Manufactured Spending

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  1. Rene – I recently asked you about options for unloading GCs and you replied MOs at WM or Grocers are a good option. I had a specific question related to this and didn’t want to post it on the credit card page. When you do a MO, is it suitable to do say $3K MO and use 6 $500 VGCs or only possible to do MOs $500/time.

    • @Steve – Sure, you just have a tiny bit higher MO cost. I do this all the time via CVS Vanilla One cards as my local growcery store. Yeah it cost me 90 cents more per $1000 but who cares at these levels.

  2. Hello! I’m almost certain that I have hit the $60k Reserve spend threshold to earn the 15,000 bonus MQMs and I trust they will be deposited to my SkyMiles account once my statement closes on 9JAN2017. However, I want to be absolutely sure I’m above the $60k, so I logged into Amex and went to Statements&Activity, filtered by year-to-date, and then I subtracted Fees & Adjustments. Is there any more reliable way to check my annual spending? Thanks very much!

    • @Jon – Just check last statement, subtract fee’s and there you are. BTW I always overspend by 1k to be sure each year. Not worth missing it for 1k 🙂

  3. Hi Rene – What’ the best way to confirm you’ve hit your spending target with Amex before your statement closes? I keep my own spreadsheet and I have confirmed with the Amex Statements & Activity tab (less fees and adjustments), but is there any better way to be absolutely sure I have spent $60k on my Delta Reserve before year-end? Thanks very much!

    • @Jon – Start with last month total (minus fees and such) and then just add up your spend that has POSTED to your account online. Oh and I always go over by 1k to be sure.

  4. @rene, thanks very much for the reply! Sorry I made my post twice, thought it didn’t go through yesterday. I’m about $1,100 over the threshold, so now I will sit and wait for the statement to close. Thanks again!

  5. Rene: Following your advice in a previous article, I just used my AmEx card to pay my 4th Quarter estimated federal taxes for a 1.98% fee. While doing that, I noticed that the site also takes debit cards and caps the fee for using those at $2.69. That made me wonder if I could save about 1/2 percent by buying $500 Simon Mall Visa gift/debit cards and using them to pay taxes. That also would save the hassle of using the cards to buy money orders and then depositing the MOs. Your thoughts? Thanks.

  6. Hi Rene: say your FT post ok gcs earning the Simone 5% back. Question: how do you use multiple simon cards+ a cc to pay the fees at checkout. Was going to buy 5×300 visa GCs on staples using 3×500 Simon five backs and a CC to pay fees but can’t add more than one form of payment…. am I missing something?

  7. What are the benefits of a buying and using a Simon card. Is it the same as a CVS vanilla one card? Would you be able to purchase a Simon mall GC for more than $500 or is there another added benefit that I am missing?

    • @Anthony – Cheaper fee and you can liquidate at WM unlike the VO that you can not (well for $49.99 at a time).

  8. Hi Rene

    I don’t have a Simon Mall in town, have you ever bought them online?
    Shipping is only .49, but I am wondering if there is a greater chance the purchase will be rejected as part of my qualified spend on Amex.
    I am only using this for 1/3 of my total requirement.

    • @RossKoh – I have done the online order but only once. Little chance for AX rejection more risk of shutdown if used often. I would say and order or two should be no problem for you. But keep other local places that sell VDGCs as an idea as well.

  9. Hi Rene –
    I need to send money to my wife’s family in China; we were looking at using Western Union. Do you have any experience with using VDGC or preferably Amex debit cards via to send money via WesternUnion or other options for international money transfers? It’d help me get to 60k on my Delta Reserve with spend that would otherwise be stuck being a bank debit.

  10. Good morning Rene –
    From the above post, WesternUnion doesn’t seem to accept VDGCs as payment, tried a few ways, all essentially get declined, they won’t provide reason why. Also noticed that giftcardmall has denied last 5 attempts I’ve made to purchase vdgc so I can pay utilities that don’t accept amex, fewer and fewer options in this neck of the woods.

  11. Bruce Meiseles Reply

    Hi Rene,

    Can you please let us know your thoughts about this plan:

    Travel to Florida and hit cluster of Pubix and Walmart Neighborhood Markets (super cheap flight). With about $15K of $300 VISA gift cards bought with VISA Ink CC at (all getting 5x). We would hit as many stores as we can purchasing Money Orders along the way (No more than 2 $300 MOs in any store so no personal info). Return to NJ and slowly deposit them monthly.

    ??? The good / The bad / The ugly ???



    • @Bruce – first part fine. Intentionally not depositing less than 10k is structuring!

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