The reaction to yesterday’s budgeting post was next-level. Thanks to everyone who wrote in! Today’s post is a biggie, so buckle up:

  1. Do this now: Register for Hyatt’s Bonus Journeys promotion for 3,000 bonus points for each three qualifying nights up to seven times, valid for nights between October 6 and November 30.

    If you have a Chase Hyatt credit card, there’s an additional 1,000 bonus points for every three nights at certain properties with the same promotion, but the properties are mostly outside of the US.
  2. Do this now: Register for Marriott’s Go Your Way promotion for 1,500 bonus Bonvoy points for every three paid nights between September 12 and December 6.
  3. Do this now: Register for Choice’s More Destinations, More Adventures promotion for 8,000 bonus points for every two paid stays completed by November 6.
  4. Southwest’s next schedule extension for travel between April 9 and June 3, 2024 happens tomorrow, and covers both some spring break travel and Memorial Day weekend. (Thanks to the legendary Brian M, who keeps a closer tab on Southwest than Herb Kelleher did)
  5. The Capital One VentureX Business 150,000 points sign-up bonus after $30,000 spend in three months is now available online. The $395 annual fee is not waived the first year but does include an easily redeemable $300 travel credit.

    For the math challenged, you’ll earn 7x on $30,000 in spend which is hard to beat for big spenders. (Thanks to DDG)
  6. Southwest’s Rapid Rewards shopping portal has 2,000 bonus points when spending $400 in cumulative purchases through September 18. Fortunately, as a collective society we once again we know how to easily earn these kinds of bonuses.

    With the fees you’ll pay for two $250 egift cards, you’ll be effectively buying 3,000 Rapid Rewards points at 0.396 cents per point, minus whatever value you’ll earn for spending $500 on your credit card. Of course there’s a Citi Merchant offer for 3% back that gives even more upside. (Thanks to FM)
  7. There’s a new fast-track to Hyatt Globalist status for higher level AA elites. Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum elites will earn Globalist(-lite) with 20 nights within 90 days of registration, and you must register by November 12.

    With a little grit, or dare I say, true grit, you can earn Globalist(-lite) in exchange for 70,000 Ultimate Rewards utilizing this promotion.

Happy Wednesday!

An avid churner navigates today’s post from the comfort of home.

Three out of the four items for today are weird, but I’ll let you decide which.

  1. Meijer has a promotion for 10,000 MPerks points with a $100 Happy or Choice gift card purchase through Saturday, limit 10,000 points per account.

    Convert these to BestBuy or Home Depot for the best return, and scale with multiple MPerks accounts.
  2. Wyndham has a transfer bonus to United MileagePlus for a single transaction through the end of the month. Assuming you’re normally earning at 8x with the Wyndham Business Rewards card, the conversion gives you an effective earn rate of 3.2x MileagePlus miles per dollar which is actually great. The tiers:

    – 6,000 Wyndham to 2,400 MileagePlus
    – 16,000 Wyndham to 6,400 MileagePlus
    – 30,000 Wyndham to 12,000 MileagePlus
    – 60,000 Wyndham to 24,000 MileagePlus (May be targeted, thanks to pluckyhere)

    Of course there’s a big asterisk here: you can only do this once and the promotion caps out at 12,000 24,000 MileagePlus miles. For the math challenged, that means $3,750 $7,500 in spend at a gas station with the Wyndham Business Card. (Thanks to FM)
  3. According to DoC, Capital One is sending targeted email offers for referring a new business to a Capital One credit card with a hefty $1,500 bonus up to three times for the referrer on top of the usual sign-up bonus for the referred.

    I’ve yet to independently confirm this bonus in the wild, but it’s big enough that I decided to deviate from my norm and call attention to it anyway. (It’s “scruples be damned” Monday, right?)
  4. Southwest has a sweepstakes for “learning about the benefits of Rapid Rewards Credit Cards”. It’s a memory match two card game, and you can enter once per day through the end of the month. The top prize is 25,000 Rapid Rewards points for the top of the leaderboard.

    I wouldn’t normally write about this because most of you will end up with nothing, but now that we’re living in a new world order let’s talk gaming to sharpen your skills for the future: To win, train some AI on a throw away Rapid Rewards account then let it rip on your actual account daily. It’s the new normal and almost certainly what the winners are going to do unless the game is vulnerable to a JSON/XHR attack. (Thanks to Brian M)

Have a nice Monday friends!

There are exactly three weird things in this picture too.

In the last day there’s been a wave of Chase shutdowns that have swept through very specific parts of the community. All of the data-points I have suggest everyone shutdown has had two things conspiring against them in tandem:

  • An account on their credit report listed as “Closed by issuer”
  • A negative Ultimate Rewards balance (largely related to chargebacks)

From my perspective the likely timeline was: A negative Ultimate Rewards balance led to an analyst getting involved, the analyst soft-pulled a credit report and saw derogatory marks and applied a two-strikes rule, then the analyst queued the account for closure.

Some unsolicited advice when dealing with banks and rewards, Chase or otherwise:

  • Don’t let your points balance or card balance go negative at statement close
  • If one of those does go negative, transfer points and/or spend as necessary to get it non-negative
  • Dispute away any derogatory remarks from your account (persistence will eventually pay off)

If you’re shutdown, know that a shutdown at Chase is generally better than a shutdown at other banks because with a little luck and good timing, you’ve got a points machine.

Have a nice weekend!

Pictured: The Chase shutdown wave hitting some unlucky manufactured spenders.

