So about 2 weeks ago I wrote a post about my “new” discovery of buying American Express Gift Cards through shopping portals and earning cash back. Earning cash back on these cards really helps defray the cost of buying VISA gift cards to load on to Bluebird.
Since I started churning credit cards and playing the miles and points game I am ALWAYS waiting for the other shoe to drop. And this past Tuesday, it did. At least as far as cash back on American Express Gift Cards is concerned.
As of Tuesday afternoon, all shopping portals (for cash back or miles/points) pulled American Express Gift Cards. If you read Flyertalk, there is all sorts of speculation as to why this has happened. Everything from a re-negotiating of contracts between AMEX and merchants to too much Manufactured Spending has been speculated. Some suggest the cash back offers may come back in the next month or two, as a similar blackout happened last fall. Only time will tell.
I got one last $2,000 American Express Gift Card purchase in under the wire on Monday morning. I hate that I can’t earn cash back anymore, but I’m happy with what I earned this month and that I came out ahead! Since early August I have spent $46.43 on fees to buy VISA gift cards BUT I have earned $100.50 for purchasing American Express Gift Cards via BeFrugal (<– my link) so I am actually $54.07 ahead of the game. We won’t talk about what I have spent on fees for the past couple years. But I worked those into my yearly travel budget so they didn’t hurt my daily budget at all.
I haven’t really done any big App-O-Ramas this year. I did a couple small ones for myself, but all Matthew has done this year is get two Citi AA Executive cards. (but those are very substantial)
Here’s a breakdown of what we have earned and spent for the first 9 months of 2014
- Citi AA Executive Mastercard Feb 2014 – 110,000 miles – $250
- Citi AA Executive Mastercard Jun 2014 – 110,000 miles – $250
- Chase Marriott Premier Rewards Sep 2014 – 72,000 points – $0
- Citi AA Executive Mastercard Mar 2014 – 110,000 miles – $250
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa May 2014 – 48,000 points – $0
- Club Carlson Premier Visa May 2014 – 87,500 points – $75
- Wells Fargo Propel Amex May 2014 – 43,000 points – $0
- Delta Skymiles Amex Gold Business Aug 2014 – 52,000 miles – $0
- Chase Marriott Premier Rewards Aug 2014 – 72,000 points – $0
So all together we earned 330,000 airline miles, 231,500 hotel points, 48,000 Ultimate Rewards points (that I will probably transfer to United next year) and 43,000 points that I am going to use for Disney World park hopper tickets in March 2015.
To get all those points and miles, we spent $825. I know…that’s a lot. But, like I said, I work that into my yearly travel budget, so it doesn’t really hurt.
I am going to take a break from applying for cards for a few months. Unless something comes along that is too good to pass up! No reason for this really, other than giving my credit score a rest. Both of our scores are still above 800, so all this credit card churning has not hurt us in the least and probably has even helped our scores to go up.
My plan is to apply for the Southwest personal and business card in early 2015 to earn the companion pass. Unfortunately we don’t live in an area that Southwest serves, but it would be worth driving to Louisville for all those free flights. Heck, people from here drive to Louisville when they are PAYING for flights!
I’m ashamed to say that I still do not have anything booked for our summer vacation in 2015. I don’t have enough Delta miles yet! I am still about 8,000 miles short. I may end up buying the remaining miles I need since the plug has been pulled on the American Express gift cards. I will still try to push out some MS in the next month so I can have close to enough by October and book then. If anything is left.
We have no idea where we want to go really and at this point, we will probably just spin the Delta wheel and see where it lands. Where ever I can get 3 business class tickets to, is where we will go. I am going to try for Greece, Italy or France. But who knows where we will end up! And actually we may stay in the US next year! Imagine that! But I have always wanted to explore the west – Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Utah. 2015 may be the year to do that!