Manufactured spending



  • since I don’t see this topic here, how about beginning one? We can cover all the changes affecting this hobby/part time job/, new methods new retailers friendly to us, etc. methods that work and one’s that don’t I will start off with a small tidbit.: Chase freedom cat. for 10/1-12/30 is Walmart. They sell 500.00 MCGC issued Bankcorp. The 500 VGC they sell are green dot (at least here) and don’t know if they can be liquidated by our methods. Bancorp cards can. But you will net about 60.00 after fees. If you have more then 1 freedom, it’s probably worth it, but only up to 1500 per freedom card, thus the 60.00 profit.


  • Banned

    I vote to turn this into a forum, actually. Not that we have to takeover the MS world, but there was never a home for it on FW and Flyertalk has one, but that forum has looked like Iraq for quite a while (sparse rubble).

    Thoughts, anyone?



  • Make it password protected and make people submit CC statements proving they’re heavy hitters.



  • @cashmeeousside

    But what is a heavy hitter? Some may think they are? Lol


  • Banned

    Again, the goal shouldn’t be to takeover the MS world. Therefore, the HH requirement is not a valid one. In my opinion, of course. Also I agree that “HH” is so subjective.



  • afaik, at most WM Supercenters, vanilla MCGCs issued by Bancorp are sold cash only. I’ve noticed this several times at different WMs, different states and have not tried if it’s hardcoded on the registers since cashiers tell me outright I have to pay in cash before they scan the card.



  • There was a FW heavy hitters thread that had a wealth of info back in the day.

    Just about all the heavy hitters have migrated to private forums which is why you haven’t seen a dedicated MS thread on FW. There’s actually a good reason why this has taken place. Back in the day companies were slow to address MS techniques as they spread on the forums. MS methods that had little or no barrier to entry and were almost effortless survived for months and sometimes years. Fast forward to 2017 when companies are a lot more savvy and quicker to respond and a reliable MS technique can be killed in a few days once it is widely discussed online in a open forum…


  • Banned

    @eyj said in Manufactured spending:

    There was a FW heavy hitters thread that had a wealth of info back in the day.

    Just about all the heavy hitters have migrated to private forums which is why you haven’t seen a dedicated MS thread on FW. There’s actually a good reason why this has taken place. Back in the day companies were slow to address MS techniques as they spread on the forums. MS methods that had little or no barrier to entry and were almost effortless survived for months and sometimes years. Fast forward to 2017 when companies are a lot more savvy and quicker to respond and a reliable MS technique can be killed in a few days once it is widely discussed online in a open forum…

    I was a member of a private MS forum and have since left. It comprised of many of the “HH” folks from FT and FWF, but it was stale data and/or turned into another platform for the HH people to just PM each other, rather than share. I think the whole “HH” thing is overblown these days.



  • I was a member of a private app group but I left when I noticed that only a few of us contributed our “unicorn sightings” while many would just try it and report results. I was looking for discussion that was productive also for me, not looking for reports whether something reported worked for them or not. On the other hand, there are also groups that pressure members to come up with something “useful” to everyone or they will get locked out soon. I decided I’ll just monitor reddit/FW/DoC and be in control of what I’d like to share.



  • the MS forum at FT is now taken over by newbies, many of whom prefer to be spoonfed or they PM to ask someone to teach them the ropes. While PMs has become the norm for vets, (not necessarily HHs) I’m not too keen on those who just ask for dole-outs while promising they won’t share it with others. 🙄 Why would someone enjoying a loophole/unicorn share it with a stranger who they have to draw arrows and circles for them to fully understand?



  • An MS forum would be useful just not in the exclusive HH format suggested. General info that is organized and searchable would be helpful-, for example, which cards are subject to chase 5/24, Amex FR flags and clawback dp’s, recon #'s, helpful data points for non fragile plays etc.


  • Banned

    @eyj all that is available at ft, I think. So we are just replicating the content?



