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The New Gift Card Churning Arbitrage Opportunity With Triple Dipping Possible Quadruple As Well

While the site, Gyft, may not be that new, it is new to me and there appears to be an arbitrage opportunity to gift card churn. You know me, I love gift card churning.

gyft

 

The arbitrage opportunity is obviously purchasing a gift card and reselling that has a high resale value. Easy as pie.

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New Ritz Carlton Sign Up 2 Weeks After 140K Offer

On the heels of Lazy Travelers and Doctor Of Credit posting about the 140,000 point sign up bonus without the annual fee waiver, Chase and Ritz Carlton rolled out a really, really crappy sign up offer.

 

ritz_complimentary_1night

 

They’re offering one night as the sign up bonus. Wait, there’s more! The night can be spent only up to Tier 4 hotel. Last I checked, there were 5 tiers. In essence, this is a 60,000 point sign up bonus.

ritz_carlton_tiers

 

Noticed the stark differences between the 140k point bonus offer? The offer is for a night stay e-certificate.

Complimentary Nights Stay after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months:

This new cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this consumer credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months.To qualify and receive your Free Night Stay E-Certificate, you must make Net Purchases totaling $2,000 or more during the first 3 months from account opening. (“Net Purchases” are purchases of goods and services made by you or any authorized user on your account minus any returns or refunds, and do not include balance transfers, cash advances, cash-like charges such as travelers checks, foreign currency, and money orders, any checks that access your account, overdraft advances, interest, unauthorized or fraudulent charges, or fees of any kind, including an annual fee, if applicable.) After qualifying, please allow 6 to 8 weeks for your Free Night Stay E-Certificate to be automatically deposited into your Ritz-Carlton Rewards account. Free Night Stay E-Certificate is valid for hotels in categories 1-4. For participating category 1-4 locations, log on towww.ritzcarltonrewards.com or call 1-888-696-0394. The E-Certificate must be redeemed within 6 months from date of issue. E-Certificates may not be transferred, extended beyond the expiration date, or re-credited for points. Annual fee applies. For pricing details, please see Pricing & Terms.

 

To add additional insult, the annual fee is not waived.

Thoughts

This card would be comparable to the 140,000 point sign up offer if it said you can use your certificates for all hotels in the Ritz chain regardless of the Tier like the Chase Hyatt card. It definitely hedges you against point fluctuations when the hotels change categories.

An awesome sign up bonus for 140,000 points should be your sign up because the points give you the extra flexibility to utilize the Marriott Travel Package

Important Posts from This Week You May Have Missed

This has been one crazy week! We saw news about an 8% credit card, sadly it’ll be going away next year.

 

 

Credit Cards

Trevor from Tagging Miles points out the new AMEX Platinum benefit. He also found a great targeted British Airways offer in his inbox as well. Be sure to check your inbox!

Speaking of British Airways, Kenny who writes on Miles4More first posted about the British Airways transfer bonus

Travel

Matt thinks IHG buying Kimpton is great news! I have to agree with him too, now I could spend a night at Kimpton without spending a dime (but it won’t be any time soon)

Manufactured Spending

Free-quent Flyer hosted Doctor of Credit about funding checking accounts with a credit card. This is an update to the post that Doc wrote for me.

Other Bits

Don’t forget to check out two posts from me earlier in the week, automating your telephone calls and changing your PINs automatically (for US Bank issued gift cards)

There’s also a Swagbucks giveaway! (New members only). I’ll have a giveaway next week. Stay tuned.

Here’s a tip I did not know that I never saw on TopCashBack. They match percentages! Thanks Chuck!

If you’re in NYC this weekend, and spend $250 at Columbus Circle, be sure to check out Will Run For Miles’ post

 

 

New 5x Kid On The Block But Finding Information Is A Blackhole

Just want to put this out there, thanks to my buddy @ PF Digest for always looking out for the obscure banks and credit cards and inspiring me to do the same.

