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-   -   Does anyone Manufacture with zero loss or even profit? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manufactured-spending/1515516-does-anyone-manufacture-zero-loss-even-profit.html)

slider34 Oct 25, 13 3:34 pm


Originally Posted by farwest101 (Post 21665304)
Disagree. Points can/should be worth significantly more than the cash value of the points. Of course, if you aren't interested in travel, put the $ in your pocket.

For me, this game has been a revelation. My travel has increased dramatically, while my costs have dropped precipitously - a win-win. But I can't imagine going thru all the rigmarole if I were just getting a few thousand cash a year in CB. My time is better spent elsewhere if all I'm getting is cash value.

But a few card signups plus some MS, and ability to get tickets worth $10-$20K each? That's a no brainer.

This is probably one of the best posts I've read on flyertalk and describes me to a T. If I were gaining say 2 to 3K a year cash back while I still would find a daily spender than got me cash back I would NOT sign up for multiple cards and have to convince my wife to do the same. I could get a quick part-time job and get the money if it were truly necessary.

I'm also the first to say I would not spend $20,000 on first class tickets to London and Italy this year (no way/now how) but I did redeem some miles for just that. $1,000 cash (roughly) or $20,000 worth of tickets and seeing my wife sleeping after an icecream sunday in the air on the way to my dream vacation? No way I'd trade that. I used to scoff at the people saying they got 20 cents+ per mile. Now I'm "that guy."

OP - I only sign up for cards that are no annual fee and my manufactured spending is limited to Amazon payments (100% free). That gets me 24,000 miles/points/whatever for zero cost, sometimes more. We also make a comfortable living so our regular spending (and some spending on travel/expenses for the business I work for) add to our pile. I do not do any of the VR cards as it's not worth the hassle, again my decision. I did do about $5,000 worth of Chase gift cards which while 100% free, I tired of that quickly and quit.

Many good ideas in this thread. Look at other sites for cashback, use portals on your own cards for additional cash back, rebates, etc and I think one could EASILY do this with zero cost. But time is money as well...

Good luck!

athenakt Oct 25, 13 3:57 pm


Originally Posted by Rick471 (Post 21666397)
I agree with this 100%. If you're not interested in travel, pocket the cb. If you're not interested in travel, why you on FT?! :D

When not meeting a minimum spend or taking a break from apps, I MS.

Because you're all so charming, of course. :D

I'm actually planning on my first airplane trip for many years in several months. Plenty of time to MS points for travel for once instead of CB. And that knowledge came partially from reading these threads until my eyes bled.

As for the OP, I'm of the mind that you have to spend a little money in order to earn more money. The investments of fees + time = lots of free lunches.

dcpilgrim Oct 25, 13 4:02 pm

I only take 1-2 trips a year. I am building miles in each alliance for booking flexibility for my family of four but I will certainly eat a devaluation or two in the coming years. For me it makes sense to mix in a bit of cash to offset the various fees (AF on cards, MS fees).

xoxx Oct 25, 13 4:17 pm

Boy did I open a can of worms in this thread :eek:

Abandon thread for me

Ragnarok Oct 25, 13 6:05 pm


Originally Posted by SpeedingLunatic (Post 21664934)
Or maybe even less. I rarely stay in hotels or fly. I can't pay my taxes or heat my house with miles.


IE. Loading BB with 5k of VRs earning points is 5k of VRs you didn't earn CB on. Your opportunity cost (assuming 2% CB) is $100.79.

If you are not even interested in travel , then you sure can take the CB.

However, using your same logic, if someone who do travel and will otherwise spend money on air fares or ticket, the opportunity cost for getting the $100.79 using a 2% cashback card via loading 5K in VR , instead of using a Ink card earning at 1.7X UR ( all VR fees offset-ed, UR valued at 1.8cent ) , is $153.

malice Oct 25, 13 6:37 pm

I use 3% cash back card for 1/3 of my MS and pay off all the gift card fees for all the other airlines/hotel points.
This really makes me feel really good and unnecessary to calculate the cpm or actual value of points/miles because every points I get is GAIN.

aeneas3 Oct 25, 13 6:46 pm

some good ideas in this thread for sure.

i for one am a little nervous about shopping thru cb portals with amex gc purchases as I am more familiar with other cb sites. wish fatwallet had 2% for amex gc

cashback Oct 25, 13 8:00 pm


Originally Posted by malice (Post 21670117)
I use 3% cash back card for 1/3 of my MS and pay off all the gift card fees for all the other airlines/hotel points.
This really makes me feel really good and unnecessary to calculate the cpm or actual value of points/miles because every points I get is GAIN.

