It’s been a bad week for many folks out there who had their Serve and Bluebird accounts shut down. As I previously explained, I don’t think this news is quite as terrible as everyone is making it out to be. There are lots of other options out there for earning points and miles and prepaid cards are just a small part of that. This past week, I branched out a little. I’ve gotten pretty tired of churning Visa gift cards – especially those dreaded Walmart runs. In fact, last week when I had to drive 40 minutes out of town to an Apple Store to get my Macbook Pro replaced, I passed several Walmart stores but couldn’t get myself to stop at any of them.
Despite my aversion for Walmart, I did pick up some more gift cards. I bought $1,000 worth of Visa gift cards from Safeway and then another $1,800 at Staples – I know, this goes against my own advice, but I’ve set aside a day next week when I’m planning on hitting up several Walmart stores at once in order to unload them all. With Serve and Bluebird out of the picture, I have a nagging feeling there will be a huge rush for money orders and that will die out as well. Thus, I don’t plan on holding onto those gift cards for long.
In the mean time, I was cleaning out my inbox (it’s a fascinating life I’m living these days), when I came across two Cardpool coupons for $5 off gift cards purchased through the site. I earned these through my referral link (thanks guys!) and decided to browse the site for redemption options. In the past, I’ve used these coupons for Hyatt gift cards, but I didn’t really need more of those and thought I’d instead search for a reselling opportunity. I opted to buy two $50 gas gift cards, which came to $42 each. I would be able to resell these to another gift card company for $40 each. Now $2 for $40 worth of manufactured spending is ridiculously high considering $500 Visa gift cards sell for as little as $3.95. However, I had a Vanilla Visa gift card with just under $100 left on it and this was an easy way to unload it…without leaving the house or forcing myself to spend the extra balance (I’ve already bought all the Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups I need for the foreseeable future).
While looking through old emails, I got another IHG Priceless Surprises email, which earned me another easy 500 points. I also took some time to browse through the various deals available through American Express My Offers. Sure enough, there were a few gems, which I’ve outlined in a post scheduled for tomorrow. One of them was $100 cash back for spending $500 at Burberry. The terms didn’t exclude gift cards, so I ordered a $500 Burberry gift card. At the very least, I can resell it for $450 and pocket $50, plus some free SPG points.
I also took advantage of the Amex Sync cell phone bill offer: Spend $75 and get $10 back. This offer can be redeemed twice, so I made two separate payments on my T-Mobile bill to get a combined $20 cash back. The two $10 credits actually posted right away, which was nice. I did get a notice from American Express that I had successfully redeemed my Burberry offer and should expect a $100 statement credit if my purchase qualifies. We’ll see how that works out.
Once the gas and Burberry gift cards arrive, I’ll list them online or maybe just sell them directly to a gift card reseller. This is a far cry from my days of churning $23,500 with ease, but it’s about all I can manage right now. These days I’m all about ease and convenience, even if it means I’m ms’ing in much lower volumes. Hitting my monthly search quota with the Hawaiian Airlines MileFinder may be around the corner.
How was your week in manufactured spending?
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