NOTE: I’ll be going on a blogging vacation between December 18 and 31, during which there may or may not be any posts. But, we’ll ring in the new year on January 1, 2024 with the 2023 version of Travel Hacking as Told by GIFs though, so no need to be up in arms. What’s this “may”, you ask? I’m soliciting for guest posts and I’ll use those during the regularly scheduled newsletter. They should be non-sponsored, non-promotional, non-political, and at least travel hacking or churning adjacent. Please reach out to me if you’re interested, it’ll be the third easiest gig you’ve ever gotten!

  1. Do this now: Register for Hilton’s Q1 promotion for 2,000 bonus points per stay, or 2,500 points if you request a digital key on the stay. Valid for stays between January 1, 2024 and May 1, 2024.
  2. Do this now (if you hold an American Express Bonvoy Brilliant card): Register for a targeted 85,000 point free night certificate after $4,000 in spend by March 15, 2024. (Thanks to The_Sultan1)
  3. Staples in-store has fee free Visa $200 gift cards starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit five per transaction according to the current ad.

    These are Pathward gift cards. Yes, there are still working in-person liquidation methods and there are still pajama liquidation methods too, but on average fees are going up, either directly or because the opportunity cost of locking up funds for a few months is increasing with interest rates.
  4. American Express offers has $150 back on $1,000 or more in Air Canada airfare through. (Thanks to Parts_Unknown-)
  5. Holding the Chase Aeroplan card gives you a 10% transfer bonus when converting Ultimate Rewards to Aeroplan miles. That bonus was supposed to be temporary for this year’s launch of the card, but FM reports that it’s now apparently permanent. This bonus stacks with occasional temporary transfer bonuses too.

    The permanent transfer bonus combined with Aeroplan’s partner availability and the ability to earn 3x at grocery stores makes me ready to kick a 5/24 slot in the teeth to get this card.
  6. The Chase Marriott Boundless card has a new link with a heightened sign-up bonus for five 50,000 point free night certificates after $5,000 spend in three months. The $95 annual fee is not waived for the first year.

    It’s no secret that I’m a Bonvoy hater, but this offer is almost good enough for me to care — but not quite enough because it would also kick a 5/24 slot in the teeth, and the Aeroplan card holds more long term value for my use case so that’s a tooth two far. (Thanks to DDG)

The sixth easiest gig you’ve ever gotten.

Today’s items are all gamable to an extent. I’ve rated them on a Jim scale of 0 to 37 in terms of ease of gaming because reasons.

  1. The American Express Bonvoy Brilliant card has a targeted offer for +10 points per dollar on $750 in spend at grocery stores through the end of the year. Unfortunately the regular spend rate for grocery is only 2x, but even in Marriott Bonvoy land 2x+10x = 12x.

    Gamability: 30 (Thanks to Miles)
  2. American Express also has a card linked offer for 17,500 Membership Rewards on $1,000 or more in ITA Airways airfare through December 31.

    Gamability: 18 (Thanks to irieriley)
  3. SoFi has 17,500 Membership Rewards or $175 back through the Rakuten portal or $200 through Swagbucks for opening a new checking and savings account, depositing $500 and keeping it there for 45 days. The T&C suggest that this only works if you’ve never had a SoFi bank account. It also stacks with a $250 bonus from SoFi if you direct deposit, or “direct deposit”, $5,000 or more.

    If you don’t have a Membership Rewards earning Rakuten account, you can create a new one and earn a $40 referral bonus for doing it. As usual, refer from P2’s account or from a friend’s account, use a bloggers referral only as a last resort.

    Gamability: 33 (Thanks to TV)
  4. Chase Offers has a targeted 10% back up to $40 on airfare of $100 or more booked directly with Air Canada by today.

    Gamability: 34
  5. Chase Offers also has a targeted $50 statement credit with $500 or more booked through the Chase Travel Portal through December 31.

