1. Walmart is 6x in-store at Rakuten, up from 3x last week. The terms and conditions haven’t otherwise changed but I think the likelihood of cancellation for heavy hitters is higher at 6x than 3x because Rakuten seems to investigate high balance accounts.

    If you’re tech savvy and can isolate your digital footprint well, you can scale with multiple Rakuten accounts.
  2. With the end of the month approaching, don’t forget that you’ve got through Wednesday to:

    – Spend your AmEx Gold $10 dining credits
    – Spend your AmEx Business Platinum $10 wireless credits
    – Spend your Chase GoPuff $10 credits

    In my opinion, Shake Shack gift cards, T-Mobile credits, and in-store pickups are the best way respectively to maximize each of these three credits with a minimum amount of time and breakage.
  3. Staples has fee-free Visa gift cards in-store through Saturday, limit eight per transaction. As usual, try for back-to-back transactions if you’ve got the liquidation capacity to minimize your time spent in a dying, overpriced, one employee per 1,500 square foot, big-box office supply retailer.

    These are Metabank Pathward gift cards so have a liquidation plan ready before you buy enough to stand up as a fifth leg for your desk.
  4. Truist has a $400 personal checking account bonus through July 25 for opening a new account and having two direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more in the first 90 days. When signing up, use promo code TRUISTCHKQ223, and note that DoC says this is state limited; that’s not been my experience with Truist though (in general if you can’t sign up online, pretend you’re Lady Gaga).
  5. There’s a 30% transfer bonus for Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic through June 14. This program has some great sweet spots, but double check availability before transferring anything in. I don’t have any particular inside knowledge but I think a devaluation of this program is near.
  6. Dell is currently at 12x on Rakuten, so it’s a good time to try and cash out your American Express Business Platinum Dell $200 Q1/Q2 credit and have your order cancelled.

Pictured: Dave pretending to be Lady Gaga to get a Truist bonus. Little does he know they’ll lock his account for shenanigans in T-58 days.

  1. Meijer Stores have a promotion for $10 worth of MPerks points with a $75 Happy, Choice, or One4All gift card, limit one per MPerks account.
  2. Rakuten has 3x at Walmart in-store and in theory it’s “unlimited use”, but you do need to re-add the offer to your account an hour after each purchase. Also in theory gift cards are excluded, but, uh, yeah.

    Also, watch out for what is apparently a new trend at Walmart, because reasons. (Thanks to brykupono)
  3. Check your American Express offers for a couple of Marriott offers that should stack and are gamable:

    – $100 off of $300 at US properties
    – $100 off of $500 at North American properties

    Another option is staying at a Marriott and using these organically, but, uh, yeah again.
  4. In addition to last week’s American Express personal Green heightened offer that included a statement credit, referral links are now seeing similar offers and it seems to be widely targeted:

    – Platinum: 150,000 Membership Rewards and a $200 statement credit
    – Gold: 90,000 Membership Rewards and a $200 statement credit
    – Blue Cash Preferred: $400 cash back and a waived annual fee the first year

    Referrers are currently seeing a low of 10,000 Membership Rewards and a high of 35,000 Membership Rewards for referring.

Happy Monday!

Soon to be unleashed at Walmarts across the country. (Thanks to Country_Points)

  1. Public Service Announcement (PSA): There are multiple reports that American Express employee cards are no longer coming pre-activated in the mail, and when you try and use them you get email telling you that they need to be activated. It’s an annoying update, but it doesn’t change the calculus of employee card offers for me at all. (Thanks to Jimmy 🐐)
  2. Public Service Announcement (PSA): If you want to book a Choice hotel for someone else, you can add notes to the reservation online which seems to appease front desk agents. I’d suggest something like “Additional guest NAME allowed to check-in for this reservation”. (Thanks to Jim for the tip)

    While we’re talking about Choice, I’m going to mini-rant about their new credit cards issued by Wells Fargo that people keep talking about for some reason. I think they’re crap, specifically because the Citi Premier card:

    – Transfers to the Choice program at 1 ThankYou Point to 2 Choice points
    – Bonuses at a higher rate (3x TYP or 6x Choice points) in nearly all the categories that the Choice cards bonus in
    – Earns a flexible currency
    – Can be paid over the phone with a debit card
    – Has a higher sign-up bonus
    – Is also a Mastercard

    Just get a Premier instead, or two spread 8 days apart.
  3. Walmart has 1% cash-back, or 1x Membership Rewards, via Rakuten’s card-linked in-store program and in theory it’s “Unlimited Use” (their words). You’ve got to re-add the offer an hour after each time you use it so double check timing if you’re on a run.

