Online $50 Saks Gift Card Does Not Get Reimbursed By AmEx Personal Plat

Update: The charge ended up showing up as “Saks Fifth A 8559729WILMINGTON DE” but no reimbursement.

Thank you for all of your data points! An O-3 here at Great Lakes just bought a $50 gift card online and the charge showed up on his card account as “ONLINE E-GIFT BUYATAB”:

Remember that the Saks $50 credit terms state specifically that the $50 credit will not work for gift cards. Another datapoint comes from reader Lejeune-O3 had this experience:

Data Point on the new E-Gift Cards of $50. Purchased $50 Gift card on 27 Nov and no reimbursement so far as of Dec 6. Even though AMEX says the purchase is from Saks the charge itself seems to be registered as ONLINE E-GIFT BUYATAB. Will update if this changes.

Another reader Janine reported the existence of sub $150 Saks gift cards online on 26 November 2018. She tried to buy one on 27 November only to have the order canceled. I think its a bad idea to buy any Saks gift card online with any expectation that it will be reimbursed.

This switch-o-roo is very similar to the Delta $50 gift card when bought via phone app would automatically transfer you to a third party site. This third party would charge you thereby attaching their name instead of Delta Airlines. Since the charge is not from Delta Airlines there was no way to reimburse the charge. To advoid this, just buy the gift card on a desktop or laptop via the main delta site.

If you want to keep trying the online Saks Giftcard, please continue to post your data points either way below. Your best bet is to actually buy an item on Saks, but be sure to stack it with Ebates to get some cash back as well as use shop runner AmEx Benefit for free overnight shipping. You can also get free gift wrap when checking out of the site. Be aware that some items ship via 3rd party and will be ineligible for free overnight shipping and gift wrap, this is the case for almost all the food items.

I for one, would go into a Saks Fifth location (not OFF Saks) and buy a $200 gift card and split it over 4 AmEx Platinum cards. My O-6 friend did this in Hawaii and all 4 cards got the credit. You could attempt a $400 card split over 8 cards, but I think that would raise some alarms. I for one have done a single $50 card in the store and got reimbursed no problem.


Merry Christmas From AmEx: $25,000 Personal Loan @ 0.00%

We finally got the long awaited datapoint via email:

To support the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces, we are handling your loan referenced above in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”).

The SCRA provides for a maximum annual interest rate of 6% per year on loans you received before starting active military duty. However, at this time we have chosen to reduce the interest rate on your SCRA eligible balance to an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 0.00%.

We have issued credit for the full amount of applicable interest charges and fees to your loan account. This amount will appear as a credit(s) on your loan invoice. The total interest charges and fees you have already paid will be returned to you in the form of a check under separate cover. The check amount will appear as a debit on your loan invoice and will be offset by our credit(s). In addition, we will waive any future late payment and returned payment fees for the duration of your active military duty.

Beginning with your next loan invoice and thereafter, your new Monthly Payment will be $692.55. We have also adjusted any monthly payment(s) previously billed but not yet paid, to reflect the new Monthly Payment amount.

If you are currently enrolled in AutoPay for this loan, your future AutoPay amount will reflect the new monthly payment amount above and no additional action is required.

If there are any additional accounts you would like to be reviewed for SCRA relief, please call us at 1-800-253-1720. If you are outside the United States, please call us collect at 1-336-393-1111.

We are grateful for the service and devotion you have shown to our country.


American Express Customer Care

Here is my timeline:

  1. Applied For Loan on 31 Oct 2018
  2. Approved for $25,000 @ 5.98% for 36 Months on 01 Nov 2018
  3. Faxed SCRA Request to +1 (623)444-3000 on 01 Nov 2018
  4. $25,000 deposited into my bank account on 05 Nov 2018
  5. $760.44 payment withdrawn on 27 Nov 2018
  6. Noticed that the $760.44 payment applied to the entire $25k balance
  7. 0.00% SCRA Letter Received Via Email on 05 Dec 2018

For what its worth, the 0.00% SCRA worked for now, but can be revoked at any time! AmEx is just being really generous in loaning out $25,000 for three years without any interest. I keep on thinking this in my head, but if they change their mind and jack up the rate. I am more than happy to pay off the entire loan.

