1. Several shopping portals have Father’s Day spend promotions, most of which are new:

    Alaska MileagePlan: 500 bonus miles after $200+ spend through June 14
    United MileagePlus: 1,000 bonus miles after $400+ spend through June 16
    AA AAdvantage: 500 bonus miles after $200+ spend through June 17
    Southwest Rapid Rewards: 1,000 bonus miles after $100+ spend through June 18

    You can hit them all with giftcards.com, but be careful with back-to-back orders for the same product type because they’ll require a urine sample for order verification, then deny you anyway; instead space them out by 24 hours.
  2. Southwest has two promotions:

    Discounted fares on some flights booked by Wednesday for travel between August 6 and December 18 using promo code BDAY, but on the mobile app only. In my searches, discounted fares were found on most days, but often only on early morning or late night flights
    A daily sweepstakes through Sunday for bonus miles, it’s probably barely worth your time because there are about 129,000 total winners over the week so the probability of winning is measurable without too many decimal points

    Side note: Southwest is going to try and make noise on major blogs for the entire week; if you’re looking for a drinking game, throw one back each time you find a Southwest article with more than 1,000 words that doesn’t really manage to say anything new.

Happy Tuesday!

A portion of the Giftcards.com fraud team’s checklist.

  1. US Bank Double Cash Back days runs Wednesday through Friday on both its cash back portal and card linked offers. You can get to both on most personal cards by:

    – Logging in to US Bank
    – Clicking on your credit card from the dashboard
    – Clicking “Go to rewards & benefits”
    – Clicking “Rewards center”, which may be hidden behind “…”
    – Click “Shop now” for the portal or “See my cash-back deals” for card linked offers

    You can also try this link, but it’s very ymmv. Also because it’s US Bank and the computer is a mainframe operated by a drinking bird, the card linked offers may lead to a blank page especially for Altitude Reserve cards.
  2. American Express Offers has a card linked offer for $100 off of $400 or more in front desk gift card purchases purchases at the Unbound Collection by September 15. Gamers that can’t get to a front desk for a gift card purchase often find ways to make this work anyway.

    There’s also an offer for $75 off of $350 or more at Avis or Budget.
  3. The Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, and other grocery chains’ Just4U rewards program had a great stack this weekend, and most of it is still working for a very good stack for another week and change:

    $15 off of $75 in select gift cards including PlayStation Store through June 18
    – 10x points on PlayStation Store through June 18
    – 4x points on all gift card purchases Saturday and Sunday

    These deals all conspired to award 12x points plus $15 in groceries with a purchase $75 or more in PlayStation Store gift cards, because the weekend promotion is over the same deal will now will earn 10x points + $15 in groceries. PlayStation cards should fetch at least 81% in resale value for bulk buyers, so if your buyer is paying less, look for another one.

    Why is this on MEAB, a site whose mission silently includes never talking about discount groceries or electronics? Well: (1) manufactured spend, (2) this is a backdoor to buying Alaska miles.

US Bank’s rewards portal technical operator in action.

It’s a roller coaster today friends.

  1. Cardless has launched its co-branded Avianca Lifemiles cards. Both are third party American Express cards which are typically interesting in their own rite, and both give you Star Alliance Silver which isn’t even good for a free checked bag. Both Elite also gives you a complimentary Lifemiles+ Lite subscription which gets you a 10% rebate on award bookings. The cards:

    – 40,000 miles after $3,000 spend in 90 days
    – 2x on groceries and restaurants
    – $99 annual fee

    Lifemiles Elite:
    – 60,000 miles after $4,500 spend in 90 days
    – 40,000 more miles after another $20,500 spend in the first year
    – 2x on groceries on restaurants (with a negligible bonus at times)
    – $249 annual fee

    Unless you have special American Express shenanigans, both of these cards should probably be a pass. Just get an American Express, Capital One, or Citi card with better benefits and earning potential that can transfer to Lifemiles instead.
  2. Chase has targeted mailers and in-branch business bank offers for 120,000 Ultimate Rewards on the Chase Ink Unlimited card. Typically these targeted mailers and in-branch offers bypass 5/24 and work up to 8/24.

