Since the publication of part 1, there has been a major change in how we manufacture spend. As of November 3, 2017, US Postal Office (USPS) no longer allows the use of visa gift cards (VGCs) to purchase money orders (MOs). The announcement was a major setback to our community since many of us go through that channel to liquidate the VGCs.
A week prior to the news, I applied for SPG business card* and Cathay Pacific card. The first card requires 10k spend to get 35,000 Starpoints and the latter requires 2.5k to get 50,000 miles. Tran also applied for Citi Prestige and that requires 7.5k for 75,000 Thank You points.
Between the two of us, we need to spend 20k within the next few months to get the bonuses. How are we going to meet that hefty amount? Fortunately, there are different ways to allow us to meet the minimum requirement.
- Buying MOs using VGCs is not entirely dead.
For example, I am still able to liquidate the VGCs at certain Hy-Vee locations in Iowa. This is still my main way of meeting the requirement. I attempted to buy MOs at local Safeway and S-mart Foods and they were not allowed. The next time you go grocery shopping, stop by the money center to ask if you can get MOs with a debit card. If they say yes then count your blessings.
Please refer to part 1 for a more detailed post.
- Pay mortgage through Plastiq.
Plastiq is an online bill payment service that lets you pay almost all of your bills by credit card for a 2.5% fee. Tran is using this trick to pay for my parents’ mortgage with Citi Prestige. Unfortunately, Plastiq only allows MasterCards for mortgage payment. Our landlord also accepts credit cards for rent.
Just two months of rent and mortgage will help Tran meet the requirement without the inconvenience of going outside to buy VGCs or MOs. It doesn’t hurt to ask your landlord.
Plastiq lets you earn “Fee-free dollars” for referring friends. These dollars then can be used to make payments without fees. If it’s something you’re interested in then please use our referral code, 821826. After you register using the code and make payments >$500 then you’ll get $500 FFD that you can use to offset fees for future payments.
- Use VGCs to pay bills.
My parents usually pay bills from their bank accounts. I exchanged VGCs for cash with them so they could pay their bills. I’m so glad my parents are supportive of this hobby. To do this, go to the website listed behind the card and register the zip code. Once registered, you can also use it for online shopping and (limited) bill payments such as insurance or phone subscription.
- Organic spend.
I use these cards to pay for our groceries, dining out, entertainment, transportation, and other daily spending. Once again, it doesn’t make sense to pay in cash when you get more benefits from a credit card. You’ll just have to responsible and pay off the balance in full each month to avoid paying interests as that will negate any benefits you reap. I recently used the SPG to pay for two tickets to Hawaii for $524 total.
You can send money to friends for 3% fee. We have a lot of friends getting married and giving money is the norm in the Asian cultures. Instead of sending them checks, we just Venmo the couple the money. Receiving money is never tacky. 🙂
It has only been a couple of weeks since we got the cards but are close to meeting our minimum spend, mostly through #1 to 3. The goal is to minimize the use of our own money to meet the spending requirement. Let us know if you have any questions and/or other ways to meet the spending.
*We don’t have affiliate links but if you apply through our referral links and if approved, we would earn points too. Thank you.