June 9, 2014
Today, instead of one big post, I have lots of little posts to share…
Visa gift cards at Walmart
Ever since MasterCard and Visa gift cards began offering PINs for debit use, Walmart has been a great place to use up those gift cards. For example, Walmart lets you load Bluebird and Serve prepaid cards for free with debit cards. Since MasterCard and Visa gift cards are debit cards, they can be used for this purpose (when asked, make sure to say you are paying with a debit card not a gift card!). Unless you use the automated kiosk at Walmart (which always seems to be broken), Visa gift cards have always been a bit easier to use than MasterCard gift cards since Visa gift cards always defaulted to debit use rather than credit use when swiped. Unfortunately, Walmart recently updated their point of sale systems such that some Visa gift cards now default to credit use. This is a problem because some transactions (such as loading Bluebird/Serve cards) can only be done with debit cards. Fortunately, there is a workaround, but you have to be quick. The Free-quent Flyer has the full scoop here: New(est) changes to Walmart point-of-sale systems.
Sears / Kmart promo cards
Last week, in the post “A deal that’s better than it looks,” I reported the details of a current Kmart / Sears gift card offer (valid through June 15). Both stores are offering free $5 promo gift cards with each purchase of store gift cards (see details here). In that post I reported that the promo cards were immediately usable despite the terms of the promotion saying “Award cards can be used between 6/16/2014 and 6/21/2014.”
Since writing that post, some stores/registers have started issuing Award Cards with valid dates printed on them (6/16/2014 to 6/21/2014). I tried one out and found that, despite the printed dates, I was able to use my award card immediately. On the other hand, one reader reported that he was not able to use his award cards with the printed dates. Your mileage may vary.
IHG Club crackdowns
In January, I reported on an experiment in which I loaded my IHG Rewards Club account with dozens of promo codes and earned over 22,000 hotel points with a one night stay (see “22,000 points in one night”). This was great, but it now looks like repeating this act could be risky. LoyaltyLobby reports that IHG Rewards Club is cracking down on members who do this. He has the full scoop here: UPDATE: IHG Rewards Club Account Audits & Terminations.
Delta Diamond status for only $96,000
Running with Miles reports that Delta offers a Delta Private Jets Card which gives you access to private jets and automatic top tier Delta Diamond status. The catch? You have to make a minimum non-refundable $100,000 deposit. If that sounds too steep, don’t worry about it because Running with Miles shows how to save 4%! See: If You Fly Delta, You Can Save 4% – But You Have To Spend A LOT!
Yes, I’m kidding about this being a great deal for most readers, but for some people it actually could be. The $100,000 deposit is usable for private jets or Delta flights over a two year period. So, if you spend a ridiculous amount on Delta (or private jets), this could be a nice way to get Diamond status thrown in, and save a few dollars. A great example, I think, would be someone with a business that pays for flights for multiple employees. You might not fly enough yourself to get Diamond status from flying, but maybe you spend $50K per year on Delta between you and your employees?
Personally, I think I’ll just keep running up spend on Delta cards. See “Mileage Running from Home II (now with an exciting 2 player option!)”
Grocery Offers for You
According to posts on SlickDeals, American Express is offering $10 rebates on $50+ grocery purchases to residents in California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It’s possible that these offers are available in other parts of the country as well, so be sure to check. If you have any American Express cards, log into your American Express account and view the “Amex Offers for You.”
If you you have multiple Amex cards and the offer appears on more than one, don’t click “Save Offer” yet because it will limit you to just one card! First, open up multiple tabs in your browser and use each tab to show the offer for a different Amex card. Then, click “Save Offer” within each tab. That way you can load the offer to multiple cards. Unfortunately, these offers do not appear to be available through social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter.
The great thing about these particular offers is that they can be used up to three times per registered Amex card. If I had this offer, I would load it to as many of my American Express cards as I could, then I would go to my regular grocery store and buy a gift card in an amount equaling $50 X 3 X (# registered Amex cards). I would then ask to pay for the transaction $50 at a time. Use each registered card for 3 swipes then move on to the next card. Yes, it would be a huge one-time pain, but it would mean buying a large grocery gift card for 20% off, which is a fantastic deal.
Just Another Points Traveler shares her excitement about this offer here.