No More AA Gift Card Reimbursement From AmEx Platinum (Probably)

Everyone over at r/churning is flipping out on a few data points where $200 gift card purchases were labeled with the category of “Gift Cards”. At first I thought it was just overblown, but I had just personally bought a $200 gift card with my newest upgraded Ameriprise Platinum on 12 Feb. I logged in today and saw this:

Sure enough, the $200 charge is now labeled as a gift card, and will most likely not be eligible for reimbursement. It appears to be American Airlines finally using the correct code for these gift cards. Instead of charging gift cards out as an incidental such as luggage or a seat upgrade, they are correctly categorizing it under a separate code of strictly gift cards. It appears that the AA gift card loophole is closed, and those that got all of their gift cards before 08 Feb 2019 were lucky to have them all charged as luggage/flight expenses which were covered under the $200 credit.

This would not be the first overnight disappointment in our churning game. For those that have been around for awhile we used to be able to exploit MPX with United, but that was shut down at the same time they shut down the United gift registry which was another loophole for the $200 benefit.

Luckily I was able to get most of my 2019 gift cards in prior to 08 Feb 2019 date on which this coding switch happened. For my remaining $250 credit on my Hilton Aspire Card, I contacted AmEx and switched it to Southwest:

I will do the same with my new Ameriprise Gold to Plat upgrade to get another $200 for Southwest before this is shut down. I won’t do Delta because you can only do $50 a pop, and only use 3 gift cards per ticket, although the site says:

Up to 3 gift cards can be redeemed per transaction on delta.com. If you wish to redeem more than 3 cards for a single purchase, please call 1-800-221-1212 and a Reservations Specialist will be able to assist you.

I should call them and see exactly how many can be used for a single ticket.

Overall the good news is Southwest and Delta are still good to go for gift cards. Keep in mind you can get reimbursed for $250/$200/$100 gift cards on Southwest, and only $50 on Delta. The game is not over here, but in the future make sure you take advantage of these loopholes while they’re open. Those that wait are often left in the dust!

In the long run Southwest and Delta gift cards will be shut down, and we will be left with these legit options:

Premium Wine From United at $15.99 a bottle, Regular wine at $7.99 a bottle on United, $8 Spirits on American
Food and Drink on Spirit
Exit row seating with free drinks on AA at $57 a pop
Decent seats on AA at $38 a pop
$8.99 Premium Spirits on United

Overall we Active Duty never relied on this $200 benefits to justify the $550 annual fee since the fee was always waived. I can understand the gripes out there from those that have to pay the $550 fee, but this was all just icing on the cake for us. We still get our $200 Uber and $100 Saks! The writing is on the wall that this long pastime of free gift cards will soon end, so get ready to eat, drink, and upgrade your seat for free on almost any domestic flight! Here are the current options for airline choices:

Assuming that Southwest remains the only full $200 reimbursement airline in 2020 it makes sense to only do Southwest gift cards. Note that southwest often doesn’t charge AD for drinks in flight when you show your CAC (YMMV). Also the drinks on Southwest are served from a large bottle and cannot be carried off the plane. This will be my reimbursement diversification plan for 2020:

23 cards for $4,550 worth of travel reimbursements is nothing to sneeze at! This would allow for $1,550 in Southwest and $400 for Delta with $2,600 to spend on 325 tiny little bottles of vodka over 7 airlines. The 325 x 50 ml bottles is 16.250 liters or about 9 handles worth of vodka!

Still a win in my book!

-Derp

14% Ebates For Dell & Saks Fifth. Dell Price Match $70 For Me

Today only is 14% cashback via Ebates. Please use my link here if you have not signed up yet:

I would stack this with your $100 Dell credit on AmEx Biz Plat or your $50 Saks Credit on AmEx Personal Plat. Just FYI, the $299 watch I bought last week dropped to $229, and Dell issued me the price difference as part of their price match. Thanks Dan for the advice!

It took some talking to get it to cover the door buster deal, but well worth it! I am starting to love this new partnership.

-Derp

Possible Grandfathered SCRA Request on Chase Cards

According to Bojangles on flying squadron:

BLUF: If you opened the CSR card prior to them starting to waive the fee for military (Sept 2017). Send them a message online stating you are thinking of closing your account as AMEX waives the fee on their platinum. They may grandfather you in to the new policy.

So there’s been some mention on here of Chase now waiving the fee on the Sapphire Reserve as of Sept 2017 for accounts opened after that date. Nothing retroactive. I contacted Chase late in 2017 asking to be grandfathered in to that policy as I had 2 accounts opened prior to that date. They declined to grandfather me in.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. After a few drinks, I again sent Chase a message through their online system asking them to grandfather me.  I honestly didn’t even remember I had asked them before when I sent the message or I probably wouldn’t have sent it. I told them that  AMEX was waiving the fee on their platinum card and I would start using that as my primary card if not grandfathered. I really didn’t expect anything to come of it as I got a reply back that said they’d contact me by mail with a decision. Around 7-10 days later, I woke up to close to $5k in credit refunds split between two Chase accounts that I’d had for 4-6 years. I got a letter in the mail a few days later stating that they had applied SCRA benefits to my accounts going back to the day I opened them. I put $75-100k a year on the card so that may have factored into their decision. However, I’m not sure why they did it this time and not previously but I’m not complaining. It may be worth trying if you are paying for the CSR.