  • Well that would be dependent on the level of the user base. If mostly newbies it will end up looking like FT. If more advanced users some really helpful info could be shared, although at some point things would rise to the level of being too sensitive to post and that’s where PMs would come in handy. Still could be less dumbed down than FT, depending on how it evolves.



  • Now that CCs have come up with their respective abuse team to monitor accounts and it has affected MS in a lot of ways. Because of this development, posting information that is open to all is like asking the abuse teams for an immediate shutdown and makes their job very easy. It is not surprising why a lot of people share deals via private meetings and discuss strategies that have not leaked to the general public. In other words, sharing deals has become very limited among small groups to prolong the deal.



  • In person meet ups have been very helpful. Grant Thomas of Travel With Grant organizes them, as does the Freequent Flyer on Twitter for his subscribers, and the FT thread has MS meetups. If you want to spend money you can go to a FTU or Chicago Seminar. I went to an FTU once and it was interesting, although I would not spend money to go to one again. I did meet several heavy hitters of the old Delta Skymiles debit card though and a better networker could probably build good relationships with local MSers.

    There’s the Saverocity “Level 2” group (although that doesn’t really add much in terms of secret stuff or new deals, but rather franker discussion of existing ongoing deals like buying coins that pay off eBay bucks from reputable dealers as a means of MS) and the Freequent Flyer newsletter (the guy is a character but he does share interesting deals like the now dead OD/OM unlimited rewards on VGC if you put your zip code in a target market). I do check into the FT thread though, before I do something that I haven’t done recently, like buy money orders at the post office or WM, in order to make sure nothing has significantly changed.

    The low hanging fruit, like Vanilla Reloads, Serve/Bluebird/Redbird, Visa Buxx, etc. are gone. The HH who make a living on this are generally sharing amongst a few dozen people, at most, and probably less and more selectively. I only treat it as a hobby since I have thousands of unspent UR from the days when Chase was mailing VGC to your doorstep and you could take it to Kate to get money back.



  • Chase used to be very nice indeed. They would even be so kind as to cash advance some of the prepaid cards for you in branch. Citi treated you pretty well in those days too…,



  • I have now changed my strategy and focused more on CBs with the right cards this year. I still have URs to burn on hotels but for flights, I prefer to pay for them although not full price just doing some research online. CBs are not more flexible, I find it easier to keep track of them with my methods of MSing these days. Overall, I’m still picking low hanging fruits which I hope will still be there for a while since they’re not discussed anywhere.


  • Banned

    @ma-barker I agree. CB is much simpler these days. I’ve just been on the OBC grind for a while. I think we have seven unique OBCs between my wife and I. That’s about $1200 in net CB the easy way, and closer to $2000 the hard way, per card. I do one card per month, and that is our grocery budget for the year.



  • @jaytrader talking about the old blue card, I am just starting on a new year and fwr, I “think” I got shorted of a few $$ since my records show I earned only $2490, but then, not counting other perks like the BBY points earned for huge discounts or even free items there, free $ on WMgc($10/$50), huge discounts on cellphone and cable bills (all these from sync offers), I didn’t call to account for the ten to avoid eyeballs on my account. I’m sure all those with old blue will agree it’s a keeper unless the team decides to scrutinize all accounts for MS. 98% of spending on this card is MS related.


  • Banned

    @ma-barker I actually got shut down by chat folks for my wife’s recent 3rd card and accelerating the cash back that is pending. Statement just cut yesterday, and I’m expecting about $1500 to post, then the other $1000 to post October 24. But anyway, when I chatted in recently, they told me they already accommodated my request on my other card and won’t expedite the rewards on my new card. I backed off after a couple of tries with different reps.



  • @jaytrader chatting with axp reps has not been reliable for me, even talking to them on the phone. in the past, I wanted to reconcile how much more I have left before I reach the $50K cap since I didn’t want to “overspend” on it. Two reps on the phone were so confident telling me that "not only was the first $6.5K part of the cap BUT also ALL spend was part of it and the time I called I was short of $4xx.xx. I knew they were outright wrong but what will I get trying to argue with them? I just monitored my statements to check if I was still earning 5% on the 3 categories and when I found I was, I knew they were wrong so I didn’t press further. I maxed out my spend with careful calculation and got all except $10 which I will not “fight” for ; ) Working on other old cards now to reach the cap and now I’m more confident the cap is AFTER the initial huge spend and the full cap is NOT based on all spend after initial $6.5K is reached.



