Manufactured Spending Complete Guide

Manufactured Spending

The key to increasing credit card spend is to find techniques that either let you use a credit card to pay for expenses that don’t normally allow credit card charges (e.g. mortgage, rent, taxes, contractor payments, …) or to find ways to spend money with your credit card and get the money back as cash. The latter is often referred to as “manufactured spending” or “MS” for short.

There are many reasons you may want to increase credit card spend. You may need to meet spend requirements on several new credit cards in order to earn huge signup bonuses. Or, perhaps you want to earn high level elite status or other big spend bonuses, as I do with Delta. Or, perhaps you simply want to earn extra rewards using cards with big category bonuses, or big rewards for everyday spend.

Manufactured spending techniques are legal, but the same techniques are often used by criminals to launder money or to convert stolen credit card numbers into cash. This leads many businesses to stop allowing those techniques to work. One way of looking at it is that criminals indirectly steal our points by killing easy manufactured spending options. Sidebar: While MS is legal, structuring is illegal. Read more here.

Another reason that manufactured spending options die is that the businesses involved realize that they’re losing money. For example, Citibank used to allow funding new bank accounts up to $100,000 by credit card, for free. In those cases, Citi was absorbing the credit card transaction fees. Suppose they had to pay 1.5% in fees: When a person used a credit card to deposit $100,000, Citi was on the hook for $1,500 in fees. It’s no wonder they stopped allowing this!

Regardless of why techniques die out, keeping track of what works and what doesn’t can be a challenge.  On this page the Frequent Miler team keeps track of what works and what does not.

Healthy and easy techniques

Healthy but risky, difficult, or local

Techniques on life support

MS graveyard

Which Techniques are Safe for Meeting Amex Minimum Spend?

American Express has terms in their signup offers that exclude some MS techniques from counting towards the minimum spend requirements for the signup bonus. For example, most signup bonuses have terms like this:

Eligible purchases to meet the Threshold Amount of this offer do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchase of travelers checks, purchase or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments, or other cash equivalents.

Many techniques for meeting minimum spend, though, are perfectly fine.  Here are the techniques that are safe for meeting Amex minimum spend requirements:

Automating Spend

Sometimes you’re better off automating regular spend even if it costs a bit more.  For ideas, please see: Automating Spend.

Credit card updates

  • Amex stepped up their War on Gaming as of Nov 1 2017.  Already they have stopped counting Simon Mall gift card purchases towards minimum spend requirements — and then they followed that up by notifying some cardholders that they may claw back bonuses already awarded based on gift card purchases (See: Amex fires another warning shot in the war on gaming).
  • Wells Fargo caps 5% back at $12.5K in purchases
  • US Bank FlexPerks Visa: This card’s charity category bonus dropped from 3X to 2X at the end of 2017.  And, it no longer codes Kiva as a charity.
  • American Express cards: In some cases American Express will claw back points earned from signup bonuses if the cardholder met minimum spend by buying prepaid products (e.g. gift cards).  I recommend using other techniques to meet minimum spend.
  • US Bank Cash+: This card stopped offering charity as a 5% cash back category as of February 15 2017.

Detailed Descriptions Follow (sorted alphabetically)…

Bluebird

Health Assessment: On life support

Technique brief summary: Reload Bluebird indirectly with credit card: use credit card to buy Visa gift card, then use Visa gift card as debit card to reload Bluebird at Walmart.  Withdraw money to bank account or pay bills.

Costs: Varies depending upon cost to buy Visa gift cards. No fee to load or liquidate funds to/from Bluebird.

Updates:

  • Ability to reload: Only available to those who’s account has not been frozen. New cardholders are fine (until they too have their accounts frozen from reloads).
  • Buy Vanilla Reload cards to load funds: Extremely rare to find stores that carry Vanilla Reload cards and allow credit card purchases
  • Buy Visa/MasterCard gift cards and use as debit cards to reload in-store at Walmart:
    • Kiosks have been removed from most locations (and rarely work anyway)
    • In-person loads still technically work with many gift cards, but many stores have taught their employees not to allow reloads with gift cards. In some such cases, a gift card with your name on it (available online from giftcards.com, for example) will work since it can be validated against your ID.
    • Vanilla branded gift cards do not work at Walmart for load amounts of $50 or more
    • MasterCard gift cards do work at Walmart, but they require effort: you must quickly hit the “Change Payment” button after swiping the card to change to debit payments.

