Simon mall gift card(2014-2015)

Old Nov 2, 15, 3:02 pm
  #2191  
 
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Originally Posted by devnull View Post
Right, some here seem to assign little or no value to their time and think it's worthwhile to MS $5 at a time.
And some seem to have no discretion whatsoever.
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Old Nov 2, 15, 4:25 pm
  #2192  
 
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Originally Posted by MileageGoblin View Post
You guys crack me up. Both instances are taking the hobby to paranoid levels.
Isn't paranoia. It happened at a WM where I used to live.

Luckily (or not), I now live in a Walmart-dense area. I can visit 3 Superstores and 2 Neighborhood Walmarts in 30 minutes. Isn't really a burden on my time.
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Old Nov 2, 15, 5:38 pm
  #2193  
 
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Originally Posted by MileageGoblin View Post
You guys crack me up. Both instances are taking the hobby to paranoid levels.
Or maybe not. My two usual WM's recently instituted policies of max one swipe at the register, multiples have to be done at the MC. One of the MCs insists on seeing the debit card and won't accept GCs. I was told that the other MC requires paperwork for loading $1K+ - I haven't tested that myself. I don't know what caused the changes but it seems that a bit of discretion can't hurt and probably helps.
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Old Nov 2, 15, 6:44 pm
  #2194  
 
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Originally Posted by MileageGoblin View Post
You guys crack me up. Both instances are taking the hobby to paranoid levels.
I've already got a couple of WMs in the area that only allow loading at the MC.

For those that allow loading at all registers, doing 2x500, 2x500, 1x500 is faster than using Kate. And some WMs in my area only allow a maximum of $1K load on a BB at registers other than the MC.

Originally Posted by devnull View Post
Right, some here seem to assign little or no value to their time and think it's worthwhile to MS $5 at a time.
I don't know where you are or when you MS, but the lines at the MC can be wicked long. It's faster for me to go to the electronics dept, garden center, and front registers than wait in line at the MC.

As far as valuing my time, this is a hobby for me so I don't place any value on my time. If I accounted for all expenses, I wouldn't be doing MS and I doubt you would either because it's a minimum wage 'job'. Possibly sub-minimum wage.

Originally Posted by missing_link View Post
Luckily (or not), I now live in a Walmart-dense area. I can visit 3 Superstores and 2 Neighborhood Walmarts in 30 minutes. Isn't really a burden on my time.
Same here; WMs and NMs are all over the place here. I usually stop by one or more when I'm going to other destinations. If the line's too long, I'll turn around and walk out because I can hit at least 2 different locations on a 5 mile drive.


I was loading at the MC of my closest Super WM a few days ago. This is a location that only allows BB loading at the MC. The person helping me said that she's always helping me load - I'll stop going there for a while because I have no desire to draw enough attention that I'm memorable to WM employees.

Edit: I'll just add that I'm sure there are a lot frustrated MSers (SFO and NYC area) who would gladly trade places with me. I have no desire to kill this in my area faster by loading $2.5K at the MC several times a month.

Last edited by iflyjetz; Nov 2, 15 at 7:06 pm
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Old Nov 2, 15, 7:09 pm
  #2195  
 
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Originally Posted by iflyjetz View Post
Kenme1's got great advice.

I load SMGCs @ WM/Neighborhood Market.

How I do it:
No more than 2x$500 at one time.
Load at MoneyCenter, Electronics, Garden Center, registers, etc - anywhere that they let you. Best to do this when the store's somewhat busy so you don't draw a bunch of security attention.

Yesterday, I was able to load $2500 on one card in one WM.
2x500 @ MoneyCenter
Automotive claimed they couldn't load BBs and to go to the MoneyCenter; I walked away without discussing further
2x500 @ Electronics
1x500 @ Register while buying some copier paper


If you can find a Kate in a WM near you, that would help quite a bit. $1999.99 velocity limit on Kates.

