Author Topic: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?  (Read 6065 times)

texastumbleweed

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How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« on: March 25, 2017, 09:30:50 PM »
I get how cash back and credit card churning can be cool, but if everyone is spending so little, how do you rack up the points?  I feel like it would be hard for us to spend "5K in 3 months" on one card (much less 15 cards!) . Basically, I'd like to get some hotel points so I can stay at a hotel for free, but don't know how it would really work if we don't spend a ton and our biggest expense every month is our health insurance which you have to pay with a debit card.

thanks

Turnbull

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 09:51:58 PM »
Two words:


Manufactured Spending

bacchi

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 10:22:18 PM »
The AmEx Hilton and Chase IHG cards come to mind for easy spends ($1k over 3 months).

Or, yeah, do some MS with gift cards and money orders.

texastumbleweed

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2017, 10:31:42 PM »
I'd never heard of MS so I just looked it up, but it seems like that has been pretty much shut down.

Side question: I was looking at the Marriott Rewards card because they seem to have the specific hotels i want to stay in and I'm just wondering, does the hotel stay really turn out to be free?  Seems crazy, but that just seems too good to be true!  Put another way, if you meet the sign up conditions, does that usually equal one night in a hotel?
« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 10:33:28 PM by texastumbleweed »

h82goslw

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2017, 04:10:08 AM »
Yes you really get to stay in the hotel for free.  I've gone to Florida multiple times and spent a week free at various hotels.  This summer I'll be staying a week at a JW Marriott for free.  Last month spent 5 nights at the Dolphin Hotel on Disney property during President's week, for free.

Vanguards and Lentils

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2017, 06:27:23 AM »
I have just finished a $5k spend - Manufactured spending has not been shut down. You just need to break the ice and do it. Buy gift cards and then use those to but money orders. Gift cards can be bought at CVS, Simon Malls, and maybe some grocery chains. Money orders at the post office or Walmart.

Slee_stack

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2017, 06:53:52 AM »
Its a lot easier if you have business expenses and/or travel for work and can put charges on your personal CC.

Pay car insurance with you CC...a year up front.

Buy all groceries with your CC.

Buy gift cards w/ your CC to warehouse clubs (if you shop there).

Even if you are charged a fee, that can still be worth it if you pay your rent or mortgage, utilities, etc w/ your CC.  You just need to ensure your sign-up bonus has the appropriate worthwhile value after fees.

$3k in 3 months is probably a comfortable max for me.  I've done $5k in 3 months when a card has a great bonus, but I have to time the application and spend.  If I have a big expense coming up that is somewhat planned, I can apply for the card just beforehand.

« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 06:55:30 AM by Slee_stack »

kpd905

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2017, 07:01:11 AM »
You can double dip a lot of credit card sign up bonuses with checking account bonuses.  For example, if you open a checking account with PNC, you get $300 after having $5,000 in direct deposits in the first 60 days.  You can also load $2,000 initially with a credit card, and it counts as a purchase for most cards.  Funding for a sign up bonus will obviously get you the best value, but even if you just throw it on a 2% card instead of a sign up bonus, you grab an extra $40. 

http://www.doctorofcredit.com/pnc-300-checking/

Right now BMO Harris is offering a $200 bonus that lets you load $1,000 with a credit card: http://www.doctorofcredit.com/bmo-harris-200-checking-bonus-available-nationwide-2/

Basically I have tried to have every dollar of my spending go toward hitting a credit card sign up bonus, every dollar of my income go toward a checking sign up bonus, and any cash held go toward a savings account bonus.  I haven't quite optimized it yet, but we are already at $1150 in checking account bonuses for the year.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 07:03:58 AM by kpd905 »

Brother Esau

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2017, 07:17:09 AM »
DW and I each obtained the CSR card 2 weeks ago with 100,000 bonus points per card. That's $3,000 towards travel when used through the Chase portal which we are going to use soon. The minimum spend will be taken care of on one card with an upcoming vacation and on the other card with replacing a 20 year +/- old furnace that we've needed to replace for some time now. We only obtained the cards for the bonus sign up points. We don't spend nearly enough during the year to justify having them so will probably cancel one or both next year.

