#milemadness week 1

One month… $5,000 bankrolls… How much cash and how many points will be earned?…

The first week of the #milemadness manufactured spend tournament has completed, and a new week is under way.  The general idea of the tournament is that each player starts with $5000 (of their own) to spend in ways that will return their money and earn extra cash and points.  Contestants will be judged by 3 factors: amount earned, efficacy, and artistry.  In case you missed the details, please see these prior posts for details about the tournament:



The big story of the week was OfficeMax’s gift card deal: $15 off $250 in gift cards.  Was this deal designed for this tournament, or what?  On Sunday, the first day of the deal was rocky: OfficeMax’s in-store systems across the nation were unable to process the discount.  Some contestants were able to convince store managers to give them cash back instead, but others were not as lucky.  Fortunately, OfficeMax had its act together by Monday morning.  As the week progressed, we learned that some contestants live in areas with incredibly well stocked OfficeMax stores with lenient gift card policies, whereas others had to fight for the gift card crumbs that were left on the shelves.

The OfficeMax deal was about as good as it gets for manufacturing spend.  Contestants went in armed with their Ink Plus or Ink Bold cards (which earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores) and came out with gift cards worth more than they spent.  The general trend was then to take those gift cards to the nearest superstore, grocery, or drug store to apply secret tricks to turn the gift cards back into real money.  Due to the rules of the game, contestants then had to wait a day before the money was considered to be back in play.

Reload Cards

Another common approach this week was simply to buy and liquidate reload cards.  The specifics varied a bit here, but the key to come out ahead here was to hold a card that offers 5X at stores that sell reload cards.  For example, a few contestants are lucky enough to still have active Citi ThankYou Preferred cards that offer 5X at gas stations, drug stores, and grocery stores for 12 months (this deal is no longer available to new applicants). 

Double and Triple Dip

Several contestants found ways to earn fuel points or other 3rd party rewards when buying gift cards.  One example, is a contestant who earned Plink rewards by buying gift cards at Staples (a benefit which is set to expire tonight).  In most cases, though, I’ve been asked not to reveal these secret point earnings.  So, suffice it to say that it makes sense to sign up for every loyalty program you can find because there just might be a way to earn extra rewards when buying gift cards beyond those given to you by your rewards-earning credit card.

Miscellaneous Other

A few contestants took advantage of cash back and points that can be earned by buying Amex gift cards online via portals.  A few others bought products for resale.  One contestant found several ways to buy gift cards and reload cards fee free.

Scores coming soon

My intent was to have week 1 tournament scores ready to go for this post, but I don’t yet have the scores completely ready.  I’ll have the scores in place by this evening, or by tomorrow morning (Tuesday morning) at the latest.

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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19 Comments on "#milemadness week 1"

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Apologies in advance as this comment in actually in regards to the post about what the true rebate value of the Barclays Arrival card is.

I don’t believe anyone has mentioned so far about how points are earned in regards to rounding. A $0.50 charge, for example, will actually earn you 2 points, because how it works is the $0.50 is first rounded to the nearest dollar in this case $1. Then that $1 is multipled by 2 to get the number of points you earn. After the 10% rebate, you are earning 2.2 points for a $0.50 spend. In that case, the answer is actually 4.4% and not 2.2%. That’s an extreme example, of course, but it’s not impossible for someone to use the card strictly for coffee purchases that cost say $1.61 (a random number I picked) and be getting a return of ~2.73%.

In conclusion, I think the answer is it varies.


Hey FM, I’m a truly loyal, daily reader of the blog, but I don’t fully understand the purpose of the milemadness posting if it’s just going to be,

“XYZ person used a secret trick at ABC store to earn LMN points back. And we can’t tell you how it was done.”

Hopefully just a vast minority of the info will be “secret”, because if not it’s just reading about people earning points as opposed to how they earned points.


If experience has taught me anything, those points will be few and far between relative to the amt. of other total spends/point accruals. Granted you’ll have someone who keeps buying $.51 cent items(read that as fake transactions to their own business or other means) who eventually gets an FR or just their account closed and blacklisted from future CC offers from said offering bank.

In short, while theoretical the wise ones know better and the actual real world point earnings are where most articles are saying they are.

As for this article: I guess it’s good to use as a starting point to figure out how they did what they did by culling various ft posts, etc…but other than that, it reads like discussing magician’s tricks w/o telling you anything more than something very superficial.


Add me to those finding the secrecy frustrating. Appreciate the blog…not sure about this contest. I read to be enlightened.


Completely agree with what Rich said. Without helpful information, this is pretty boring/pointless. I read every FM post because normally the information provided is top notch and original. This contest feels like someone recapping last month’s poker game.


I tend to agree with the Rich and Tim. I really hope this whole blog series is not as frustrating and, to be blunt, pointless, as this post was. Your original teaser post, telling of this upcoming series, had a lot of people really excited; this post, yet, was very disappointing.


I’d like to hear more about the step where the gift cards were converted into another card or cash……..


FM – I stand behind those who have written above . This game is really not going to be enlightening to many but the few insiders with their secrets. You would do nearly all your readers a big favor and forgo mentioning any more “they asked me to to not reveal” type of statements. If you cant tell us do not write about it and and do not irritate the masses with the “can’t reveal” comments.
Basically the the March game is an insiders game and you might well not bother telling the rest of us about it.
Up until now you tell us what you are doing and share it. I always presume you know alot more but do not choose to share those details. I am totally fine with that. Just do not tell us about the part you do not want the masses to know about it and we will be fine.


I have a bunch of gift cards from the officemax deal I don’t know how to liquidate. I’d love to learn these secrets.

This whole post reads like a teenager’s gossip diary. Zzz


I am in the same place FM………….


for info on what to do with those GC’s from OM, look up at the top of this page under “gift cards”, then select the one that says something like turning bank cards into cash. Lots of ideas.


@Jamie already doing the ones with no fees and have maxed those out……not interested in the ones that charge another 2.95% to liquidate. Now the one that looked very interesting is where you use AMEX gift card to buy reloadable card? My Charlie Victor Sierra won’t allow that so if you have a retail location that will allow I would love to know as that is worth a road trip………


No fee card=Reloadit ? or something else.


@JAMIE……THANK YOU! my brain just thawed and I realized the 4k amazon earnings should really be 20k per month……….geez………..thank you!


[…] first week of #milesmadness, you will see the results posted on the blogs. I did not fare too well. Frequent Miler has posted the recap of what folks did for #milesmadness. The Office Max deal certain… I was holding my bankroll for this opportunity for cheap points, but it didn’t materialize […]


Keep the secrets secret. The noobs can find out about them without being spoonfed. Go read MMS if you’re that lazy/incompetent.