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New to Manufactured Spending? Start here(2017-2018)

New to Manufactured Spending? Start here(2017-2018)

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Old Dec 19, 18, 11:51 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: Marathon Man
Wiki Link
NEW TO MS: Do some serious reading for a month of all the posts and wiki to get an understanding of MS before asking common questions.

Note: the 2016 version of this thread is here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manuf...l#post27694986, the 2015 version of the thread is here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manuf...re-2015-a.html

Welcome to Manufactured Spending. Marathon Man did not write this message, but he has edited it and anyone can. If you are new here, please spend some time reading before posting. Most likely your questions have already been answered multiple times. Consider deals that you share. These threads are searchable by Google. A volatile deal may be worth holding close to the vest.

Hints

1) On FT, topics are heavily consolidated. Sometimes the title of the thread and first few posts may not properly reflect the broad range of discussion inside the thread. Be sure to visit any thread relating to the product or service you want to learn more about because you might be surprised by how in depth the discussion really is. High "View Count" and "Replies" are good indicators of active "master threads" on a specific topic.

2) Use Google to search FT. It works a lot better than the built-in search.

3) A glossary wiki for MS located in the thread Glossary, Manufactured Spending Forum

Important Rules

1) MSing is very YMMV. It varies by store, manager, and right down to the cashier working at the moment. Some might argue that MS is like card counting in a casino. It is not illegal but casinos don’t like it. Orhers have said it’s like having a fake ID in college to use just to get into bars where all the fun is. Just because it worked here yesterday doesn’t mean it will get you in today. MS is like being a wood worker constantly using a table saw. Always watch what you are doing—always! Or you will lose something. That being said, always be nice and courteous in the face of rejection. The biggest secret for success is to lay low so you can try again.

2) DO NOT spend more than you can afford. START WITH SMALL AMOUNTS TO TEST THE WATER! As an example.. don't start with a $5000 purchase of VGCs if you can't afford to float that much! Instead, buy one and try it, and scale up once you are comfortable with a new method. It's easy to lose track, or get robbed, when you are handling so much money. Getting a refund is NOT always possible.

3) DO NOT ask employees, cashiers, customer service representatives, etc... about how to MS, or about things you read on this forum. The information you read here are very specific, unknown, legal uses of products or services. Most employees, cashiers, and even managers do not know about them. At best you'll get bad information. At worst you'll create a lot of unnecessary misunderstanding.

4) It bears repeating that there are no guarantees. you could easily buy $10,000 in gift cards or some other instrument, only to discover that your method for liquidating them vanishes the very next day. MS is not "normal" financial activity ("normal" being defined by the banks), and thus is often perceived as "suspicious" even if it is legal.

5) never underestimate the risk of criminal activity. gift cards can easily be stolen, loaded onto a compromised account, loaded in a debit card skimmer, or even fraudulent (e.g., an already used card put back on the rack).

6) MSing can be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from smallish amounts to meet minimum spend requirements to get a credit card signup bonus, to accumulating huge numbers of points for travel/cashback/etc. Remember too that you will often have expenses such as purchase fees, liquidation fees, and gas.

If you have a question that does not seem to fit anywhere, or you have not found an appropriate place for it, post it here.

- A helpful note from seat17D about some of the inherent risks of MS

New MSers can also read all these threads:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manuf...-spending-719/
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Old Jun 29, 18, 11:48 pm
  #511  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Originally Posted by Kcacademy View Post
Can anyone tell me if OVs work at Harris teeter? All the kroger's in my state are closing in a month or so and they've already gotten rid of money orders.
Give it a try and report back
FlightNurse is offline  
Old Jul 4, 18, 6:56 pm
  #512  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Hey All!

Here's one that isn't exactly manufactured spend, but more like transfer of spend... I have a tuition bill of $30K that's going to be due in a month. I can make small payments (like if I had a bunch of gift cards) via debit / credit without issue, but the weird thing is that the school will only accept Mastercard / Amex... Not VISA! I'd love to get $30K of spend on the new Hyatt card for elite qualification... What's the best way to get amex / MC GCs with a VISA card? Like is it just as simple as finding where I can get $500 MC / Amex giftcards, eating the fee, and continuing on? Or is there a better approach?
hungarianhc is offline  
Old Jul 4, 18, 8:10 pm
  #513  
formerly willbbiddy
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
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Originally Posted by hungarianhc View Post
Hey All!