Bluebird is a prepaid reloadable card advertised by Walmart and issued by American Express. To manufacture spend with Bluebird, the trick is to find a way to indirectly add funds via credit card. Once funds are loaded, there are easy options for getting your money back: withdraw cash to your linked bank account; use Bluebird’s bill pay feature to pay your credit card bill; or withdraw cash from ATMs.

Unfortunately, Amex has aggressively gone after those suspected of manufacturing spend with Bluebird or Serve by freezing the ability to load new funds. This effectively makes Bluebird dead to anyone in that situation.

Those who still have live Bluebird accounts may find that options for loading them indirectly by credit card are also quite limited:

  • It used to be possible to buy Vanilla Reload cards at a variety of stores with a credit card, then go online to move those funds to Bluebird or Serve. Today, only a handful of very small chains around the country still sell Vanilla Reload cards and still allow credit card purchases.
  • Another option is to buy Visa or MasterCard gift cards and then use those as debit cards in-store at Walmart to reload Bluebird or Serve. For details on what works today with this process, see below: Walmart Kiosks, Walmart, and Visa/MasterCard Gift Cards. Short answer: It’s still possible at some Walmart locations, but not all.

Learn more here:

Fund Bank Accounts: Alive

Health Assessment: Healthy But Risky

Costs: Free (unless you end up paying cash advance fees!)

Technique brief summary: Use credit card to fund new bank accounts.

Updates: Citibank no longer allows credit card funding of Citi bank accounts.

Read this Doctor of Credit post for details showing which banks allow this and how to avoid cash advance fees.

Fund College Savings or Student Loans with Gift of College gift cards

Health Assessment: Healthy, but difficult to find source for gift cards

Costs: $5.95 per $500 (1.19%)

Technique brief summary: Use credit card to buy Gift of College gift cards. Use gift cards to fund student loans or college savings.

Gift of College gift cards are available regionally at H-E-B and Fred’s stores. Each gift card can be bought with a credit card and each has a $5.95 fee. When loading each card to the maximum amount ($500), the fee is a very reasonable 1.19%. There is no fee to apply the value of the gift card to a student loan or 529 college savings plan.

More details can be found here: Pay student loans or 529 plans with a credit card!

Updates:

  • Due to Toys R Us closing nationwide, Gift of College gift cards are hard to find in stores.
  • While we expected Gift of College gift cards to roll out to Best Buy stores, this never happened.
  • Gift of College gift cards are now showing up at H-E-B and Fred’s stores.  More here.
  • Recently it became impossible to fund student loans directly with a credit card (previously some lenders allowed it). This change makes the Gift of College option more attractive to many.
  • The US Bank Cash+ card no longer offers charity as a 5% cash back category (as of Feb 15th 2017), so that eliminates one of the reasons it was previously worth buying Gift of College gift cards online despite the 3% fee (since Gift of College purchases code as charity).
  • The US Bank Flexperks card continues to earn 3X for charity.  Online purchases of Gift of College gift cards do earn 3X.

Gift Card Churning

Health Assessment: Healthy but risky and much more difficult than in the past due to recent events (e.g. The Plastic Merchant went under; Amex stopped allowing loading the same Amex Offers to multiple cards).

Technique brief summary: Buy merchant gift card at discount with credit card, resell to break even or make profit.

Updates:

Gift card churning is the art of buying and liquidating gift cards for the purpose of saving money, earning money, earning extra points, and/or manufacturing credit card spend.

Please see:

Kickfurther

Health Assessment: Healthy, but risky

Technique brief summary: Use credit card to fund short term business loans (really consignment purchases). If all goes well, you can get your money back, with interest.

Updates:

  • Kickfurther has changed the way they do business and is now posting only 100% Purchase Order Backed Co-Ops.  This should make Kickfurther less risky, but only time will tell.  Update 9/4/2018: So far, so good with their new business model.  Kickfurther is still far from risk free, but it is much better than it was before.
  • Fund more than $500 easily: I previously wrote that you could only fund KickFurther consignments $500 at a time. That’s still true, but I then learned that you can use a credit card to separately add funds to your Kickfurther account $500 at a time. This is annoying, but it effectively removes the limit.
  • Risky business: I’m increasing warnings about the riskiness of funding Kickfurther projects. This article gives a good overview of why it is risky to invest in KickFurther offers. And, this Reddit thread tracks troubled offers (there are many).

