November was a good month in terms of manufactured spending. A lot of great merchant gift card deals popped up that I took advantage of. In total, I managed to earn over $4,000 worth of points and miles at very little out-of-pocket cost. This was thanks to some really great gift card promotions and Amex statement credits, which translated to $28,777.59 worth of free manufactured spending. I was able to resell those gift cards to The Plastic Merchant. I still haven’t decided whether gift card reselling is worth the trouble. It can be time-consuming when you consider how long it takes for gift cards to arrive and payment to be processed. But that’s a topic for another post.
In November, I earned 306,595 points and miles from manufactured spending, $1,187.50 worth of credit card cash back, 70,000 points from credit card sign-up bonuses, and two free nights from the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card. Gift card fees totaled $907.75 after portal cash back. Now my math might be slightly off because all of this spend was spread across several credit cards, but I’m sure it’s close enough. Here’s a complete breakdown of my manufactured spending cost for November:
- Amount spent on gift cards, excluding fees: $189,436.94
- Fees (gift card, shipping, bill pay/money orders): $2,095.25
- Cash back earned via cash back portals: $1,187.50
Most of the rewards I earned came from easy sources: The Barclay Arrival Plus card and a combination of Ink Plus and Chase Freedom Unlimited spend. This is the most Ultimate Rewards points I’ve generated in a month, only because I was trying to stock up for a trip I’m taking later this month. Going forward, I’ll continue to play it safe with Chase.
- Arrival Miles = 116,340 miles/$1,163.40 travel statement credits
- Ultimate Rewards points = 98,022 points
- Alaska miles = 31,595 + 30,000 sign-up bonus = 61,595 miles
- Amex Membership Rewards points = 4,052 + 40,000 sign-up bonus = 44,052 points
- Discover It Miles = $634 cash back
- Fidelity Rewards Visa = $306.71 cash back
- SPG points = 24,339 points
- Hilton points = 21,943 points
- American Airlines miles = 10,304 miles
The main reason I was able to generate so much manufactured spending on the Ink card was thanks to a 20% off promotion Staples ran on Gap gift cards. The Plastic Merchant bought these gift cards at 80%, allowing me to earn points at $0 out of pocket. There were also deals on iTunes gift cards at Staples, Sam’s Club, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Best Buy. When my Ink cards maxed out, I used other credit cards to continue buying gift cards. This included the SPG Amex, Hilton HHonors Reserve, Bank of America Alaska, and Barclay Arrival Plus card.
Reselling gift cards to TPM yielded a small profit of $0.50 – $1 per card. I also managed to take advantage of several Amex Offers, which resulted in another $500 worth of free manufactured spending. Sam’s Club also ran a promotion on Starbucks gift cards, which allowed me to meet $3,025 of the $5,000 spending requirement on the Amex Platinum card at $0 out of pocket. Time will tell if this will result in the sign-up bonus getting rescinded.
During this time, I also met the $3,000 spending requirement on the Amex Hilton Surpass card for my grandmother. This was by far the most difficult spending requirement I’ve ever completed. Why? Because the credit limit was just $1,000 and transactions as little as $200 would get declined! I ended up meeting this spending requirement via normal bill pay and some gift card churning, but man was it hard!
All in all, this month’s gift card reselling was painless…except for a pretty bad cut I got on my index finger from prying a Starbucks card out of the hard plastic package. I wouldn’t do gift card reselling full time, but it is a nice way to supplement my Visa gift card churning routine.
How many points and miles did you earn this month?
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