    Side note for those of you who don’t concern yourselves with social constructs like account longevity: You can also often buy mailers on ebay.
  3. Southwest has a companion pass promotion that’s a little too specific:

    Register for the promotion
    – Book two one-ways or one trip by tomorrow night, but they can’t be 100% points bookings
    – Travel to and from Hawaii in June or July
    – Earn a companion pass valid from October 5 to November 15

    Existing bookings don’t count, and the companion pass travel period is rather lame too. In other Southwest news, yes you can find Southwest on Google Flights now, and yes every blogger out there will right no fewer than one articles about it, even though if you’re a regular Google Flights user you’d discover it yourself really quickly. Hooray for capitalism right?
  4. Giftcards.com is currently 2.5x on the AA shopping portal, and 2x on other major airline portals.

    These are Pathward gift cards.

A MEAB reader prepares for today’s post; picture snapped before disappointment set in.

Buying gift cards through giftcards.com is a favorite past time for manufactured spenders, especially because it’s an easy way to hit portal spending bonuses. Things have been going swimmingly for me with the site since portal terms and conditions were updated in November 2022 to allow for cash-back on up to $2,000 per order, rather than the prior $2,000 in aggregate per month; or at least they had been going swimmingly until April 11.

On April 12, orders stopped tracking across all portals for a majority of manufactured spenders that used the site regularly. For others though, everything continued to track and the difference wasn’t clear. As far as I can tell, two things happened on that day:

  • Giftcards.com implemented new anti-bot measures, usually manifesting as a puzzle slider
  • They built an internal “cash-back ban list” and put big users on it

Since I pretend to be a scientist, I spent a few weeks trying to decide what exactly had been banned by placing dozens of orders through different portals, each changing some combination of personal information, technology, and credit cards. The result was they seem to have banned users by:

  • device (cookies and browser fingerprint)
  • ip

Changing one of these things wasn’t sufficient to fix tracking, but changing both of them was. So, if you’re having issues with order tracking on giftcards.com, find your way to a new IP and device profile. Your email accounts, name, addresses, and other personal information doesn’t seem to matter.

Happy weekend friends!

Next up: How to ensure that 21 pounds of onions for $7 will post correctly at Meijer.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards card, the no-annual fee relic from the Sears era, has sent new, beginning of the month targeted spend offers. We’ve seen:

    – $250 back on $1,200 or more in home improvement purchases once a month through July
    – 5% back on up to $2,000 spend per month on travel and entertainment through the December

    I used to consider this card an Unsung Hero, but it’s time to call it just a Sung Hero, I guess? (Thanks to Grayo and birt)
  2. Do this now (if you hold a Chase Sapphire card): Register for targeted bonus Ultimate Rewards points for booking through the Chase travel portal.
  3. There several new transfer bonuses:

    Chase Ultimate Rewards 30% bonus to Virgin Atlantic through June 15
    Chase Ultimate Rewards 40% bonus to Marriott Bonvoy through June 15 (still a poor deal most of the time)
    AmEx Membership Rewards 20% bonus to Aeromexico through May 31 (can be a good deal, mostly for economy)
    Qatar Avios 30% bonus when transferring from Citi ThankYou Points through May 31

  4. United has devalued partner business class awards in Europe and Asia, with award redemption costs increasing between 33% and 200% depending on carrier and route.

    As I said last week, at this point it basically never makes sense to earn a United mile directly because AmEx’s 35% points rebate and Chase’s 1.5 cents per point travel will often beat the award redemption cost on United, and you’ll earn miles for those flights too because they’re technically not award tickets. Most of the time you should probably focus your spend elsewhere and transfer in flexible currencies only if it makes immediate sense.
  5. There are two new shopping portal bonuses:

    – Delta SkyMiles: 500 bonus miles for $100 or more in spend through May 3
    – Alaska MileagePlan: 1,000 bonus miles for $400 or more in spend through May 8

    Giftcards.com is present on both, though as of April 12 tracking for that store has been the shopping portal equivalent of mail order furniture: Sometimes more intervention than you’d hope for is required.
  6. The personal version of the Barclays Hawaiian Airlines credit card has an increased sign-up bonus of 70,000 miles after $2,000 spend in 90 days. The bonus amount matches the now defunct business card offer, but that one only needed a single purchase. You can have both, but Hawaiian miles are of dubious value unless you’ve got a specific use case in mind. (Thanks to HMBC)

There’s a workaround for mail order furniture that you don’t want to assemble. Who wants to share the shopping portal equivalent?