See: Manufacture spend and profit with Kickfurther? My 3rd review…

Kiva Loans: Alive

Health Assessment: Healthy, with easy ways to reduce risk.

Costs: Free, but there is always risk that some loans will default and you’ll lose your money on those loans.

Technique brief summary: Use credit card to make micro-loans. Most loans pay back in 6 to 12 months, but with no interest.

Updates:

Kivalens, a companion website used for filtering to “safe” loans and making many loans at once, has been completely re-written and is much better than it was before.

See: Manufacture Spend (and do good) with Kiva and Kivalens.

Money Orders

Health Assessment: This is extremely location dependent. In some areas, buying money orders with debit gift cards is easy. In other areas it can be very difficult.

Costs: Varies by store. Walmart charges 70 88 cents per money order.

Technique brief summary: Use credit card to buy Visa or MasterCard gift card (see: Best options for buying Visa and MasterCard gift cards). Use gift card as debit card to purchase money order. Deposit money order to bank, or use directly to pay bills.

Updates:

  • 11/1/18: Walmart now requires a customer’s ID information to be entered into a Know Your Customer database for money order purchases in excess of $1K. Daily limit is now $8K per rolling 24 hours based on entries in that database.
  • 8/2018: Many Walmart stores now limit money order buyer to 4 debit card swipes (e.g. $2,000 when using $500 debit gift cards)
  • 2/2018: Walmart increases money order price from 70 cents to 88 cents per money order
  • 9/2017: US Post Offices no longer accept gift cards to pay for money orders
  • Kroger is once again accepting debit cards for money order purchases (but it still doesn’t work in Michigan)
  • Gift cards issued by Metabank and US Bank no longer work at most/all US Post Offices

Notes / Cautions:

  • Many people have had their bank accounts shut down after depositing large amounts of money orders.
  • Structuring is illegal. Don’t do it. More info here: Manufactured Spend & Money Orders: What You Need to Know to Stay Out of Legal Trouble
  • Techniques that work or don’t work are specific to different regions, stores, or even to individual cashiers.
  • Visa gift cards tend to have fewer problems than MasterCard gift cards.
  • Vanilla branded gift cards do not work at Walmart stores for transactions of $50 or greater.

Pay Bills with Plastiq

Health Assessment: Healthy and easy.

Cost: 2.5% fee is standard for credit card payments, but they often run special discounts.

Technique brief summary: Use credit card or gift cards to pay bills that can’t usually be paid by credit card.

Updates:

If you have bills that can’t usually be paid with a credit card (e.g. mortgage, rent, car payments, professional services, etc.), then one option is to pay those bills with the Plastiq bill payment service. Current fees are 2.5% for credit card payments. Make sure the rewards you earn outweigh those fees!

See: Complete guide to Plastiq credit card payments.

Pay Federal Taxes

Health Assessment: Healthy and easy.

Cost: As low as 1.87% for credit cards, $2.25 flat fee for debit cards.

Technique brief summary: Use credit card or gift cards to pay federal taxes.

If you don’t mind giving the US government a loan, you can use a credit card or Visa/MasterCard gift card to pay your year-end and/or quarterly estimated taxes. Fees start at 1.89% for credit cards, or flat $2.50 fees for debit cards. Over-payments, if any, will be refunded after you file your year end taxes.

Updates

For full details, please see: Complete guide to paying taxes via credit card, debit card, or gift card.

Pay Friends with Venmo or Paypal

Health Assessment: Healthy and easy.

Cost: Venmo: 3% for credit cards, free for debit cards.  Paypal: 2.9% + 30 cents for credit or debit cards

Technique brief summary: Use credit card to pay money owed to friends, for a fee.

Updates:

Both Venmo and Paypal allow individuals to pay friends via credit card with approximately 3% in fees.  In general, 3% fees will more than wipe out any advantage of earning rewards from a credit card, but when trying to meet minimum spend requirements in order to get a new credit card signup bonus it may very well be worth it.

There is an unconfirmed report that the Chase Ink Business Preferred card earns 3X with Venmo payments.  If true, this would be a great way to essentially buy Ultimate Rewards points for just under a penny each.  For example, if you send $1000 you’ll pay $1030 due to the 3% fee.  For that $30 fee, you’ll earn 1030 x 3 = 3090 points. Price per point = $30 / 3090 = .97 cents.