kpd905

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2017, 08:12:21 AM »
I've been wondering that myself for a while because (a) I don't spend much as all my extra money goes towards student loans which I can't pay by credit card

With Plastiq you can pay any expense that will accept a check, you just pay a 2.5% fee.  They also sometimes offer lower promotional rates.  You can get much more than 2.5% if you are hitting a sign up bonus.  I am going to send a small trial deposit this week for my mortgage to make sure it all goes through properly, then I'll really be able to crank out some good sign up bonuses.

If you sign up with the link in my signature, you'll get 400 fee-free dollars after you send a payment of at least $20.  So you can use the $20 payment as a trial payment to make sure everything goes through correctly, and then your next $400 payment will be without any fees.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 05:44:01 AM by kpd905 »

CheapScholar

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2017, 02:40:39 PM »
I travel for work and I get 10K per year just for travel, but I usually don't come close to using that much.  I can use any personal card I want and get reimbursed.  I've been using the Southwest Airlines card, which has been great.  I get 2X points for flights.  The main way I rack up points is by booking my work travel hotels through Southwest.  Not usually an awesome deal, but they have preferred hotels that award up to 10,000 points per night.  Add up the meals when traveling and it keeps adding up.  I use the card for personal expenses too, but it would be impossible to accumulate many points without my job.  Gasoline and groceries I guess, but I'm not a big spender.

lamil

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2017, 01:54:45 PM »
I've been wondering that myself for a while because (a) I don't spend much as all my extra money goes towards student loans which I can't pay by credit card

With Plastiq you can pay any expense that will accept a check, you just pay a 2.5% fee.  They also sometimes offer lower promotional rates.  You can get much more than 2.5% if you are hitting a sign up bonus.  I am going to send a small trial deposit this week for my mortgage to make sure it all goes through properly, then I'll really be able to crank out some good sign up bonuses.

Used this a couple months back for an amex bonus. Took a couple weeks for it to go through my bank.  Make sure you allow 2-3 weeks for it to clear.  2nd month I did it I sent it 3 weeks early and it only took about a week to clear.  Both qualified just fine as spend, though.

boarder42

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2017, 02:25:13 PM »
Easy.

Step 1 sign up for Topcash back account if you dont have one use my link - https://www.topcashback.com/ref/jhartt3
Step 2. go thru the top cash back portal to Giftcardmall.com
Step 3. Buy 1500 in visa gift cards made out to yourself cost 5.95 per 500
Step 4. Receive giftcards and take to walmart
Step 5. Go to walmart Cash center and buy 2 1k money orders - likely will be 2 transactions  - cost 70c each
Step 6. Deposit money orders in your bank account
Step 7. Pay off you credit card
Step 8. collect your 2% Cash back from top cash back - pays ~30.00
Step 9 Repeat

Proft 30-5.95*3-.7*2 = 10.75

Sometimes GCM pays 2.5% when going thru TCB making the profit 7.50 higher.

Plus you get your bonus points from whatever card you used to make the purchases.  Hopefully its a new card with sign up bonuses

Everything else for the most part costs you money instead of making you money like this does.

DrumAllDay

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2017, 02:28:02 PM »
I try to pay all my utilities, groceries, gas, house projects, and misc bills like medical and other things like car registration with my CC.

The only utility I cant pay with my CC is gas. Other than that, I find I can use my CC for most necessities and I never find myself impulse buying.

The points may not rack up as fast as non Mustaschians, but they do add up just for paying the bills.

