Great ANA Awards, Warning About Money Orders, Increased AA Award Availability & More!

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week in review atw

Welcome to the Frequent Miler Week In Review series. Every Saturday we bring you some of the best posts from around the web. Enjoy!

This Week Around the Web

ANA’s Great Award Chart For Its Own Flights & When Surcharges Are Worth Paying – A look at the best value redemptions of ANA, a lesser known transfer partner of Membership Rewards and SPG.

How manufactured spending can get you sent to jail – About “structuring” and what you need to know if you plan to purchase money orders to manufacture spend.

A Follow-Up On THAT Money Order Post – A follow up to a controversial post about liquidating money orders.

There’s a New Award Availability Day for American AAdvantage – Wednesdays are particularly good for award availability, however American seems to be releasing much more premium cabin space than before.

Canada Is Your Gateway To 70% Off Business Class Fares This Year – The strong U.S. dollar combined with great deals from Canada can lead to a substantial discount on business class fares.

IHG Rewards Club Devaluation 2016: Two Higher Priced Categories & 400 Properties Changing Price – IHG has stealthily introduced two new pricing levels that cost up to 20% more than before.

Have a great weekend!

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There is a lot of misinformed “wisdom of the crowd” with regard to BSA/AML issues, most of it along the lines of “my buddy works at a bank and he says….” If you go to the original sources, FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, IRS, 31 U.S. Code § 5324, Code of Federal Regulations, pattern jury instructions, etc. you will find an important fact. Structuring is defined as conducting currency transactions (defined by FinCEN, CFR, and the FPJR as the physical transfer of currency) in such a way as to cause, or attempt to cause, a financial institution to fail to file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) or to avoid record keeping requirements for currency purchases of monetary instruments.

Manufactured Spending (done correctly) has one key factor that removes it from the BSA/AML world: there is no currency involved. Consequently, there is a nice clean trail showing all of your activities: CC statements showing purchases, serialized MOs showing amounts purchased, deposit statements showing said MOs going into checking accounts, bank records showing payments made to credit card companies.

This is not to say that MSers should not be aware of these issues. Even if you are not laundering money, even if you are not “structuring” as the term is defined by law, if you are conducting your business in a way that looks like structuring you may be investigated. IMHO, that’s the danger presented by behavior like what Pointchaser described.