We know that signing up for credit cards can help you travel free or cheap, but it often requires meeting a spending threshold to get your bonus points in order to travel. In this post I offer a step-by-step guide on manufactured spending,* or in other words, how to spend money on your card without actually spending money.
*Disclaimer: Manufactured spending is not illegal but it does involve exploiting certain loopholes within the credit card system. Credit card companies and airlines take major advantage of their customers, but with ethics aside, the topic of manufactured spending relies on the discrepancy of the user. Please be advised and do your own research.
Method 1: Threshold Spending. Best when you need to spend [X amount of dollars] in [X amount of time] after signing up for a new credit card to get your bonus points.
Step 1: Find an outlet that sells money orders (i.e. grocery stores, Walmart etc.) that will allow you to pay for the money orders with a credit card. Finding a place that allows the credit card is key so it may take some trial and error.
Step 2: At the register, Ask for a sum of a money order (i.e. $1,000) and pay for it there with your credit card.
Step 3: Leave the store and fill out of the money order in your name and deposit it to your bank account.
Step 4: Pay your credit card with that money which results in your points.
Repeat until you meet your threshold to receive the bonus points, or do it all at once.
The implications with this method is that when making the money order, you are paying a fee, but paying a small fee to get a large sum of points can be worth it in most cases.
Method 2: The “Returns” Method” – Buy items on the credit card you want points for, then return the items onto your debit card. This takes a bit of trial and error to find the retailers that allow for returns on debit, but once you find them you can repeat the process.
Method 3 Gift Cards – Best for a last resort when you haven’t spent the [X amount of dollars] and are reaching your [X amount of time threshold.] This involves finding a grocery store or office supply store that sells Visa or MasterCard gift cards and then buy the highest demotion that will take you over your threshold (the amount you need to spend.) Doing this gets you the points by the time limit and then you are able to just use the gift cards at a later date as you would your credit card. *Note* Sometimes office supply stores have promotions where they sell the gift cards for cheaper which essentially results in you actually GETTING money. If you encounter one of these sales be sure to buy as money gift cards as you can.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.
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