Increase credit card spend (and get most of it back). What still works September 2018?

Whether you need to increase credit card spend to earn a new credit card signup bonus, or to earn elite status, or simply to earn credit card rewards, it’s important to keep up with the latest news of what works and what does not.  In this post series, we present the latest happenings.

As always, you can find an up-to-date complete roundup of techniques for increasing spend here: Manufactured Spending Complete Guide.

Amex Offers on multiple cards: Off, On, and Off again

Over the past few years, Amex Offers have arguably been the most reliable option for gift card churning.  Most offers are of the form “Spend $X, Get $Y Back”.  And the way to scale up those rebates has been to get more Amex cards (by adding authorized user cards, for example) and by adding these offers to each card.  That option is now mostly dead.

Off: Unfortunately, with most offers, Amex has stopped allowing one person to add the same offer to multiple cards. For full details about this, see: A new era for Amex Offers.

On: It turns out that some new Amex Offers are available to be linked to multiple cards: Some Amex Offers can be synced to multiple cards.  One such notable offer is the Marriott Spend $300, Get $60 Offer.  Unlike most other new Amex Offers, this one can be loaded to multiple cards via the multi-tab trick (e.g. Via americanexpress.com, open each card in a separate tab and then load the offer to each card).

Off Again: Now, Amex is threatening to claw back any extra cash back you earned when you loaded an offer to multiple cards.  So far, this has only happened with the Staples 10% back business card offer, but it’s possible we’ll see this happen with other offers in the future.  For details see: Amex clawing back Amex Offers credits.

Buying Visa and Mastercard gift cards, getting better

In some ways, the ability to buy Visa or Mastercard gift cards with a credit card and at a low price has improved:

We’ve updated our post with the latest info: Best options for buying Visa and MasterCard gift cards.

Liquidating Visa or Mastercard gift cards

  • The Plastiq Masterpass promo continues through the end of this month.  This means that it is possible to liquidate Mastercard gift cards $250 at a time for no fee.  One great option is to use Mastercard gift cards to pay down your mortgage, for example.
  • Walmart limits money orders to 4 swipes ($2,000 with $500 debit gift cards).  This has been true at many Walmarts for quite a while, but the policy seems to have expanded to many more stores in August.

Other Credit Card Spend Stuff

Plastiq 3X Dead

The Chase Ink Business Preferred Card no longer earns 3X for Plastiq bill payments.  I detailed alternatives here.

3rd quarter estimated taxes due September 17th

Don’t forget that you can use a credit card to earn miles, or liquidate Visa/Mastercard gift cards.  See: Complete guide to paying taxes via credit card, debit card, or gift card.  Not mentioned in that guide is Plastiq’s Masterpass promo.  Pay your taxes with Mastercard credit card or gift card $250 at a time for free.

Gift of College finally expanding to more stores?

Gift of College gift cards became irrelevant to most of us once Toys R Us stores closed down nationwide, and Gift of College gift cards never did appear in Best Buy stores as previously promised.  Now, though, their blog suggests that they are preparing for an expanded retail footprint this fall (hat tip: Seth).  For more about Gift of College Gift Cards, see: Miles for College.

 

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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dave
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dave

Greg why did you remove Kiva from recommendation?

Nick Reyes
Editor

He didn’t. This is just a periodic update post where we list news about what has died / improved / changed. There’s been no recent developments/changes regarding Kiva Loans. You’ll still find the info about those (and the many other techniques with no recent updates) in our Manufactured Spending Complete Guide, linked at the top of this post and found here:

https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/manufactured-spending-complete-guide/

Steve S
Guest
Steve S

Have you seen AMEX expand the “war on gaming” to co branded cards? Specifically sign up bonuses on hotel cards earned through purchase of Simon gift cards.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the risk whether they have or haven’t started clawing those back. Welcome bonuses are extremely valuable and there are plenty of other methods to meet spending requirements. If you do $5,000 of everyday spending on the SPG Lux and they claw back the points from your spend, you’ve lost 10K Marriott points (worth ~$70) — not the end of the world. But if you do the $5,000 spending requirement for the welcome bonus on the SPG Lux card at Simon and they claw back the points, you’ll have lost 110,000 points (worth ~$770). That’s not worth the risk to me. I’d pay taxes, rent, prepay bills, or buy GCs from places known not to report L3 data.

Paul Hutchins
Guest
Paul Hutchins

Thanks! So you’re saying the physical Simon malls report L3? Does that pose an issue with Chase?

Nick Reyes
Editor

I’m honestly not sure whether or not they do report it, but Amex has at least become hip to the fact that a charge from the mall (as opposed to a store in the mall) for thousands of dollars is something they consider inelligible for welcome bonus spend. Chase hasn’t been an issue (though be aware that Chase has increased shutdowns for people opening many new accounts — it seems it is usually a newly opened Chase account or sudden massive increase in spend that triggers it).

Paul Hutchins
Guest
Paul Hutchins

Thanks Nick!

Jerry Mandel
Guest
Jerry Mandel

NO place, including Walmart and USPS, in Dallas, Texas area will sell money orders using PIN-enabled gift cards. Sad!

Jerry Mandel
Guest
Jerry Mandel

I, Jerry Mandel did not write this reply.
“Reply written by: Jerry Mandel:
Have you checked all WMs including the ones in DFW? You can check posts on FT where people are able to buy their MOs in DFW area.”
ALL WMs in the huge DFW area.?! What is “FT”?

Jerry Mandel
Guest
Jerry Mandel

Thanks for the suggestions. Weird all our mothers would name us Jerry Mandel. I must be third Jerry Mandel in this thread.

Jerry Mandel (the original)
Guest
Jerry Mandel (the original)

Again. What is FT?

Nick Reyes
Editor

Flyertalk.

wise2u
Guest
wise2u

guess you haven’t looked hard…EVERY Walmart in 20 miles of me in Fort Worth (including the neighborhood market locations) has sold MO for PIN debit, for many years now….just make sure you get visa instead of mastercard and it should be no problem.

AnameOfaguy
Guest
AnameOfaguy

You got my all excited about the expanded GoC notice. Went to the Invest529 site where it says “Can be funded anywhere from $25 to $500 – you pick the amount.” of course, when you click through it only lets you fund up to $200.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Online you can only fund $200 at a time. When they sell the cards in-store, they can be loaded up to $500. The problem is that since the demise of TRU, it’s only a couple of very regional places that carry them in-store. Hopefully, that’ll change this fall. We’ll see.

AnameOfaguy
Guest
AnameOfaguy

Invest529 implies you can buy $500 online since they provide a link to buying an e-gift card with the above quote. I won’t hold my breath on distribution after their hollow promises on Best Buy. Will be very happy to be proven wrong!

Terry
Guest
Terry

Do you guys have any issue when adding Mastercard GC to masterpass?

I kept getting “Something went wrong. We’re sorry, but it looks like there was a problem with some of the info you just entered. Which piece of info would you like to go back and re-enter?”

I did registered my GC with my address, and so far only ONE card was successfully added while all others failed. Am I missing anything?

TomJ
Guest
TomJ

I was trying to figure out how to use Plastiq to pay my taxes and do it correctly when I ran across this link: https://www.plastiq.com/us-taxes/