Another great option with Venmo is with Amex gift cards.  Payments made with Amex gift cards through Venmo are fee free.  That said, Venmo is known to shut down accounts of those who do too much volume and cycle through too many different cards.  Note too that they have limit of 8 different cards per 6 months.

Pay Rent with RadPad

Health Assessment: Healthy and easy

Cost: Pay with credit card for 2.99% fee, or debit card for $4.95 (less than $5K rent), or $9.95 (move than $5K rent).

Technique brief summary: Pay rent via credit card

Updates:

RadPad is a rent payment service that had previously shuttered their service, but is now available again.  The reason that this service is interesting is that it may code as travel or online purchases for the purpose of earning credit card category bonuses.  Specifically, the following options have worked in the past and are expected to work again:

  • Pay with the Citi AT&T Access More card to earn 3X rewards (only through July 21 2017)
  • Pay via Apple Pay or Android Pay so that purchase is coded as travel (confirmed reports can be found here):
    • Earn 3X with Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Ink Business Preferred
    • Earn 3X with Citi Premier or Citi Prestige

Pay Rent with Rentler

Health Assessment: Healthy and easy

Cost: 2.5% credit card, $3.99 debit card.

Technique brief summary: Pay rent via credit card for a 2.5% fee, or debit card for $3.99.

I don’t see any advantages of this service over Plastiq, but it seemed worth listing. Unfortunately, it is necessary for your landlord to sign up with Rentler in order to pay your rent this way. Here’s Doctor of Credit’s review.

Pay Rent with RoomiPay

Health Assessment: Healthy and easy

Cost: 2% credit or debit card (Note: the website lists 2.5% but this blog page and reader reports indicate 2%)

Technique brief summary: Pay rent via credit card for a 2% fee.

As long as they offer a 2% fee, this service has an obvious edge over Plastiq and Rentler (both of which charge 2.5%)

Pay Rent with Urbanr

Health Assessment: Healthy and easy

Cost: 1.5% credit card

Tecnique brief summary: Pay rent via credit card for a 1.5% fee

Note that Urbanr only accepts Visa, Mastercard, or Discover (no Amex), but they allow you to split tender over 3 credit cards.

PayPal My Cash Cards

PayPal Freeze

Health Assessment: Dead

Update: CVS is the one national chain known to sell these and allow credit cards to pay, but they recently stopped selling these cards.  See: CVS stops selling PayPal My Cash cards.

Cost: $3.95 per $500 to purchase (0.79% fee). You may incur additional costs to liquidate (when buying money orders, for example).

Technique brief summary: Buy PayPal My Cash cards with a credit card (some drug stores allow credit card payments); load the funds to your PayPal account (up to $4,000 per month); and then retrieve the funds in a number of ways: transfer to your bank account; send money to friends; spend the funds with a PayPal debit card (buy money orders, for example); etc.  For information about how to use these without getting shut down, see: PayPal Business Debit Card: A Great Backup Tool for Manufactured Spending.

Prepaid Visa/MasterCard Reloadable cards

Health Assessment: Healthy, but reload techniques are highly dependent upon location.

Cost: Varies.

Technique brief summary: Use credit card to buy Visa or MasterCard gift card. Use gift card as debit card to reload prepaid card. Liquidate by paying bills (some offer free bill pay), ATM withdrawals, buy money orders, etc.

  • Techniques that work or don’t work are specific to different regions, stores, or even to individual cashiers.
  • Visa gift cards tend to have fewer problems than MasterCard gift cards.
  • Vanilla branded gift cards to not work at Walmart stores for transactions of $50 or greater.
  • Fees can add up quickly: It can cost up to $5.95 for each $500 Visa gift card and then another $5.95 to reload your prepaid card. In that worst case scenario, total fees = 2.38%!

See also: Connecting the dots: Prepaid cards that allow debit reloads

REDbird — The Target Prepaid REDcard

Health Assessment: Dead

Technique brief summary: It used to be possible to load in-store with credit card and then withdraw money or pay bills.

Updates: Cash only loads kills REDbird for manufacturing spend.

Reselling

Health Assessment: Healthy, but difficult and risky

Technique brief summary: Buy merchandise at discount with credit card, earn portal rewards, resell to break even, or make profit, or for a slight loss (this is often a cheap way to indirectly buy airline miles when portals offer big bonuses)

Updates: Amazon has made life more difficult, and in some cases, more expensive for resellers. See: A Dark Time for Amazon Sellers.