If you are super careful like me I am going to use the money as an emergency fund. I decided a high yield savings account would be the way to go:

For the time being the $25,000 is split over several accounts earning 5% in a Bridgeview Pennywise Savings account here, and 2% on a Capital One 360 Money Market Account here. The Pennywise is a much higher earning rate, but the deposits are physically demanding:

They also capped the accounts to only $3,000 earning the 5.00%, previously it had a limit of $5,000. Also you had to make deposits in physical coin at a physical location in Illinois!

The more practical approach is to earn 2% on a Capital One 360 Money Market Account by applying here or If you use promo code OFFER200 you can earn a $200 bonus with balances of $10,000 or more by by December 14, 2018. Over the 3 year loan your $25,000 would earn $1,500 an that’s not even counting compounding interest! Not to mention you would get to use the Capital One Cafe space with an account. This is a lot better than paying $2,372.07 in interest for the $25k!

Best of luck out there! Just be patient for the SCRA letter if you decide to go with the AmEx personal loan. There have been reports of taking up to 40 days for a response!


Dude You’re Getting a Dell (Credit)!

Image result for dude you're getting a dell

Major changes coming to the AmEx Biz Platinum coming Feb 2019. More info here and here. The most notable is this:

Up to $200 in statement credits annually for U.S. purchases with Dell on your Business Platinum Card. You’ll receive more information about how to enroll in the new Shop Dell with Business Platinum benefit in February 2019.

The other is a free one year membership to WeWork, which I can only imagine is another AmEx Lounge. Or at least I am going to treat it as one, with up to 4 beers a day promised to members! User Mcnst says:

The selling point would be coworking and 24/7 access, nice well-maintained buildings, usually very high floors, as well as nitro cold brew on tap, kombucha on tap, and beer-on-tap during business hours. They usually lock the taps after hours, but you’d still have hot tea and the ice machine 24/7; plus could probably make coffee yourself using their supplies after hours if you feel really inclined.

As for the annual fee, it should remain $0 for military due to their generous SCRA waiver. It should be a no brainer to hit up all versions of their business cards and upgrade to the Platinum. The 35% points back and $200 Airline fee should remain the same. Please use the links below if at all interested:

  1. Plain old vanilla Business Platinum
  2. Business Green to Business Platinum
  3. Business Gold to Business Platinum

The advantage of getting 3 Biz Plats means you can select Delta, United, and American to get 1.5 cents from every point on virtually every major airline in the USA. You would get $600 for flights as well as three years (hopefully consecutively) of WeWork membership. You would also get $600 for Dell computers each year, but Dan and I are trying to figure out how to use three cards in a single order. Currently there are no gift cards online:

Perhaps we just get a crap ton of peripherals each year:

Maybe, I should get a CromeBook for every room in the house:

Well, let’s wait till February 2019 for more details, it might just be a $50 quarterly credit which would make things hard to spend on. Either way, hooray for AmEx Biz!

Amended Access American Airlines Admiral’s Admissions

Looks like the good people at American Airlines caught on to my plan to sleep, dine and shower at the American Airlines Admirals Club without any intention to fly with them:

Starting November 1, 2019
Boarding passes for same-day travel on American Airlines or partner airlines will be required for entry. Any departing or arriving flight: marketed or operated by American Airlines, marketed and operated by any oneworld® partner carrier, marketed and operated by American Airlines or Alaska Airlines in any combination.

The details can be found here. Previously all you needed to do was show your (hopefully MLA waived) American Airlines Executive card at any Admirals Club and they just let you in without even asking for any boarding pass. You could technically be flying a rival airline, be on a gate pass, or even been an airport employee or USO volunteer, anything to get you past security. Up until November 2019 they would let you in, no questions asked, for some free beer and guac and chips to catch a football game:

We got less than a year to pull off the homeless for a month at the airport challenge! Your best bet now is to get the United Club Card with Chase in order to ensure you have lounge access regardless of the airline you are flying. Now if you are in the terminal with just a gate pass then you have only the USO to go to. American Airlines is now like Delta Sky Clubs, United Club, and Centurion Lounges which all require some boarding pass for entry. No word from Justin Ross Lee on if the fully refundable first class ticket still works:

We still got a year to bum around the AA lounge, but after 01 Nov 2019 we actually got to fly with them! If the $450 annual fee hits on my AA Executive Card, I might have to reconsider if it is worth it!


