I know today is supposed to be a Holiday (albeit one I don’t personally believe should be a holiday; I prefer to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day), but today is not a good day for many of us manufactured spenders.

What is manufactured spending (MS)? Some of us, like GEN Glenn, fly a lot for business and can accrue many “butt-in-seat” miles that way. Others, like myself, don’t fly much at all on paid flights. I’m in ER residency so therefore must be in the hospital pretty much all the time. Therefore, the only way to accrue many miles is through either credit card signup bonuses, or manufactured spending. The latter is using your rewards-earning credit cards to purchase cash-like equivalents, essentially “buying” miles at a very low cost. I recommend reading Frequent Miler or some of the Saverocity bloggers for more tips.

-One of the easiest ways over the past couple years to MS was Amazon Payments. Alas, as of yesterday, you are no longer able to send fee-free credit card payments through it.

-Also, today I went to one of my standbys, Rite Aid, to purchase some Paypal MyCash cards. It seems as though they’ve now hard-coded it into their registers that you can no longer pay with credit cards for these either.

-The Walmarts in my area don’t accept prepaid gift cards for money orders, and Kate (the moneycenter kiosk) is constantly out of service, so buying prepaid gift cards with a credit card and loading it onto Bluebird or Serve is not an option for me. I know of many people who previously relied on gift cards loads are having a much harder time now at Walmarts.

As I mentioned in my prior post, an interesting option just surfaced recently – the prepaid REDcard at Targets, that ostensibly will allow up to $5k of credit card loads per month. This looks like an amazing new option; however only certain Targets are offering this product now, and none in my area. My brother, who is visiting another brother, is in Michigan at the moment, where there are many Targets offering it. He went to two different ones on the list, but because of “technical reasons”, they weren’t able to give him one. I think this option could be huge, akin to Vanilla Reloads back in the day, but it needs a larger roll-out.

There are still positives though. I’ve only been playing this game now for about two years, but in that time I’ve seen many previously viable MSing options fall by the wayside (most notably Vanilla Reloads – RIP); however just as soon as they don’t work anymore, a new one pops up to take it’s place.

-REDcard, when it rolls out wider, will be huge

-Amex SERVE is still allowing credit card loads, and even though there was a scare, most credit card companies are not posting as cash advances.

-If you’re fortunate enough to have the old Citi Forward card, the Amex Campus Edition is great for loads.


Things are changing, but keep your chins up, and keep reading. I’ll try to keep you up to date with all the MSing opportunites I find out about!

Posted by glenn | 9 Comments

9 responses to “Today is a dark day for manufactured spenders”

  1. Just Stop says:

    Please, just stop. You’re ruining it for everyone.
    What will you kill next?

  2. Charles says:

    A little off topic, but I think he is a BG, not a GEN.

  3. DaninMCI says:

    Indigenous people day? Really. We could substitute that for many of the American holidays.

    I’m shocked that Amazon or any of the other MS ways last long at all. Not just because of the MS folks looking for cash back, miles or points but due to worries over banking and money laundering issues. I wonder how many drug dealers and terrorist use these methods to move money as well.

  4. Andy says:

    @JustStop – If you think our readership numbers are such that WE’RE killing the deals, I am flattered, but we don’t see nearly the amount of readers as the big guys.

    @Charles – true that. In the military, you often truncate the beginning of the rank. For instance, I’m a LCDR in the Navy, but for convenience sake some people will say commander. That’s what I was doing, but perhaps I did it incorrectly.

    @DaninMCI – I was wondering that myself. I’d love it if someone did some research on that topic, although I think it’d be extremely hard to get numbers on both criminals and on MSers.

  5. Charles says:

    I understand, and if speaking to him I would address him as General instead of Brigadier General if not simply saying Sir. However by regulation his 1-star Brigadier General rank in print is abbreviated as BG, whereas GEN is the print abbreviation for a 4-star General.

    • glenn says:

      @ Charles – Andy was well intentioned, but being Navy we have to cut him some slack. Of course, I can’t say I understand everything Navy. Maybe Andy can explain “Rear Admiral, Lower Half”. 😉

  6. Darth Chocolate says:

    Dark day? More like great day! I cannot wait for the ranks of the herd to be thinned when MS is abolished.

  7. Cyrus says:

    Andy, for the Army we use 2-3 letter abbreviations for rank in written form. In fact, BG and MG are the only 2 ranks with 2 letter abbreviations.

    However when writing as spoken, General can be spelled out and be proper. Military audience with sticklers for regulation.

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