Here's one that isn't exactly manufactured spend, but more like transfer of spend... I have a tuition bill of $30K that's going to be due in a month. I can make small payments (like if I had a bunch of gift cards) via debit / credit without issue, but the weird thing is that the school will only accept Mastercard / Amex... Not VISA! I'd love to get $30K of spend on the new Hyatt card for elite qualification... What's the best way to get amex / MC GCs with a VISA card? Like is it just as simple as finding where I can get $500 MC / Amex giftcards, eating the fee, and continuing on? Or is there a better approach?
I'd be careful trying MS if you haven't hit the sign up, and 30k is a chunk of change for a new card. If you use plastic you're looking at $750 in fees v $296.40 (and 15 trips to WM) but they do see MC & AMEXGC's there in the $500 variety. The biggie will be making sure to have $500 ones as 4.94 on the 200 cards is 2.47% and a .03% saving over Plastic is not worth the time.
BirdLawyer is offline  
Old Jul 18, 18, 8:06 pm
  #514  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 338
Did OD/OM stop offering bonuses on visa gcs? I don't see it for a long time
misterno is offline  
Old Jul 18, 18, 10:44 pm
  #515  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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I haven't seen any recently, either from OD/OM or from Staples.
Klemhuzzah is offline  
Old Jul 24, 18, 1:27 pm
  #516  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Fee free Visa / MC gift card offers?

Originally Posted by Klemhuzzah View Post
I haven't seen any recently, either from OD/OM or from Staples.
Usually we do find some fee free OD/ Safeway visa GC offers, but seems nothing out for July yet.
Any offer going on for any store?
abhilife2001 is offline  
Old Jul 25, 18, 12:57 am
  #517  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Nothing for OD currently. No Safeway near me, so I don't know about them. Check the Safeway thread, it'll probably be posted in there when a deal comes along.
Klemhuzzah is offline  
Old Jul 29, 18, 3:40 pm
  #518  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 8
I need to spend 2k more on my new CSP. I am new the churning game. I can spend the rest of MSR by paying rent with plastiq for 2 more months which will cost me about $73 bucks in fees. However, I want to learn how to MS using some better MS alternatives like buying visa gift cards and turning them into MOs.

Let me know if I got this straight:
1. buy 4 x $500 VGCs at Walmart (Meta bank or US bank). Up to about $25 in activation fees. Is there better places to guy gift cards with cheaper activation fees? I'm in NJ.
2. Go to walmart and turns those VGCs into 1, 2, 3 or 4 money orders (either one 2k MO or $500 MO - I would have to figure out how many swipes they let me do it). up to $4 in MO fees.
3. Cash the MO into my regular bank account.

Total spend about $29 bucks. Is that correct?
mataushas is offline  
Old Jul 29, 18, 7:59 pm
  #519  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
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Originally Posted by mataushas View Post
I need to spend 2k more on my new CSP. I am new the churning game. I can spend the rest of MSR by paying rent with plastiq for 2 more months which will cost me about $73 bucks in fees. However, I want to learn how to MS using some better MS alternatives like buying visa gift cards and turning them into MOs.

Let me know if I got this straight:
1. buy 4 x $500 VGCs at Walmart (Meta bank or US bank). Up to about $25 in activation fees. Is there better places to guy gift cards with cheaper activation fees? I'm in NJ.
2. Go to walmart and turns those VGCs into 1, 2, 3 or 4 money orders (either one 2k MO or $500 MO - I would have to figure out how many swipes they let me do it). up to $4 in MO fees.
3. Cash the MO into my regular bank account.

Total spend about $29 bucks. Is that correct?
I think you mean grocery in #1 ? I don't think you will find any Meta or USB VGCs at WM.

Before you buy 2k in VGCs, you should buy 1 only and test it first before you get stuck with 2k in VGCs that you cannot liquidate.
lumangoy is offline  
Old Jul 29, 18, 8:06 pm
  #520  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
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Originally Posted by lumangoy View Post
I think you mean grocery in ? I don't think you will find any Meta or USB VGCs at WM.

Before you buy 2k in VGCs, you should buy 1 only and test it first before you get stuck with 2k in VGCs that you cannot liquidate.
Yup maybe it is grocery then. Anyway, do these gift cards typically have a monthly maintenance fee in case I can't liquidate? I don't mind having gift card laying around for big purchases.
mataushas is offline  
Old Jul 30, 18, 2:12 am
  #521  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Originally Posted by mataushas View Post
1. buy 4 x $500 VGCs at Walmart (Meta bank or US bank). Up to about $25 in activation fees. Is there better places to guy gift cards with cheaper activation fees? I'm in NJ.
2. Go to walmart and turns those VGCs into 1, 2, 3 or 4 money orders (either one 2k MO or $500 MO - I would have to figure out how many swipes they let me do it). up to $4 in MO fees.
3. Cash the MO into my regular bank account.
Buying a VGC and turning it into a MO at the same store is usually not smart. If certain employees notice you doing this, it can shut down the whole game at that store. As someone mentioned, it's better to buy at grocery stores or elsewhere. Be forewarned, that WM doesn't like (One)Vanilla cards.
Cashing the MO into your regular bank account may be fine for small amounts, but most people get a second account for MS at a different bank or credit union that won't matter if they shut you down and refuse to do business with you ever again.
Good luck!
Klemhuzzah is offline  
Old Aug 8, 18, 8:29 am
  #522  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 43
Hey guys...Im not new to MS, but just wanted to see what card(s) people are using to MS these days.

