Manufactured Spending

Simon Mall will stop selling In-store gift cards at several locations


Simon Mall sells gift cards are a great way to manufacture spend. We are able to purchase several thousand dollars of these gift cards at one time and liquidate them using prepaid cards such as Serve and Bluebird to earn miles and points.

I was at the Simon mall location in Glen Allen, VA this morning and my friendly rep handed me the below brochure –

Simon Mall

According to the note this particular Simon mall location will stop selling Gift cards starting March 1st 2016. It is still a few months away but may change the way a lot of us do manufactured spending.

I am not certain if this will be implemented nationwide at every Simon Mall location I guess we will have to wait and see. When I asked the rep reason behind it she was very vague and mentioned that  a new company is probably taking over the gift card division. I guess we will have a better picture here in the next few days.


Categories: Manufactured Spending, Simon Mall Gift Cards, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Fly Business Class One-way to Europe under $350 using this strategy


Staples recently started selling $300 visa gift cards online and this is great news for folks who have the Chase Ink Business Credit Card as it earns 5X on office supplies for the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year. For a limited time Chase Ink Plus card is  offering 60,000 sign-up bonus after spending $5000 in three months which is almost $800 in Travel rewards (annual fee $95 not waived) if you use the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. However, you can further maximize the bonus by transferring UR points to other partners such as United, Southwest and many more.

So now I will show you how you can use a simple manufactured spending strategy to reach Europe for under $350.

The Scoop

For every $300 visa gift card you purchase from staples you will pay a fees of $8.95 earning 1545 Ultimate Rewards points. These Visa gift cards are pin-enabled and can be loaded onto any prepaid cards such as Bluebird, Serve or Target Redcard. You may use the prepaid cards to pay other bills such as mortgage, utility bills etc or turn around and pay back the Chase Ink card you used to purchase the gift card from Staples at first place.

Screenshot 2015-10-11 at 3.46.27 PM

Now, remember United Airlines is transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards for transfer ratio of 1:1. Let’s price out an award ticket from North America To Paris for sometime next year. For reference I am using Dulles Airport, Washington DC (IAD) but you can try other airports.

Screenshot 2015-10-11 at 3.46.09 PM

One-way flights from IAD to Paris are available for 57,500 United Miles or Ultimate Reward points. If you are signing up for the Chase Ink Business Card then the sign-up bonus of 60,000 points  is enough to score one business class ticket to Paris from IAD on United Airlines, but who likes to travel alone!!! Lets see how we can use the Staples $300 Visa to our earn this business class ticket for cheap.

As each $300 visa gift card with $8.95 purchase fees will earn you 1545 UR points, you will need 38 gift cards to earn 58710 UR points while paying $340 in purchase fees. Now you can easily transfer the points to United and book the award tickets by just paying another $25 for award fees.

Would you like to see what is the retail price if you were to buy these tickets using straight cash? Hold your breath ladies and gentlemen!!!

Screenshot 2015-10-11 at 4.07.01 PM

Staggering $7000 + one way business class ticket to Europe can be bought for under $350

WOW!! $7991 for a one way ticket to Paris from IAD.

paris happy girl eiffel

You will be jumping after reaching Paris in Business class for $350


Using the Chase Ink Business credit card and a little bit of manufactured spending by purchasing the $300 Visa gift card from Staples you can score business class tickets to Europe for under $350. You can get creative using UR points and  transfer them to Singapore Airlines to fly the suite for pennies!!

Categories: Gift Cards, Manufactured Spending, Staples, Ultimate Rewards Points, United | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Visa Gift card from


Some of us love taking long romantic drive to  Simon mall and purchase gift cards, however, if you are like me who hates doing it then there is  an option to get the gift cards delivered to your house by spending a little bit more via and now with free shipping for a limited time for orders upto $1500.