Manufacturing Spend through reselling has always been a tough but potentially very rewarding option. In some cases people start reselling for the purpose of manufacturing spend, but soon realize that it is a great way to earn money in general. That said, it takes effort and considerable risk to pull it off.

For an overview of manufacturing spend through reselling, please see: Increasing Spend through Reselling.

Serve

Health Assessment: On life support

Costs: Varies depending upon cost to buy Visa gift cards. Monthly fees and/or load fees depend upon the type of Serve card you have.

Technique brief summary: Reload Serve indirectly with credit card: use credit card to buy Visa gift card, then use Visa gift card as debit card to reload Serve at supported stores.  Withdraw money to bank account or pay bills.

Updates:

Current State Details:

  • Number of cards: An individual can now have up to 5 different Amex Serve accounts. Details here.
  • Ability to reload: Only for those who’s account has not been frozen. New cardholders are fine (until they too have their accounts frozen from reloads).
  • Buy reload cards to load funds: Extremely rare to find stores that carry reload cards and allow credit card purchases
  • Buy Visa/MasterCard gift cards and use as debit cards to reload in-store:
    • Possible at some Walmart locations (see Bluebird, above, for details)
    • Possible at some Family Dollar and Dollar General stores. If you can find an accommodating store, all brands of Visa and MasterCard gift cards that have a PIN should work.
    • No longer an option at Rite Aid (cash only)
  • Load via credit card: Amex cards only. Amex cards issued by Amex do not earn rewards, and load amounts NO LONGER COUNT towards signup bonus minimum spend and big spend bonuses.

Serve is a reloadable prepaid card built on the same platform as Bluebird. Since Serve is not tied to Walmart in any way, it has broader capabilities. Beyond the options for loading Bluebird, detailed above, Serve can also be loaded at a number of stores besides Walmart, and can be loaded with other reload cards in addition to Vanilla Reloads: Money-Pak and ReloadIt. Serve can also be loaded online via Amex credit cards, but you will not earn rewards when doing so with an Amex issued American Express card.

Learn more here: Complete guide to Bluebird and Serve.

Visa Buxx Cards

Health Assessment: On life support

Technique brief summary: Reload online with credit card, then withdraw money or pay bills

Updates:

  • Nationwide Visa Buxx: Dead as of February 28th 2017
  • TD Bank Visa Buxx: Alive, but only for loads with TD issued credit cards
  • US Bank Visa Buxx: Dead

Visa Buxx are prepaid reloadable Visa debit cards designed for teenagers. The great thing about these cards for manufacturing spend is that they can be loaded by a parent online, with a credit card for a small fee. Then, they can be unloaded either by using as a debit card to pay bills via debit card, buy cash equivalents, in stores that allow cash back for debit payments (many grocery stores, for example), or via ATM withdrawals.

Visa / MasterCard Gift Cards: Mostly Alive

Health Assessment: Healthy, but purchase and liquidation techniques are extremely location dependent

Cost: Varies. $500 gift cards typically cost $4.95 to $5.95 when purchased in-store (1% to 1.19%)

Technique brief summary: Buy gift card with credit card, use as debit card to pay bills, buy money orders, reload prepaid cards, etc.

Updates:

The trick to manufacturing spend with Visa and MasterCard gift cards is to find ways to buy gift cards with a credit card. Ideally, you’ll find gift cards with low fees as a percent of the total gift card value or where you’ll earn a large credit card category bonus. Many good options still exist.

For detailed options, please see: Best options for buying Visa and MasterCard gift cards.

Unloading gift cards is tougher. Online, I can only think of two good options: 1) Use gift card to fund your Kiva balance; or 2) Pay estimated federal taxes for a small flat fee. In person, look for places that offer bill pay services, prepaid reload services; and/or money order purchases. In some cases (which vary regionally), they’ll allow debit payments for these services and then you may be able to use your debit gift cards to pay.

Last updated on November 2nd, 2018

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Jerry Mandel
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Jerry Mandel

Everyone should complain to Walmart HQ if your particular place will not accept gift cards with PINs to buy money orders. OK is some places but not in others. Not uniform.

Mike Mellon
Guest
Mike Mellon

State laws apply, no?

Yogi Adityanath
Guest
Yogi Adityanath

Is it ok to pay my bank (CHASE, BOA) directly with M.O. for credit card balance due? Anyone? Bueller?

Wanderlust
Guest
Wanderlust

No.

