1. The Synchrony Rakuten card (a nearly defunct MEAB Unsung Hero) is being converted to a 2% cashback everywhere Mastercard. This is interesting for at least two reasons:

    – You can cycle Synchrony cards to an extent without being shutdown (unlike the Citi Double Cash for example)
    – Synchrony is offering a $100 statement credit after $1,000 in spend within three months
  2. Do this now: Register for Hyatt’s Q4 promotion for double points on all two night or longer stays between September 15 and December 20, and double elite qualifying nights at several Caribbean all-inclusive resorts. (Thanks to iheartpoints)
  3. HSBC has a $500 new checking account bonus. To get the bonus, you’ll need an aggregate of $10,000 in direct deposits for three months in a row, but with HSBC almost anything counts as a direct deposit so an ACH of $1,000 in and out 10 times is probably enough to trigger it. HSBC will charge fees without a big balance after 6 months, but you can have your bonus and convert or close the checking account long before that takes effect. (For getting “legitimate” looking direct deposits without actually using an employer direct deposit, check out Episode 28 of the Daily Churn Podcast)

    Miles was the first to note that this bonus now has a once per-lifetime language, but my somewhat educated guess is that HSBC doesn’t enforce that.
  4. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard (another MEAB Unsung Hero) has been sending out another round of targeted spend offers through September 14, including:

    – $70 statement credit after $1,000 in spend
    – $70 statement credit after $2,000 in spend
    – 10,000 ThankYou points after $1,2000 in spend

    There seem to be other variations of these too, and on this round some registrations are coming via USPS mail rather than email, so keep an eye on both your mailbox and your inbox.

Happy Wednesday!

Not to be outdone by HSBC, Vantage West brings a compelling checking account offer to the table, literally.

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 giftcards.com 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.

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.

  1. Meijer has $50 off of a future purchase on a $500 third party gift card, limit one per MPerks account (or you can ration this down as $5 for every $50 in gift cards purchased). Noteworthy brand exclusions include Apple and Amazon, but BestBuy, Home Depot, and Nike are all included in the promotion.
  2. Staples has $200 Mastercard gift cards available for no-fee, limit five per transaction through Saturday. These are Metabank gift cards, so have a liquidation plan in place. (Thanks to GC Galore)
  3. The Target $40 online + $40 in-store RedCard sign-up bonus is back. If you’re not sure why this is interesting, see Target RedCard Hacks.

    Current datapoints suggest between 7 and 14 days are required between churning these cards. (Thanks to sb18 via MEAB slack)
  4. Simon.com has 50% off of Visa and Mastercard gift card purchase fees with promo code JUN22HOT50. These are also Metabanks. Side note: if Metabanks were in a race with other gift cards, they’d come in third out of three in their age group.
  5. Reader/maestro Larry often says something like: “Never hold a deposit account at a bank that has credit cards that you care about.” Something innocuous on the deposit account side of the business involving know your customer regulations, loss prevention, or fraud concerns can often lead to eyes on your credit card portfolio, and eyes on your credit card portfolio are rarely a good thing.

    With the above in mind, I’d suggest giving a moment of thought to the following item that everyone seems to be talking about: The new American Express Business checking account that has a relatively measly 20,000 Membership Rewards sign-up bonus after a few hoops and allows Platinum card holders to cash-out Membership Rewards at one cent per point.

    You can probably guess that I don’t think you should go for it. American Express cards are too valuable to risk holding a deposit account with their banking division, and Platinum card holders (and others) can always cash-out at a penny per point even without this checking account.

Metabank gift cards are kind of a big deal, third place (out of three) in the 14-17 year old age division.

  1. The Citi Premier card’s 80,000 points bonus offer is back with a $4,000 spend requirement within three months. The card carries a $95 annual fee, and Citi will typically waive that annual fee after the first year if you call and ask. Remember that it’s possible to double dip this bonus thanks to Citi’s awesome IT infrastructure.
  2. The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s sign-up bonus is 70,000 Ultimate Rewards if you already have a chase.com login, but the public offer is now 60,000 Ultimate Rewards without a login. You may also be able to pair this with a Sapphire Preferred 80,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus in-branch with a Modified Double Dip for a total of 150,000 Ultimate Rewards, but call your local branch ahead of time to see if they can pull up the 80,000 point offer for your account, at this point it’s very ymmv.
  3. The American Express Personal Gold card has a publicly available offer for 100,000 Membership Rewards after $4,000 spend in six months. As always, it’s worth checking to see if earning a referral offer combined with the referral sign-up bonus is better than the public offer. (Thanks to DDG)
  4. Do this now: Register for Hyatt’s summer promotion of 1,000 bonus AA miles on every stay of two nights or more in select cities through August 31. Award stays should work too.
  5. Do this now: Register for Best Western’s summer promotion for a free night certificate after staying two nights before September 4. The certificate expires on February 16 and is valid for only Sunday through Thursday nights, and of course you have to stay at a Best Western, so it’s of dubious overall value.