    Gamability: 30 (Thanks to Kyle W)

Happy Wednesday friends!

Deliciousness: 14
Gamability: 2.13

Warning: There’s a lot of math in today’s post, but don’t worry, it’s the easy kind that doesn’t cause my P2 to break out in hives.

  1. PenFed has a $750 new savings account bonus for depositing $50,000 by the end of the year and holding it through April 30, 2024. The account earns 3% APR, and the bonus is effectively another 6% 4.5 APR. Last I checked, 3%+6% 4.5 = a good savings rate for cash. (Thanks to DoC, and Anthony)
  2. The American Express Business Platinum card has heightened bonuses via referral, now up to 25,000 Membership Rewards for the referrer and 150,000 Membership Rewards for the referred.

    Obviously 150,000+25,000 is less than the current sporadic offer of 190,000 Membership Rewards, but the referral offer is much less likely to give a pop-up. (Thanks to Gasongasoff)
  3. Capital One Shopping has a targeted $50 or $75 referral bonus for both the referrer and referee available, for a total of $100 or $150 in bonuses. A couple of reminders:

    – You don’t have to have a Capital One account to use Capital One Shopping
    – After approximately $1,000 cash back you should switch to a new account

    So, I guess connect the dots on this one.
  4. Based on news headlines in the space, affiliate credit card bloggers evidently have new access to a new Alaska Airlines Visa 60,000 mile sign-up bonus. As a friendly reminder, VPN into Southern California and use a link that has an embedded Google referral for a 70,000 mile offer if you’re going for the card, and probably go for some business cards at the same time too.
  5. Citi has a new targeted offer by email for a $30 statement credit with $350 or more in hotel spend through December 20. Check your inbox for the subject: “[NAME], Activate your offer today and start earning now!”
  6. Qatar Avios has a 25% bonus for incoming bank point transfers through November 30. For most of us, bank points with Qatar as a transfer partner means Citi or American Express.

    Typically these bonuses post in a week, but the T&C gives them 45 days of wiggle room.

Happy Tuesday!

Ok, this one might actually be hive inducing, sorry.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards card has mid-month offers for online spend by December 14. Reported offers, and this stacks with other offers sent at the beginning of the month for spend at utilities:

    – $40 off of $600 in spend
    – $50 off of $750 in spend
    – $80 off of $800 in spend
    – 200,000 Shop Your Way Points for $600 in spend
    – 7,500 ThankYou Points for $750 in spend
    – 12,000 ThankYou Points ofr $800 in spend

    (Thanks to irieriley, David 99, Greyo, Dave 37, Fish, Bryan G, and Charlie)
  2. Chase Ultimate Rewards has a 25% transfer bonus to JetBlue through January 20, 2024, which for the right redemptions beats booking with a Sapphire Reserve through the Chase travel portal at a fixed 1.5 cents per point, but make sure to run the numbers first.

    Side note: if you’re paying close attention to the arbitrage opportunity for the JetBlue/Spirit anti-trust case and want to collaborate, please reach out to me.
  3. The American Express Business Platinum card has a targeted 190,000 Membership Rewards bonus link that’s been floating around for a few weeks and various ways to pull up that version of the offerhave come and gone and have had limited success. There seems to be a new repeatable way to pull it up: Open the application page from Dallas, TX. Geographic targeting has been more prominent over the last year, and it may be worth getting a VPN with multiple city endpoints as part of your churning toolkit.
  4. American Express offers has a targeted promotion for 17,500 Membership Rewards after $700 or more in spend at Princess Cruise Lines through February 15, 2024. Lately it seems like we might need to say ‘gamers gonna cruise’ instead of ‘gamers gonna game’? (Thanks to Rich)
  5. The Capital One Spark Cash Plus Select business card, which probably is missing at least three words in its title because clearly the marketing team is slacking, has a $750 sign-up bonus with $6,000 spend in three months. The card has no annual fee, but earns only 1.5% cash back on spend, which I guess means those three missing words should be “sock drawer bound”.