Loyd
Guest
Loyd

If you are a precious metals collector, Fidelitrade has a metals accumulation plan that allows one to buy metals with a credit card. There are service fees but as I recall the fees are charged on all purchases, not just credit card purchases.

P
Guest
P

When signing up for those services to pay rent with a credit card what documents do they require? Our rent agreement expired 2 years ago and we’ve been doing rent on a month to month basis.

Mike Mellon
Guest
Mike Mellon

Often dependent on area level laws/bi-laws etc., as I understood. Remaining rentals & not falling into AIrBNB or vacation (VBRO?) type questions.

Blake
Guest
Blake

Is venmo still a safe option? Thanks

Mike Mellon
Guest
Mike Mellon

Define safe? In what terms?

Mike
Guest
Mike

Nice round-up that I somehow missed when it was published. I was hoping to see something about one specific question, since I it’s a four-hour roundtrip to a WM for me: Where can office supply Metabank GCs be converted to MO? And — hopefully a related question — can anyone report from the trenches what PIN-enabled, bank-issued prepaid debit cards Meijer accepts for MO purchases? I’ve googled this every which way, but the answer ain’t come loose. Thanks.

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[…] a list of recommended sites.  Personally, I think FrequentMiler’s monthly update on the state of manufactured spend is the best that I’ve seen, but also enjoy prospecting in r/churning’s weekly […]

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[…] and have gift cards in stock. If they are, this is an easy $2500 in fee-free spend. See our Manufactured Spending Complete Guide for more information on buying and liquidating gift […]

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[…] descriptions of techniques can be found on a separate page: Manufactured Spending Complete Guide.  Many of the listed techniques aren’t technically “manufactured spending”, but it’s a […]

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[…] If you have rent or mortgage payments to make, consider paying via Plastiq with your Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred card.  When paid this way, the purchase codes as travel.  You will have to pay a 2.5% fee, but it is worth it in order to earn 3X rewards.  More details can be found here. […]

Jerry Mandel
Guest
Jerry Mandel

There is no place in the Dallas, TX area that will sell money orders using gift cards with PINs. USPS computers reject them, too. (Sob!)

Derrick
Guest
Derrick

Not true. Walmarts throughout Dallas do. Ymmv – basically depends on the CSR that checks you out

Nick Reyes
Editor

Adding to what Derrick said, it’s worth noting that some places won’t sell a MO if you tell them you’re paying with a gift card. If you just swipe the card and enter the PIN without mentioning it, you may find it to work.

trackback

[…] student loans or fund college savings programs (details here).  Buy a $500 Gift of College gift card with a $5.95 fee.  With this option you can earn 1012 […]

Marcus
Guest
Marcus

What counts as “large amounts” of MO? Is there a page where I can see DPs?

trackback

[…] Frequent Miler has a thorough Guide to Manufactured Spending with consistently updated info on what techniques still work and others that have died off. I recommend using it to stay current with news if manufactured spend is on your radar. […]

Howard
Guest
Howard

sub

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[…] descriptions of techniques can be found on a separate page: Manufactured Spending Complete Guide.  Many of the listed techniques aren’t technically “manufactured spending”, but it’s a […]

SharonK
Guest
SharonK

Now that PayPal My Cash cards are discontinued, what do you think of just linking a credit card to PayPal account and making it both the preferred and backup payment method for PayPal? This seems almost too easy – is there a catch? I can find no indication that PayPal charges a fee when they use credit card for payment. And they actually mention this on the PayPal site with the jolly introduction “Love earning those points, miles and cash back every time you pay with plastic? Just link your credit cards…” so I guess they don’t disapprove.

Mike
Guest

Looks like Gift of College is now charging a 5% fee?

“Gift givers can gift from $25-$500. Gift givers are assessed a 5% processing/service (capped at $15) fee per transaction. This fee covers costs associated with this service.”

Found it under FAQ “How much can I gift to a GiftofCollege profile?”