  • I imagine at some point Amex will get level III at the major chains and that will be the end but for now may as well milk it. Churning sign up bonuses used to reliably get you that level of payout and more each month between you and spouse cards but it certainly has become more difficult to get to that monthly level recently…



  • @eyj I discussed this not too long ago with a DS manager who also does light MS and asked her if they submitted L3 data and she said NO due to certain HIPPA provisions. I’ll take her word on that (at least for now unless there are new developments). Hopefully we can continue to MS via two major DS chains.


  • Banned

    @ma-barker Yeah, it’s always been $56,500 total.



  • For those who use WM billpay via CheckFreePay, has anyone experienced where payment was posted to their account they did NOT make? Will CFP clawback this payment later? I’m talking of >$2K and it’s been a week that it posted to my account when I didn’t make that payment! I’m not worried about the CC account that got paid but I’d like to know how long should I wait to find out if I’m in the clear or if CFP “gave me an early Christmas gift”? I don’t mind if they’ll claw it back from the CC account they posted it but question is until when should I wait? I tried to contact CFP but they were asking me for a code/reference number that I don’t have since I didn’t make a payment although I’ve used them before to send a payment that posted correctly to my account. I’d appreciate any input on how to handle this. TIA



  • I shared another tried n tested MS venue posted under Grocery/DS deals. Go check it if interested but hurry since exp date is 9/30 but hopefully, it gets extended. It worked for up to $2000 fee-free.



  • I now have a huge credit balance on my account. I don’t know if CFP will be able to reconcile this on their records and I tried to contact them but can’t get hold of a live person so all I can do it wait for them to make the necessary corrections. If someone experienced the same thing, did the “gift” stick?



  • Do you find it worthwhile to grind $50,000 in gift cards from the supermarket to max out OBC? Unless you are in an area which is promiscuous in taking gift cards for MO I just think it does not have its luster. I maxed out the $50k on Ink once, but that was due to a confluence of $300 Staples VGC in the mail, Walmarts with kiosks, and Bluebird/Serve (I had access to three). Once the kiosks were eliminated, and later Serve died, grinding the points wasn’t worth it. If you have built that relationship with your favorite MO vendor, sure, but the 2.5% delta that you mention seems like a lot of work.



  • @calwatch without a doubt, it is worthwhile for me because the DS and WMNM I have are uberly MS friendly. When the offer at one DS comes giving free GC when you buy 2 vanillas, my go-to DS does not blink if I buy 2 variables per register, total of $4K in one trip, get my free GCs on each transaction. That comes up to 50% off the fees per K so buying $30K++ in one week is doable. I don’t max out the Ink, the few times I use it are during sync promos or when there are in-store promos for buying VGCs. I use the CFU more for online GC purchase that has worked well for me, when my priority envie comes, I can easily drain them at my go-to WM soon as the CS opens; if I find the YVrep in a good mood and asks me if I want to buy more, I grab the chance to drain up to $10K, 4 strikes of plastics each. It’s really all YMMV and the place where I’m at is very encouraging. BTW, I don’t do delta.

    Yes, it’s definitely a lot of work, we have to crunch our numbers (am focusing on CB now) and determine for ourselves if it’s worth our time. I don’t base my numbers on others’ computation. I focus on my goals and how to attain them.



  • last 2 days to drain your VGCs for free (unless there is an extension). you need another player for this gig and should be someone you trust completely!



  • What bothers me most about MS is how rude Walmart clerks can be. Sometimes I am in a hurry, I need to go right from the store where I bought the VGCs directly to Walmart and did not have time to rip the card packs open and remove the VGCs. I mean I can do it while I am driving but that is more dangerous than texting while driving. Often the clerks get angry if I am ripping open the VGC packs in the money center when I am buying money orders. It seriously takes just 1 or two more seconds to rip the package open before I use the card. I always clean up after myself. Why are they so mad, what gives!!



