I love buying ICE CREAM in the middle of winter; don’t you?

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My wife and I both have a Chase Freedom Mastercard (there is also a Chase VISA Freedom card as well btw). We have had them for a very very long time as we got them back when they were Marathon Mastercard cards (and missed out on the 10,000 bonus points you can get right now). Back “in the day” we could get 5% off gas with that card. Unfortunately when Marathon left Chase the cards were converted into Freedom cards. Chase then came up with the rotating 5% bonus categories with a new set every 3 months. Some of them I like each quarter and some not so much. But you know, that is fine as I always have some other card with spend I need to meet.

But for now, since we have these great FREEDOM cards, we each got a set of 3 – $500 Vanilla reload cards from our local CVS ($1000/max per transaction, so we did 2 purchases per person), thus maxing out our 1st quarter bonus in just one single visit. These “ICE CREAM” cards I will load over to my American Express BlueBird card and pay my house payment for a few months. Sure there was 6x$3.95 in fees to get them, so total cost was $23.70 to buy them. But, we did earn 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points for this one quick visit to CVS. 15,000 UR points are worth $187.50 when it comes time to book my stay in Grand Cayman again next year. So, I will have earned $163.80 toward that goal today for paying for my house. That just works!

While we were out and about, we also are working on the $5000 in spending to do on Lisa’s shiny new INK PLUS card. There happens to be an Office Depot nearby a CVS. They sell $500 VISA gift cards. My gas and electric companies do not take AMEX. Since the  INK BOLD  and  INK PLUS  both pay 5x for purchases at office supply stores you can probably see where this is going. Yes, there was 2x$4.95 in fees to get the two gift cards and also my utility companies each charge $2.95 to use a card to make a payment. So, my all-in cost to prepay my gas and electric for a few months is $15.80. But, I will have earned 5,000 more UR points. $62.50 more in value minus my cost and I earned $46.70 more and was able to knock off $1000 in spend to ultimately get the 50,000 bonus points for Lisa’s new card from her last credit card round. So today I earned $210.50 in vacation credit for paying my house, my gas & my electric bills. A little work, yes, but to me time well spent instead of just writing a check and getting NO points at all.

Then I went home and jumped on my computer to work on my next office supply store I check each Sunday. This week, OfficeMax is selling 5000 sheet boxes of paper, after MaxPerks rebate, for just 1 cent. My Delta AMEX Reserve Business card is part of OPEN from American Express.

When I spend $250 in one purchase, including buying OfficeMax gift cards I get 10% cash back (note you cannot buy VISA gift cards with OfficeMax gift cards in store in most places anymore). I could have used my OfficeMax gift cards to buy the paper, but I already had a credit in my account from an earlier cash back purchase where I got 100% credit back to spend again, so I got 2 boxes (max you can buy and got free S&H) of 5000 and will donate them to a school around the corner from my house. I will not make any points on this, but why not for 2 cents all-in cost. I did start my purchase at Ebates as they do pay 3% cash back on OfficeMax purchases.

So how did you spend your weekend earning points for your 2013 vacations and where are you planning to go this year? Shout out in the comments below and let us know! – René

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  1. I’ve been doing all these tricks and blogging about them for several months. The Visa Gift Cards don’t seem to work for paying my utilities, keep getting errors. So it isn’t guaranteed that visa gift cards will always work online. They are great for daily spending though on food, groceries, etc. Note, I would not use visa gift cards for something I plan on returning. They offer little purchase protection.

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