Flame
Guest
Flame

Its 3% that they charge if you use CC directly. ($15 for $500)

trackback

[…] minimum spending requirement is pretty demanding at $7,500 in three months. There are many great ways to meet minimum spending requirements (hat tip to Frequent Miler for staying on top of these methods), but make sure you only get this […]

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[…] price as possible. There is some risk here. The difference between reselling and traditional manufactured spending is that there is much more risk involved in reselling. Things sometimes go wrong. Take that into […]

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[…] C) can manufacture spend*… […]

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[…] I certainly do some moderate manufactured spending, the bulk of my spend (and mileage earning) has long come from buying and reselling. On the […]

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[…] you can manufacture those points even cheaper. And you’re not wrong — between our complete guide to manufactured spending and near-monthly guides to increasing credit card spend while getting most of it back, we maintain […]

Mike
Guest
Mike

My local Whole Foods pulled their variable load visas and MCs within the last 3 days (had lots of them on Saturday). Customer service made it sound like it was Blackhawk’s decision, although I suspect it has more to do with prepping for the Amazon takeover, or maybe Amex is pushing WF because of the extra 1X bonus available on MR cards (PRG and Blue Plus are both earning 3X at WF through year end if you added the 1X bonus). Nothing except 100s left, so not worthwhile even at 3X.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

I’m planning my wedding and setting up a cash registry to fund our honeymoon, and it occurred to me that I can set up a dummy registry and gift myself stuff for MS. Blueprint offers subsidized credit card fees of 2.5% per transaction. Beats venmo any day and the money can be deposited to a PayPal account for free or converted to an Amazon gift card for a 2% bonus. Seems like a great way to hit minimum spend. Obviously not great for constant manufactured spend (unless you use Amazon A LOT).

Shannon
Guest
Shannon

Goal: Would like to find a way to earn 5X using my Chase INK when purchasing Gift of College cards. I found the GofC card on Digital Pay Pal Gifts (unfortunately the largest amount was $100). I wanted to see if my purchase would code as 5x since my INK card is set up in my Pal Pal account. It did not!

Perhaps you have a suggestion for me?

Kali
Guest
Kali

According to the Ink Plus, you can earn 5X point with the rewards categories only: office supply stores; internet, cable, and phone services. how can you earn 5X when buying GofC card?

Nick Reyes
Editor

PayPal Digital Gifts usually codes as an office supply store — whether you buy from them on eBay or directly from their site and use PayPal to pay.

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide […]

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[…] Pay Friends with Venmo or Paypal […]

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[…] that card was 60,000 miles, bringing my tally up to 100,000 (which includes miles earned through manufactured spending). 100k is more than enough for three one-way trips across the Atlantic. Not bad! The Delta Amex […]

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[…] to any quantity purchased. While I’d generally prefer to earn miles through one of the many techniques we write about (and with LifeMiles recently being added as a Citi ThankYou transfer partner, many readers might […]

Nate
Guest

Is AMEX Surpass spend a dollar and get 6X not a good deal. If I spend a 100 I get 600 points, at my grocery stores.Isn’t it better than spending 100 and getting 100 points. Or two or three? I know if I spend 100 dollars using my double cash card, I’ll get 2.00. And even if we’re confusing miles/points, there must be some value system that make this less confusing. I know I got to eat and if I’m going to pay these prices, I’d like to know how I can get more for my buck. Is AMEX Surpass 6X nothing more than a smoke screen. I heard from the grapevine it’s worth only .0004. I heard also that it was worth .045.

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[…] is a beginner-friendly list, so I won’t get too deep into manufactured spending (MS), but many folks also like to buy visa gift cards with credit cards, and then buy money orders […]

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[…] Pay Rent with Rentler […]

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[…] excellent job of it.  On November 3, 2017 major points sites like Flyertalk, DoctorofCredit, FrequentMiler and many others claimed that the the Post Office wasn’t viable for manufactured (nonorganic) […]

Bob
Guest
Bob

Do you know if loading serve with a debit card (a real one not gift card) counts as a signature transaction or a pin transaction? Need some real (not $1) signature transactions.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Tried to sign up my 18 year old son for Serve. Rejected:

“Sorry, we are unable to approve you for an Account at this time.

Thank you for your interest in American Express Serve.”

Do you have to be 21 to get this? He’s never had Serve. He is an authorized user on my Amex.

Is there a recon line for Serve? He’s never had a Serve.

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide lists many ways to increase your credit card spend with the intent of getting most of it back, and […]

Bob
Guest
Bob

SOL trying to get a Serve for him, or a bluebird. Have you heard of Amex blackballing people (or maybe our address) before?

Bob
Guest
Bob

Blacklisting *before* they’ve done a lot of MS? I loaded my card with $500, that’s it so far. And left the balance there.