Systems101

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2017, 03:32:50 PM »
I've been wondering that myself for a while because (a) I don't spend much as all my extra money goes towards student loans which I can't pay by credit card

I might recommend reading: http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2016/11/08/pay-student-loans-529-plans-credit-card/

ditkanate

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2017, 03:58:38 PM »
I've started in on this particular game this year.  Got a $250 bonus from Wells Fargo, waiting for a $100 bonus from Pinnacle Bank (a checking account I funded with $1000 from a cc to hit the spend bonus).  Signed the wife up for a Chase card to get a bonus.  So I combine paying for all everyday expenses with whatever card we are currently trying to hit the bonus on, with funding new checking accounts.  We also have some medical bills coming due for some decent amounts.  Trying to make sure all these big money items ($300 here, $150 there) go towards funding a cc bonus.  Takes some organization.

FYI - boarder42 - used your link to sign up for topcashback.  I haven't jumped down that rabbit hole yet but I'm getting close.

seattlecyclone

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2017, 04:16:27 PM »
I usually don't mess around with credit card bonuses, so I don't have to deal with the problem of having too many goals to complete at one time. The Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus was good enough for me to bite at. Meeting the minimum spend ($4k in 3 months) wasn't too much of an issue. The three months happened to coincide with our annual homeowner's insurance and semi-annual car insurance payment, so that took care of about $1,000. Various everyday expenses over three months got us most of the rest of the way there, and we did some charitable donations (that would have otherwise happened later in the year) to push us over the edge. Not a big deal.

I could see needing to do some manufactured spending if we were working on more than one sign-up bonus at a time.

Bicycle_B

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2017, 05:22:12 PM »
I usually don't mess around with credit card bonuses, so I don't have to deal with the problem of having too many goals to complete at one time. The Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus was good enough for me to bite at. Meeting the minimum spend ($4k in 3 months) wasn't too much of an issue. The three months happened to coincide with our annual homeowner's insurance and semi-annual car insurance payment, so that took care of about $1,000. Various everyday expenses over three months got us most of the rest of the way there, and we did some charitable donations (that would have otherwise happened later in the year) to push us over the edge. Not a big deal.

I could see needing to do some manufactured spending if we were working on more than one sign-up bonus at a time.

Like SeattleCyclone, I have gotten signup bonuses by signing up for cards right before rare expenses were coming up, because that gave me enough spending to know I would qualify for the bonus.

ducky19

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2017, 06:30:34 PM »
We just get one card at a time for the bonus. All expenses possible go on the card. Once we have reached our spend, we find another card. We don't do any MS.

This is essentially what we do. Car insurance? On the card. Utilities? On the card. Groceries? You guessed it, on the card. We can easily spend $5000 in three months by focusing all of our spending on one card. I just recently did my first MS, and I can honestly say it was more trouble than it was worth in my opinion. OP, If you like the Marriott brand, I would recommend signing up for the Starwood Preferred AmEx. You can earn 35,000 points with $5k in spend ($3k in the first three months, an additional $2k in the first six months). Marriott recently bought out Starwood and the transfer ratio is fantastic - 1:3! That equates to 120,000 Marriott points after bonus plus spend. We just recently churned this card and will enjoy many a stay at Marriott, especially since you can find hotels as low as 7,500 points/night. Shameless plug for the referral link in my signature line - I'll get 5k points if you use it to sign up (thanks in advance). The link below will give you the map for all of Marriott's hotels along with their points per night.

http://travelisfree.com/2016/08/18/complete-map-of-marriott-rewards-hotels/

We also used the Citi AAdvantage card to fund some checking accounts for signup bonuses and to meet the spend on the Citi card. By far the easiest was Associated Bank (also in my signature line), funded with $250 for both my wife and I, then paid three bill pays back to the Citi card. The $150 bonus literally posted 3 days later! Easiest $300 I've ever made. That offer is only for IL, WI, and MN residents, but there are plenty of others. PM me if you're interested, I can fill you in on all the ones I've done so far - already at $1800 in checking bonuses for the year!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 06:40:47 PM by ducky19 »

