Tonight I screwed up a little by forgetting a couple of cards at home, meaning I came home at least $100 fair trading value of points shorter than I should have. Always make sure you show up to the job with the right equipment.

I got the last three $200 Visa Gift Cards at the OfficeMax in Knightdale, dumped them at Walmart on the way back and rounded UP to $2k and used my AlaskaN card to fill the gap, and got $1.5k of Vanilla at CVS. I’m kind of losing track but I think that means I am now done with my Bluebirds for the month so it will get progressively harder from here on in.

The one positive oddity was I went to a CVS I never used before and while I was “only” getting 3 cards, for some reason the cashier wanted to do them all separately. That will help me tomorrow as I will now be able to do a simple $5k buy in CVS tomorrow. You take the luck when you get it.

So my end of week totals are:

Total Raw Spend: $25,713

Spend on Load Fees: $217.95

Spend on Unload Fees: $12.01


2,000 American AAdvantage Miles

1,201 AlaskaN Airlines Miles

4,960 American Express Membership Rewards

1,000 Barclays Arrival Rewards

28,704 Chase Ultimate Rewards

67,934 Citibank ThankYou Rewards

$127.36 in additional rebates/additional rewards (not sure if I’m supposed to add this to my bankroll or not?)

In order to calculate my profit I take the value of whatever I earned using the FrequentMiler’s Fair Trading Prices and then subtract any “load” fees (fees incurred when spending such as Vanilla Reload fees) and then subtract “unload” fees (fees incurred in liquidating such as Walmart Money Order fees). On that basis, my total profit for the first week comes out at $1,158.31. I think that’s a decent total and will get me in the top half of the table but I do not think will be good enough for a “podium place”.

With that said let’s put that into context… if I can make $1,158.31 in a week, let’s say I do that 46 weeks a year, that comes to $53,282.26 in a year. These earnings are not taxed, so assuming an effective tax rate of 20%, that’s like a job earning $66,600 per year! Apparently the US Median household income in 2013 was $50,700. While I find it hard to believe this will last too long, the fact is it’s possible to be an above average earner using these techniques, as demonstrated this week.

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  • Paul

    It’s not sustainable. You eventually run into snags – from CVS not selling with CC any more, to WM not allowing multiple gcs to cash out (or outright banning you), to problems with credit card shut downs/fraud alerts and on and on. It can be done for 30 days, but after that, you start having problems. Let’s see you all keep it up for 6 months…that would be a lot more interesting to see all the problems…

    • ABC

      It has been demonstrated to work for years. You have to be creative and adjust. These are the best of times, if you have right phenotype.

      • Guest

        “It has been demonstrated to work for years. ” — Can you give us some specifics. When you say “for years”, were bluebird, VR, Chase 5X at office stores in existence many years ago?

        • MilesAbound

          No they were not, but ABC is right. You used to be able to buy money orders with credit cards, you used to be able to fund endless checking accounts using credit cards, you used to be able to churn 3-4 AA Citibank cards every 3 months. There have always been ways and means, and they have always changed and evolved. I seriously doubt anything you list above will be around in 3-4 years time, but some other opportunities will sprout up in their place.

  • JOhn

    I appreciate your blog sharing though it seems some of your readers don’t like your openness. Anyway, what’s the code here: AlaskaN? What’s the capital N?
    Also, it seems you have some golden cards that aren’t available any longer, giving you lifetime status and 5x. What are the best currently available options? Would you say the two DL cards allowing spend to status? A combo of the ones you have listed, sans the grandfathered options? I like the status updates and this was one of the best ever but I’m still looking forward to you completing the series even if MM wants you to keep this stuff private. You have my email….

    • MilesAbound

      Yeah some guy pointed out that I was writing Alaska Airlines as Alaskan. But instead of being a normal polite person and saying you get it wrong, he basically wrote I was being an idiot. So I am just having a laugh to myself. My blog my rules right? 🙂 I do diligently track offers and try to post anything out of the ordinary here. I think the best current offers are the Citibank AA Executive 100k offer and the TD Ameritrade 5x for 6 months (if you can get it). The two reserve cards for DL are a great way to get status but I two and fro mentally as to whether or not it makes sense (when I see the $475 fees hit I am like WTF am I doing? then when I book a 32.5k award and get upgraded the whole way I’m like hell yeah!)

  • Cynthia

    Hi there, Milesabound. I need some basic help. Since I am new to all of this, I do not understand what it is that you are actually doing. Are you walking into a CVS, buying a gift card called Vanilla, then going to WalMart, spending the gift card on a money order, and then, finally, depositing the money order straight into your bank account?? I also would like to know the basics of what you are doing at these other stores, like Office Max. Can you use one credit card to buy what essentially seems like another credit card, being named a Visa gift card?

    And what are Bluebirds & why does being “done” with them mean that the job gets progressively harder?

    I get that “churning” seems to be the common parlance for racking up points without really racking up your indebtedness. But why do it & encourage others to do it so blatently that the Banks can not help but notice? I mean this contest. Believe me, I appreciate your sharing your tricks with the uninitiated, like me. So I am just wondering if you are afraid that the Banks are going to get wind of this & cut you off.

    Thank you!