  • You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re lucky that they even accept your VGC. Don’t get the attitude that they “have to” take your cards. I’ve been denied at multiple WM because of people like you.

    The best practice is to “husk” your cards in the car. Don’t let the clerk see that it is a GC. All it takes is some minimum-wage employee taking to the manager and the manager can change the policy of the entire store.



  • @tedteddy that’s true. Ripping VGC packages right in front of a cashier is one of the NO-NOs, it’s asking for trouble especially for those stores who require that your name be on the debit card you’re paying with.



  • @ma-barker said in Manufactured spending:

    @calwatch without a doubt, it is worthwhile for me because the DS and WMNM I have are uberly MS friendly. When the offer at one DS comes giving free GC when you buy 2 vanillas, my go-to DS does not blink if I buy 2 variables per register, total of $4K in one trip, get my free GCs on each transaction. That comes up to 50% off the fees per K so buying $30K++ in one week is doable. I don’t max out the Ink, the few times I use it are during sync promos or when there are in-store promos for buying VGCs. I use the CFU more for online GC purchase that has worked well for me, when my priority envie comes, I can easily drain them at my go-to WM soon as the CS opens; if I find the YVrep in a good mood and asks me if I want to buy more, I grab the chance to drain up to $10K, 4 strikes of plastics each. It’s really all YMMV and the place where I’m at is very encouraging. BTW, I don’t do delta.

    Yes, it’s definitely a lot of work, we have to crunch our numbers (am focusing on CB now) and determine for ourselves if it’s worth our time. I don’t base my numbers on others’ computation. I focus on my goals and how to attain them.

    There are so many abbreviations in this post that I have no idea what you are saying.



  • @meed18 sorry about that, I forgot about those who don’t do manufactured spending and not familiar with abbreviations also read this thread. I’m not sure this site will allow posting links but if you google abbreviations used in manufactured spending, I’m sure you’ll find a lot of great links. If you send me a message, I can tell you a blogger that has a thread on commonly used MS terms.



  • meetup in bay area?


  • Global Moderator

    Here is the FW thread about MS



  • For those who are doing split tender on $2K total while using VGCs bought online, it is best to change PIN to something you know because there are WM cashiers who will ask to swipe the cards on their end. If you didn’t change the PIN and do not know the last 4 of the card number, you’ll be in a bind, whereas if you changed the PIN to what you’re familiar with, you can key it on your end when prompted and it’ll be approved. I was in this situation when the cashier didn’t give me back the DC after she swiped it but I was able to key in my PIN to finish transaction.



  • @pricelessprice said in Manufactured spending:

    meetup in bay area?

    Sign me up



  • The $15 off instant discount for $300 or more 5Back GCs at OD/OM will be another good opportunity to MS at office stores. It’s time to use again the INKs and Simply cash in store starting tomorrow until 10/28 and collect some URs and CB.



  • I ordered VGC at GCM used code Sweet17 and it took off $3 from purchase fee for each GC. Use your CC and portal of choice for add’l rewards. code expires 10/26



  • Check your AXP personal cards for $25/$250 on Best Buy and you receive $25 as statement credit or MR 2500 pts. I prefer the $25 statement credit to account. Although offer expires 12/31, if you see them under your offers and you don’t save them on each account, they may be removed on the list once the quota is filled so make sure to save them to your accounts ASAP. This offer gets filled quickly and it’s not available on twitter if you didn’t get them in your account.



  • I dread to be the bearer of bad news for most MSers who drain their VGCs at the post office. There is a circulating memo to varied POs you can read from milesperday website. For now, people are saying it’s YMMV depending on clerks if they’ll enforce this memo but to avoid scrutiny, it may be best to avoid subtracting the fee (I think it’s $1.20?) from $500 VGCs and come up with varied amounts like $491.72 AND SWIPE ONLY ONE card (although this’ll come up more fees) instead of the usual practice of two to four cards which will definitely arouse suspicion that you’re using VGCs.