The NordVPN Dallas, TX datacenter.

  1. Clear has a $75 Uber credit for new accounts with promo code WBTGUBER23. Incidentally Clear only requires a new email address to be considered a new account. Assuming you have a few AmEx Platinum or Business Platinums under your belt, this is a backdoor cash out. You may need multiple Uber accounts to take advantage of the promotion multiple times though, the jury is still out.

    The expiration date isn’t specified, but I assume it won’t stick around past black Friday. (Thanks to caseyrobinson2)
  2. Target will have its annual promotion 10% off of up to $500 in Target gift cards on December 2-3, limit one per Target Circle account. Normally I’d wait until near that date to write about the offer, except having seasoned Target Circle accounts is the way to scale and if you want to scale it, you should start seasoning approximately [checks notes] now. (Thanks to DoC)
  3. Kroger has a new promotion for 4x fuel points on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercard gift cards starting today and running through December 5. Secondary market fuel points rates have recently been sky-high because:

    – Gas is expensive
    – There are fewer suppliers
    – There hasn’t been a long-running 4x promotion for a while

    I expect though that a week or two into this promotion we’ll see rates come back down to recent norms. As usual, make sure you’re working with a fuel points broker or end-user that assumes liability for frozen accounts within a day or so.
  4. Hy-Vee stores have $10 off of $150 or more in Visa gift cards through November 23, limit one per transaction. If you live in Hy-Vee territory this one is almost certainly worth your time. (Thanks to GCG)
  5. American Express offers has a targeted $50 back on $200 or more in JetBlue airfare through December 31 (or travel wallet funds if you book a non-Blue Basic fare and cancel it after 24 hours).
  6. For some reason the second tier airlines are colluding to run fare sales for travel booked by tomorrow night:

    Southwest for travel from December 5 through May 22 with surprisingly few blackouts
    Alaska for travel to and from Mexico
    JetBlue for travel from December 3 to January 31

    The Alaska sale in particular has some great rates, assuming of course that Alaska serves your airport.

Ok, which one of you is responsible for this ending up in my inbox yesterday? 😭

  1. Staples has fee free $200 Visa gift cards in store through Saturday, limit eight per transaction. This stacks nicely with the American Express Business Gold $20 monthly office supply credit.

    These are Pathward gift cards, so have a liquidation plan in place. If your liquidation plan includes major nationwide retailers, there’s a $480 per six minute per store velocity limit.
  2. There’s a, umm let’s say “targeted”, Bank of America promotion for 5% off of ebay purchases of up to $1,000 with promo code TAKE5BOFA through December 31. The coupon has a limit of 10 uses, and presumably the limit is per ebay account. Notably you don’t need to use a Bank of America credit card to be eligible.

    The promo code isn’t working with the most obvious plays like gold bars, but you’re enterprising people right? Sometimes it makes sense to be on both sides of a transaction, just calculate the spread first. This may stack with portal cash back too. (Thanks to DAMU)
  3. It’s been just three days since we discussed the time value of points and how devaluations are one of several factors that erode the future value of loyalty currencies. Southwest decided that Veterans Day was the perfect time to illustrate the principle, announcing that points would be worth 4% less starting on January 1, 2024.

    As usual, head-on bookings with the Chase Sapphire Reserve continue to be more valuable for redemption than transferring points to Southwest and booking that way (1.5 cents plus mileage earning vs about 1.35 cents and no mileage earning), that is unless the risk premium for free cancelations and redeposits on points bookings and not dealing with flight credits is worth more than 0.15 cents per point to you.
  4. Meijer MPerks has 15,000 in points back on Choice, Happy, and One4All gift cards of $100 or more, limit one per MPerks account. Fortunately for Meijer, it’s not possible for a single person to have multiple email accounts, and therefore multiple MPerks accounts. (Thanks to GCG)
  5. There’s a targeted American Express offer for $175 back on $1,000 or more in cumulative spend with Cathay Pacific by December 31. It’s an interesting choice on AmEx’s part to make this one cumulative, almost inviting gamers to game. (Thanks to TeddyH)

Happy Monday!

