Manufactured Spending

My Month in Manufactured Spending: 37,500 Miles in June 2018

After a banner month of earning over 100,000 points and miles, things slowed down in June. I did, however, earn more miles this month from manufactured spending. Over the last month, I earned over  miles and points from gift card purchases at Simon Mall and giftcards.com. Not my best, but also not too shabby. 

  • ~19,000 miles from Visa gift cards purchased at the mall
  • ~17,500 miles from MasterCard gift cards

You may be surprised that I’m still ordering MasterCard gift cards, since those are not as easy to liquidate. However, since Yazing and TopCashBack are offering 1.5% cash back on MasterCard gift cards, it helps me keep my manufactured spending costs low. If you’re also trying to keep your expenses low, be sure to read up on ways to off-set manufactured spending fees.

Aside from this, I also earned a few thousand miles making loan and mortgage payments with a credit card through Plastiq, Kiva loans, and Kickfurther contributions. While Kiva has a 96.9% repayment rate, I consider whatever contributions I make charitable. I’m ok with not being repaid, which is how I think everyone should approach these loans.

I managed to liquidate most my gift cards with a single trip to Walmart this month. I took my sisters along on a Saturday and we all bought the maximum amount. This was great because it saved me two additional trips. There are still couple of thousand dollars worth of gift cards left to liquidate, but I’ll do that once my next batch of giftcards.com orders comes through.

I didn’t make good on my promise to milk the SPG card for all its worth, but I’m trying to do that now. My goal is to earn over 100,000 SPG points this month, so we’ll see how that plays out! It’s only the second day of the month and I’ve already pulled in 10,000 points. Yeah, I realize that I’m behind but I’ll make several trips to my local mall this month to pick up $9500 worth of gift cards. That will help me get to my target of 100,000 points.

What am I doing with those points? I’m transferring 80,000 to Marriott for a 5-night stay at the St. Regis Maldives. The rest I’ll use to top off my Alaska Airlines account. Ever since I got rid of my Alaska card, I feel like I never have enough Alaska miles.

Next month, I plan on doing even more spending in anticipation of my trip to Istanbul in the fall. I’m going to my cousin’s wedding and while the hotel is paid for, I do need extra rewards for when I extend my trip. I’m thinking of spending a few nights in Bodrum and maybe hopping over to Croatia for a few nights. All of the flexible rewards points I’m going to earn will help me take care of those extra travel expenses.

How big was your point haul this month?

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19 Comments

  1. WM MO is down to only one swipe now and name should be on debit card. Any tips on how to deal with it? None of the usual Walmarts useful anymore.

  2. Surprised you’re not going after the Marriott Nights Travel Package.

  3. Can the mastercards be deposited into a Go Bank account like Visa cards?

  4. While I’m happy for your continued good results, the truth is that WM MO purchases have gotten much harder for many of us, as noted by Sam, The demise of Plastic Merchant is also a huge loss for those of us who depended on this MS strategy. Thanks for the reminder about Kiva loans. I need to look into that again.

  5. Is it possible to multi swipe MCGC at WM? I’ve had success using MCGC on the 4th swipe (VGC on the 1st 3) but couldn’t get the first 3 swipes to work. Seeing conflicting DPs.

  6. What’s the maximum does WM allow for MO? Whenever I wanted to buy $2K they asked to look at my debit cards 🙁

  7. Bad month! Was shut down at my local store that I liquidate most of my GC’s at. “My manager says we’re not allowed to let you buy anymore MO’s, you buy too many”.

    • Did you fill out the paperwork each time? As long as you do that, they’re usually fine with it.

      • They don’t give the option to fill out paperwork at my location, just cap the MO’s at $1k and frown open you asking for more than 1. Suffice to say I was in there most days before getting shutdown.

  8. Please list your locations in the comments.

  9. Have you ever lost or got your gift cards stolen? I’ve got all my physical gift cards stolen (worth about $1000) from my home recently by construction workers yet there’s no way I can prove that they did. Since you are regularly doing worth of thousands to tens of thousands, i was curious how you handle the risks. Do you keep track of every single gift card numbers just in case? Now i should take pics of physical gift cards I keep at home just in case.

  10. ariana, what CC do you find most effective for simon GC? i think im most interested in UR points, so that leads me to stapes. is there a bonus elsewhere for going to the mall or just the cheaper cards?

  11. Have you tried liquidating vanilla via gift cards at grocery stores?

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