Has anyone out here tried this method? I don’t put $75k on any card, let alone a Chase card. I’m always one more card away from a financial review so I won’t be trying this any time soon.

-Derp

Alaska Airlines Offers 15% In Flight Dining Military Discount

For those holding on to a MLA waived Chase Marriott Premier Plus card (Bonvoy Boundless). I urge you all to upgrade the card after one year to the elusive Ritz-Carlton Card which offers a $300 travel credit on any airlines. I challenge myself every year to buy $300 worth of food and drink in flight. This becomes a challenge, because half the time they just won’t ring me up. On my most recent flight on Alaska Airlines, In noticed this:

Sure enough I showed my CAC and got the discount. I had not noticed this on my way out so I didn’t get the 15% off. On the flight back I took advantage and sure enough all the food got 15% off!

No discount
15% Discount with CAC

I tried on two bottles of bourbon, but it did not work. The fight attendant was nice enough to give me two bottles for the price of one.

-Derp

Ameriprise Gold Application Dead, Existing Cards Upgradable To Plat After 1 Year

Sorry to report that the Ameriprise Gold card is dead. The upside is the AmEx Platinum Ameriprise version comes with a 60K MR bonus after $5k spend. They dropped the first year free benefit, but it did not apply to us because they would have waived the $550 annual fee anyways for military. For what its worth, I went ahead and tried one more time to upgrade my existing Ameriprise Gold card to another platinum on the phone, and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to do it without any trouble. I tried last month but was denied. The trick was to wait more than a year from opening to ask for the upgrade.

I don’t have an Ameriprise account and have not been shut down, yet! Not sure when this loophole get shut down.

-Derp

10% Ebates On Dell

Ebates is now offering 10% cash back right now on Dell! Please use my link if you have not used it already.

My current data points are this: $100 spent on a 3 way split on 04 Feb 2019 which all got credited by 07 Feb 2019. My SOP is right here. The 10% cash back AmEx offer also posted on the 5th of Feb.

There was a question in a comment if the Topcashback hit on top of the 10% bonus, and the 3x$100 credit so here is the Topcashback site:

I wish the 10% was around when I did this. However I am happy to have earned $336.87 in cashback and bonus for my $318.74 order for profit of $18.13. The watch I bought has been pretty cool, and use it daily:

We tried to apply the Dell military discount to non Dell items, but it won’t work. I was able to get the $300 watch charged over 3 AmEx Biz Platinum cards. I wrote the experience here. I will earn some sort of Dell cash back, but it appears to takes 30 days from delivery.

Dell is having some sales for President’s day, so now is a good time to spend your bonus. I went to the Microsoft store in Portland, OR and verified that you could use Xbox live gift cards on the Microsoft website to buy hardware. Sure enough they sell such gift cards on the Dell website! Next datapoint needed is getting both the 10% Ebates and the $100 AmEx gift card on a $100 Xbox gift card. This would be a way to stack multiple bonuses over one year to get $1,600 over my 4 AmEx Biz Platinum cards! Please post your data points if you got them.

-Derp

How To Say Goodbye After 13 years (Closing My First Card)

Good Bye Old Friend

Thirteen years ago I got my first credit card after graduating college. It was the AmEx Blue Cash. I had intended to keep this card forever, and gave advice on never canceling your oldest card to keep the adverage account age high. Once I joined the military I upgraded the card to a Blue Cash Preferred and enjoyed 6% cash back at the commissary.

Times have changed, the AmEx Rose Gold card came with its 4x points on Dining as well as groceries. This Rose Gold card ended up returning the same 6% I was enjoying from the Blue Cash Preferred, and it didn’t take up one of my coveted 5 Credit Card slots. With the SPG Basic AmEx Shutdown coming this Tuesday 12 February 2019, I knew that this card had to go since each of my 5 slots needed to produce an annual benefit. My lifetime plan is this:

  • SPG Lux (Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant)
    • $300 and 50k Night
  • SPG Regular (Upgrade to Bonvoy Brilliant in 1 yr)
    • Apply Before 12 Feb 2019
    • $300 and 50k Night
  • Hilton Honors Aspire
    • Free Weekend Night
    • $250 Airline Credit
    • $250 Resort Credit
  • Hilton Honors
    • Upgrade to anther Aspire
    • Close Delta Reserve after Companion Pass Use
  • Delta Reserve
    • First Class Companion Pass
    • Upgrade form Delta Platnium

With this set it and forget it strategy I can enjoy these annual benefits passively and spend less time churning and more time with my real estate ventures!

