1000 Free Points every day this week with OfficeMax and OfficeDepot and your Ink Bold card!

I love OfficeMax.  Like really, really love it!  They give me so many free miles, it is hard to use them all (but I will find ways like my recent trip to Germany and China).  Back in March, I got paid $9 to get 3000 miles at OfficeMax which I did a bunch of times to end up with 43,000 Ultimate Rewards Points in a week!

This offer isn’t quite as great as that one, but it is still pretty good!  This week, OfficeMax is having a promotion where if you buy $150 in Amex Gift cards, they give you $15 off the cost instantly.  Amex GCOnly the $25, $50, and $100 Amex gift cards work for this promotion.  The best value is to buy two $100 gift cards each with a $5.95 purchase charge.  Once they scan the coupon code from their binder, it will remove $15 from the cost of $105.95X2 which gives a grand total of $196.90. The cards you should buy look like this.

20140609-140908-50948604.jpgIf you have the Chase Ink Bold card that gives you 5X points on office supply stores, this will earn you almost 1000 points for your purchase! You can use any mileage earning card to earn 1X miles, but the Ink Bold is definitely the best way to go if you have it because of the bonus.

Once you have these gift cards you can use them for day to day spending.  They unfortunately don’t have a PIN code so you can’t use them for getting money orders at Walmart. I have found that using these gift cards at the grocery store is one of the best ways because the cash registers are smart enough to automatically determine the balance on the card so you don’t have to say “put $3.98 on this card” etc. You can use them anywhere Amex is accepted though.

If you have multiple OfficeMax stores near you, you should be able to buy $200 per day per store and really rack up the miles.  Even though it says that it is limited to one per household, every store I have been to before has said you can get the deal once per day.  I haven’t verified this yet, but now that the OfficeMax / OfficeDepot merger has closed, I think you should be able to get this at both stores.  In my location there is an OfficeDepot half a mile away from an OfficeMax which would make it convenient to double it up with one trip.  That gives me a potential of 14,000 free miles this week if I just take 15 minutes each day!  What a deal!

Edit: This is confirmed to work at both OfficeMax and OfficeDepot.  So double up if you have two of them close to one another!

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

How to Buy Money Orders with Gift Cards at Walmart

This article is going to be short and sweet because it is really a simple process.  For people who have read our article on How to Spend Money without Spending Money and our article on Vanilla Reloads at CVS: Rest In Peace this article is for you.

Once you have acquired the appropriate gift cards and have set the PIN code (see this article for an example of how to set the PIN code with the cards from OfficeMax), you simply head to the Walmart Money Center.money centerThere are a two rules about getting money orders at Walmart:

  1. You can only get 3 X $1000 money orders per day.  Some locations may limit you to two.
  2. For each money order you can only use 4 different gift cards to pay for it. So if you only have $200 gift cards you can only get a maximum money order of $800 and you will need to pay cash for the $0.70 money order fee.

The way I maximize this situation is I have some $200 gift cards I buy at Office Supply stores and some $500 gift cards I buy at other places.  You go up to the associate and tell them you want to buy a $1000 money order.  Once the total comes up on the checkout, it should be $1000.70.  Tell her that you want to put $500 on the first card (if you have a $500 one of course.)  She will enter on her end that you want to pay a partial payment.  You then swipe the card and enter your PIN code using the PIN pad device.IMG_7423
As of May 2014, the next gift card you can go ahead and swipe first then tell her the amount.  So I do a $500 for the first one, then $200 for the second, $200 for the third, then $100 for the 4th (it is a $200 card but I keep a $100 balance on it to keep the numbers even).  I then pay the $0.70 using cash.

I am then the proud owner of a money order which I can fill out payable to myself and then deposit it in my bank!Money Order

You can then use the funds to pay off the credit card you used to buy the gift cards or pay bills or whatever you want!

See?  I told you it was easy!

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

How I made 43,000 UR points last week without spending a dime!