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[…] maintain a Manufactured Spending Complete Guide with tips for how to increase your credit card spend. One way some people do that is by purchasing […]

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[…] Fund College Savings or Student Loans with Gift of College gift cards […]

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide – Frequent Miler […]

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide – Frequent Miler […]

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[…] our updates on How to increase credit card spend and get most of it back. What still works? and our Manufactured Spending Complete Guide so that it’s not an either/or […]

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide – Frequent Miler […]

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide – Frequent Miler […]

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide – Frequent Miler […]

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide – Frequent Miler […]

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide – Frequent Miler […]

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide – Frequent Miler […]

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide – Frequent Miler […]

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[…] Manufactured Spending Complete Guide – Frequent Miler […]

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[…] its limited number of partners. However, if you’re doing even a relatively modest amount of MS, it’s conceivable that you have a couple/few thousand dollars per month in bandwidth to […]

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[…] For more on Manufactured Spending check out this great breakdown from Frequent Miler. […]

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[…] into manufactured spending (in 2018, this is getting more and more […]

Troy
Guest
Troy

So, as an MS learning wannabe newbie, if I have my mind wrapped around correctly, is this idea feasible (of course not for minimum spend w/AMEX):
1. Purchase (2) $500 Visa Gift Cards from Giftcards.com @$1K + 2 x 6.95= $1013.90
2. Pay with Blue Business using AMEX Express (+2 additional until 5/17 for total of 4x)
3. Use cards at Walmart to buy (2) $500 Money Orders ($1.40 fee)
4. Deposit $1K back
5. Cost 4K MR = $15.30 (and my time) or .003825 per MR

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[…] Hyatt points. Again, it’s not the best in the business — but not bad if you have some large purchases to […]

Sam
Guest
Sam

I have been using RentTrack for 10 months now. 2.5% fee but they report to all 3 credit reporting agencies. I love their service

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[…] if you look at that post on manufacturing free nights and do some math considering the options for MS in the various categories, it will likely become apparent that one could MS free nights in […]

Frank
Guest
Frank

Any problem meeting min spend on Citi TY cards by buying VISA GC at SM? Do I need to set cash advance to zero?

Nick Reyes
Editor

None that I know of, I’d just avoid cycling your limit (spending the full limit and paying it all off more than once per month). I’d always recommend setting cash advance limit to zero because you never know when things could change.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Thanks. In this case the limit is high enough I don’t need to cycle credit (that I save for the B*st*rds who reduced my CL as punishment for my hobby … 🙂

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[…] offers for a “mystery bonus” when buying World of Hyatt points.  If you do any manufactured spending, these bonuses probably aren’t worthwhile as you can likely manufacture the points more […]

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[…] will get into in another blog post.  A great resource to learn about manufactured spending, is at The Frequent Miler, travel blog.  Now you know what credit cards you can afford to meet the minimum spend for your […]

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[…] news on the MS front — it appears that the opportunity to earn cash back on Visa Gift Card purchases is […]

macleancd
Guest
macleancd

Hi, what about buying miles on points.com? Any insight if AmEx allows this?

Nick Reyes
Editor

That should be no problem at all — it’s just usually a very poor deal.

macleancd
Guest
macleancd

Thanks very much for the reply, Nick, and thanks for the insight. I’m thinking about buying Alaska miles while they are on sale and redeeming for business class from Europe to Hong Kong, one way for 42500 miles, (if there’s award space.) The sale is 1182.50 usd for 60K in points.

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

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[…] year, via manufactured spend techniques, Ive already completed the required $250K spend for Diamond status.  And, I’ve already […]

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[…] mentally offset the annual fee. Much of it depends on your spending patterns and whether or not you MS. In this post, I’ll look at my collection of premium cards based on those I plan to cancel at […]

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[…] to earn 155,000 points per year on $31,000 in spend. That’s a lot of spend for sure, but there are ways to do it and it’s hard to beat that kind of return on […]

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[…] I kept my focus on eventually flying in ME3 premium cabins. For the record, I do very little “manufactured spending,” mainly because I’m too square. However, I could be approved for multiple credit cards, and I […]

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[…] to use this technique to help meet minimum spend now and then, they are a sure blow to those manufacturing spend in […]

Denise
Guest
Denise

Is funding Paypal with Visa Giftcards then send that money to your friends/family members still working?

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[…] I was looking at cost around 29,000 Ultimate Rewards points when booked through Chase. Through Manufactured Spending techniques, I figured that my worst-case scenario was that I could generate the points for each […]