Chase Referral Round-Up

Looks like us senior churners are SOL on hitting any Chase products for the next two years since 5/24 expanded to every Chase product. For all you new-to-churning folk, you are getting in at a good time now that the MLA is waiving fees for Chase cards. I would start with CSR and then hit these other Chase products:

  1. Chase Marriott Premier Plus 2 FREE NIGHTS (35k max) with $3k spend in 90 days ($95 annual fee) (LINK HERE)(2nd Link)(Link 3)
    1. Free annual night worth 35k points
    2. Will make you ineligible for the AmEx SPG Lux bonus for 24 months
  2. Hyatt Card 40k on $3k spend, in 90 days then 20k on another $6k in 180 days ($95 waived)(Link Here)(2nd link)
    1. Free annual night Category 1-4
    2. 4x points on Hyatt Spend
  3. Chase IHG Card 80k on $2k spend in 90 days ($89 AF Waived)(Link Here)(Link 2)
    1. Free annual night worth up to 40k points
  4. Chase Ink Business Preferred $95 a year (No AF Waiver) (Link Here)
    1. 80k UR on $5k spend
    2. 3x UR on Travel, Shipping purchases, internet, cable

If you have any Southwest, Freedom, United Explorer, or Disney referrals, please go here and get a referral link. Please post that link below to share with other readers. I for one am considering hitting only AmEx Biz cards until December of 2020 to finally get under 5/24.


WeBull Challenge: December Rankings

This is the monthly update for the Webull Challenge that started 01 November 2018. Every participant started with $1,000,000.00 of simulated money and have been trading more or less for a month. I currently have only 7 of 10 people reporting:

  1. Jouster: $1,066,154.71
  2. BC: $1,017,148.50
  3. mjv305: $1,013,900.00
  4. Credible: $1,008,515.61
  5. Julia’s College Fund: $1,000,000.00 (no trades made)
  6. Heimtime: $983,269.36
  7. DerpReporter: $960,864.70
  8. Magoo: $937,300.41
  9. SheepDoggyDogg: ???
  10. rwhr: ????








I have also decided the first prize will still be a $250 gift card but the winner can decide between American Airlines or Southwest Airlines since data points are positive that a single $250 gift card works with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card. Second prize will still be a $100 gift card for American Airlines, and the third prize will be a physical gift card to Saks Fifth.

Please email me your portfolio to continue to eligible for the prizes! If you want to open a WeBull account please use this link for a free share or something (prob ABEV).


Dom Pérignon Below Cost At LGA Delta Lounges (When Bought By The Glass)

For $140 or 7,000 sky miles you can get a 4 glasses of 2006 Dom Pérignon at the LGA Terminal C or D Delta Sky Club. I spoke to the bartender and she said that they usually only get 4 glasses out of the bottle in the generous single glass pours. In fact I witnessed some one ordering a single glass and taking a huge gulp and getting topped off again! If we compare the price of 2006 Dom at Binny’s we see each bottle is $149.99:When compared to the whole bottle price at the Delta Sky Club it is $250 or 12,500 Sky Miles:

Since I am a sucker for bottle service, I went for the whole bottle which makes absolutely no sense. For the 5,500 Sky Miles premium I got to have my own ice bucket and someone walk it to my table. I was informed that I could keep the bottle, but that ice bucket was never to leave the lounge. I guess they had some incidents in the past! If you want to try some Dom on the cheap, this may be your chance. If you want to have a stupid and short lived bougie experience, then you can get a bottle for 12,500 Sky Miles which amounts to about 2 cents per point either way! I for one would just do a glass for 1,750 Sky Pesos every few months at 2 cents per mile:

In the end I have no regrets getting an entire bottle to celebrate a birthday with the wife!

Right now the Personal Version of the AmEx Delta Reserve card is offering 70,000 Sky miles for a mere $4,000 spend. This is enough for 40 glasses of Dom or 10 bottles of this stuff! Please use this link if interested. Have fun out there, you’ve earned it!