Description=Young man with mobile phone driving car Model Released CREDT : Fredrik Skold / Alamy

Typical Driver heading to Simon Mall

The Scoop sells Vanilla Gift Cards (issued via Bancorp) which you can buy sitting on your laptop sipping coffee. These gift cards will load at Walmart or using your Bluebird or Serve and at Target using the Redbird. There is some work involved using VGC’s as they must be activated online/phone prior to use. Now if you use the promo code SHIPHAPPY you will get free shipping on orders of $1500 or less in Gift Cards. The nice thing about these gift cards is that they would have your name printed on the GC so you do not have to play hide and seek with the cashiers at Walmart/Traget.

hide and seek may rescue you from Hide and Seek at walmart by having your name on the GC fees

The fee structure for buying gift cards online from

If you choose to pay for shipping at $7.45 it comes in Priority mail and you can order up to $2500 in VGCs (has to be including fees). You also earn G rewards for shopping at and I am exploring more how it works after placing my first order.

Although, readers have reported issues loading Simon Mall Gift cards at Walmart (Dallas Area) so be careful as these stores continuously update systems and loading certain gift cards could be hit or miss. Rule of thumb is never purchase more gift cards until you are certain loading works  otherwise you are stuck with them.


You can now purchase giftcards online from by paying $4.95 purchase fees for a gift card upto $500. The gift cards are VGC and can be loaded at Walmart or Target. Also, you can get gift cards upto $1500 shipped to your house for free using the promocode SHIPHAPPY. 

Categories: Gift Cards, Manufactured Spending | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Earn 30,000 United Mileageplus award miles with Direct TV, Redcard Update

1. I just received an email that United is offering 30,000 Miles with a new Direct TV account and a 2-year contract.

United 30000 Offer

United 30,000 Miles Offer

This best offer I’ve seen has been for 25,000 miles so the 30,000 mile offer is definitely a better deal. 30,000 miles will easily get you a round-trip domestic ticket. If you already have direct TV and your current contract is coming to an end, you can apply for a new account under your spouse or partners name and earn 30,000 miles. More details on this offer are here. The offer is valid until 7/22/15.

2. Redcard Update – I wrote on the demise of free credit card loading at Target Yesterday. Today (5/6), I was at a local area store in Richmond, VA  and credit card loads are a no go. However, folks via flyertalk and other forums have reported success using Simon Mall Gift Debit gift cards. This may not be as lucrative as free loading but can still help you with minimum spending and if you do what I do i.e buying the simon gift cards using Barclays Arrival World Mastercard or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card where you earn 2x miles n every dollar spend and redeem earned miles for travel credit. This may also help you with the minimum spending on any new credit card to earn large sign-up bonus.

You can buy gift cards upto $500 by paying $3.95 purchase fees for each card. You can find location of the nearest Simon mall here and the cards are usually sold at customer service desk inside the mall. Simon gift cards are pin enabled  and the default pin is  last four digits of the debit card. The Simon mall in Richmond allows you to buy up to $10,000 worth of gift cards per day but it is very ymmv at each location.

Another experiment I need to do is try loading on the redcard the last $500 Amex Gift Card that I purchased from Topcash back for a profit of $100I will keep you posted with any more data points. Please do share your experience and any tips.

Categories: Direct TV, Manufactured Spending, Prepaid Cards, Redcard, Simon Mall Gift Cards, United | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Possible new way to Manufacture spend using prepaid debit card

I read a discussion on Flyertalk about several prepaid debit products that you can buy online (free, with free shipping) and that you can then load online with a credit card.

They’re branded cards issued by Metabank for Boys & Girls Clubs of Deleware,Goodwill Deleware, and others. (These groups don’t manage the cards, they just get royalty income for use of their name.)

You can load up to $2500 per day onto the card and store up to $10,000 at a time.

Some key fees:

  • $3.95 monthly service fee, waived when you load $800 or more to the card each month
  • $2.95 for loading the card by credit card
  • $2.50 ATM cash withdrawal fee (in addition to fees charged by an out of network ATM)
  • $0.50 Bill pay fee

The card terms seem to suggest you can load a maximum of $250 at a time with a credit card, making it uneconomic and significant effort for each $2.95 fee.However reports are that in fact $2500 loads are permitted. So $2500 charged to your card for $2.95, once per week per card.


I’ve ordered one card for and will try it out. Post your stories if you’ve had success with similar cards before.

Categories: Manufactured Spending, Prepaid Cards | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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