Two pieces of news broke last week that really shook up the way I manufacture miles and points.
- On January 8th the mass extinction of American Express Serve and Bluebird occurred. I was one of the ones that had the reloading capabilities of my card shut down. This was the primary tool I used for manufactured spend. You can read about my old process here.
- NW Buxx decided to lower their reload limit from $500 to $200. It cost $2 a load and so lowering the limit to $200 drastically lowers the profitability of using this card. I was using these cards with my Club Carlson credit card (5x points) to rack up Club Carlson points but do not feel I will continue using the tool.
I have been franticly researching since last week and have not yet found suitable alternatives to these methods. The one small bright spot is that Citi allows you to pay their credit cards with a debit card over the phone. I still have the T-Mobile prepaid card and will continue to reload that card with the Reloadit Cards that I have access to buying with a credit card. I play on shifting much of my manufactured spending (and normal spend) to Citi because of this. I currently have the AA Platinum Select and the Prestige Cards from Citi. I still need to earn (and spend) some AA miles before the program devalues on March 22nd. I am also looking to accumulate some more Singapore miles which I can get by earning more TY points with the Prestige card. I will then use the T-Mobile Card to pay off these credit cards over the phone. I should mention that there have been reports of people having their T-Mobile accounts shut down by doing this. Extreme times call for desperate measures, and I plan on testing the limits. Stay tuned for how this ends up working.
There are still some cards I need the Manufacture some spend on that are not Citi cards. I need to spend $500 in January and February to meet the promotion Barclays gave me on my Aviator Red card to earn an extra 15,000 AA miles. I will also manufacture the $1500 in grocery store spend once Q2 hits with the Chase Freedom. I will pay of these cards normally and wait until I have had enough every day spend on my Citi Cards to cover the Reloadits I will buy with these credit cards.
Some people buy Money Orders at Walmart with a “Debit Card” to then deposit into their bank accounts. This is an option I will consider if I need to, but at this time there is no need for me. If you need to do this I recommend doing it with caution, as doing a high volume may cause your bank to close your account.
Right now one of the best options is Citi and playing off their credit cards with a debit card. Another option is to go down the route of money orders. Both of these require me to put a large volume of money through my T-Mobile card which does have me a little worried. I am doing additional research on other prepaid cards that can be reloaded with Reloadit cards so that I would not have to put everything through my T-Mobile card. If I do decide to do this I will report back here. I was also planning on applying for a few new credit cards, but now that meeting the spend may be much more difficult, I am rethinking which cards I want to apply for. This whole thing has caused quite a mess. I can at least be grateful that I do not have any minimum spend requirements that I was relying on either of these methods for.
Did you rely on these methods of manufactured spending? What are your plans going forward?