    In completely, totally unrelated news, Walmart sells gift cards.
  4. Bilt will have a 100% transfer bonus to AirFrance / KLM FlyingBlue on “rent day”, also known by the rest of the world as “May 1”. I know you didn’t ask, but in my opinion this is a screaming deal for business class flights to and from Europe. It’s also a screaming deal for economy flights, but the screaming is for a different reason. (“Row 39? I didn’t know business class went back that far!)

Final PSA: These aren’t Peeps, don’t be confused.

  1. Lowe’s has a free $15 Lowe’s egift card with a $200 Visa gift card purchase in-store for purchases through Wednesday. The egift card redemption has a limit of two per email address, but it turns out that it’s possible to have more than one email address, or to make one email address look like more than one email address.

    These are Metabank Pathward gift cards, so have a liquidation plan in place. (Up to $480 at a time should be ok in most channels.)
  2. Staples has fee free $200 Mastercards starting Sunday and running through Saturday of next week, limit eight per transaction.

    These are Metabank Pathward gift cards, so have a liquidation plan in place. (Up to $480 at a time should be ok in most channels.)
  3. Kroger online is selling $100 gift cards with 5% off using promo code SPRING23 through May 2. This one is interesting because it’ll currently earn 4x fuel points which easily makes this a negative cost deal if you fill up your tank at a Kroger at least once.

    These are Metabank Pathward gift cards, so have a liquidation plan in place. J/k, j/k, they’re actually US Bank cards and much easier to deal with. (Thanks to GCG)
  4. Citi has a card linked offer for $30 off of $150 or more at Hawaiian Airlines and it may appear on multiple cards. This one is exceptionally easy to game, trust me. (Thanks to DoC)
  5. United has wide open availability in business class on all of its flights using United’s miles or partner miles (except flights to Tokyo randomly) between March 14 and March 19, 2024 as of this writing. Book now, make sure the fare is refundable, think later. (Thanks to DansDeals)

United’s full calendar business class availability if it were a bicycle lane.

  1. Do this now: Register for Hilton’s latest promotion for 4,000 bonus points per stay at resorts and 2,000 bonus points at other properties.
  2. The Bank of America AirFrance / KLM Mastercard has a new sign-up bonus for 70,000 FlyingBlue miles and 100 XP (enough for Silver status) after $2,000 in spend in 90 days. There’s a report that a dummy booking while logged out shows the same offer with a $100 statement credit too though I wasn’t able to reproduce it.
  3. Bilt has a new card linked dining program available for anyone with or without a Bilt card. It’s currently only available in several major US Cities and it runs on a different network than other dining programs, so it’ll probably double pay for restaurants if they participate in multiple programs. My advice: link the credit cards you use most for dining in the Bilt mobile app, then forget about it, move on, and be pleasantly surprised if points show up in your account.

What you get when you choose your restaurants based on whether they’re linked to a dining rewards program.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards card has been sending a new rounds of targeted offers on both Friday and Saturday, and the offers stack with each other and with last month’s offers too. We’ve seen:

    – $50 back on $750 in online spend by May 14 (me)
    – $75 back on $1,000 in online spend by May 14 (Tyler)
    – 275,000 points for $1,000 in online spend by May 14 (Zach)
    – 10% back in on gas, grocery, and restaurants for between $700 and $800 in spend once a month for the next three months (multiple)