My statement just cycled for my Ink Bold account and I was in for a treat! Over 43K Ultimate Rewards points in one month (although basically all of them was in one week)!Chase UR SummaryHow did I do it?

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about how to make $9 and 3000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points via a gift card promotion they had at OfficeMax.  When I run into a good deal, I like to go big so that is exactly what I did in this case! 🙂IMG_7751  By running around to multiple Officemax locations and getting creative by bringing my Dad and nephew into the store (so I had 3 customers and I could get the special deal 3 times), I was able to make 15 transactions over 4 days.Chase Transactions

Most of the transactions were for $600 in gift cards for $590.85 and a few were $500 in gift cards for $499.75 (used when the store didn’t have the $200 gift cards in stock).  So I ended up spending  $8680 for $8800 in gift cards.  I then used those gift cards to fund my Bluebird account and then did an online bill pay to pay the card off.  Since I used my Chase Ink Bold which gives me 5 Ultimate Rewards Points for every dollar, I scored over 43,000 points and ended up making $120 while doing it!

What could I use 43,000 Ultimate Rewards Points for?

  • 4 Round Trip tickets from Miami to Cancun using BA Miles on American.

MIA-CUN

  • 4 Round trip tickets from Miami To Detroit on Southwest.

MIA-DTW

  • 2 tickets to San Jose, Costa Rica using BA Miles on American.

MIA-SJO

Conclusion

I hope some of you also took advantage of this great deal.  If you weren’t ready then start getting the things now that you need so you will be ready for next time.  For this great deal, all you needed was an Ink Bold charge card, and a free Bluebird card.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

How to Load a Bluebird Card at the Walmart Register with a Gift Card

I have had a love affair with the Bluebird card since I wrote my first article about it back in 2012. I literally use this card every single month to spend money without spending money and make thousands of miles every month! You can even use it to earn miles for paying your mortgage or rent! Oh, and did I mention that it is completely free to apply for, doesn’t need any credit and has no annual or monthly fees?

bluebirdbannerI’ve earned 12,000 Ultimate Rewards points so far in the last 48 hours from the OfficeMax deal I wrote about yesterday and will earn even more over today and tomorrow.  As I wrote in that article, you can set the PIN code for the Visa cards and then you can take them to Walmart, load them to your Bluebird and then pay off the credit card you used to purchase the gift cards.  I have written in the past about how to load your Bluebird account from the Walmart Kiosk with no fees, but when I went to my local Walmart, their kiosk was out of order! (shocker!) I had read that you can also load your Bluebird  at the Walmart register using a gift card with PIN so I decided to give it a shot!

I will tell you that the employees often times won’t know exactly what to do so you might have to walk them through it.  I had purchased two different sets of gift cards yesterday. One of three $200 Visa gift cards, and then one of five $100 Visa Gift cards (I got the $100 because the second store didn’t have the $200 ones).  Since you can only load $1000 per day to the Bluebird, I took the three $200 cards and four $100 cards in with me after I had set the PIN online for each of the cards.

Step 1: Make sure the PIN is set on all of your gift cards.

The cards in the OfficeMax promotion I talked about yesterday allow their PIN to be set either at a web site or via a mobile app.  I used the mobile app yesterday so I could literally set the PIN code in the car right before I went to Walmart.  It is easy!

Visa Wallet MobileStep 2: Give your Bluebird card to the Walmart associate and tell them you want reload your Bluebird card.

Sometimes the associate might need to ask someone how to do it, but most of the time, they have done it before.  You swipe you Bluebird card on the PIN device and tell them the amount you want to load.  I initially tried $1000 which is the daily limit for Bluebird.  The touchpad (where you just swiped your Bluebird card) will confirm your amount.WalmartBluebirdI wanted to see if I could load the $1000 in one transaction and pay for it with 7 different gift cards (3X$200, 4X100).  But when I tried it failed after I loaded the 4th gift card.  After some trials I figured out that their systems would only allow 3 gift cards per transaction.  So I ended up doing one $600 load and two $200 loads to reach the $1000 total for the day. After she reentered the $600 load amount (so it said $600 not $1000 like above) then I confirmed the amount and went to the next step.

