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Old Dec 3, 12, 9:33 pm   #3571
 
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Originally Posted by TheBOSman View Post
Circular path concerns.
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Originally Posted by dajoip View Post
Within the FT community, it's sort of engrained within us that circular paths are always bad so when a feasible option is introduced, everyone tends to be skeptical.
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Originally Posted by Stoughton View Post
I doubt Chase has the time nor desire to figure out what I'm doing with any VR's I buy. With the variety of prepaid products out there what can be fed off a VR, it would be difficult, if not entirely impossible, for them to deterine where that particular VR was fed into, esp without access to the individual card data that's held by Incomm.
Whereas I'm normally very focused on circs, this one doesn't bother me. The cc to vanilla, vanilla to bb, bb to cc has enough separate companies as to not be immediately apparent.

Paying out of bb in odd installments strikes me as important. Not just $1k in, $1k out same day. Use some efts, and heck even use the card for purchases once or twice.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 9:35 pm   #3572
 
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Originally Posted by FrAAmer View Post
Sorry DCBob - I don't follow your math.

If I max out the reload potential of a BB card, it is $5K per month.

So @ 6 points x 5K = 30,000 Hilton points.

Are you saying that 30K Hilton points are only worth $110.55?

It seems to me that if I save up my points and redeem either an AXON or a GLON, my redemption rate is higher. If I follow you correctly, at your "value" an AXON @125 K points for four nights would be worth about a bit more than $460. I would think that 4 nights is worth more than that.

What am I missing?
You are missing the COST of buying those 30K HH points. 30K HH points are worth, on average, $150.00. But you have to pay the $3.95 load charge for every $500 you load to your BB. To load $5,000, you pay $3.95 x 10 = $39.50. So your $150 worth of HH points (30K) costs $39.50. You net $110.50 (not considering your time and fuel costs).

That's on an every day normal use of HH points. If you maximize your points at an exotic property or using a 4-night AXON award, of course you could end up doubling the value of HH points. Most people aren't able to do that.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 9:39 pm   #3573
 
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Originally Posted by DCBob View Post
I'm just wondering if anyone has taken the time to analyze the $ savings from buying VR cards with a rewards CC vs. the cost of gasoline, depreciation, or bus/subway fares per trip and the value of your limited amount of time on earth to do this.

For example, say I use the Amex HH card at CVS and get 6 HH points per dollar and purchase $1,000 in VR cards on one trip (any more and you could be asking for trouble). I net $0.005 x 6 x 1000 = $ 30.00 minus the $3.95 reload fee x 2 = $22.10. Maximum net value to me per month = 5 x $22.10 = $ 110.55.

To me, it's worth it because I live 2 blocks from a CVS with the VR cards, so I have no other out-of-pocket costs and the time I spend is minimal (plus it's additional exercise I need).

I know some of you use VR purchases to meet minimum spending requirements. That's not in my analysis and that's only a temporary need and not something you would use BB for ongoing into the future.

What do the rest of you think?
Cc -> bb is a marginal scheme. I usually get 4-6 cpm on miles for tickets I'd otherwise pay for...and cvs is very convenient for me (drive past it every day...during quiet periods at the store)....so this is net positive...but if it were a big time hassle, then it wouldn't be worth it.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 9:40 pm   #3574
 
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Here's an interesting blog post from when Gary and Lucky where debating the value of Hilton points. On topic because it ties in with posts above about what is the value of chasing down VR reloads in the current climate.
http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfr...he-is-edition/
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Old Dec 3, 12, 9:41 pm   #3575
 
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Have Faith!

Have faith, reloads really are available at CVS - though it may take time for the racks to be reloaded.

I jumped in at the onset and had great luck buying at OD and using the billpay service to its max each month - but then alas, lost that opportunity....and almost gave up on BB.

After weeks of dejectedly stopping regularly at the four local CVS stores by my house, one finally had some.........

Then while out running errands, I saw a CVS I had never stopped in (admittedly in a significantly less affluent area of town) and their rack was COMPLETELY FULL! There are at least 40 more cards on the rack.

