Any disclosable manufactured spend tips?

Discussion in 'Manufactured spend' started by tommyl, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. tommyl

    tommyl Co-founder Staff Member

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    It's always a difficult one this, as generally the success of a good manufactured spending route is dependent on it staying secret and so only being used by a few people.

    Here's a starter option though, that I've used to good effect when I'm a few hundred pounds short of my spend target.
    • Load an Oyster card with £90 (the maximum, plus there's the £5 spend for the card deposit).
    • Ask for a refund.
    • They will refund it, but only to a card. Just pop in your debit card when prompted, and there you have it. £95 flipped from your credit card into your debit card account.
     
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  2. Ian

    Ian Member

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    I miss buying 3V cards for face value at Tesco with my Amex, and then using them to pay off my Amex :(
     
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  3. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Ah great/feeble minds Tom - I meant to start a similar thread myself earlier today!

    While the forums are still quite quiet, sharing might be ok? Can always get rid of / edit the thread later potentially.
     
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  4. litefoot

    litefoot Active Member

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    Can you do that multiple times? Say you needed to spend £1000 in three months to benefit from a cc bonus, what's to stop you doing it eleven times to qualify?
     
  5. Gagravarr

    Gagravarr Active Member

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    Best one I know is to always offer to pay on your card when you're out with friends / booking a trip with friends / etc. Put the total on your points earning card, collect cash from everyone, and get lots of points!

    If you're just a little bit short of hitting a minimum spend, there are lots of ways to bring forward spend you'd otherwise do. Buying gift cards for the supermarket you normally shop at is one, buying yourself an e-voucher on the Virgin Trains East Coast site that you then use for buying (any!) train tickets for the next few months, that sort of thing

    Otherwise, pay as many bills as you can on your credit card. Often you need to setup a direct debit to get lower pricing, but most utilities / councils / etc will let you make one-off payments with a card, normally then dropping/skipping some DD payments to match. Water, Electricity, Gas, Council Tax etc, all adds up, and if most of it can be on a points earning card that's quite a lot of points :)
     
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  6. tommyl

    tommyl Co-founder Staff Member

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    Absolutely you can. You may get some odd questions from TFL staff if you do it at the same station so maybe mix it up a bit, but you're entitled to the refund.

    I once did it on numerous occasions over a short period to meet the spend threshold on the SPG Amex.

    It used to be particularly appealing with the Amex Gold card, when you also got 2 points per £1 spent on travel-related spend!
     
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  7. GnarlyOldGoatDude

    GnarlyOldGoatDude Active Member

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    Go over this again. Are you simply talking about deferring ticket use or is there an additional benefit, e.g. Flying Club miles?
    Surely any train company takes any card. It's not like the situation with B&Q where you need to buy B&Q vouchers in Tesco with your Amex in order to use an Amex.
     
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  8. Gagravarr

    Gagravarr Active Member

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    It lets you put the money on the card today, to hit the minimum spend, then book the train tickets later when you need them. AFAIK, Virgin Trains East Coast is the only site that lets you buy random amounts of e-vouchers that you can then use on any train ticket purchases yourself later.

    If you know what tickets you need for 2 months time, just book them know. If you know you'll need train tickets in a few months, but not exactly when/what, it lets you get the spend in now but avoid needing to pick trains/tickets/dates/etc until nearer the time

    (It used to be that using an East Coast e-voucher also made it count for nectar points / virgin flying club miles, even when the ticket wouldn't normally count, but sadly they have fixed that bug)
     
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  9. GnarlyOldGoatDude

    GnarlyOldGoatDude Active Member

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    Ok, thanks. That's what I suspected. No discernible benefit for a season ticket holder like me.
     
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  10. Gagravarr

    Gagravarr Active Member

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    The only Season Ticket tips I know are:
    • If you can, renew in late December before the annual price increase
    • If your season ticket is in the Annual Goldcard Area, get the gold card loaded onto your Oyster at a London station ticket office for 1/3 lower daily caps
    • Pay on your best points-earning credit card!
     
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  11. GnarlyOldGoatDude

    GnarlyOldGoatDude Active Member

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    Thank you for sharing. The first two items don't apply to me, but I am sure that they will be useful to other commuters.
     
