After my previous successful manufactured spending spree, I wanted to keep the momentum going. So I ordered another $30,000 worth of American Express gift cards, which arrived two days later. This is the maximum amount I can unload this month, since all five of my Target Prepaid RED (Redbird) and Amex for Target prepaid cards have a $5,000 loading limit. While I would have loved to put all $50,000 worth of spend on Barclay Arrival Plus cards for over $1,100 in travel rewards, it didn’t quite work out that way due to a couple of spending requirements I had to meet.
Earlier this month my dad picked up a Starwood Preferred Guest American Express and Alaska Visa Signature Card. You can never have too many Alaska miles, so despite the fact that the card required just a single purchase in order to trigger the 25,000 mile sign-up bonus, I put $10,000 worth of Amex gift cards on the card. Next, I ordered another $4,000 in my name using his SPG Amex card. I could have done $6,000 but I’d rather not meet the entire spending requirement through manufactured spending – especially since Amex is known to hit manufactured spenders with the dreaded Financial Review. So I stuck to $4,000, with the intention of completing the remaining $1,000 through credit card spending.
My dad also picked up another Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard which has a $3,000 spending requirement. I charged utility bills to the card along with $2,000 worth of registration fees for my sister’s high school debate team. They have two annual events they have to pay these fees for, so she has everyone on the team make out the checks to me and I in turn pay it with my credit card. This time around I charged it to my dad’s Citi AAdvantage card since Citi codes Amex gift card purchases as cash advances and I didn’t want to use the card for direct Redbird loads and lose out on 1.5% cash back through Top Cash Back. I charged another $10,000 worth of Amex gift cards to my brother’s Barclay Arrival Plus card and the remaining $6,000 to my mom’s Barclay US Airways card, since that earns 1.5 miles per $1 spent through June 30.
It was finally time to unload some of these gift cards. On Monday my brother and I drove to San Francisco to pick up my sister from the airport. On the way there, my brother suddenly turns to me and says, “I counted and there are four Target stores on the way over there. We can stop at all of them if you want.” I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud. Of course, I kept the gift cards in my purse just in case, but I wasn’t expecting to make any stops since my sister would probably be tired from her flight and we’d want to get out of there quickly to avoid traffic.
After picking up some Peace, Love & Kale at Project Juice, we were energized and ready to make the rounds. We hit up Emeryville, El Cerrito, and Richmond. I unloaded $15,000 worth of gift cards and didn’t deal with the usual anxiety of walking into a store for the 100th time and the possibility of being hassled by an overzealous cashier.
There were a few more stores along the way, but I was tired by then and decided to head home before traffic got really bad. I have another $15,000 left to unload but I’ve got a trip to Dixon and Davis planned in a couple of weeks, where I’ll unload the remaining gift cards all at once.
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