    Now if only there were a way to spend at an online grocery, restaurant, or gas station (oh wait, there is.)
  2. Do this now: Register for Aeroplan’s promotion for 2,000 extra points in economy or 4,000 extra points in premium economy or business class for paid flights between the US and Canada through May 2. To qualify, you must fly a round-trip or two-one ways.
  3. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has an increased sign-up bonus of 70,000 Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in spend in three months Increased CSR offer. You can combine this with an 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Sapphire Preferred bonus through a referral after another $4,000 in spend in three months using the Modified Double Dip for a total of 150,000 Ultimate Rewards. (Thanks to Neil)
  4. US Bank has a new $500 Business Checking bonus through April 23 using promo code Q1AFL23. US Bank bonuses can be opened fully online in certain cases, and it’s nicely spelled out how by this comment at DoC. Always be probing.
  5. The world has gone nuts for Apple’s 4.15% interest rate high yield savings account for up to $250,000. Yes, that’s a great rate, but let this serve as a gentile reminder we can do better and still be FDIC, NCUA, or SPIC insured.
  6. Xfinity Rewards is offering existing Xfinity Mobile customers a $100 Visa debit card for porting in a new phone number and keeping the service for 12-14 weeks, and if you’re on the “By the Gig” plan, the incremental cost of five new lines is just a few dollars in taxes. You can do this up to five times for five debit cards with the current promotion.

    In completely random, unrelated news Best Buy is having a sale.

Xfinity’s mobile service, advertised versus reality.

  1. SoFi has a $600 bonus for taking out a personal loan. You can pay these off quickly and if you’re swanky you can probably churn them too. Referrals are a thing with SoFi loans but the referral is split at $300 for the referrer and $300 for the referred (which may still be a good deal based on the 1099-MISC language in the bonus terms and conditions). (Thanks to DoC)
  2. Do this now: Register for Best Western’s Q2 promo, 2,000 bonus points per award stay through September 4. Do this later: Cry if your best option was a Best Western.
  3. Simon’s online bulk site has 35% off of Visa and Mastercard purchase fees with promo code APR23FLASH35 through April 16. Most of these are Pathward gift cards so have a liquidation plan in place before you go as big on these as the atmospheric rivers went on Northern California.
  4. FQF reminds us about how Just4U rewards from Albertsons/Safeway/Vons stores can be redeemed for Alaska Airlines miles when you set your preferred store location to one in Alaska.

A travel hacker preparing for going big on Pathward by going big on their lawn.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard, an original MEAB Unsung Hero, now allows for points redemption to Visa e-gift cards at the same redemption rate as other gift cards, making this the new best points cash-out option and making the card even more valuable.
  2. Lowe’s has an in-store promotion for a $15 Lowe’s gift card with the purchase of a $200 Mastercard gift card. The Mastercards are Pathward and have an activation fee of $5.95 to $7.95 depending on the variety, and the resale rates on the Lowe’s card are between 82% and 84% making this a profitable deal without considering credit card rewards.

    There’s a limit of two per $15 Lowe’s cards per email address, but someone told me it’s possible to get more than one email address. I know, sounds weird right?
  3. Fake Points Travel Blogger notes that the Bilt credit card company (Bilt Technologies, Inc) is suing another company also named Bilt (technically BILT, Inc) over trademark infringement for a mobile app that’s existed longer than credit card company, and that lawsuit spawned a counter-suit. Also revealed in court filings is that since its inception, the credit card Bilt has made a total of $41.4 million in revenue through January of this year.

    The action item on this one? Start thinking up new names for the Bilt rewards program and share them around your circles. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.
  4. Reader Kevin was the first to let me know that there’s good (?) news to go along with yesterday’s bad news that Walmart has $3.74 load fees BlueBird cards: You can now load BlueBird cards at Family Dollar fee-free, just like with Serve cards.
  5. You’d better sit down for this, because I think you’re going to be blown away, err, wait. The opposite actually:

    Staples will be selling fee free $200 Visa gift cards in-store starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit eight per transaction. As usual, try for multiple transactions back-to-back to minimize the time spent in a 12,000 square foot store manned by two employees, one of whom is in the back room watching TikTok.
  6. American Express’s Delta co-brand cards have increased sign up bonuses:

    Personal Gold: 75,000 SkyMiles after $2,000 spend in six months
    – Personal Platinum: 75,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQM after $5,000 spend in six months
    – Personal Reserve: 100,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQM after $5,000 spend in six months

    AmEx used their random number generator with these offers so if you don’t see them, switch browsers, go incognito, connect to a VPN, try mobile, yell at Richard Kerr between lawsuits, or something similar until you do see them. (Thanks to rep-swe)

Have a nice weekend!

The real surprise isn’t Staples, it’s what’s at the bottom of the slide.