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:
- Staples and OfficeMax / Office Depot continue to offer sales on Visa or Mastercard gift cards. Good news for those who hate filling out forms (even easy ones): The latest Staples offers are not rebate based. And some Staples offers are even online. Here are some current and recent examples of discounts at Staples and Office Depot:
- Portal rebates are available once again for Visa gift cards.
- Simon Malls continue to be a good option for buying Visa gift cards with a low fee: $3.95 per $500. It’s a good idea, though, to avoid using Amex cards for this spend, especially if you’re looking to earn a welcome bonus. This isn’t new, but I ran into a few people recently who thought the Simon Mall option was dead.
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.