MS, like real estate, is all about location, location, location. What works in my local WMs may not work in yours. Good luck.
TY! Did a small test run today, worked perfect!
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Old Nov 2, 15, 8:54 pm
  #2196  
 
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Just a couple of data points to contribute to the collective knowledge base on split payments - just did a Simon mall run in both directions on a weekend trip ITH-NYC, seeing as the Sunnies seem to be having so many problems and none of the big box or supermarket chains in Central NY (that I've found so far - would appreciate a PM if anyone knows otherwise!) take credit for $500 VGCs that easily load to BB. Did the I-80 route inbound and had no problem splitting my purchase between two cards at a painfully typical NJ mall. (1.5k total)

Wanted to see some Hudson Valley foliage on the way out so did the thruway up to "future I-86" and stopped at Woodbury enroute. They didn't allow split payment at the guest services desk, which was busy and teeming with foreign visitors. Indeed, the whole mall felt a little like LHR duty free, complete with rolling suitcases, open-air and dropped in the middle of a forest. The woman who was helping me didn't seem all that familiar with the gift card business - she seemed to be there primarily as an interpreter for the Asian package-tour crowd - and definitely didn't comprehend that I was doing MS.

On the way out I noticed that there's another guest services desk (near where the Coach USA buses park), so I stopped in and sure enough was able to double my order with a different card (again 1.5k). The first card I tried was rejected; even though I was on the phone confirming with Bank of America within 15 seconds of the swipe (fastest verification call I ever got!) they insisted that their policy was to require a different card when the first one bounces. Thought it was bizarre seeing as the fraud alert was cleared right in front of them, but oh well - ended up taking HHonors points instead of VS miles. No forms requested at all there, and the second desk gave me a bunch of mall coupons to hand to my gift recipients. I'm sure Kate will appreciate 20% off at the Gap outlet...
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Old Nov 3, 15, 2:29 am
  #2197  
 
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Originally Posted by iflyjetz View Post
As far as valuing my time, this is a hobby for me so I don't place any value on my time. If I accounted for all expenses, I wouldn't be doing MS and I doubt you would either because it's a minimum wage 'job'. Possibly sub-minimum wage.
I get that it's a hobby for you and obviously this works well for you (hey, if you have fun, who cares about time efficiency; it's like any other hobby). For me, though, this is where taking risks and ramping up volume to increase efficiency (and thus, effective wage, as you mention) comes into play.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 8:19 am
  #2198  
 
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No way! Retired professional MS folk with lots of free time who can MS all day by free public transportation and walking would never find it worthwhile to earn $5 tax free per $1k MSed. We would rather make our money the old fashioned way by putting that $1k in the bank for a year to earn 5 cents of interest. After all, your government has told the retired that there is no inflation, the Social Security increase will be zero and bank interest rates should stay lower than the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton.


Originally Posted by devnull View Post
Right, some here seem to assign little or no value to their time and think it's worthwhile to MS $5 at a time.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 8:23 am
  #2199  
 
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Originally Posted by lonelycrowd View Post
Just a couple of data points to contribute to the collective knowledge base on split payments - just did a Simon mall run in both directions on a weekend trip ITH-NYC, seeing as the Sunnies seem to be having so many problems and none of the big box or supermarket chains in Central NY (that I've found so far - would appreciate a PM if anyone knows otherwise!) take credit for $500 VGCs that easily load to BB. Did the I-80 route inbound and had no problem splitting my purchase between two cards at a painfully typical NJ mall. (1.5k total)

Wanted to see some Hudson Valley foliage on the way out so did the thruway up to "future I-86" and stopped at Woodbury enroute. They didn't allow split payment at the guest services desk, which was busy and teeming with foreign visitors. Indeed, the whole mall felt a little like LHR duty free, complete with rolling suitcases, open-air and dropped in the middle of a forest. The woman who was helping me didn't seem all that familiar with the gift card business - she seemed to be there primarily as an interpreter for the Asian package-tour crowd - and definitely didn't comprehend that I was doing MS.