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  12. litefoot

    litefoot Active Member

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    Than you for these tips. When I get an Amex and need to spend 1000 in 3 months to get the 3k avios, that Oyster trick will come in handy!
     
  13. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    I wouldn't really recommend this one (I certainly wouldn't do it too often anyway ), but with Amex you can simply book a refundable hotel stay on hotels.com or similar for the full amount, get the points, transfer them out and cancel your booking for a refund before the balance is due.

    You just see a negative points balance on your amex account once the refund comes in, but you can cancel the card, still get the usual pro rata refund if paying a fee, reapply in 6 months and get the bonus again.

    Personally, upsetting Amex just doesn't seem sensible in the long-run and presumably they would be annoyed if you kept doing it, but if you're struggling to otherwise meet the spend, it does work.

    I've noticed something 'interesting' when I received a legitimate refund for a purchase on one of my MBNA cards too, but I won't say more as I've never deliberately taken advantage.
     
  14. Gagravarr

    Gagravarr Active Member

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    It's possible to buy additional MR points each year, up to a limit, for a pre-set price. You always run the risk that Amex will decide you need to buy enough to zero out your negative balance, at their pre-agreed non-ideal rate...
     
  15. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Interesting - have you heard of that actually happening to someone?
     
  16. Gagravarr

    Gagravarr Active Member

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    Not in the UK, but I seem to recall someone in the states on Flyertalk getting hit with it

    Given the few options for churning in the UK, and how many may be going away with the EU-imposed credit card processor fee caps, probably best not to annoy Amex enough to discover if the UK office got the memo!
     
  17. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Yep - totally agree with that!

    Slow and steady wins the race in the UK I think. Amex are likely to be the only show in town soon, and probably aren't a big fan of churning anyway, so doing anything that might raise your profile is unlikely to be sensible in the long run.

    That said, I'm sure there must be some good MS opportunities out there somewhere. The relative lack of exposure in the UK means less things get discovered and shared than in the US, but also means that if we did find something good it should be more likely to survive longer.

    When I get some time, I might start some experiments - anyone else fancy joining in?
     
  18. Gagravarr

    Gagravarr Active Member

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    Someone on Head for Points with a Travelex Supercard mentioned discovering a money changer in Eastern Europe who was selling GBP for better than the spot rate. Having made all their money selling local currency to British stag do groups was the supposed reason. Anyone, said HFP reader proceeded to take out as much as they could on their Supercard, used it to buy GBP, then paid the GBP into their back account when home again, coming out very slightly ahead + with the points from their linked card!

    I've yet to spot anywhere I've been selling GBP for close enough to the Visa Interbank rate that the Travelex Supercard uses, plus I'm probably quite close to my annual usage limit on mine, but I do check when I remember just in case...
     
  19. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Hmmm, setting aside the issue of where the cash in the particular example actually came from (!), I really should have got a Supercard when the pilot was on. Sounds very handy potentially.
     
  20. Gagravarr

    Gagravarr Active Member

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    It's not free, but the new Curves card looks like it could be a good source of MS opportunities. It links to your card much like the Travelex Supercard does, but it also supports Amex! No fees for using it in your "home" currency, including no cash withdrawl fees! Abroad it's mastercard + 1% for purchases, mastercard rate + 1% + £2 for cash withdrawls

    There's a one-off £35 fee to get the card (or you can pay more for unspecified future benefits...)

    Full details are at http://www.imaginecurve.com/

    In theory, you should be able to use http://www.imaginecurve.com/?r=GkbXE to get a £10 credit (and I'd get one too), only their referral system seems to be broken right now so I don't know... (They originally said http://www.imaginecurve.com/r=GkbXE but I believe that's wrong, though I'm not completely certain! It is a beta after all)


    Three key bits to be aware of:

    From the “What are the key benefits of using Curve?” page:

    Pay no standard cash advance fees at domestic ATMs, across debit and credit cards.*
    *Subject to fair usage policies.​

    Also, section 2.2 of the terms and conditions:

    2.2 Your Business Account. Your Account is a Business Account. …… you attest that
    you are not establishing the Account for personal, family, or household purposes, and its
    use by you must be limited to business expenses.​

    It's iOS (Apple) only, at least for now
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
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