It’s been a while since I’ve written a monthly summary of my manufactured spending activities. In the past, I’ve waited until the end of the month before reviewing all my notes and summarizing how many points I earned and what I spent. It wasn’t the best approach because I basically waited until the very last minute to research all my gift card churning activities and then summary them in a post. So I’ve decided that going forward, I’ll share my manufactured spending reports via a weekly post. That way, I’m better able to track it all and it will keep me motivated to avoid those hall of shame editions.
Without further ado, here’s a summary of how many points and miles I earned last week, along with my out of pocket costs.
American Airlines AAdvantage
My sister’s AAdvantage account was down to 72,000 points, so I decided to top it off with a large GiftCardMall order. Her limit is only $7,000 so I had to restrict the order to $6,588.30. The total cost for 6,588 miles was $23.30. That may sound like a lot, but think of it this way: It takes about 18 orders like this to generate enough miles for a roundtrip business class ticket to Asia. The total cost? $419.40. So for about the cost of a discounted economy class ticket to Asia, you can instead fly in a flatbed business class seat on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines.
Miles earned: 6,588 miles
eBates cash back: $65
Total cost: $23.30
Amex Membership Rewards
American Express Membership Rewards are the exception to my 100,000-point goal. At this point, I don’t really care if Amex shuts me down, but I just don’t have a use for Membership Rewards points. And it’s been a long time since I’ve needed them. But that being said, I did put $6,000 worth of spending on the Amex Everyday Preferred card to top off my account for an even balance.
Points earned: 6,082 Membership Rewards points
eBates cash back: $60
Total cost: $22.45
Chase Ultimate Rewards
During another visit to Simon Mall, I split a large gift card purchase across several cards. Of that amount, $9,822.63 was split between the Chase Ink Plus ($1,201) and Chase Sapphire Preferred ($8,621.63).
Points earned: 9,822 Ultimate Rewards points
Fees: ~ $77
Discover it Miles 1.5% Cash Back
I needed a study break early in the week, so I ran some errands and stopped by my local Simon Mall for some gift cards. Simon Mall recently increased gift card purchasing limits to $20,000. I was told at my store that I had to be added to a list to qualify, which was fairly quick. The rep also informed me that she would create pre-filled forms for me, with most non-sensitive fields completed. It would cut down on the time I would have to spend filling out paperwork, which I appreciate.
I split the transaction across multiple credit cards, including two Discover It Miles Cards: $5,662.57 and $8,704.40. The card pays out 1.5% cash back, which isn’t a huge amount but I had already maxed out my Fidelity Rewards card at this point. I earned about $215 cash back on a $14,366.97 purchase. If you’re interested in getting a Discover It Miles Card, consider using my referral link. I’ll earn a $50 credit if you get approved.
Cash back earned: $215
Total profit: $100.45
Fidelity 2% Cash Back Card
My dad and I both have the Fidelity Rewards credit card, which earns 2% cash back on everything. Over the last week, I placed seven $1,517.85 Visa gift card orders from GiftCardMall. This came to a total of $10,624.95. Factoring fees and shopping portal cash back, my total profit was $192.55.
Cash back earned: $212.50
eBates cash back: $105
Total profit: $192.55
Korean SkyPass Miles
My personal U.S. Bank Skypass card only has a $2,000 limit so I was only able to place a single $1,517.85 GiftCardMall order for myself. My dad, on the other hand, has a significantly higher limit, allowing a $9,118.05 purchase.
Miles earned: 10,636
eBates cash back: $105
Total cost: $31.70
Why am I fraternizing with the enemy? Because I’ve made a commitment to have at least 100,000 points in every single rewards account. That includes Marriott. I know they’re Public Enemy #1 after managing to destroy not one but two rewards programs, but I can’t write them off completely. I’ve had several moments over the last year when some Bonvoy points (that name is here to stay, unfortunately) would have been useful. So I’m breaking my rule about not earning points speculatively by earning Marriott points speculatively.
I no longer have a Marriott Bonvoy card, but my dad does and he was targeted for the 3x spending bonus. This week I used the card for a mere $1,517.85 order from GiftCardMall, but I do plan on increasing spending on that card.
Points earned: 4,553 Marriott points
eBates cash back: $15
Total cost: $2.85
Final Manufactured Spending Tally
In total, I earned 17,224 airline miles, 15,902 bank rewards points, and 4,533 hotel points. My cash back profit from the Fidelity Rewards and Discover It Miles cards was $293. After deducting the cost of gift card fees not covered by eBates ($157.30), my total profit came to $135.70. I also spent about $33 on money order fees, bringing the grand total to $102.70. If I keep this up every week, I’ll earn over 150,000 points and $540 profit. Multiply that across 12 and I’ll have about 1.8 million points and $6,480 cash back.
Of course, not every week is going to be the same. I don’t have a specific point goal in mind, but I do want to top off all of my rewards accounts and eliminate out of pocket fees as much as possible. This is just to give you guys an idea of what’s possible. Whitney inspired me to take another look at GoBank. It’s been years since I’ve used my account (and it might not even be active anymore), so I haven’t even thought about GoBank as a manufactured spending option. But I might incorporate into my weekly money order runs to Walmart.
While I utilized eBates for my Gift Card Mall purchases, I’m considering going back to Yazing for the rest of the month. The payout rate is the same as eBates, though they do impose a 10% fee on cash back earned. The advantage is that they pay out within 30 days as opposed to 60. I’m still considering whether it’s worth paying $13.50 per week to get my cash back a month early. What do you all think?
What do you guys think of this new weekly manufactured spending report?
Note: For newbies who aren’t familiar with gift card churning, the cards are liquidated via money orders, deposited, and utilized to pay off the credit cards they were purchased on.