Increase credit card spend (and get most of it back). What still works August 2017

This is the latest in our ongoing series of what’s new in the world of manufactured spending.  We last posted an update in June (here).  As always, you can find an up-to-date complete roundup of techniques for increasing spend here: Manufactured Spending Complete Guide.

Plastiq 3X Undead

The Plastiq bill payment service lets you pay bills by credit card for a 2.5% fee.  That’s not bad when you’re trying to meet minimum spend requirements for a new credit card, but it’s more than I’d recommend spending for regular credit card rewards.  One big exception: if you earn category bonus points for this spend, then the price can be well worth paying.

I previously wrote, though, that 3X opportunities appeared to be dead:

Fortunately, there’s some hope for 3X rewards:

First, we heard from our newbie that he earned 3X by paying his retirement village bills with his Ink Business Preferred card through Plastiq.  It’s unclear under what circumstances that card earns 3X through Plastiq, but it’s clear that it can happen!

Second, Out & Out reports that he has continued to earn 3X by paying rent with his Citi AT&T Access More card through Plastiq.  Citi had published that we would no longer earn 3X after July 22nd, but some of Harlan’s payments were made after that date.  Note that the Access More card is no longer available to new applicants, but you may be able to product change to that card from another Citi card.

No fee Visa gift cards available this week at Macerich Malls

I don’t usually put short term deals here, but this could be very useful to those who missed our prior post on the topic.  For details (including a link to a PDF listing all participating stores), please click through to the Quick Deal: No-fee Visa Gift Cards at Macerich Malls this week.

Amex makes anti-gaming explicit

Last year Amex had clawed back signup bonus points from many people who had signed up for Platinum cards using links that were not meant for the public.  Reasons given for these clawbacks included: gift card purchases, improper returns, once per lifetime rule, and closing the account too early.

Now, Amex has made these rules explicit in their offer terms.  Here’s an example found in the application for the Business Platinum card:

If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome bonus offer in any way or that you intend to do so (for example, if you applied for one or more cards to obtain a welcome bonus offer (s) that we did not intend for you; if you cancel or downgrade your account within 12 months after acquiring it; or if you cancel or return purchases you made to meet the Threshold Amount), we may not credit Membership Rewards® to, we may freeze Membership Rewards® credited to, or we may take away Membership Rewards® from, your account. We may also cancel this Card account and other Card accounts you may have with us.

Additionally, they continue to have terms that state that buying gift cards does not count towards minimum spend requirements:

Qualifying purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards; person-to-person payments, or purchases of other cash equivalents. Additional terms and restrictions apply.

In my experience they have never enforced the gift card rule, but you certainly wouldn’t have any recourse if they did.

I believe that all of the advice I had given previously still applies now that the terms are explicit: How to Avoid Amex Clawbacks.

Hat Tip: Doctor of Credit.

Dead Deals

This update wouldn’t be complete without a list of the latest dead deals (sorry):

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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    • got shut down for breaking zero of their rules – not my fault AWS was coding as Amazon. I didn’t even expect it! just so sad to see them acting so shady about it al l:(

  1. Amex SPG denied me the 35000 points I had coming (even after chat confirmed it that the points would in fact be coming!). Didn’t give a reason, just no points after months (besides 5000+ points for spend). Rep on phone says account is not linked to offer, but I have a screen shot of the offer when I applied.

    All for nothing. They won’t give points regardless of what I do.

    Beware of SPG Amex.

  2. I MS with Amex MR cards in varying amounts to partially meet minimum spending. I’ve also done it with non-MR cards like the Hilton to meet all the minimum spending but they didn’t give me the upgrade bonus on the Hilton last month.

  3. “In my experience they have never enforced the gift card rule, but you certainly wouldn’t have any recourse if they did.”

    Are gift cards the only things from the list that they don’t enforce against? In other words, are prepaid credit/debit cards ok?

    • Loading Serve prepaid cards online with an Amex credit card used to count towards minimum spend even when it didn’t result in points. That has since changed. Other than that example, I don’t know of any other where Amex enforces the rule.

  4. I’ve been doing MS buying $500 prepaid since May and buying money orders at the post office with them and then repeating the process. It has been very lucrative, however the post office most recent system update know codes the cards differently and im shut down.

    Any ideas on how I can liquidate the cards?

    I’m going through a withdraw! I was MS roughly 75k a week!

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