What a weekend eh? There was a lot that happened on the underground MS scene that honestly made me feel like I was watching a train-wreck happening in slow motion. I don’t have any direct information to share from that, but the action item for you is to remember that blogs are always going to be a good source of semi-public information and hints for bigger bonanzas, but the best information will be found in small, private groups. I’d suggest looking for a few of them to up your game if you’re craving more.

On that happy note, let’s follow up on a few items and talk about the Schwab devaluation, and maybe offer a bonanza hint along the way:

1. A lot of you had your Brex 100,000 points offer post on Friday or Saturday. Personally, I had the bonus post on one company’s account but not the other. In case yours didn’t post either, give it a few more days. If that doesn’t work, forward the emails that the PayPal sales rep you spoke with to [email protected] from your email address on file with Brex. It may be a (small) battle, but it’s one you’ll almost certainly win.

2. In case you haven’t read my affiliate link free post on cashing Membership Rewards yet (spoiler alert, none of you have because it’s still being written, slowly, over the course of the last several months), the Schwab Platinum card is the easiest reliable high-value Membership Rewards conversion to cash that currently exists. The redemption value is 1.25 cents per point which is great, but it’s even better because it’s a tax-free way to generate income, or in theory a way to increase your Roth IRA contributions beyond the normal limit without paying taxes or penalties. (I’m not a financial advisor, never take my advice, maybe about anything.)

We’re in a good news/bad news situation with the card now: As of September 1, the cash-out will drop from 1.25 cents per point to 1.1 cents per point; but the good news is: 1) if you have the card you’ve got time to cash out, and 2) if you don’t, it’s another sign-up bonus for you (60,000 Membership Rewards). When I first signed up for the card I cashed out 1 million Membership Rewards points the day it arrived in the mail, so there’s no real waiting period to speak of. To be eligible to open it, you have to be a Schwab customer but all that takes is a free brokerage account and $10 so the bar is quite low, almost as low as AA closing accounts and canceling tickets on the day of travel for churners.

FYI – there are other loopholes for cash-out that will pay at a higher rate with the Business Platinum card, but they’re either slightly sketch or not completely reliable.

3. Staples has fee free $200 Mastercards between now and Saturday evening, limit 5 per person (or, probably limit 5 per transaction.) There are absolutely still ways to liquidate these Metabank Mastercards for a low cost, but they are slowly being zapped like mosquitos in front of a bug zapper (sorry, it’s Monday, my metaphors are weak and you can see them coming from a mile away, like my alma mater calling me to “see how it’s going” which really means “give us a donation”.)

Nah, this image isn’t the Bonanza hint.

I bet you thought you wouldn’t have to read about another Prime Day post here for a long time. Guess what? You’re right. Instead, these three items made the cut:

1. You know how I feel about the Sapphire Preferred credit card, but it just redeemed itself in my eyes with a new offer: You can get the 100,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus with the annual fee waived for the first year and a $50 statement credit at grocery stores if you go into a Chase branch. According to Doctor of Credit’s rumors, this should last through the end of June. I would absolutely go for this right now were I not lol/24.

2. Plastiq is a shenanigan rich target, though they’ve closed most of the really lucrative holes. That said, opportunities do exist and I’d suggest you experiment and see what happens. Now Visa Savings Edge is offering an incentive for you to play: 1% off of Plastiq fees for your first $2,500 in spend. You don’t need to use a Visa Savings Edge card with Plastiq, just sign up through their link.

How many email addresses do you have by the way? No reason, just curious.

3. Here’s a nifty hack that may save you some real money on insurance, or maybe it just earns you 500 Membership Rewards points while wasting your time. Apparently at Rakuten you can get 500 Membership Rewards (or $5 cash back) for getting an insurance quote, and it’s repeatable once per quarter. This doesn’t pass my threshold for something worthy of spending my time on, but I like it in principle and some of you might want to do it it practice. Thanks to stillwaters23 for the tip.

An image of a physicist operating a blue laser with safety goggles in a lab
Probing for opportunities at Plastiq.

1. The Point debit card has a new offer for 10x at Amazon, up to $500 in spend. Last time they ran this deal my +9x posted three days after the purchase, then another +2x posted to my account the day after that, probably because they always give 3x at Amazon and their system wasn’t coded to not do that with the 10x offer. Hopefully it happens again. Thanks to SideshowBob233 for the heads up.