Now before I closed the account I made sure to transfer my credit to my existing lines. There is an option now under account management on the AmEx page:

I then cashed out all of my cash back credits by first requesting a statement credit, then opening a dispute for the credit to be sent back to me in the form of a check. I then waited a day and the credit came off my account and a check should be on the way for the amount.

Today I logged on and spoke with the online chat and requested the Ble Cash Preferred account to be closed. They urged me to downgrade it to a regular blue cash, but I requested the closure so I can use my wife’s link to apply for another SPG personal card (Non lux). I will not get the bonus since I had the card before.

This was a tough decision, but the free night I value at around $500 (Ritz Chicago Night) and the $300 benefit beings a total annual value of $800. If I were to get that with blue cash preferred I would have to spend $13,333.33 in groceries. This was not going to happen since it all goes on the Rose Gold and the Citi Anywhere Costco card.

-Derp

WeWork Delay?

Update: the site went live several hours later, plenty written about it here. I will go down to The National on Friday to get my badge.

It’s 01:33 Eastern on 08 Feb 2019 and the WeWork AmEx Page has not been refreshed regarding details of how to sign up.

I went down to visit The National Building, Chicago location and was bummed to find out that the benefit only applies to the primary card holder and not any of the AUs. On top of that, there are no guests allowed unless you spend money to rent a conference room. Your access is restricted to the lounge and public area which are set like a nice hotel lobby. Free beer, matcha green tea, and nano roasted coffee flow on tap. There is WiFi and outlets to plug into, but I didn’t get a sense that you could meet with any clients in these areas.

From our short tour we were given the details about how AmEx Biz Plat users would be issued a badge that would allow access 24/5 (Weekdays Only) to the common areas. You would have to buy credits to be used for meeting rooms and other collaborative areas. This badge would grant access to any WeWork location in the world. However it would end exactly one year from Sign-up.

I showed up with my attorney in suits around 17:00 this last Monday and stood out like a sore thumb. No one had a tie, not even nice shirts or slacks. I am not sure if they thought we were suits from a bank, because WeWork has been making some headlines for some shenanigans. All in all, the sense of collaboration in the common areas was not there, but felt kind of out of place. They would not allow any photos of anything in the place either.

Hopefully more details come soon, but I am off to bed. It’s disappointing that details were not announced as promised, but this would not be the first missed deadline form WeWork.

-Derp

AmEx Biz Plat $200 Dell Credit SOP

BLUF: $200 Dell Credit Comes With The AmEx Business Platinum. You can spend $100 from January to June, then another $100 from July to December. You can split charge over three cards per order at Dell.

Step 1: Obtain AmEx Platnum(s)

  1. Apply Biz Plat directly here, get bonus
  2. Apply for Biz Gold, get bonus, then upgrade to Plat (no 1 yr wait)
  3. Apply for Biz Green, get bonus, then upgrade to Plat (no 1 yr wait)
  4. Apply SCRA/MLA to each card to ensure the $595 annual fee is waived

Step 2: Register $100 Offer for Each Biz Plat Card and 10% Offer

Create a new americanexpress.com log in for each card and add the offer listed under the benefits section for each card. There is an error that prevents adding the Dell offer to an account with multiple Business Platinum Cards on the same account.

Also check the AmEx offers here and add one to the Biz Plat card to be used for the Dell offer. This one was offered for me:

Step 3: Sign up for TopCashback and Ebates

Step 4: Sign Up For Dell Rewards and Military Discount Codes

Email MilitaryDiscount@dell.com this document from DFAS:

and wait 2-3 days and you should get an email like this:

Your military discount code is: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX Please go to www.dell.com/MPP/Fed to use this coupon Dell Coupon Offer: Offer valid 11/3/2018 6:00am – 2/1/2019 11:59pm CST If you run into any issues please let me know.  Coupon is only good for dell branded products. If you are trying to purchase latitude or precision I will have to manually discount. 

Coupon is good with select other offers, but not with other coupons. Coupon is valid on select order codes. Offer does not apply to, and is not available with, systems or items purchased through refurbished items or spare parts. Purchase limit of 1 items per order.  Not valid for resellers and/or online auctions.  Dell reserves the right to cancel orders arising from pricing or other errors.

Then sign up for Dell Advantage Rewards here. This will give you 3% back in rewards towards future purchases on Dell.com as well as free expedited shipping.

Step 5: Select, Buy Items, Split Charges

I used the 5% Cashback option via the Top Cashback to buy a non Dell product since the military discount would not apply:

On check out I was able to enter three credit cards to split up the $318.74 charge over three AmEx Platinum Cards (example shows $200, but just do $100):

For Dell branded products I used the site www.dell.com/MPP/Fed to use the military coupon. Here is what I bought over just two cards:

Note that this also included $5 in Dell Advantage Rewards and free shipping from registration! I am going to try to see if I submit this order to Top Cash Back for a 5% stack. Many products that are not dell branded are not the cheapest, but Dell products have the largest discounts. No datapoints on the reimbursement yet. Happy shopping!

-Derp