Manufactured Spending

5 Ways to Earn Miles and Points From Home

I don’t know about you all, but there’s nothing I look forward to more than those weekends when I get to put on my Cathay Pacific pajamas, cook up a giant bowl of pasta and binge-watch my favorite shows while catching up on the latest points and miles-earning opportunities. That’s been difficult lately because I’ve been working through the weekends. And it’s Ramadan. But in about a month or so I’ll have my weekends back and you better believe when Saturday morning rolls around, I’ll be on my laptop, earning miles the lazy way:

1. Pay Your Rent or Mortgage with a Credit Card. The easiest way to earn tons of miles without leaving the house? Pay your mortgage or rent with a credit card. It takes a few minutes, it’s something you have to do anyway so why not get rewarded for it? I use Plastiq, thanks to a decent stash of referral credits from my awesome readers (thanks guys!). Keep in mind that Plastiq does impose a 2.5% credit card processing fee, but it can be worth it if you’re using the Ink Business Preferred or Discover It Miles Card. Even better, refer your friends and family and you’ll earn Fee-Free Dollars that off-set the fee entirely. [Warning: Recently, Bank of America and Citi began coding Plastiq payments as cash advances.]

There’s also Urbanr, a rent payment services that charges just a 1.5% fee and accepts Visa, MasterCard and Discover card. I know nothing about Urbanr, beyond what Gary Leff shared a couple of months ago. It is cheaper than Plastiq, so if you can’t pull together some referral credits, Urbanr is a solid alternative.

2. Kickfurther. I invested in two Kickfurther co-ops last month (and totally forgot to mention them in My Month in Manufactured Spending). Kickfurther partners with brands that are looking to raise funds to purchase inventory. As an investor, you buy a share of that inventory and get repaid when it sells. It takes a few months to get your investment back, but you do end up with a ~10% profit. You can invest with a credit card to generate some extra miles on top of the cash profit. If you sign up for Kickfurther with a referral link, you’ll get a “key” which gives you early access to invest in a co-op. Kickfurther is a good way to generate some extra miles at a small profit, but it’s impotent to be aware of the risk. As usual, don’t invest more than you can afford to lose.

3. Kiva Loans. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not a fan of non-profit organizations Sure, I’ve volunteered with one before and I’m all about giving back. I just don’t like those big organizations that shell out seven figure salaries to their executives while relying on volunteers to execute their bandaid solutions. Kiva is different – it connects people from developing countries who need loans to start businesses with those who are willing to lend them money (i.e. you and me). This method has been proven to be a much more effective long-term solution for alleviating poverty. And yes, Kiva takes credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. 

Kiva loans have a 96.96% repayment rate and while I’m all about generosity, my previous advice stands: Don’t give more than you can afford to lose. At the end of the day, if none of my loans get repaid it’s fine because I’ve already written them off (in my head) as charitable contributions. If they do get repaid, that’s just icing on the cake.

4. Amex Offers. It’s been a banner year for Amex Offers. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten more lucrative bonuses before. Just last month I was targeted for bonuses that totally 85,000 points! I’ve completed six offers so far, which got me 52,000 points total. One of them involved a 10,000 point bonus for spending $500 at Bergdorf Goodman. A reader gave me a pretty good reselling tip that enabled me to take advantage of this offer, which was nice. 

I believe the Amex Bergdorf Goodman offer expired yesterday. If yours is still good you might want to take a look at reselling Charlotte Tilburry’s Pillowtalk lipstick. After an article about it in the DailyMail (apparently one of these sells every 6 seconds), a lot of stores were sold out and they began popping up on Ebay above market price. That may well have changed in the last couple of days, but it’s worth exploring if you’re trying to knock out that $500 spending requirement at minimum out of pocket cost.

5. Merchant gift cards. One of my favorite things about the holiday (shopping) season? That I get to sit around in my pajamas on weekends and churn merchant gift cards for miles. It starts around October and goes well into December: Merchants like Gap, Nike, and pretty much everyone in between will begin selling gift cards at a discount. If you’re registered with The Plastic Merchant you’ll even get alerts about these deals. I’ve never churned more than $23,000 in a month, but it’s a fun way to pass the time while binge-watching The Real Housewives. It makes me feel somewhat less crappy because at least I’m being productive. But you don’t have to wait for October. Gift card churning deals are always around – you just might have to dig for them a little.

I realize this is a loaded question that will get zero responses, but what are you doing to earn miles from home? 

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14 Comments

  1. Urbanr was more than happy to take $4500 and keep it, i.e. they didn’t send it to the payee.

    Oh, and they were happy to not tell me until I learned the hard way.

    Then they were happy to not refund the money; their plan was just to keep it forever.

    It’s basically a criminal operation.

    • That sucks! So what happened? Did they eventually get back to you? Or did you file a claim with your cc company?

      • fellow seller

        After promoting the company multiple times and name dropping them 2 days prior to the biggest travel hacking story of 2018 starting to break, why the silence? I would think you would at least post a PSA to warn the readers you promoted TPM to.

        The site is still up and accepting submissions (although not processing them). It’s very possible people who aren’t tied into private groups are unaware.

  2. The Plastic Merchant missed their June 4 payment date and have also ceased communication.

    • Follow The Points

      Troubling indeed. Can confirm. They’re getting into “Fool me Twice” territory.

    • I just got word – apparently Mike is in the hospital so the team is scrambling to get things straightened out. Not ok that this keeps happening.

      • But is there really “a team”? Not seeing any actual scrambling… seems to be dead now. 6/4 payment cards were never sold… weeksnof inactivity… hmmm…

      • fellow seller

        After promoting the company multiple times and name dropping them 2 days prior to the biggest travel hacking story of 2018 starting to break, why the silence? I would think you would want to warn the readers you promoted the company to.

        The site is still up and accepting submissions (although not processing them). If a reader was not tied into private groups they could be totally unaware and throwing money away.

        If you still think that it is just a case of mike being in hospital and his team working hard to straighten things out, you should probably reach out to some peers and try to get a sense of the full scope and horror of what’s going on.

        • I don’t buy the hospitalization story. And this is your third post repeating the same thing – I get it. But I don’t want to write a blog post until I’m informed and I haven’t had a chance to look into this yet.

    • Igotbounced

      Feom all available dp’s it seems like they’ve ceased operations. Unless a single vague and cryptic email counts.

  3. Wow, Ariana, your pj’s and tpm line — oh my, hope your check that bounces won’t be sooo big. I’m holding off filling any more orders, and am thinking to yank back po’s that I see now weren’t processed….. So stunning that the alleged illness of the top honcho caused the whole house of cards (ouch, pun not intended, but I’ll leave it) to collapse.

    • That sounds ridiculous. I gave them the benefit of the doubt but this is now the third time I’m aware of that substantial checks have bounced.

      • Igotbounced

        Why haven’t you posted an article alerting your readers? After promoting his site multiple times, and name dropping 2 days prior to what will likely be the biggest travel hacking story of 2018, one would think you would want to try to prevent any more of your readers losing money to TPM than already have.

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