If you don’t have Point already, find a referral for $250 or $100 because the non-referral sign-up bonus is a measly $10. I’d rather you get a referral from a friend because I’m not here to monetize you, but you can reach out to me if you can’t find someone that has it because I am here to help you. (My link is the $250 variety).

2. Prime Day, which really should be called “operation kersplode the entire internet with posts about trinkets for 2% off at Amazon Day”, has made a bunch of other retailers go into full-blown sale mode, which has pushed up BestBuy gift card demand like it was Q4. Yesterday I saw rates get as high as 96% with essentially an unlimited capacity, and I expect that today will be the same. If your gift card buyer isn’t within 1% of that number or so, I’d say it’s time to find a new gift card buyer.

I’ve had a few of you ask me how a 96% resale rate is worth your time, and the answer is: 1) grocery store rewards, 2), grocery store reward shenanigans, and 3) grocery store credit card bonuses. When you put the first two items together, that 96% can turn into 100-103%, and the third item should be at least 4x Membership Rewards or 5x Ultimate Rewards, but of course there are better spend bonuses beyond that like 10x with the American Express Platinum card. Also, another answer is sometimes the rate is 97-99%.

A tee shirt on a purple background that says:

ONLY $29.79!!
was: $29.99
Amazon Prime day official company swag.

Did you know that American Express cards with lifetime language aren’t always really lifetime language cards, and vice-versa? As of the last several months, true. Let’s enter the crazy world of American Express together: it’s not the card terms and conditions that seem to dictate whether or not you get a bonus in 2021, but rather if you get a popup window telling you that you won’t get the bonus during the application process then you won’t, and if you don’t get the popup you will. Of course, you won’t have a great case for getting the sign-up bonus if it doesn’t post and you were relying on this trick, so caveat emptor, which I’m pretty sure is Latin for “American Express can be played, but sometimes the player becomes the played”.

Given the above, and given some crazy offers around right now, if you have any capacity for another American Express charge card (supposedly the limit is ten, but I have eleven) then perhaps consider both of these:

  • Business Platinum card: 150,000 Membership Rewards sign-up bonus + 10,000 Membership Rewards bonus for adding an employee card. There is a $15,000 minimum spend in three months requirement for the bonus.
  • Business Gold card: 90,000 Membership Rewards sign-up bonus + 10,000 Membership Rewards bonus for adding an employee card. This one has a $10,000 minimum spend in three months for the bonus. (Thanks to dannydealguru on Reddit for this link)

The Business Platinum card in particular pairs well with a new American Express offer for 10% back on purchases at Dell, up to $150 total cash back for up to $1,500 in spend before December 15. With that offer, you can combine a periodic Xbox Gift Card promo code with your $100 twice-annual credit, and for any amount you go over earn 10% back. If you don’t have a Business Platinum though, check for the offer on your other American Express cards, it’s just not as exciting.

One final hint, employee cards are different than authorized user cards with American Express, they’re much easier to get and the bar is much lower.

Pictured: How high you have to jump to cross the employee card bar with American Express.

Delta SkyMiles are famously sucky in terms of overall value; for example, it’ll cost you 120,000 miles in business class each way between the US and Japan using SkyMiles (vs. say, 60,000 miles on Alaska). I don’t talk about SkyMiles much for that very reason, nor do I think you should hoard them. However, for domestic and short haul international travel they’re worth a floor of 1.127 cents per mile, and sometimes more when there are award sales. Delta lets you buy essentially any domestic or short haul international ticket with miles, so you’re not really fighting award availability in those cases either.

Take the above, and consider that currently it’s possible to get a Delta Reserve American Express card with a 125,000 mile bonus using this link (I stripped away any affiliate information so it’s completely clean, no one is going to get a commission with it.) Note: The link is subject to the American Express random number generator, so you may have to go incognito, try a different browser, and/or connect to a VPN. In my experiments, I was able to see it in Safari Private mode on the first try, and it didn’t come up in Brave’s Incognito mode in the first try. You can also try searching Google, Baidu, Bing, and Yahoo for “delta credit card” and clicking on a few of the resulting links.

Where am I going with all of this? The Delta Reserve card has a $550 annual fee, and you’ll earn 125,000 miles as a sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spend. That means you’re spending $550 for 125,000 miles * 1.16 cents per mile, or a total of $1,408 in Delta tickets for $550 out of pocket, which works out to a 61% discount on travel on Delta. As JustinV loves to say, America loves math.

Keep in mind that American Express has a 5-ish credit card limit (and a 10-ish charge card limit). Hint: The “ish” comes into play due to shenanigans.

Talking about skirting card limits.