Mrs. FrAAmer and I bought 2 each per store per day (their limit) and then we were politely told that if we wanted to continue to buy them we would have to seek permission from the store manager .

So we at least have almost two month's worth of reloads......and will make an "appointment" with the manager.......to see if we can continue to buy them.

I made the post so that others, like me, who could not find reloads for weeks at CVS might keep up the hunt.

Last edited by FrAAmer; Dec 3, 12 at 11:26 pm.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 9:46 pm   #3576
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddallas View Post
Here's an interesting blog post from when Gary and Lucky where debating the value of Hilton points. On topic because it ties in with posts above about what is the value of chasing down VR reloads in the current climate.
http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfr...he-is-edition/
I think they're both off - I value Hilton points at $0.044. Now that the Diamond Force is no longer available, many aspirational properties are not available at the base Cat 7 rate, and many urban Cat 6/7 properties (or similar Starwood/Hyatt/Marriott properties) can be won on Priceline for under $200/night.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 10:03 pm   #3577
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Damn I can't believe you guys are gonna let those reloads sit around for anything but a few days... some thief can be running a random number generator every few days.. there aren't even that many possible combinations. If they catch one of your loaded ones then you'll have a big headache to deal with. The VR site doesn't even use captcha!
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Old Dec 3, 12, 10:08 pm   #3578
 
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In addition to the cheap points, there also is the float by effectively using a credit card to pay mortgage. That's something for me. Of course that requires being able to find reloads timely. If buying them 30 days in advance, obviously that's out the window.

I kind of think if the haul here is 6x Hilton at $3.95 per 3000 it's pretty good, but not worth going crazy. To me, the key value is meeting spending bonuses with mortgage payments. For example, I am working toward the 15k bonus on my Amex gold. Getting across the finish line by paying mortgage frees up the spend I would have had to put on the gold card for other bonuses.

For example, someone with 40k a year in bills that can't otherwise be paid with a cc, one option might be the Hilton Honors reserve. For $316 (plus the annual fee), you get 120,000 HH points, diamond status, and a free weekend night. Or, for 25k in spend on a US Airways card, you pay $197.50 for 25k US miles and 10k are EQM. Depending how one values status, such things might be worth more than 6x hh points.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 10:21 pm   #3579
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caGALINDO View Post
Damn I can't believe you guys are gonna let those reloads sit around for anything but a few days...
Not quite sure of your concern? Two loaded per day per account. In five days they are loaded. Bills then entered into billpay and account is empty until the next month. Unused cards are unscratched and stored in a safe.

How could a thief getting the already loaded pin cause a headache?
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Old Dec 3, 12, 11:34 pm   #3580
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkar View Post
For example, someone with 40k a year in bills that can't otherwise be paid with a cc, one option might be the Hilton Honors reserve. For $316 (plus the annual fee), you get 120,000 HH points, diamond status, and a free weekend night.
I'd rather spend up to $10K on the Hilton HHonors Reserve and get the extra free weekend night (in addition to the first year's 2 weekend nights bonus). Going beyond that to $40K to get Diamond status makes no sense. You get free Gold status anyway with the Reserve card, and the extra $30K in spending to get Diamond status nets you very little (like guaranteed Executive Lounge access when you are NOT on the Executive Lounge floor, which rarely happens, plus a few more bonus points.) The extra $30K in spending is better used on the Amex Starwood card or in bonus categories on other cards (like supermarkets, drug stores, and restaurants).
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Old Dec 3, 12, 11:38 pm   #3581
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrAAmer View Post
Not quite sure of your concern? Two loaded per day per account. In five days they are loaded. Bills then entered into billpay and account is empty until the next month. Unused cards are unscratched and stored in a safe.