I have been hitting mine and my wifes SPG cards hard the past few months and obviously take advantage of the OD/OM/Staples sales that come around with the INK Preferred for 5x the points.

My main goal right now is to gain UR so I was thinking of using both mine and my wifes Freedom Unlimited for 1.5x the points at GCM through the BeFrugual Shopping Mall (1% cashback). Ive read that Chase doesnt care too much about MS, but not sure if that was geared more towards their co-branded cards or their cards that earn UR.

Like I said, just seeing what people are using these days.

Thanks.
BSpatula31 is offline  
Old Aug 10, 18, 5:35 pm
  #523  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 72
Originally Posted by mataushas View Post
I need to spend 2k more on my new CSP. I am new the churning game. I can spend the rest of MSR by paying rent with plastiq for 2 more months which will cost me about $73 bucks in fees. However, I want to learn how to MS using some better MS alternatives like buying visa gift cards and turning them into MOs.

Let me know if I got this straight:
1. buy 4 x $500 VGCs at Walmart (Meta bank or US bank). Up to about $25 in activation fees. Is there better places to guy gift cards with cheaper activation fees? I'm in NJ.
2. Go to walmart and turns those VGCs into 1, 2, 3 or 4 money orders (either one 2k MO or $500 MO - I would have to figure out how many swipes they let me do it). up to $4 in MO fees.
3. Cash the MO into my regular bank account.

Total spend about $29 bucks. Is that correct?
If this is the money figures than MS doesn't seem worthwhile. If you say you average 2 percent in value from using a credit card and you spend 2k and it costs 29 dollars that leaves you with 11 dollar profit. Seems like there are better ways to get money.
atomicfront is offline  
Old Aug 11, 18, 12:15 pm
  #524  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,665
Originally Posted by mataushas View Post
I need to spend 2k more on my new CSP. I am new the churning game. I can spend the rest of MSR by paying rent with plastiq for 2 more months which will cost me about $73 bucks in fees. However, I want to learn how to MS using some better MS alternatives like buying visa gift cards and turning them into MOs.

Let me know if I got this straight:
1. buy 4 x $500 VGCs at Walmart (Meta bank or US bank). Up to about $25 in activation fees. Is there better places to guy gift cards with cheaper activation fees? I'm in NJ.
2. Go to walmart and turns those VGCs into 1, 2, 3 or 4 money orders (either one 2k MO or $500 MO - I would have to figure out how many swipes they let me do it). up to $4 in MO fees.
3. Cash the MO into my regular bank account.

Total spend about $29 bucks. Is that correct?
Better check if YOUR WM registers have not been updated to cash/debit only for VGCs like vanilla and gdot. If they are, then you can buy Meta at grocery stores with $5.95 fee for variables up to $500. YMMV as to payment YOUR grocery store will accept. Once you have these Metas, you can go to WM to buy MOs....again it's YMMV if YOUR WM will accept VGCs for MOs. IF you notice, YMMV rules in MS these days. You have to do legwork to find out what works in your area.

Originally Posted by mataushas View Post
Anyway, do these gift cards typically have a monthly maintenance fee in case I can't liquidate? I don't mind having gift card laying around for big purchases.
No monthly maintenance fees BUT it is NOT advisable to hoard these GCs bought from b&m stores because of high risk of funds getting hacked. It is best to liquidate/drain them ASAP.
Mamibear is offline  
Old Aug 11, 18, 12:19 pm
  #525  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,665
Originally Posted by atomicfront View Post
If this is the money figures than MS doesn't seem worthwhile. If you say you average 2 percent in value from using a credit card and you spend 2k and it costs 29 dollars that leaves you with 11 dollar profit. Seems like there are better ways to get money.
for the OP, it is worthwhile since he's working on min spend for CSP. Outside of MSR, it may not be worthwhile especially if buying MetaGCs from grocery stores with $5.95 fees.
Mamibear is offline  

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