Step 3: Use your gift cards and PINs to pay for the load.

I told the associate I wanted to split up the $600 load with 3 payments of $200 each and would be using a different debit card for each one. She did something on the register then said go ahead and I swiped my $200 gift card.  Then I entered the PIN code when it requested it.WalmartPINThe balance due decreased by $200 then I repeated the process two more times with two additional gift cards until the full balance was paid.  The register then printed out a receipt stating that the load was successful.  I then did two more transactions to load $200 each to max out my $1000 for the day on my Bluebird.

Conclusion

I would recommend using the Kiosk if your local Walmart has one so you don’t have to interact with the employees which may not know the process.  But if the kiosk is broken or if your local Walmart doesn’t have a kiosk, then the register works fine.  You might just have to be patient with the associate and follow this guide to help them through the process. You may also run into someone who tries to say that you can’t use a gift card to load to your Bluebird, but just assure them that you have done it before and it works fine.  If you do it all correctly, they shouldn’t even know you are using gift cards since they process just like a debit card.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

 

Get PAID $9 to take 3000 Ultimate Rewards Points with OfficeMax

Sometimes these deals come around that seem too good to be true but they aren’t!  What if I told you I would give you 3000 Ultimate Rewards points and pay you 9 dollars for your trouble.  This is 1/3 of the amount you need to go from Miami to Cancun as I mentioned in the 5 things you can do now to go to the BPM festival article. This deal is good until March 8, 2014.

What do I need?

  1. Ink Bold Card or Ink Plus Card
  2. Free Bluebird Account

How do I do it?

Overview: From March 2 – March 8, Office Max is having a special where you get a $15 discount when you buy $250 in Metabank gift cards.  There is a limit of two discounts per customer.OfficeMax Gift Card AdStep 1: Go to your local OfficeMax and pick up three of the $200 Visa Gift cards.  Only the Visa’s are on the special. If they don’t have $200 gift cards, you can buy five $100 gift cards instead.  If your OfficeMax only has the $100 ones then you will still make the 3000 UR points but will make $1 instead of $9 due to the additional in fees paid. (5X$5.95 instead of 3X$6.95) 20140306-004431.jpg

Step 2: Buy these three gift cards and the sales associate will scan a code from their sale book that gives you a $30 discount.  The normal price of each of these is $206.95 so your total should be $590.85 for $600 worth of gift cards!  Pay using your Ink Bold or Ink Plus card and you will get 2950 Ultimate Rewards points.

Step 3: From this point on follow our how to use the Walmart Money Pass Kiosk to load gift cards onto your BlueBird for no fee article.

Step 4: Use your Bluebird account to pay off your Ink Bold card as explained in our How to Spend Money without Spending Money article.

Conclusion

If you have an Ink Bold card and a Bluebird card then you should really be able to go to OfficeMax, stop by home to set the PIN code, then go to Walmart, load your Bluebird and then pay off your Ink Bold card all within about an hour.  Do this 3 times before the 8th and you have enough points for a free ticket from Miami to Cancun!

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

How to spend money without spending money for almost free miles!

Update April 6, 2014: CVS has stopped selling Vanilla Reloads with a credit card.  However there is another way to accomplish the same thing.  Check out this article for more information.

One of the biggest concerns when I tell people about earning miles with a credit card is how to meet the spending requirement.  For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred currently has a 40,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonus, but you have to spend $3,000 in 3 months to get the bonus.

For some people, this is a daunting task because they don’t spend that much money each month.  But there is an easy solution that I will share with you today.

Most people are familiar with a PayPal account.  It is sort of an online bank account where you can deposit money then use it for online shopping. There is a similar account called Bluebird that is backed by Walmart and American Express. Here is an article we wrote about the Bluebird account and how to apply. It is free to apply and is one of the most useful tools because it can help you get miles for paying your rent or mortgage!