    Technically the promotion is for AAA members, but there’s no check for AAA membership. (Thanks to Mithridel)
  6. Today is the last day to pay your Q2 2022 estimated taxes. This can be a decent method for cashing out gift cards, or for sign-up bonus spend at a relatively low rate (between 1.85% and 1.97% for credit cards, less for debits). The Frequent Miler has a complete guide.

In case you were wondering what Best Westerns in Texas are like, here’s Kilgore’s, TX property on Monday.

  1. Staples has fee free Visa gift cards for sale starting on Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit five per transaction. As usual, try for back-to-back transactions to minimize your time getting to Staples stores.

    These are Metabank gift cards, and yes, there are ways to liquidate them both online and in-person. (For example, the high fee BravoPay/Famigo.)
  2. Lowe’s has an offer for a free $15 Lowe’s gift card with the purchase of a $200 Visa gift card, delivered via email, running through Wednesday of next week. The “Everywhere” variety of cards are eligible too. To maximize the deal:

    – You can buy multiple cards in a single transaction and still be eligible for the rebate
    – There is a limit of two $15 cards per email address, but you have multiple email addresses, right?
    – Look for a gift card buyer offering at least 86% on small denomination Lowe’s gift cards
    – Be sure to link your cards to your JetBlue ShopTrue account to earn 3x JetBlue miles on the purchase

    These are also Metabanks.
  3. Delta’s AmEx card landing page has some great offers that are now widely targeted (and note that while not always the case, Delta cards are typically eligible for a bonus multiple times with or without no-lifetime language. AmEx will give you a popup letting you know you’re not eligible before your final submit regardless of the language of the offer):

    – Delta Gold Personal 70,000 SkyMiles + $200 statement credit after $2,000 in spend, annual fee waived the first year
    – Delta Platinum Personal 90,000 SkyMiles + $200 statement credit after $3,000 in spend
    – Delta Reserve Personal 80,000 SkyMiles + $200 statement credit after $5,000 in spend
    – Delta Gold Business 75,000 SkyMiles + $200 statement credit after $4,000 in spend, annual fee waived the first year
    – Delta Platinum Business 95,000 SkyMiles + $200 statement credit after $5,000 in spend
    – Delta Reserve Business 85,000 SkyMiles + $200 statement credit after $6,000 in spend

    Note that only spend on the on the Platinum and Reserve flavors counts toward Delta’s spend waiver for elite status. (Thanks to DoC)
  4. Simon Mall has 60% off purchase fees for Visa and Mastercard gift cards of up to $1,000 face value through tomorrow evening. Use promo code JUN22FLASH60.

    Need I say it? Sigh, these are Metabanks. (Thanks to Stephen at FM)
  5. Last year the weekly hotness was an office supply store running a fee-free promotion effectively every week. This year the new hotness is Kroger running a 4x fuel sale on third party gift cards effectively every week, this time through June 21.

    Apparently Kroger is also running a 4x fuel sale for every weekend in June, and in the past magical things happened when a weekend and a weekly fuel points promotion overlapped. My suggestion is that you go experiment this weekend and see what voodoo you can conjure with Kroger fuel points.

Have a nice weekend!

Before Kroger’s IT team coded up their fuel points rewards system they rode this thing, which should explain a lot.

  1. Southwest has a 40% off sale for travel between August 16 and November 5, you must book by tomorrow and use code FALL40 for the discount. A few notes:

    – Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and several International destinations are included in this sale
    – This offer applies to paid fares and points fares (thanks to Dave for the correction)
    – If you’ve already booked travel during that time, consider rebooking
    – Southwest hasn’t made its schedule changes for September and beyond yet (so maybe booking a cheap flight ± two weeks of your actual desired flight is a good idea)

    What’s the catch? You’ll be flying on Southwest.
  2. Vinh at Miles Per Day was able to get a 12th AmEx Charge card. I currently have 11 and lobbed in an application for a Business Gold card which would make 12 total charge cards for me. (Remember, there’s zero downside to applying for AmEx business card because you won’t have a hard pull as an existing cardholder, you won’t have a new card show up on your credit report if you’re approved, and AmEx doesn’t put you in a penalty box if you’re denied.)

    I tried getting a 12th in early May and I was denied instantly, but this time my application went pending which is a good sign. Here are current no-lifetime language (NLL) links in case you want to try your luck too:

    Business Gold: 90,000 Membership Rewards for $10,000 spend plus another 10,000 for $1,000 spend on an employee card
    Business Platinum: 150,000 Membership Rewards for $15,000 spend plus another 10,000 for $1,000 spend on an employee card
  3. Check for a targeted offer from Citi for a spending bonus on your Custom Cash rewards card. This one gives +4x on up to $2,500 in spend at grocery and gas, or for hardware and home improvement. You have to click the link in the email to activate the account.

Happy Wednesday!

American Express’s backend approval standards team designs a futuristic restroom.