$200 and $250 Gift Cards Reimbursed For AmEx Platinum and Hilton Aspire Respectively

Thank you all for the collaboration in brining data points for the $200 and $250 gift card question . It appears that those people who hold an American Express Personal or Business Platinum Card, and have chosen American Airlines as their carrier of choice, are successfully getting an single $200 gift card reimbursed. Data points are as follows:

  1. Hawaii O-6 Select on Personal Platinum: $200 on 09 Oct 2018, reimbursed 12 Oct 2018
  2. Great Lakes O-4 (myself) on Business Platinum: $200 on 06 Nov 2018, reimbursed 08 Nov 2018
  3. Reader O1ForLife: $200 Physical gift card with $4.95 shipping fee on 28 Sep 2018, Reimbursed $200 on 29 Sept 2018
  4. Iwakuni O-3 on Personal Platinum: $200 gift card on 13 Nov 2018, reimbursed 15 Nov 2018
  5. Lejeune O-3: $200 on personal plat, reimbursed for $200
  6. Julius: $200 on 18 Nov 2018, reimbursed 20 Nov 2018

Even better news is for the AmEx Hilton Honors Aspire. Successful $200 and $250 single gift cards on this as well!

  1. el_georgie: $200 on Hilton Aspire on 20 Nov 2018, $200 reimbursement on 22 Nov 2018
  2. Iwakuni O-3: $250 on Hilton Aspire 19 Nov 2018 with full reimbursement on  21 Nov
  3. Great Lakes O-3: 23 Nov 2018 $250 on AA digital gift card, credit posted 26 Nov 2018

With these data points it is possible to use 8 gift cards at $250 for a single $2,000 itinerary or 8 $200 gift cards for a $1,600 flight. Infinite possibilities now. These are the following products that offer this reimbursement:

  1. AmEx Personal Platinum
  2. AmEx Business Platinum
  3. AmEx Hilton Honors Aspire

You can also hit these subordinate products and upgrade them to the above products later:

  1. Hilton Honors Ascend
  2. Hilton Honors
  3. AmEx Personal Green
  4. AmEx Business Green
  5. AmEx Personal Gold
  6. AmEx Business Gold

Keep those data points coming!


Updated Military Churning Guide

Because of all of the recent restrictions from Chase and AmEx, I decided to update my gigantic churning guide here. Please also use my catch all referral pages here, here, here, herehere and here for any of your AmEx needs! Shout out to Dave P. for the heads up regarding the new ability to refer any card (ironically not the card itself) from the Ameriprise Gold/Plat, Morgan Stanley, and Chase Platinum AmEx for a $100 bonus!

Feel free to post your link below!


Ameriprise Platinum Double Dip Shutdown

Around March of 2018 AmEx decided that they were not going to allow people who have the Personal Platinum card get the Ameriprise version of the card. I was able to get one in March of 2018 and my friend was able to get his September pf 2018. However some people were getting denied for a new Ameriprise Platinum when holding the plain version of the AmEx Platinum.

Somehow I missed this 10 April 2018 article by DoC regarding the death of the Ameriprise Double Dip. Thanks to reader el_georgie for pointing me to this article and letter as well as his own recent (20 Nov 2018) datapoint:

So, I called the recon line and the lady told me that the system automatically cancelled the application because I applied and got approved for another personal plat (vanilla) last month.  Said I could only have one personal plat, that I could apply for a business plat. I politely asked about being co-branded, that didn’t go far. I’m probably going to give it a few months and try again.

He further elaborates in a 23 Nov 2018 comment:

A user on reddit pointed me to this article.(   Apparently ameriprise and vanilla are considered the same.  I checked the application site, and indeed the ameriprise application is listed as just amex plat exactly the same as the vanilla one.  The reddit user suggested to get the ameriprise gold then upgrade.  Working on the MS waiting a few days since opening the brokerage account before applying for the card.  Thanks!

Keep in mind Mercedes-Benz Platinum is shut down, and the Goldman Sachs is impossible to get. You now have only four ways to directly get a Platinum without any product changes:

  1. Plain old vanilla Platinum
  2. Plain old vanilla Business Platinum
  3. Morgan Stanley Platinum (Must Have $5k Brokerage)
  4. Charles Schwab Platinum (Must Have $1k Brokerage)

Then there are the backdoor methods, the personal cards require a 1 year wait before product change (PC). The business versions can be upgraded right away!

  1. Personal Green then PC to Platinum
  2. Personal Gold then PC to Platinum
  3. Ameriprise Gold to Ameriprise Platinum
  4. Business Green to Business Platinum
  5. Business Gold to Business Platinum

Looks like I will have to update my guide here and my old Ameriprise article here. Please also use my catch all referral pages here, here, here, herehere and here for any of your AmEx needs.