Today though I am going to show you how to meet your spending requirement for your new credit card easily, safely, and without spending any money!

Back to the example of the Chase Sapphire Preferred with the 40,000 point bonus for $3,000 in spend.  Follow these simple steps.

1. Buy $1,000 in Vanilla Reload Cards

Vanilla Reload cards are available at a number of merchants such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite-aid, 7-11, Family Dollar and more.  We did an article about where in Miami we have personally verified they are available.  You can find a complete list of stores on the Vanillareload.com web site under “Reload Locations” although all locations don’t always carry the reload cards. The reload cards will be in the gift card rack and will look like this:

20121124-224620.jpgTake two of them to the cashier and tell them you want to put $500 on each one.  The total will be $1007.90. Use your new credit card to pay the total.  You may get a call after from your credit card company verifying the charge, but that is somewhat normal since it is a large amount.

2. Deposit the Vanilla Reload cards into your Bluebird account

Go to Vanillareload.com and enter your Bluebird account number and the PIN number which is under the scratch off section on the back of the Vanilla Reload card you just purchased.

vanilla reload newOn the next screen you will put in the account number from your Bluebird card, say you accept the terms and conditions and hit next.  It will bring up a final confirmation screen before the reload is applied to your account.

You will need to do this twice for the two $500 Vanilla Reloads.  Bluebird has a maximum load amount of $1000 per day, so the two that you bought is all you can do today.

 3. Pay off the credit card you just used from your Bluebird account

Log onto your Bluebird.com account and you should see the Vanilla Reloads reflected in your new balance. Click on the Pay Bills button.

Pay Your Rent With Bluebird

Type in whoever your credit card is from in the “Who do you need to pay?” box and it usually already be in their system.

chase bb

Enter your credit card account number in the spot provided so it gets applied to the right account. Put $1000 in the payment amount and hit continue to send the payment.

chase BB pay

4. Repeat as necessary until you have met the spend requirement!

So you would need to do this 3 times over 3 different days to get the 40,000 mile bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred. 3 days are required because you can only load $1000 to your Bluebird account each day.

If you are paying attention, you will notice that you are actually spending $7.90 in fees for each $1000 in reloads so you are actually spending a tiny bit of money.  So with the card we have used in our example, you would have to pay $7.90 X 3 = $23.70 to get the 43,000 points (40,000 for the sign up bonus plus 3,000 for the “spending” you did).  This is almost enough for a round trip ticket to Europe on many carriers so it is well worth it!

So there ya go.  How to spend money without spending money!

 

Get $200 in Gift Cards and 1000 Ultimate Reward Points for $1.90 or less at Officemax

OfficeMax Gift Card 10 off

Officemax is having a promotion this week until June 15, 2013 where if you buy $200 worth of Mastercard or Visa gift cards you get $10 off. Since these are MC/Visa gift cards, there are activation fees of either $6.95 (if your OfficeMax has $200 cards) or $5.95 (if your OfficeMax only has $100 cards).  After the discounts, you will pay $196.95 if they have $200 cards and $201.90 if you have to buy two $100 cards like I did. I took $400 worth of cards to the cashier and got her to ring up the orders separately so I got a discount on both orders.  She did have to look up the coupon in a binder that she had to get the discount. Since I paid with my Chase Ink Bold card, I get 5X Ultimate Rewards points on office supply stores.  Since I bought $400 worth that means 2000 more Ultimate Rewards points for me!

20130611-163927.jpg

If you use your Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus cards then you will get 5X$200 = 1,000 Ultimate Reward Points for your purchase.  You can use these gift cards for everyday spend like groceries or gas or you can deposit them to your Amex Prepaid card or Bluebird and then take it out at an ATM.