    If the PO is the only way to drain your VGCs, it is best to find other ways now before the PO hardcodes no acceptance of prepaid debit cards to their system. Reports say they are currently upgrading their system. As long as it is up to the clerk who will not ask to see your debit card, you’re fine but best to avoid suspicion by sticking to just one swipe.



  • Now it’s really over for most…I just read on doc’s site and reddit that VGCs are now hardcoded as credit at the USPS 😞 This means that even if you have friendly clerk who knows you, they cannot override your payment if it comes up as credit. Better find another way to drain your VGCs if you have any left OR if you can’t find anywhere to drain them, best NOT to keep buying them with intent to hoard because these can easily be hacked by thieves that’s why MSers drain them within 24 hrs after activation to avoid their funds getting stolen.



  • I saw on Amazon that they’re now selling VGCs and since I have accumulated a stash from previous deals, I thought it would be a good deal to cash out via Visa GC. The highest denomination available is $100 with a $5.95 fee (ouch!), free shipping. I went on to do a test purchase but when it came to pay, it wouldn’t allow me to pay with my GC balance 😞 There goes my plan to cash out…



  • MS opportunities at Target to get 5% up to $1500 on your DiscoverIT cards this quarter:

    To avoid going around the store looking for $400 Target Visa with $6 fee, ask an associate to look up this DCPI: 290 00 0028. If they have it, you found a goldmine 🙂 UPC of this product is 799366115267. These are NO longer sold online but there are stores that still sell them if you ask.

    Ya’ll can call ahead to ask so you don’t go around looking for this “unicorn”.

    BTW, these drain at the grocery store easily as long as they accept VGCs for MO.



  • For those with Synchrony Walmart Mastercard CC in their sock drawers, it’s time to add them to the WM app and do WMPay. You get 3% cashback for all purchases using the app when you pay. You also get 3% CB if you use it to pay at walmartdotcom. On Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, you get 6% cashback, the 3% CB is a promotional offer from Nov 1 to Dec 31, 2017. Charges on this card can be paid at ANY WM register with VGCs so you can imagine all the possible ways to “abuse” this card; I don’t think there’s a lot of people who has this CC that’s why they’re so linient for overpayments. They sent me a check those times I paid more than I owed them. This card used to be issued by Discover before Synchrony took over and it became “better”, IMO.



  • You have a lot of good ideas
    PS: I live a couple miles from Ma Barkers house.



  • For those who have the $20/$50 google express AXP sync offer, you can stack these codes for add’l discounts:

    SHOPMORE20 x 11/15
    FIRSTORDER20 x 11/21
    ORDERNOW20 x 11/21

    If by chance, you know you saved the offer before your purchase and cannot find the offer in your CC account, relax… and in a few days you’ll likely see your $20 credits. Enjoy!



  • Check thread on Deals forum for week of Nov 19 thru Nov 25 at Walgreens. There is a deal on variable vanilla GCs wyb 2 that’ll make the fees lower after the $5 WAG gc. After the first transaction you earn the $5 WAG gc, go buy another set of 2 variable vanillas loaded with $500 each and grab a WAG gc (snowflakes design) from the rack. Make sure to swipe your Balance Rewards card first before the cards are scanned. Tell cashier you want to load $5 on the WAG gc and $500 each on the vanilla GCs. Your total should be $1011.90 and *if you have the $5 GC from the first transaction, swipe that first and you’ll see your balance go down to $1006.90, pay balance with your CC. Rinse and repeat.

    *Do NOT ask cashier if you can pay with the $5 GC, most of them don’t know so just swipe it and see if it takes $5 off your total.

    For those with the AXP old blue cash, you’ll earn 5% on this purchase if you have already met the $6.5K threshold. Since drugstores have raised the fees on variable vanilla cards to $5.95, this promo will cost only $6.90 per $1000. These Bancorp Vanillas will NOT drain at the USPS so make sure you have plans on how to drain these vanillas.


 

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