Assuming you have a 1x point card, if you redeem points for > 3 cents per point, you would be better of churning the points card (s) alone. If you redeem points for < 3 cpp (most likely) youd be much better off churning for cash and using that to pay for travel.

mithrin Oct 25, 13 11:51 pm


Originally Posted by Rick471 (Post 21666397)
I agree with this 100%. If you're not interested in travel, pocket the cb. If you're not interested in travel, why you on FT?! :D

When not meeting a minimum spend or taking a break from apps, I MS.

I'm here because there is much more discussion here about MS than places like FW. I have enough miles/points on Barclay to cover my relatively small travel needs for awhile.

OTOH, I can always use more cash, and enjoy the MS process most of the time. I have two methods that net me 4% or more on spend. I don't MS over my CL on either CC, so I'm limited to about 20K per month without resorting to less lucrative methods.

For the curious, one method is the already mentioned WF 5% card. The other card is no longer available, and the 4% is only achieved by a combo of the card with F5/F6.

horseymen Oct 26, 13 12:38 am

And kind of a tangent in this discussion is the effort people will put into churning. There are the portal-resell churners - I'd imagine these people probably have a bit more free time and are willing to be a bit riskier - but ultimately make more from it. You have the people who will buy gift cards at grocery stores and spend time in Wal-Mart liquidating. Then, you have the people who just prefer the relative ease of buying VR's and cashing them out through Bluebirds - and then you have the people who just MS to clear credit card bonuses and have no other desire to do so. Although there's probably not a one size fits all - I'm willing to bet the more money people make, the less likely they are to do some of the more complex stuff as they probably value their time more. If something ever happened and I went down to a 30-50k a year salary, I would probably hit some of the other methods more hard and heavy.

tuphat Oct 26, 13 9:53 am

For me, cash is king. I just use Fidelity 2% Amex. figure my costs approximate 1%, leaving the other 1% for profit.

DziVang Oct 26, 13 1:45 pm

Well, I believe the OP is asking how to get 1k UR/SPG points (ie. 1k VR/1k CGC ...etc) with less fee (< $8) or even better making profit? Of course, the value of points or cash is weighted based on each person's preference.

RFDMinnesota Oct 26, 13 5:49 pm

My preferred method of MS will be ending in the next few months and it allowed me to generate spend while getting approx. 8% in CB on top of the points. More than offset fees

malice Oct 26, 13 7:35 pm


Originally Posted by cashback (Post 21670385)
Assuming you have a 1x point card, if you redeem points for > 3 cents per point, you would be better of churning the points card (s) alone. If you redeem points for < 3 cpp (most likely) youd be much better off churning for cash and using that to pay for travel.

Very true.
But like everyone else is saying, point values are very complicated.
I can easily earn over 5 cpp by redeeming business class international flight,
but I would never buy those tickets with cash.
Also, the availability of the flight tickets varies as well.
Like I can't always book Savers Award Ticket on UA if my trip isn't flexible.
Anyway, by paying off all the fees by cash back cards, I might won't earn maximum gains, but I don't have to compromise my family trip.

There's many ways to MS. Most of the issues are not about right or wrong.
It's almost about how you're comfortable with and make you happy :)

Gargoyle Oct 26, 13 9:51 pm


Originally Posted by farwest101 (Post 21665304)
Disagree. Points can/should be worth significantly more than the cash value of the points.

The vanilla cost of $3.95/$500 is around 0.8 cents/mile. (DL Amex card). I just booked a low mileage award trip for 25k miles, vanilla cost of $197.50 for those miles. It's a last minute non-hub to non-hub trip, revenue tickets are costing around $1050 to $1100 for travel on or around those dates. So my redemption rate is better than 4 cents/mile.

(and yes, I really booked a domestic r/t on Delta.com using the award tool and got it for 25k miles- I know that claiming such a thing undermines my credibility, but its true).


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