My Week in Manufactured Spending: Can You Hear the Crickets?

I didn’t post about my manufactured spending activities last week because there were none. My stack of Visa gift cards is getting smaller and I just finished up my latest Walmart run this past weekend. I was in Roseville and there are at least five Walmart stores in the area. I had no problems buying money orders, except at one location where I had a bit of a tiff with one of the employees. 

After standing in line for 20 minutes (there was just one other person ahead of me), the cashier informed me the money order machine was down. I let her know they should have put a sign up so people didn’t waste their time standing in line. The cashier snapped at me about how it would be another 15-20 minutes, then continued to trash talk me to her co-worker while I stood to the side, waiting for the machine to be fixed. When I left the area to call the store and ask for a manager, the same woman picked up, then put me on hold for two minutes until I decided to hang up and return. By now, she was freaked out over me reporting her to a manager and when I approached the register, she apologized for being rude. 

I told her it wasn’t the snapping that pissed me off, but that she shouldn’t be trash talking customers right in front of them. “It wasn’t you, it was the whole situation – I’ve been having people b**** at me all day over the broken machine.” I’m over people acting like jerks and then using one excuse or the other to explain away vile behavior. Do your job and don’t take your frustration out on the customer. As she handed me the money orders, she even conceded, “Well you know, this is Walmart!” And here I thought I was shopping at Saks. This episode just put me in a crappy mood after an already stressful week.

My entries for IHG Priceless Surprises

My entries for IHG Priceless Surprises

These few rounds unloading Visa gift cards are pretty much all I did this week. I did manage to stuff 470 envelopes for IHG Priceless Surprises and hopefully that brings me a healthy stash of points by next year. I also need to max out the office supply store category bonus on the Chase Ink Plus card, which gets me an easy 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. That $10,000 will probably be my last bit of manufactured spending for the year.

I do want to take another trip using AAdvantage miles before the program devalues in March 2016, but I will do that by picking up a few extra credit cards. Recently, I wrote about the 60,000 point Citi Platinum AAdvantage card offer my sister was targeted for. She’s just 18 and a full time college student, so I was surprised she received the offer and doubted she’d actually get approved for it. I guess part-time In-N-Out employees earning just over minimum wage isn’t the demographic Citi is targeting, because she wasn’t approved for the card. I have decided to make her an authorized user on one of my credit cards so we can build her credit history a little more. She does have expenses and channeling them towards a mile-earning credit card means I get to do less manufactured spending to earn miles.

What have you done in terms of manufactured spending this week?

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Ariana Arghandewal


  1. I did a little MS at Walmart. I just needed to spend another 1K to meet the minimum spend on my Citi Premier card. I was stressed when the Walmart cashier told me they weren’t allowed to load Bluebird at the register anymore and that I had to do it at the Money Center, but it worked out fine.

  2. Also worth noting, the envelopes also have to be hand written to be eligible for any of the prizes. I confirmed this with both IHG and the organizer of the promo, HelloWorld, Inc 1(877) 837-7493

    • Sonofa… really? Thanks for that bit of crystal clear info IHG and HelloWorld. Now I am wondering if the ones I sent in with computer printed address count to disqualify me if I mail in hand written ones? What a cluster.

      • They really shouldn’t penalize people for it because it wasn’t in the terms. I’ve sent in both hand-written and printed envelopes, so I’ll find out soon. If they don’t pay out, I’m definitely going to dispute it.

  3. Hey Holly which Walmart was that? The one in fishers on 96th st lets me load my serve at the money center no problem! 🙂

  4. What are you doing to get points at office supply stores on the Chase ink card? I thought they weren’t accepting cards for visa gift cards anymore?

  5. Done for the year, eh? What, no visit to Office Max? (for the last $20 off $300 of their visa $200 cards?) 🙂

    then again, thought you were “officially done” with WMT….? (j/k I know the feeling — though recently found a Walmart in Waynesboro VA where the personnel in their Money Center were really good/fast/well trained at handling all things bluebird, even better than Kate — don’t tell anybody)


    • Hey, I didn’t say I was done yet! I have $10k left to do at office supply stores. I’m basically done with Walmart every time I walk into one. But Neighborhood WM’s are actually pretty nice, so that makes it easier. Your secret is safe with me!

  6. In case you didn’t know, the $50k office supply store limit on the Chase Ink Plus is not based on calendar year but whenever you got approved for the card. I got my Ink Plus card in December last year and acquired a number of VGC before the year end, thinking the limit was calendar year and that it resets beginning of the year. Boy was I wrong. My limit was met middle of the year and I kept buying more VGC until I realized I wasn’t earning any bonus points! Doh!

    • Good to know thanks. At what purchase level in a single transaction do the clerks get antcy?

  7. nice wash going to ask if the Ink was calendar year or year from approval. I just got mine and did my first wave of 6x$300 at staples. Question can you order on line every other day? Can you purchase in store every other day? If I have 50k spread over 12 mos, that’s a little over 4100 a month if I want to space it out? hmmmm, maybe i’ll get the Ink cash card…….. thoughts?

  8. how do you pay postage for those envelopes for IHG Priceless Surprises? by my calculations just postage alone is close to $200. I was thinking of doing some, but it seems quite a tedious task for uncertain reward. Plus the expense. Or am I missing something?

    • I bought my stamps at ebay, specially right now is a great time to buy them, they have 5x ebay bucks! I bought a set of 200 stamps, 94 stamps for me, 94 stamps for my wife. I sent only one envelope last week, I want to make sure the way I’m doing is the right way, better wasting one stamp than 94 stamps!

  9. I’ve been taking advantage of the Supermarket $15 store credits @ Shoprite & Acme in NJ. One Acme didn’t have a clue about the promo so I started buying $500 VGC’s. The $15 didn’t print out naturally because they were excluded. The manager made the decision to give me Acme gift cards, thinking she owed me the $15 for $500 VGC. Ended up w/ $170 because one day she gave me $20 per $500 VGC. Also had another girls give me $60 cash one night when I bought four $500 VGC’s. She didn’t know how to load the Acme GC’s. They did eventually catch on so I end up buying tons of $100 VGC’s and combining two per transaction to meet the $150 spend for the $15 coupon. Ended up w/ 30K Hilton points @ Acme & 22.5K @ Shoprite. There is an even better Visa deal @ Shoprite after Thanksgiving for $20 store coupon for $150 VGC purchase but I’ll be in Grenada for 11 days and miss it. Still burning those bogo Club Carlson points. Also, bought my stamps @ Shoprite w/ Apple Pay for 22% cash back.

  10. So I tried loading my serve card at two walmarts and a Walmart neighborhood market today and couldn’t do it! The register, not the cashier but the register kept spitting out a piece of paper saying debit not accepted. I was using a us bank visa gift card. Has anyone else run into this problem?!?!?

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