Radagast

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2017, 12:16:57 AM »
We are just starting this right now. Stupidly, as I start most things. The key I have noticed is to be patient and wait for the truly good sign up bonuses. Apart from there being only so much spending you can do (short of MS), Chase has put a real slowdown on the whole thing. Between you and a spouse you can get one credit card per quarter, with one extra for an extraordinary deal per year that you didn't see coming. With cards requiring in the range of $1,000 and $5,000, that is around $20,000 per year, which seems to be within the spending capacity of most posters here. Just be sure to use it for everything. If not you can use plastiq to apply spending to mortgage principal with a 2.5% fee, which I have not tried yet but might within a few weeks. Manufactured spend doesn't feel right to me. We tried it last week and it was easy enough, almost too easy. Walmart refused our gift cards for money orders, so we went to a regional chain. Apparently this varies a lot by region.

BurtMacklin

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2017, 06:16:51 AM »
I really like my Hilton Honors AMEX. I have a lot of my bills, utilities on it. I use it some for groceries and gas, etc and whenever I order online. I have probably had ten free stays at Hampton Inns (not including discounted stays). I got the 60,000 pts when I signed up and spent $3000 in 3 months. I have had the card for 2-3 years.

boarder42

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2017, 07:09:37 AM »
I really like my Hilton Honors AMEX. I have a lot of my bills, utilities on it. I use it some for groceries and gas, etc and whenever I order online. I have probably had ten free stays at Hampton Inns (not including discounted stays). I got the 60,000 pts when I signed up and spent $3000 in 3 months. I have had the card for 2-3 years.

it was worth it for the sign up bonus but the points you get from paying for all they other stuff on it is a poor use of a credit card.

BofA cash rewards is 3% CB+ back on Gas
Amex Preferred is 6% CB on groceries
If you buy from Amazon the Amazon card is 5% CB at amazon

Etc.

the devaluation of hilton points on top of that makes it a very poor every day spender card for cash back points.

ducky19

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2017, 07:22:28 AM »
I have to agree with boarder on this one... the bonus is great on the card (75k last I checked), but after that it's not worth putting all of your spend on. If you are hell bent on hotel points vs. cash back rewards, Starwood AmEx is the much better deal. You still get 1 point per dollar on everything, but as I mentioned above the transfer rate is fantastic. There are definitely much better cash back cards though, especially when you factor in the bonus categories.

kpd905

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2017, 06:12:21 PM »
I really like my Hilton Honors AMEX. I have a lot of my bills, utilities on it. I use it some for groceries and gas, etc and whenever I order online. I have probably had ten free stays at Hampton Inns (not including discounted stays). I got the 60,000 pts when I signed up and spent $3000 in 3 months. I have had the card for 2-3 years.

You may want to grab the Hilton Surpass card right now.  You get 100,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.  Although with this one, you do pay a $75 annual fee.

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/card/hilton-hhonors-surpass/26129?extlink=af-us-ccsg-HSPSCP&PID=15-12886517-1225267-&BUID=CCG&PSKU=HSP&CRTV=HSPSCP&CID=1122587

Laserjet3051

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2017, 06:25:45 PM »
Mustachians tend to have health insurance and for those of us that purchased Obamacare policies through the ACA exchanges, we can easily spend US$18,000 per year on premiums/copays. 18K goes on the card. We also like to eat, which for a family of four omnivores, does rack up another > $12,000 per year. Thats 30K alone on the card just for 2 life supporting expenses. Throw in some car repairs, a new set of tires, internet, etc, and it's not hard to hit $40K per year on the card. If I were single, this would be much harder.

SuperSecretName

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2017, 06:54:11 PM »
The answer is manafactuted spend like someone mentioned. Lots of blogs go in to details.

aperture

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Re: How do you get credit card points if you are Mustaschian?
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2017, 11:41:39 AM »
Paid US Federal taxes and will throw all usual expenses on the card (groceries and bills).  After that, if we are short, we buy cash cards for the grocery store to make sure we hit the 3 month spending goal.  It is a way of pre-paying for groceries and gets us the sign on bonus.  We have also done this in the past with Costco, but not since they switched to the CITI credit cards.  I am not sue whether Costco on line still allows other credit cards to buy their cash cards.