An NFT sold on ebay showing the relative value Ultimate Rewards Southwest bookings compared to Rapid Rewards bookings. Limit one NFT per MPerks account.

According to recent airline earnings calls, the demand indicator for domestic, low-cost travel has an indicator light and it’s blinking red. That means (1) there’s opportunity in the stock market, and (2) that we’re going to see airfare and award deals over the next couple of months. In fact, today’s news items are dominated by them:

  1. United has an award sale for flights to Maui booked by this evening for travel between November 12 and December 16. I’m seeing one way fares of approximately 16,000 miles and round-trip fares of 30,000 miles, even on Thanksgiving week.

    Unfortunately first class seats don’t appear to carry any discount, so you’ll fly in the back and you’ll like it (or else).
  2. Turkish Airlines has an award sale for half off of flights to and from Chicago for travel either in the next three days or between January 16, 2024 and March 31, 2024, but again, only in economy. Sorry bourgeoise. (Thanks to FM)
  3. Breeze Airways has 35% off of base fares booked by tomorrow night for travel all the way through September 3, 2024 with a few blackout dates around Thanksgiving and Christmas using promo code BENICE. This discount includes spring break and summer travel 👀.

    As always when a Breeze fare sale comes up, it’s time to highlight another route on the “Breeze Dartboard of city pairs”. Today’s winner is CAK-ORF, or Akron Ohio to Norfolk Virginia.
  4. Southwest has 30% off of base fares to and from Hawaii booked by tomorrow with promo code SAVE30. There are blackout dates around Christmas, President’s Day, MLK Day, and lots of March. (Thanks to David 99)
  5. has 5% off of $100 Visa gift cards through November 19 using promo code HOLIDAY5 or GIFTVISA5. As usual, go through a portal and don’t forget the current round of portal spending bonuses. A few caveats though:

    – emailed affiliates that commissions wouldn’t apply when codes were used on the last round, but apparently that email wasn’t sent this round
    – The back-to-school portal bonuses seem to have been delayed and haven’t paid out, whether or not was involved
    – The maximum per-order discount is $15, so stick to three per order

    You’re all adults though, do what’s best for your situation.
  6. There are a few interesting American Express offers:

    – 50% off of Uber or Uber Eats, up to $25 spend
    – $90 statement credit with $350 spend at Hertz

    As usual, gamers can game. (Thanks to TeddyH)

The official airline demand annunciator panel is currently indicating softening demand for economy travel.

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

    – Link your cards to Dosh
    – Cash-out your American Express Business Gold credits for October
    – See what happens when you try and scale a transaction
    – Try for multiple transactions back-to-back

    These are Pathward gift cards so have a liquidation plan in place.
  2. Giant PA stores, (maybe) Stop & Shop, and (maybe) Martins stores have 10x rewards points on Lowes gift cards and 5x on GreenDot debit cards starting Friday. There’s definitely a Lowes gift card resale liquidation channel that supports high volume. For GreenDots, the landscape is tougher.
  3. The American Express Hilton Surpass and Aspire cards were retooled last week, on the whole they’re slightly worse but still a good value. To make up for it I guess, American Express increased the sign-up bonuses for both cards to the highest we’ve seen:

    Hilton Aspire: 180,000 Hilton Honors points after $6,000 spend in six months
    Hilton Surpass: 170,000 Hilton Honors points after $3,000 spend in three monts

    The bonus is also available via referrals with most referrers getting 20,000 Hilton points, so go that route if you’re in two-player mode or if you’ve got a friend who can generate a link for you.

Happy Monday!

Taco Bell statistically has the fastest, uh, food to go with your Monday Quickies.. The bad news is this is the food.