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Aren't there fees associated with Visa Gift Cards and Money Orders? How do they eat into the cash back? I thought about this as well, but there's always an activation fee with the Visa Cards.

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The loophole is still open, but hard to find. The "old" Amex Blue still exists:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manufactured-spending/1535970-old-amex-blue.html

It gives unlimited 5% cash back at grocery stores, gas stations, and major pharmacies. There are reports that Amex will shut you down after spending $50K, but I'm still going strong past that for my anniversary year.

As far as fees, I pay $5.95 to activate a $500 Visa gift card. Walmart charges $.70 for a $1000 money order. So, for $1000 of gift cards at a grocery store, I'm making $38 in profit after fees. It's more if I need gift cards for Amazon, Home Depot, etc that don't charge activation fees.

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I make $400 to $500 per month on credit card cash back. I have the "old" Amex blue card that gives 5% cash back on groceries (including the Commissary). I buy about $1000 per week of Visa gift cards at my local grocery store, then use the gift cards to buy money orders at Wal-Mart. I deposit the money orders in my bank, pay Amex, and wait for the cash back to arrive.

I also buy all non-groceries exclusively in Visa gift cards. That gives me about 3.8% cash back on things that aren't groceries. It seems pretty elaborate, but I have it down to a process that fits with my daily life.

So you're spending between 10 and 15k per month? I've got a better 'free cash' plan. Ditch the cash back rewards, spend between 9 and 14k per month, pocket the $500 difference between the two plans, and spend your free time on your boat instead of in the Walmart money order line (that's a scary place to be).

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The other option is buying cash re-load cards and transferring that money to an Amex Bluebird card (which is free). You only have to pay the fee for the re-load card ($3.50-$7), there is no fee to transfer the funds to your Bluebird, and you can load it online, and pay your credit card bill with it.

Why? Because Wal-Mart sucks.

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I make $400 to $500 per month on credit card cash back. I have the "old" Amex blue card that gives 5% cash back on groceries (including the Commissary). I buy about $1000 per week of Visa gift cards at my local grocery store, then use the gift cards to buy money orders at Wal-Mart. I deposit the money orders in my bank, pay Amex, and wait for the cash back to arrive.

I also buy all non-groceries exclusively in Visa gift cards. That gives me about 3.8% cash back on things that aren't groceries. It seems pretty elaborate, but I have it down to a process that fits with my daily life.

Did we just get spammed?

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Someone clicked on that link about "This One Weird Trick"...

You won't believe what happened next. It will restore your faith in humanity, Especially number 8.

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Because my family already maxes out the $6k limit, I'd make $17.40 per $1k in gift cards I scam. That means I'd have to buy 115 gift cards to make $1000... a 1.7% ROI for quite a few trips to HEB/Walmart. Hell, I'd have a higher chance of getting robbed walking into Walmart and losing the giftcards in those weekly trips. I'll stick to eating leftovers.

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Since learning about the American Express SCRA benefits I've signed up for several cards. It's also worth noting that Capital One offers waived fees and a max APR of 4% as well. USAA will cap your APRs at 4% for one year every time you pcs or deploy. Here are the cards I have and what I use them for:

Amex Platinum- I use this card once a year for the $200 airline credit. It also got me free gold status with starwood which is my preferred hotel chain since they are pet friendly. I haven't had the occasion to take advantage of the lounge access yet, but intend to in the future.

Amex blue preferred-my card for gas and groceries. 3 and 6% back respectively.

Starwood preferred guest amex- my card for everything else. Earns 1 starpoint per dollar, which I typically try to use on Starwood tier 2 or 3 hotels to maximize the relative value of the points.

Capital One Venture- my card for places that don't take Amex. 2 points per dollar spent, redeemable for travel

Delta platinum Amex- free companion pass every year. Free checked bag for the wife. I mostly got the card for the sign up bonus.

I previously had a gold delta Amex business card and Amex gold, which yielded good sign up bonuses, but have cancelled them due to redundancy.

In all in sign up bonuses I've gotten 75k Amex rewards points, 100k delta sky miles, 40k capital one venture points, 30k Starwood points and $150 statement credit. Also I've gotten $600 in united gift cards for free from the platinum. If you're responsible, you can get a lot by signing up for these cards.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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What do most folks do when they're stationed OCONUS? Just get a US visa card tied to a US bank account that has no foreign transaction fees? Or do you get a card in the local currency and a local bank account? I've heard that can do bad things for your security clearance though?

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In the UK I got a Barclays account because most utilities require direct debit and you must have a pound account. Foreign financial interests must be reported on your security clearance investigation but a five minute explanation during my interview was all it took and the investigator moved on as if it was no big deal.

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I second the security clearance info above. It took a short explanation about why I had an account at a foreign bank. Had an account in Germany...better exchange rate than on base and used it to pay all my local bills like rent and utilities.

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Get a local account. Chip and pin cards, better exchange rate, and you don't have to put one penny into the shitastic establishment that calls itself a bank (BOA Community Bank).

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FYSA, Barclaycard reduces your APR to 0% under the SCRA (debt does not have to be prior to entering service). The Arrival+ card effectively gives 2.2% back that can be redeemed for travel and is definitely worth a look. I'm told Citi does 0% as well, but can't personally confirm that yet.

Edit: Citi responded to my SCRA request stating that only accounts opened prior to military service are eligible for relief.

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Edited by ihtfp06

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FYSA, Barclaycard reduces your APR to 0% under the SCRA (debt does not have to be prior to entering service). The Arrival+ card effectively gives 2.2% back that can be redeemed for travel and is definitely worth a look. I'm told Citi does 0% as well, but can't personally confirm that yet.

Edit: Citi responded to my SCRA request stating that only accounts opened prior to military service are eligible for relief.

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2

Barclaycard will reduce APR to 0% for length of service, remove annual fee ($90ish), and waive any other kind of fee (cash advance, foreign transaction, etc)

That coupled with the 2x miles and 40,000 bonus miles for spending $3000 in the first 90 days is why the Arrival+ is my new favorite card.

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So if I go buy the wife a new Apple computer through barclaycard I can effectively get a 0% interest rate till I pay it off?

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Money. Thanks.

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Check out Citi's new AT&T Access More card that just came out this week. $95/yr fee, but may be waived with a phone call.

Card gives you 3x points for purchases made online (including Amazon) & 3x points on AT&T service/purchases.

Their sign up bonus is pretty sweet too: spend $2000 the first 3 months, and they will give you a $650 credit for a new phone with AT&T. Pretty good deal if you are looking to buy a new phone. The $650 you spend on the phone counts for the $2000, so you only need to put $1350 on the card to get a free $650 phone with AT&T (that is if they waive the annual fee).

https://www.citi.com/credit-cards/credit-card-details/detail.do?ID=citi-att-access-more-credit-card&category=view-all-credit-cards&afc=14Z

Anyone actually have luck with Citi waiving the fee for AD Mil?

Edited by Techsan

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Depends what you are using them for, but generally speaking 1 point = 1 cent for most categories (travel, gift cards)

Cash back: 1 point = .625 cents

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Isn't there some kind of "soldiers and sailors relief act" or some such thing that says credit card companies can't charge active duty personnel annual fees? I thought it was too good to be true but I remember AMEX refunded me 18 years worth of annual dues (somewhere around $750?) when I applied for it. My jaw hit the floor when I saw the refund on my statement but it was real.

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