On the way out I noticed that there's another guest services desk (near where the Coach USA buses park), so I stopped in and sure enough was able to double my order with a different card (again 1.5k). The first card I tried was rejected; even though I was on the phone confirming with Bank of America within 15 seconds of the swipe (fastest verification call I ever got!) they insisted that their policy was to require a different card when the first one bounces. Thought it was bizarre seeing as the fraud alert was cleared right in front of them, but oh well - ended up taking HHonors points instead of VS miles. No forms requested at all there, and the second desk gave me a bunch of mall coupons to hand to my gift recipients. I'm sure Kate will appreciate 20% off at the Gap outlet...
Did you do these small transactions for the purpose of testing or what? Why not just do one large order at one mall and get it over with?
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Old Nov 3, 15, 9:19 am
  #2200  
 
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Originally Posted by devnull View Post
I get that it's a hobby for you and obviously this works well for you (hey, if you have fun, who cares about time efficiency; it's like any other hobby). For me, though, this is where taking risks and ramping up volume to increase efficiency (and thus, effective wage, as you mention) comes into play.
I understand all of that. I could sit around all weekend and watch football like I used to years ago. I stopped after my Broncos won their second Super Bowl. As far as I know, John Elway's still the QB and they're winning the Super Bowl every year.

I'd rather stick with the belief that the Broncos are invincible and do some MS than spend my Sundays watching every football game I can get on cable. My savings on NOT buying NFL Sunday Ticket alone is a nice bonus of having an MS hobby.

I'm scaling up a bit; now feeding multiple birds and just got a throwaway checking acct to launder my MS MOs. But even with scale, this is not a very efficient use of time. You probably don't factor in all of the time we waste reading FT - that's time that needs to be expensed to this hobby.

Originally Posted by AlohaDaveKennedy View Post
No way! Retired professional MS folk with lots of free time who can MS all day by free public transportation and walking would never find it worthwhile to earn $5 tax free per $1k MSed. We would rather make our money the old fashioned way by putting that $1k in the bank for a year to earn 5 cents of interest. After all, your government has told the retired that there is no inflation, the Social Security increase will be zero and bank interest rates should stay lower than the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton.
The only inflation is in health care so Obamacare/medicare premiums will be rising. I opted to dump some $ into XBI last week since the sector's been hammered by Billary and shkreli silliness; working out well so far.

Originally Posted by macrophage View Post
Did you do these small transactions for the purpose of testing or what? Why not just do one large order at one mall and get it over with?
He got a fraud alert on one credit card so it sounds like he's also got to season his credit cards a bit. When I started out MSing with my SPG AmEx, I didn't buy more than 2x500 SMGCs at a time. My last SPG AmEx buy was 11x500 SMGCs. It took some time to work up to 11x500.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 9:42 am
  #2201  
 
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Originally Posted by macrophage View Post
Did you do these small transactions for the purpose of testing or what? Why not just do one large order at one mall and get it over with?
Just doing minimum spend on a perhaps overly ambitious churn. All were new cards issued within the last month.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 3:30 pm
  #2202  
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Originally Posted by iflyjetz View Post
I've already got a couple of WMs in the area that only allow loading at the MC.

For those that allow loading at all registers, doing 2x500, 2x500, 1x500 is faster than using Kate. And some WMs in my area only allow a maximum of $1K load on a BB at registers other than the MC.

I don't know where you are or when you MS, but the lines at the MC can be wicked long. It's faster for me to go to the electronics dept, garden center, and front registers than wait in line at the MC.
All true and more in my area. The garden center and electronics dept in my super WMs are NOT allowed to load card in any amount. However the Jewelry dept seems to be able to do it. On top of that, the cashiers at the regular check out lines are NOT all allowed to load, or load above $200. They all have different levels of approvals. Therefore if the MC is rather empty I go there so I dont need to find out a particular cashier could not load because she does not have the clearance level to do it.

Originally Posted by iflyjetz View Post
As far as valuing my time, this is a hobby for me so I don't place any value on my time. If I accounted for all expenses, I wouldn't be doing MS and I doubt you would either because it's a minimum wage 'job'. Possibly sub-minimum wage.
Definitely, especially when it compares how much you would make when making the right moves on the stock market. But this hobby does help to defray a lot of travel expenses (premium cabin flights and upscale hotel stays) we the idled folks tend to do often.

Last edited by Happy; Nov 3, 15 at 3:40 pm
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Old Nov 3, 15, 6:02 pm
  #2203  
 
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Originally Posted by devnull View Post
I get that it's a hobby for you and obviously this works well for you (hey, if you have fun, who cares about time efficiency; it's like any other hobby). For me, though, this is where taking risks and ramping up volume to increase efficiency (and thus, effective wage, as you mention) comes into play.
I thought about this a bit. Where in AZ do you live? PHX or TUS? I came up with a great idea to MS much more efficiently.

