Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.
This year has been one of the strangest times ever in earning and burning card points. Most of the mega lucrative ways have gone underground like the now very dead 2% portal bonus on Visa Debit Gift Cards (VDGC) payout (vs the normal 1%) on certain styles of cards. At the same time, other advanced techniques are step by step posted on blogs that will likely end in the death of some of these deals. In addition to these we have the good old “go to” Simon Mall (SM) VDGC deal. SM used to cap you at $10,000 a day per person but now have bumped that up to $25,000 per day and even have a field on the form you must fill out for large buys that states the reason you are buying the cards is manufactured spending (MS) – WoW!
But there is one little problem with this. The biggest one is that Amex RAT teams (reward abuse teams) really hate those who MS. Not only that, many data points are showing that purchases from SM of VDGCs are no longer counting toward both new card spend bonus number as well as Delta Amex Card(s) yearly spend goals for bonus Delta points and MQMs as well as the 25k MQD waiver spend. I personally have not made a SM VDGC purchase for a very long time now because there are so many other ways to MS that result in, not just free points, but cash back AND free points. 🙂
But you know simple is nice sometimes. While many visits to Wally World can result in free points and cash back, my TIME is not free. This very reason is why so many do not mess around with MS i.e. the time and effort it takes. Thus this time of year is a great way to knock out spend for very little cost and very little time (disclaimer: I am not giving tax advice nor am I a CPA – see your own tax advisor before you use any of these ideas)!
Let’s say you hold the Delta Amex Platinum or Reserve card(s) and are wanting to spend $25,000 or $30,000 (once or twice) to harvest bonus SkyMiles and MQMs.
The IRS lets you pay many types of taxes for a small credit card processing fee. One of the cheapest year after year is the one you see above, that is, Pay1040.com at just 1.87% fee. That could mean the following:
- You pay $30,000 in taxes and it costs you on your Delta Reserve card $561 in fees
- You get a total of 45,000 SkyMiles (with the 15,000 miles bonus) worth at least $450
- Your net result is your cost is just $111 (if you value a SkyMile at 1 cent each!)
Thus you get your MQMs for a really cheap net cost with time really not a factor since it only takes a few clicks from your computer. This is why I add this into my mix because, even with the cost included in the transaction, it is so fast and simple. I will cover most of my 60k Delta Amex Reserve card spend using this one point alone.
Another way folks also use the above is to reach large new card spend goals since paying taxes (and the fee) is AOK across just about all travel cards. I know of many readers who plan new rounds of cards many times a year to match up with each quarterly est. tax payment date i.e. not just April 15th.
What do you think? Have you used this technique to help reach your Delta Amex spend goals or to help get bonus points from some new travel card? – René