  1. Kroger has a 4x fuel points promotion on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercards in-store running today through June 20, a full two weeks.

    While the fuel points and third party gift card resale markets have been hovering around a local maxima, I expect that by June 20th rates will have fallen. As usual if your fuel points broker isn’t assuming liability quickly after purchase then you should probably look for another broker.
  2. Southwest has a 20% off fare sale to and from DEN and COS for travel though November 1 (with a few date caveats) with promo code SCORE20.

    DEN is a Southwest hub, so you could also consider booking a connection through DEN on two separate tickets which might price out better with the promo code than a single booking without. Of course having two separate tickets could be its own set of headaches. (Thanks to Brian M)
  3. While it’s always possible to forcibly bypass an American Express pop-up with shady tactics, or almost always possible to bypass one with co-branded spend, sometimes it’s nice to play it straight. To that end, there are Hilton links that apparently bypass the pop-up for everyone who’s tried at

    Which is my favorite offer, asked no one? The business card for its gas station bonus category, low annual fee, ability to earn three free-night certificates in the first year, churnability, and 150,000 point sign-up bonus.
  4. AA has updated their upgrade policy: Starting June 9, all elites are eligible for upgrades on award tickets including a single companion. Priority is changing slightly too, with tier status first and rolling average of the last year’s earned Loyalty Points second as the main factors for upgrade order; this of course means that you can manufacture-spend your way to a higher position on the upgrade list.
  5. Smart and Final stores have $20 off of a grocery purchase when buying any third party gift card except Tracphone or NET10 cards, limit one per transaction. I’ve linked to their digital weekly ad, but even there the print is so small that I’ll be surprised if you can read it even with movie-grade CIA photo enhancement technology.

A preview of next week’s Smart and Final ad. They solved the small print problem, but, uh — keep working on it guys.

Bank of America has increased the Premium Rewards card’s sign up bonus to 75,000 points after $5,000 in spend in 90 days. This $550 annual fee card is normally a sleeper in the community but should be on your radar for the right use cases, especially if you have Preferred Rewards because:

  • You get an easily gameable $300 travel credit every calendar year, for $600 total per card member year
  • You get a $150 statement credit per calendar year for various retailers including those with a legacy dating back to Han’s Deli, for a total of $300 per card member year
  • With top tier preferred rewards, this is a 2.625x everywhere Visa
  • You can probably downgrade this card within the first year for a prorated annual fee refund without repercussion, but don’t do it until you’ve gotten your 2024 credits
  • If you book paid airfare (lol, I know) with points, you get a 20% uplift pushing their value from 1.0 to 1.2 cents per point

If you don’t have Preferred Rewards, getting it in conjunction with a $750 sign up bonus brokerage transfer to Merrill May make sense too. Caveat emptor: Occasionally Merrill accounts won’t properly link to Preferred Rewards status and will require manual intervention with Merrill.

If you’re going to apply for this card, maybe grab a bunch of other BoA cards too. Between the Merrill Bonus and this one, you’re looking at $750+750+600+300-550 = $1,850 in value, and even more with Bank of America application shenanigans, uplift, or downgrades.

Good luck!

Being sad after you have to call Merrill to get your accounts linked.

Editors note: I know today’s post is obtuse, and one day we’ll be able to talk about it more freely. For now if none of this makes sense to you, you’re probably not caught up in it and you likely have nothing to worry about.

Sometimes when something in the hobby blows up spectacularly there’s both direct and collateral damage. Yesterday afternoon a wave of both types struck members tied either directly or indirectly to a particular fitness group (even those working through a ‘neutral’ a third-party) and the net effect was a flurry of PayPal shutdowns in a scene that was reminiscent of a post-battle shot that you’d see in Band of Brothers.

If you’re caught up in the shutdowns: First, I’m sorry, that sucks. Second, it is possible to get a new PayPal account going using techniques discussed in Dodging the Ban Hammer. So, recover from your bad workout and get back out there just like Matthew McConaughey’s acting career does over, and over, and over again. Like seriously, so many times.

Have a nice weekend!

Look, if Matthew McConaughey recovers from looking like this, you can recover from PayPal.


My first report of Safeway’s new money order policy came from CharlesA on Tuesday of last week when he spotted the now infamous sign at a Safeway in Arizona, and quickly thereafter reports from other states confirmed the updated policy. The sign and its corresponding memo clearly came from the corporate level and it appears to be at the behest of Western Union (but my guess is that Western Union is a scapegoat, not the instigator.)

The Past

Here’s the thing, this has happened plenty of times before at plenty of chains, a few examples:

The Future

Every single one of those stores still sells money orders purchased with a gift card, and I sincerely believe the same thing will happen at Safeway because:

  • It’s not hard coded
  • Staff turns over
  • 8½ x 11″ sheets of paper wear out quickly
  • Other important policies will take precedence
  • Some employees just DGAF


Of course, always be probing. In the mean time though, you can still get purchases through with above board and/or ethically questionable techniques like:

  • Using a gift card inside of a mobile payment app
  • Using a real debit card when you’re asked to show a card
  • Sourcing gift cards that don’t look like gift cards
  • Playing games with mag-stripes
  • Buying non-obvious money order amounts so cashiers don’t check
    (maybe $496.40, then auto-draining the rest on left over valentine’s candy at the register?)

Good luck and happy Tuesday! (Thanks to Nathan for the linked policy photo)

Good (?) news: these things cost exactly $3.60 including tax.

  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.