don’t be afraid to experiment.
  3. Alaska also has a 10% off flights to and from other Hawaiian cities using the same promo code, KONABOGO.
  4. American Express Offers has new Delta airfare statement credits:

    – $75 off of $250 or more
    – $150 off of $500 or more

    The absolute simplest way to game these is to book a non-basic economy flight, wait more than 24 hours, then cancel it. You’ll have a flight credit valid for a year, effectively locking the offer in for later. That concludes offer gaming 101. Now, study for 201 and 202.
  5. Everyone seems to be really excited that American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts bookings can now be changed. I guess it’s not unexciting, but personally I think that the true hack this could unlock won’t actually work. Go ahead AmEx, prove me wrong.
  6. In theory American Express has targeted more people at last year’s link for the Personal Gold card with 100,000 Membership Rewards after $4,000 in spend in three months; I haven’t been able to independently confirm this one though. (Thanks to DoC)

Happy Tuesday!

American Express is out there playing 1D chess to outwit our puny 2D chess playing, FHR booking brains.

  1. Walmart has been rolling out new self-checkout software terminals for a little over a year, and now there’s even a new-new self-checkout terminal being rolled out. Each terminal has different uses and what works at one version doesn’t necessarily work at another. Always be probing. (Thanks to Justin)
  2. Southwest has a tiered shopping portal bonus with 2,000 Rapid Rewards points on $500 or more in spend at the top tier. If you could do only one, yesterday’s United portal is almost certainly a better deal. But, why could you do only one?
  3. MGM is getting together with Marriott in a rebound relationship after the Hyatt breakup in an epic love story that’ll be chronicled in Taylor Swift’s new album “From Bad to Worse” (probably).

    All that remains to be seen is how Marriott #bonvoys the relationship. The possibilities are endless, but they’ll certainly fit the “From Bad to Worse” theme.
  4. Costco is doing a thing. These can be quite lucrative but you really better know exactly what you’re doing before you dive in, and don’t forget that you’re also subject to market price fluctuations.
  5. American Express Offers has $250 back on $1,250 or more in airfare with Qatar Airways. It is gameable.

Happy Wednesday!

A sneak peak of “From Bad to Worse” by Taylor Swift, as imagined by Stable Diffusion.

We’ve got a doozy today, and I’ll let you guess which one:

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards card is sending out new mid-July offers which stack with offers sent previously, like those from last week. These offers focus on online purchases for total spend through August 14. We’ve seen:

    – $30 statement credit after $500 or more
    – $50 statement credit after $750 or more
    – $70 statement credit after $1,000 or more
    – 225,000 Shop Your Way Rewards after $750 or more
    – 7,500 ThankYou Points after $750 or more

    I’ve been goaded into referencing a retired NBA star for the next couple of months of Shop Your Way offers, so let’s call this set of offers the “Mark Eaton all-star center” round. (Thanks to MS Ninja, birt, Brooke, irieriley, and flypiggy)
  2. The United Shopping Portal has a tiered spend bonus with 2,500 miles after $600 spend in the top tier. Call me crazy, but it feels like this one pairs well with the Shop Your Way Rewards card.

    Unfortunately Giftcards.com is still absent and it seems like it’s never coming back, also I guess like Mark Eaton. (Thanks to DoC)
  3. The Alaska Airlines shopping portal and the Rakuten shopping portal both have card linked in-store offers for Gamestop. The offers are (in theory) unlimited use, but you have to re-add them to your account after each purchase.

    Last I checked, Gamestop has quite a few uses other than for buying weird Star Wars merch or used, scratched PS4 games. Always be probing.

Happy Monday!

Pictured: NBA all-star center Mark Eaton’s bird form celebrates the SYWR card’s latest deal.

I’ve learned of a super-secret, not-at-all-publicized, private sale called “Prime Day” that’s happening tomorrow and Wednesday at Amazon. If you’re a buyer’s group gamer, this is potentially the World Series of sending stuff to some place in another state that you’ve never heard of, so make sure you’re ready. In the mean time:

  1. Office Depot / OfficeMax stores have $15 off of $300 or more in Visa gift cards through Saturday. To scale:

    – Try for multiple transactions
    – Link your cards to Dosh
    – Buy the “Everywhere” variety for lower fees if you can liquidate them

    It’s still relatively easy to liquidate the $200 variety of cards in store, and there’s always BravoPay to liquidate from home.
  2. Dell is currently 10x at Rakuten and 4x at the AA shopping portal, so get your Business Platinum cancelations in at higher rates.
  3. The Chase Aeroplan Visa card’s sign-up bonus is back to 100,000 Aeroplan points. The bonus is:

    – 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in three months
    – 40,000 additional points after $20,000 spend in the first year

    You can turn this into a $1,250 statement credit via Chase Pay Yourself Back. Just don’t use Pay Yourself Back on points earned outside of the Aeroplan card or you may find your Chase accounts shutdown.
  4. Meijer stores have to good promotions through Saturday. Both are limit one per account:

    – 10,000 MPerks Points with $100 or more in Happy, Choice, or One4All gift cards
    – $10 off of $150 or more in Mastercard gift cards

    Meijer stocks both Pathward and Sunrise gift cards. Now if only it was possible to have more than one email address so you could have more than one MPerks account.
  5. The American Express random number generator is back in full force with a new 170,000 Membership Rewards sign-up bonus on the Business Platinum card at the normal card landing page. To get the offer to appear, you’ve got to have the random number generator roll a 4 on its internal dice, which really means to keep trying with:

    – Incognito or regular browser sessions
    – Clicking the link or pasting it into the browser address bar
    – Different browsers
    – Hitting the application through a search engine
    – While being connected to a VPN

    I consider this application and link to be completely safe. This application has lifetime language, but that doesn’t matter for most purposes; instead just stop if you get a popup telling you that you’re not eligible for a sign-up bonus before submitting the application.

Happy Wednesday!

Pictured: “We Buy MyPFS Deal Buyer Retail Maker” buyer’s group HQ. Totally not sus.