How could a thief getting the already loaded pin cause a headache?
What the earlier poster was suggesting is that someone could have a number generator to run a bunch of numbers (random or sequential); if he/she hits one that's "active" but not loaded yet, he/she can steal that money.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 11:59 pm   #3582
 
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this is a very roundabout way of loading up your Bluebird account, but here goes.

i've only done half of this transaction but don't expect much hiccup on the other half.

requirements:

Paypal account
Paypal debit card
Bluebird account

Scheme:

CVS #1 - did not take credit card for Vanilla reloads. Did not try Paypal reloads.
CVS #2 - Success in buying Paypal reload with CC. They did not have Vanilla reloads for me to try.
CVS #3 - Same story as CVS #2

Paypal reload has a $3.95 fee, same as Vanilla reload. Did not try Moneypak reload since that carries a $4.95 fee and some report not available for CC purchases.

After purchase, you load the card on to your Paypal account ($500 limit/day, $4000/month). I will test tonight to see if it is per 24 hrs or per calendar day. EDIT: Tested and it is $500 limit per calendar day.

Obtain a Paypal debit card (yes, you will have to give up your SSN to Paypal). Hopefully get "approved" for the card (do not know if there is a hard or soft pull, but Paypal claims if will not effect your credit score). Take your debit card and load your BB account.

I am only doing this to meet minimum spend requirements and until I can try CC purchases of Vanilla reloads at these CVS's.

So this scheme involves the same amount of fees as VR, but does require a middle man that may or may not be happy this is taking place. Only time will tell.

Last edited by DrSifu; Dec 4, 12 at 1:21 am.
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Old Dec 4, 12, 12:35 am   #3583
 
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Dr. Sifu, I loaded one $500 Paypal reload card into my Paypal account yesterday, and will probably transfer most of that money to my bank account in a month. Might do two such loads each month at most so as to not have the Paypal account closed, and will probably spend $100 a month paying people/organizations.

What benefit comes from getting the Paypal debit card if you are only doing 2 $500 transactions a month? Isn't Paypal going to notice this scheme whether you wire directly to your bank account after loading like I will do, or whether you use a debit card to load BB?

Probably not worth giving your SSN to Paypal unless I am missing something here.
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Old Dec 4, 12, 12:36 am   #3584
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSifu View Post
Obtain a Paypal debit card (yes, you will have to give up your SSN to Paypal). Hopefully get "approved" for the card (do not know if there is a hard or soft pull, but Paypal claims if will not effect your credit score). Take your debit card and load your BB account.

I am only doing this to meet minimum spend requirements and until I can try CC purchases of Vanilla reloads at these CVS's.

So this scheme involves the same amount of fees as VR, but does require a middle man that may or may not be happy this is taking place. Only time will tell.
I have already heard that PayPal is not happy about this; the points guy was warned. He was not specifically transferring to Bluebird, but I don't see why PayPal would be any happier about Bluebird than a checking account.

Quote:
I then loaded my last $500 into my PayPal account and initiated a final $500 transfer to my checking account- no issues, whatsoever. I looked throughout the T&C and nowhere did it say that transferring to PayPal and then onto your checking account was against the rules. Sure PayPal wants me to use their service to pay bills and other vendors (so they can generate processing fees), but I’ve given them enough money over the years and my account is “legit” enough, where I felt like this small withdrawal wouldn’t raise a red flag.

However, the following morning I got an email from PayPal compliance stating:
“At PayPal we regularly screen activity in our system. A recent review of activity on your PayPal Account shows that you have been using the Green Dot MoneyPak to deposit cash and then withdraw it. Unfortunately, this activity is not acceptable use of the MoneyPak and we must request that you discontinue this activity.

The Green Dot MoneyPak was designed for the purpose of depositing cash to your PayPal account for retail purchases. Continued use of the Green Dot MoneyPaks with PayPal for the purposes of cash withdrawals will lead to limitations on or closure of your PayPal Account.

We apologize for any confusion regarding intended purposes of this new feature. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.”
I am not sure what PayPal's actual problem with this scenario is, but my guess is that it looks like money laundering or possibly terrorist financing.
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Old Dec 4, 12, 12:45 am   #3585
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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To load BB at Walmart you need a debit card w. a pin. Which pre-paid cards sold at OD, Staples etc. can be registered as a debit with a pin?
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