I'd like to travel where you're at and try it out there. No worries; I have free airline passes and this will be a very fast system.

My plan:
Buy 5x$500 GCs at a WM on my WF card (please let me know which WMs code as grocery by WF). After completing the purchase, I'll tell the cashier I now need to load my BB. I'll then open the newly purchased GCs at the register and load the $2500 onto a BB.

I'll repeat the above for every BB that I 'manage'.

Once that's complete, I'll buy enough GCs to max out my credit cards. With those GCs, I'll go over to the MoneyCenter.

At the MoneyCenter, I'll tell the cashier that I want to buy 20+ $1000 MOs. But I want to do each $1K purchase separately with 3 debit swipes.

I'll do 2x500 and 1x.70. I'll set the card I used to swipe .70 aside so I can swipe it for all of the MO fees.

I need to know the exact WMs you use and if WF codes them as grocery since they're very MS friendly. I'll make sure that all WM employees allow me to MS exactly as I have described above and if they don't let me do it, I'll send a bunch of sternly written letters to all WM senior management and their entire board of directors.

I think that this is a brilliant time saving plan. Thanks for pointing out the folly of my overly cautious ways. Mileage Goblin, DFW's also close to me. Can you also give me a list of WMs you use including which ones WF codes as grocers?

Originally Posted by Happy View Post
Definitely, especially when it compares how much you would make when making the right moves on the stock market. But this hobby does help to defray a lot of travel expenses (premium cabin flights and upscale hotel stays) we the idled folks tend to do often.
Funny you should write that. I spend premarket/market hours watching CNBC - I don't MS when the stock market's open for trading. I've always shied away from biotechs due to their volatility but they were so beaten down (thanks skhreli and citron) that I bought a decent chunk of XBI last Monday and averaged up last Friday when it took a temporary dip. I've made more on that holding after paying short term cap gains tax than I could net MSing in a year.

I've also had my share of losses but overall I've been happy with my performance. This whole MS thing is a hobby to keep me from doing dumber things with my free time.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 8:04 pm
  #2204  
 
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Not so - you haven't seen the latest bank mailers setting forth the higher card interest rates and fees? And what about Simon's $2.95 to $3.95 per Visa card fee increase? These rising costs should be factored into the need for a social security increase. While I may still be years away from 65, already I have the urge to cane Washington politicians. Just warming my pitching arm now for throwing rotten eggs, tomatoes and cabbages. Might even switch from MSing to selling pitchforks to angry mobs of seniors.

Originally Posted by iflyjetz View Post
...The only inflation is in health care so Obamacare/medicare premiums will be rising...
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Old Nov 4, 15, 2:43 am
  #2205  
 
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Originally Posted by AlohaDaveKennedy View Post
Not so - you haven't seen the latest bank mailers setting forth the higher card interest rates and fees? And what about Simon's $2.95 to $3.95 per Visa card fee increase? These rising costs should be factored into the need for a social security increase. While I may still be years away from 65, already I have the urge to cane Washington politicians. Just warming my pitching arm now for throwing rotten eggs, tomatoes and cabbages. Might even switch from MSing to selling pitchforks to angry mobs of seniors.
My bad; too subtle on my part. FWIW, my wife and I both have military pensions which will see a 0% COLA, just like Social Security. Our Tricare Retiree (medical insurance) premiums would see an increase if it weren't for my wife being given a medical retirement for permanent disabilities. For disabled military retirees, the annual Tricare premiums are frozen. For all others, it was a 1.7% premium increase for 2016 - not bad compared to Obamacare and Medicare.

I retired in 2010 and I've seen retirement COLA increases of:
0% for 2011
3.6% for 2012
1.7% for 2013
1.5% for 2014
1.7% for 2015
0% for 2016
These are the exact same as SS COLA increases.



The banks are getting squeezed hard because net interest rate margins are so small that making loans to the public isn't all that profitable anymore.

Bank profits are declining and they're looking for increased profitability wherever they can find it. I won't invest in any bank stocks until the net interest rate spread starts increasing; there are much better investment opportunities.
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