When Walmart implemented a new money order policy, I pretty much threw in the towel. The process had become way too tedious and not worth the hassle. So I decided to give up on gift card churning and shift my spending over to Kickfurther and reselling. That got boring pretty fast. So I started making the occasional trip to my local mall and Walmart to liquidate Visa gift cards. I mostly used 2% cash back cards, since I have more miles than I can redeem right now. In November, I managed about $29,000 worth of manufactured spending. Not my best and certainly not my worst, but a decent amount considering the little effort I put into it.
My go-to Walmart is as MS-friendly as ever. With the drop in gift card churning, they’ve also had a drop in positive customer service surveys, which has hurt the store. When I show up, they know they can expect at least five positive survey submissions, so they’re willing to accommodate me even though the money order process has gotten more difficult. They did simply things a little recently. I’m no longer being asked to provide me job title. It’s a small thing, but considering how hard it is for the cashiers to type on their registers (the computers are super slow), it does make a difference.
I made three trips to Walmart last month, each time liquidating $9,000 – $10,000 worth of gift cards. I did incur about $255.15 worth of Visa gift card fees and $26.40 in money order fees. With my Fidelity Rewards Visa, I earned $574.68 cash back, bringing my total profit to $293.13. This gives me an excuse to keep my hand in the game without earning rewards that could devalue at any moment. Plus, I treat my Fidelity rewards like a personal savings account. It’s nice to see that balance grow without having to divert funds I actually had to work for.
Another reason I stuck to cash back this month? I had a huge influx of points and miles thanks to my parents’ recent kitchen renovation. My dad charged all the supplies to his American Express Business Platinum card, which worked out well (1.5x points on purchases over $5,000). He ended up paying for the appliances cash. Normally that would be unfathomable. However, he scored a huge discount that was way more substantial than the credit card points he gave up.
Additionally, my younger sister (who is in college) informed me that she can pay her housing expenses with a credit card. I’m annoyed that she’s just now telling me about it. But I can’t complain about the easy 1,800 Ultimate Rewards points I get from that transaction through the Freedom Unlimited card. Throw in my parents’ mortgage, which I pay through Plastiq, and I’m earing a decent stash of points without even having to leave the house.
So in all, it was a pretty good month thanks to a large chunk of irregular spending, the addition of my sister’s rent, and three trips to Walmart. I’ve decided to keep this going. After all, my local Walmart needs those receipts filled out. 😉
Until I have a specific redemption in mind, I’ll continue to earn cash back on manufactured spending, rather than miles.
How did you earn points and miles during the past month?