October was a slow month for me. I had intended to really ramp up my manufactured spending in time for a December trip to the Middle East, but found myself lagging behind. Sometimes, days went by without me placing any gift card orders or making a trip to my local mall. This was mostly due to the week I took off to attend the Chicago Seminars as well as my grad school applications, which have kept me busy. I wasn’t going at this full speed like I currently am, which is reflected in the numbers I pulled in last month:
- Total amount spent on Visa gift cards, excluding fees: $81,911
- Total fees (gift card, shipping, bill pay/money orders): $1,512.14 – $1,516.24
- Total cash back earned via Yazing: $815.74
This brings my total out-of-pocket cost to $696.40 – $700.50 so far, without factoring in any of the rewards. The reason I don’t have a concrete number for fees is because some of the gift cards were liquidated via money orders while others were unloaded via bill pay. This makes a small difference in the total out-of-pocket cost.
How many miles and points did I earn? I ended up with following rewards earned from a combination of airline, cash back, and bank rewards credit cards:
- 59,024 Arrival Miles = $649 travel statement credits
- Discover It Miles = $760.30 cash back
- Fidelity Rewards Visa = $149.53 cash back
- SPG points = 9,969 points
- Ultimate Rewards points = 54,066
In total, I earned about $1,558.83 worth of cash back or travel statement credits along with 64,035 flexible rewards that can be converted to either hotel points or airline miles. It’s not a huge stash, but not bad for the roughly 10 hours of time I put into buying and liquidating $81,911 worth of gift cards. Valuing the SPG points and Ultimate Rewards conservatively at 1 cents each would bring the value of my haul to around $2,198.
I’ve been questioned about the amount of time I spend liquidating gift cards and it’s gotten much easier over the past month – especially following my run-in with an asset protection officer. The entire staff at that particular location knows what I’m purchasing money orders for now and they’re completely fine with it. Even the manager is onboard with me buying $10,000 worth of money orders and doing another $10,000+ worth of bill pay in one visit. This has worked out quite nicely because I no longer have to drive to a second location to do bill pay. The staff has been trained on how to split payments and they finally figured out how to pay Barclay credit cards.
I’m going to take it easy making payments on my Barclay Arrival Plus credit card via Walmart bill pay because I’ve heard some people got shut down for that. However, using bill pay on three Arrival cards in addition to my five Discover It Miles cards means I can liquidate more gift cards in a short period of time.
I do still go to one other store to buy money orders, since it’s right by the bank and my regular Starbucks, but only if I’m not able to liquidate all of my Visa gift cards at my main Walmart store in one visit.
One thing I plan on doing more, starting next year, is putting more manufactured spending on my Club Carlson credit card, which I re-applied and got approved for this summer. It hasn’t been a priority because I’ve been (cautiously) stocking up on SPG points and Arrival Miles for an upcoming trip, but it will come in handy for my summer travel plans. I find acquiring Arrival miles to be a safe bet because my three Arrival cards have high credit limits, making earning these miles in a brief period easy, and in many cases using Arrival Miles works out better than redeeming hotel points or even airline miles. So going forward, the Barclay Arrival Plus card will continue to be a huge player in my manufactured spending routine.
I’d like to know how you all did last month: How many points and miles did you earn in October?
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