I will probably get more of these since paying $1.90/1000 points is a great deal.  Just to put this into perspective, if your OfficeMax only has the $100 cards, then you could get 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points for $114 in fees by buying 120 $100 gift cards (if your Officemax let you buy that many 2 at a time).  If they have $200 gift cards at your store, you could buy 60 of them and make 60,000 Ultimate rewards and PROFIT $183 while doing it!  You could use those 60,000 points for a coach ticket to Ibiza at the end of summer on United since they are a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards. I just checked and there is availability!

Ibiza for 60K

I don’t really expect many of you to go around to 10 different OfficeMax stores buying $12,000 worth of gift cards, but you could do it to get a free or almost free trip! All you need is the Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus cards to take advantage of offers like these because they give you 5X Ultimate Rewards Points at office supply stores.  I will probably end up with $1,000 worth of cards and 5,000 miles from this offer.  Gotta love the points and miles game!

How to get Frequent Flyer Miles for Paying your Rent or Mortgage

rentcheck

To get miles for paying your rent or mortgage you need two things.

  1. A miles or points earning credit card (such as any of them from our Top Credit Cards page)
  2. The free Bluebird prepaid card (see our review of the Bluebird here).

We will talk in another article about ways to maximize your mileage earning, but today we are just going to cover the basics to get your started. For this example, we are going to use our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. This card gives us 1 Ultimate Reward point per $1 spent. There are three steps in this process:

  1. Buy gift cards that total the amount of your rent
  2. Deposit the gift cards into your Bluebird account
  3. Pay your rent or mortgage from your Bluebird account

1. Buy gift cards that total the amount of your rent.

Gift cards are available at a number of merchants such as Kroger, Publix, CVS and more but not all gift cards will work.  We prefer to use the Visa Gift cards that you can buy at Simon’s Malls because they only charge $3.95 / $500 card.  The gift cards are sold at the customer service kiosk and will look like this:

20140610-132751-48471661.jpg Simon Gift Card

For the sake of our example we are going to assume that your rent is $1000 per month. To pay $1,000 you will need to buy two $500 Visa Gift cards with a fee of $3.95 each.  Pay for the cards with your mile earning credit card of choice. You will get 1000 Ultimate Rewards points for the purchase if you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but you can use whichever miles earning credit card you like. You will need to go through the process in this article to set the PIN codes for the gift cards before the next step.

2. Use the Gift cards to load your Bluebird account at Walmart

Both of these options will require going into a Walmart.

A. If your Walmart has one of these ATM looking machines that is working, then follow this article on how to use the Kiosk to reload your Bluebird with a gift card and PIN.

Walmart Moneypass Kiosk

B)  If your Walmart doesn’t have one of the kiosks then you can load at any register, the customer service desk, or the Money Center.  Follow this article on how to load a Bluebird Card at the Walmart register with a gift card.

money center

Bluebird has a maximum load amount of $2500 per day, so if your rent or mortgage is over that amount, you will need to wait until the next day to enter more reloads. There is also a $5000 limit each month on Bluebird deposits so you would only be able to do this for $5000 of your payment each month.

 3. Pay your rent from your Bluebird account

Log onto your Bluebird.com account and you should see the Gift cards reflected in your new balance. Click on the Pay Bills button.

Pay Your Rent With Bluebird

Type in whoever your rent checks are payable to in the “Who do you need to pay?” box and it will prompt you to create a new payee.  Enter all of the information requested.  I actually deposit my rent into my landlord’s bank account each month so I make my landlord the payee then put my address  with a C/O my name on the Address 2 line so the check comes to me to deposit.

Pay Your Rent With Bluebird 2

Click Save and Pay now.  On the next screen you will find a place for the amount and a memo. Enter the rent amount and any memo there. Note it will tell you in the upper right corner what date the check will be delivered by which I have found to be accurate.

Pay Your Rent With Bluebird 3

That’s it! Miles for paying your rent!

Note that this method can be used to pay any bill that you normally have to pay with a check such as electric bills or student loan payments too! Now, open up that Bluebird account and start getting miles! And if you are looking for a great credit card and a 40,000 sign on bonus, then check out the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®.

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!