How To Hack Travel Points: A Guide to Credit Card Manufactured Spending

Credit Card Manufactured Spending

Putting all your spending on credit cards is a great way to quickly accumulate points for travel, however sometimes it just isn’t enough. 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 less money on your card while maximizing points.

*Disclaimer: Manufactured spending is not illegal but exploits a legal credit card “loophole.” The topic of manufactured spending relies on the discrepancy of the user. Please be advised and do your own research. This post is created for educational purposes only.

3 Different Manufactured Spending Methods

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  credit cards 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”

Whenever returning items that was purchased on your credit card, whether its electronics, clothing, groceries etc. always try to return the items on your debit card. By doing this, you won’t lose the credit card points you’ve earned or the money you spent toward your credit threshold. Not all retailers allow you to make returns with a different form of payment, but trial and error will help identify the retailers that do.

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 method involves finding a grocery store or office supply store that sells Visa or MasterCard gift cards and then buying 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 many gift cards as you can.

Now that you have all these points, it’s time to pick a destination. Where do you want to visit?

Related: Read this guide on how to travel hack your way to Bora Bora
Related: How to get Business Class flights for Economy prices

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