Credit Cards and Manufactured Spend News and Updates

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I have been approved for the Chase Ritz Carlton credit card. The more I read about other people’s experiences, the more I’m convinced that this is probably the best reward credit card out there right now; especially in light of the demise of the Citi 100K AAdvantage mile bonus. Just think about it: a 70,000-point bonus, gold status, free 1-year lounge visits for two and $600 in loosely defined airline incidentals in two calendar years! Plus, no annual fee to boot!

And, we didn’t even begin talking about specific Ritz Carlton benefits. Hey  now! 🙂

Read more here: I Applied for Chase Ritz Carlton Card: 70,000 Points/No Annual Fee.

Things change fast. Both Citi AAdvantage 100k and 75K-mile bonuses are dead. The 60K bonus is still alive, though. Yes, this card is churnable, too, and yes, the 8- and 65-day rules still apply.

There have been a couple of developments on the MS front in the blogosphere in the last week.

One is that Bank Corp gift cards, like Vanilla One are working again at Walmart (well, mostly). They work at the kiosk for loading BlueBird, and they do work at the register for BB and money orders. The not so good things still remain.

  • Those damn kiosks are far and between;
  • Where they do exist, they are frequently broken;
  • You can’t buy a money order at the kiosk anyway;

Many cashiers seem not only have gotten the memo (name on the card), but actually read it. At least in my neck of the wood (Long Island, NY). Damn!

There are ways to combat that injustice by getting a gift card with your name on it, but first…

Have you heard? Just kidding. Of course, you have; I know you don’t live under the rock.

BH (Blogger Hatred) is all the rage again. Brother against the brother. Father against the son. Blogger against the blogger.

OK, I probably should stop watching the news from the Russia-Ukraine border, but I will refer you to this great post just to refresh your memory. And read the comments, too.

The People of the Points World Have Turned Against Each Other

It all began when a couple of bloggers talked about something I couldn’t have ever imagined being a taboo, the Simon Mall Debit Visa gift card.

There are debit gift cards that can be used to load up your favorite bird or buy money orders. The appeal of the Simon Mall card is that it’s cheap: only $2.95 a piece.

However, just like with everything else in life, there are downsides. First, most of the Simon Malls, at least in our NY/NJ MS desert, carry American Express gift cards that are useless for our purposes.

And second, Simon Mall is not exactly a pharmacy. This card cannot be used to reach the awesome 5% cashback from the old Amex Blue Cash. The most you could manufacture with the SM gift card is $7.05 per card with the 2% Cashback AMEX Fidelity after doling out the $2.95 fee. Of course, if you are one of those power MS-ers who buy 20 cards or more every day—that could amount to some serious change. But if you aren’t, please don’t go down this road.

Still, using SM gift cards is great when you need to meet the spend for your credit card bonus, and especially, when you need to meet it quickly, which is what many folks have done churning the AA executive cards, while dumping the $450 annual fee in the process.

So when  Mile Professor shared her own experience about visiting a Simon Mall on her recent trip to New Jersey, all hell broke loose. She has since taken down her post, even though the information she shared was generic. So generic in fact, that she couldn’t possibly hurt anyone. Or could she? What was her offense exactly?

  1. She posted three pics of Simon Mall gift cards in her blog.
  2. She told everyone that she bought it in Jersey.
  3. She inserted a credit card link (a good one) that pays her an affiliate commission.

So, you can see now how that trespassing rightfully provoked an outrage from all the old- and newtimers who claimed that she was about to kill the deal and demanded she takes it down! Which she did.

Oh, you can’t see what the big deal is? You’re not alone. I can’t see it, either. And as a favor from one blind man to another, let me take things a little further and tell you how you can not only get a debit gift card,  but get it with your name on it, so you could cut right through the most hardcore Walmart cashiers; even those of them who have read the memo. Yes, it’s the war, baby!

SImon

  1. Go to www.simonmall.com.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and find Gift Cards.
  3. Make sure to choose the Visa card.
  4. Do not choose AMEX!
  5. Do not choose AMEX!
  6. Do not choose AMEX!
  7. Fill out the form and choose the design if you care (you shouldn’t).
  8. After purchasing the card, you will get the promo for the $2.00 off the next card.
  9. Buy your next card.
  10. Rinse and repeat.

Simon promo

One more thing: when they say order your next gift now, they really mean now. Drag your feet and you will lose the promo (this one above isn’t working, btw.) This is how I lost my $2, but I don’t mind getting one for the team.

The problem is that they limit you to buying 1 card and/or $500 within 24 hours per funding source, which, of course, they won’t tell you until you fill out the form and click submit. What it means is, you should have another credit card readily available to buy the second gift card if you want to use the discount.

Negatives? Of course, there are negatives. You are paying $10 for two cards instead of $6.

Positives? Save the trip to the mall and get the card with your name on it. No ninja WM cashiers to ruin your day!

Did I myself discover this method? Hell no! Which is why I find this paranoia so funny. There are truly unique ways to manufacture spend, the ways that very few people know about, and then there is this. A precious little secret, it ain’t!

Having said that, I am experimenting with this card right now, and there is some promising development. If I discover something too good, I will share it with my subscribers only. Which means, just fill out that short subscription form on the left and get on my list. I send my newsletters rather irregularly and only when I have something to say. You will not be hammered. I promise.

Three final tips for finding a Simon mall with Visa gift cards.

  1. Call ahead! Yes, It goes contrary to everything you know, but you must call beforehand. Otherwise, you will be driving in circles.
  2. When they tell you they carry only American Express, it doesn’t necessarily mean “no”. Ask if they have corporate Visa cards. If they don’t know, ask for the supervisor’s name and call later.
  3. If they do have corporate cards, that’s a whole different game, and I’m currently working on playing this game a little better.

 

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8 Responses to Credit Cards and Manufactured Spend News and Updates

  1. Rich says:

    I enjoy reading your blog and your point of view on the hobby. Your posts are both insightful and interesting to read. I came across the “blogger hating” last week and find myself laughing while reading your post. I’m going to try buying simon gift cards online with the $2 off trick. I’m right at the end of the spend for the AA card and had been buying the 5.95 card from jewel. Thanks for the tip on One Vanilla cards working again at WM Kiosk!

    Rich

  2. Gail says:

    Very balanced take on this silly controversy. Enjoy your blog and your books, which were very helpful to me.

  3. Karen says:

    Thanks again for the great information! I went to simonmall.com and cannot find the Visa Gift cards. Under the volume purchase I can find a Visa Reward card but I’m pretty sure that isn’t what I want. Can you give me more direction? Thank you!

    • Andy Shuman says:

      Karen, at the bottom of the gift card page you see a row of cards. There are also two arrows to scroll to the right and to the left. Click the right arrow and it will reveal a couple of Visa cards. Let me know if it works for you.

  4. Karen says:

    Yes, I found them. I assume the additional fees mentioned don’t apply because I plan to cash them out right away….

    Thank you!

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