There’s a huge buzz around manufactured spending in the miles and points world. The golden goose of buying Vanilla Reloads at Office Depot with your 5x credit card days are over. What’s left now? The easiest method is buying 10 Vanilla Reloads ($500 each) per day with your rewards earning credit card.
The best credit card used to be the Chase UR credit cards where you would transfer your Ultimate Rewards to United and Hyatt. Now that United has gutted their frequent flier program and Hyatt has jacked up their hotel redemption prices, the value is no longer there.
Now, the best credit card is the Starwood American Express Personal and Business credit card. Even though you’ll only be earning at a 1x rate, these Starpoints are very valuable. I value Starpoints at a minimum of 3 cents per point (yes, it’s high but I always get more value out of them).
Let’s say that you bought $5,000 worth (10 cards of $500 value each) of Vanilla Reloads per day ($3.95 fee per card) with your Starwood Amex. You will only be spending $39.95 in fees to achieve 5,000 Starpoints. So basically you’re spending $39.95 in fees for $150 worth of Starpoints. That’s a ridiculous amount of a value! Using this method, you are buying each Starpoint at 8/10th of a cent per point. FYI, Starwood is selling 5,000 Starpoints for $175 at 3.5 cents per point.
Even if you value Starpoints at 2.2cpp, you’re spending $39.95 for $110 in value.
Let’s say you want to redeem 20,000 Starpoints for the W Hong Kong. The room rates are an astounding $600 a night plus taxes. Well, that’s only $160 out of pocket for you.
For advanced MS’ers, I know this advice is not relevant because you’re always gaming office stores using your 5x cards or grocery stores paying with a card that is greater than 1x. This is mainly for beginners.