  1. Do this now: Register for an extra bonus for the upcoming Qatar Airways Visa card issued by Cardless. If you register before card-launch and get the card when it launches, you’ll get 5,000 or 10,000 additional bonus Avios after meeting the sign-up bonus, depending on which card you apply for.
  2. The AA eShopping portal has been offering 1.5 miles per dollar at GiftCards.com since last Friday. I haven’t written about it because I keep expecting it to drop like a secret Taylor Swift track, but here we are, six days later and no changes.

    As a reminder, you can order $2,000 in eGift cards per account per rolling 48 hours, and $2,000 in physical gift cards per account per rolling 24 hours.
  3. There’s news about Hilton’s partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World, which was announced in February and is now nearing its initial integration. The highlights:

    – The maximum point rate for award nights at SLH properties will be 150,000 points
    – Fifth night free bookings will work at SLH properties
    – Free night certificates will work at SLH properties
    – Bookings will be available this summer

    It’s interesting news today because it might affect your plans for earning free night certificates immediately, it definitely affected mine.

Happy Thursday friends!

A preview of the rock solid integration between SLH and Hilton.

  1. Chase Pay Yourself Back categories for Q2 for the Sapphire Reserve are:

    – Wholesale clubs
    – Pet supply
    – Gas stations
    – Annual fee

    We lost grocery stores, but gas stations and wholesale clubs both typically sell gift cards.
  2. The Alaska MileagePlan shopping portal has an offer for $500 bonus miles after $100 spend by April 8.

    Giftcards.com remains available through the shopping portal, and there are still ways to liquidate these both online and in person.
  3. Do this now: Check for targeted Q2 spending offers on Chase cards for 5x on up to $1,000 spend at grocery, gas, and home improvement stores, all of which sell gift cards. Cards with less valuable currencies like the IHG card have slightly higher multipliers like 8x.
  4. If you have a Chase United card, check for a targeted Rewards Your Way spend bonus. Reported offers include your choice of bonus PQP or 24,000-36,000 miles for $10,000-$20,000 in spend. (Thanks to BrianInMD)
  5. The Barclays Aviator Red AA card has an increased referral sign-up bonus of 70,000 miles for the referred after a single purchase, and another 10,000 miles for the referrer. The $99 annual fee is not waived for the first year.

Yes friends, there was no April Fool’s Day fake post yesterday because at MEAB, every day is fool’s day (?).

If you follow churning blogs or forums, you’ve no doubt seen that US Bank has double cash back rewards running through Saturday. But, I think based on the content out there, most of the major content creators haven’t actually used it, so let’s add some practical notes:

  1. There are multiple aspects of the double cash back promotion. Not only are card-linked offers doubled for the next three days (which is the only thing I’ve seen written), but the US Bank shopping portal’s earnings are also doubled for the next three days.
  2. It can be really hard to find US Bank rewards landing pages. So, I’ve linked to both variations, just make sure you login to your US Bank account first before trying these links:

    US Bank rewards hub (login to your US bank account first)
    US Bank card linked offers page (login to your US Bank account first)
    US Bank shopping portal (login to your US Bank account first)

    Did you even know US Bank had a shopping portal, and that it earns points on point earning cards? Did you know that Lubbock is considered the one of the world’s capitals for burrowing owls? Did you know that owls can even burrow in the ground? (Wow, we’re off track today, my bad)
  3. The card linked offers are their own kind of special:

    – You have to add card-linked versions of the offer during the promotion or they won’t double
    – They work for any personal card on your account, and maybe for any business card too
    – Grocery stores occasionally show up
    – Gaming works like Chase Offers or BankAmeriDeals
    – The card-linked portal often just shows a spinner, and when that happens, try later (I don’t have a better solution, but if you do, please let me know)

This promotion is actually much more lucrative than you’d probably think. Always be probing, and good luck!

Mr. burrowing owl is shocked that content creators aren’t always experts when they write on a topic.