The Awesomeness:

Northfield Bank is very regional with select areas of New Jersey and New York. They’ve partnered with First National Bank and have a very generous 5x card similar to Chase’s Ink series, except Northfield has one-upped Chase in the 5x category. I’d like to add that First National Bank is issuing some insane cards lately.

Business Edition® Visa® Card with Absolute RewardsSM

The Business Edition® Visa® Card with Absolute RewardsSM allows you to earn points with every dollar in qualifying purchases.† Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, even cash back in the form of a credit to your account.

With Absolute RewardsSM every dollar spent is a reward for you!

  • 5 POINTS PER $1 SPENT on qualifying business expenses (up to $25,000 during each 12 billing cycle period).

  • 2 POINTS PER $1 SPENT on qualifying gas and dining transactions (up to $25,000 during each 12 billing cycle period).

  • 1 POINT PER $1 SPENT on other purchases.

  • No annual fee.*

  • Competitive rates.

  • Separate business and personal expenses.

  • Online access to view transactions, pay your bill, view up to seven years of prior statements and more!1

 

As a product, it rivals with Chase’s Ink Cash, with the 5x up to $25,000 and differ slightly on the 2x category. Northfield Bank does Chase better because they practically allow you to earn 5x on all utilities if you can pay with your credit card. From their Terms and Conditions:

“Qualifying Business Expense Transactions” are “Qualifying Credit Card Transactions” made at any merchant whose merchant category code (“MCC”) is classified by the payment card industry as “Telecommunication services” (MCC 4814), “Cable and other pay television” (MCC 4899), “Electric, Gas, Sanitary and Water Utilities” (MCC 4900), “Computer Maintenance and Repair Services, Not Elsewhere Classified” (MCC 7379), “Advertising Services” (MCC 7311), or “Stationery, Office Supplies, Printing, and Writing Paper” (MCC 5111).

 

See that? They include pay television as well as your regular utilities. In addition, did you see computer maintenance and advertising services? That’s similar to American Express’ Business Rewards Gold.

The Blackhole:

I can’t find any information on what you can redeem the Absolute Rewards. I’ve called Northfield and First National Bank for additional details and no one can seem to provide anything. I’ve also sent them a message online, but have not received a response in over a week. It’d be an absolute waste generating 5x and each point is worth only $.002/point because it’d effectively be a 1% cashback card.

 

Exchange Your Gift Cards For Miles With United Is Back

When I first started writing this blog, I wrote about exchanging gift cards for United miles with Plastic Jungle. Then I followed up a couple of times about Plastic Jungle, once if they were going out of business and lastly they had a silent death where CardCash/ABC Gift Cards bought out Plastic Jungle.

The good news is CardCash/ABC Gift Cards has brought back the trade the gift cards to United miles program:

united_gc_exchange

 

In the top graphic, you will notice the third option, exchanging your gift cards for United miles. I was eager to see what it was available. The landing page is exactly like it once was:

united_giftcardexchange

 

Here’s the list of retailers they “accept”:

Stores
Aldo Shoes
American Airlines
American Eagle
Armani Exchange
Athleta
Barnes & Noble
Bass Pro Shops
Best Buy
Brooks Brothers
Cheesecake Factory
Columbia Sportswear
Cracker Barrel
DSW
Fye
GameStop
Home Depot
Hot Topic
J. Crew
JoS. A. Bank
Kohls
Macys
Nordstrom
Office Max
Overstock
Pottery Barn
Puma
Saks 5th Ave
Sears
Southwest Airlines
Starbucks
Sur La Table
Target
Ticketmaster
Toys R us
Urban Outfitters
Victorias Secret
Walmart
West Elm
Williams-Sonoma
Yankee Candle

I use “accept” loosely because when you start to type in some of those names they won’t pop up for you to sell in the following pages. Here’s your returns on the gift cards:

united_giftcard_miles_2014

 

 

If you type in “walmart” to sell, they will not accept it.

 

united_giftcardexchange_walmart

 

 

Instead, they’ll take Walgreens which is not listed.

united_giftcardexchange_walgreens

 

The entire UX (User eXperience) is poor. They are using a javascript to automatically populate the gift card company name and is pretty annoying. I type fast and can hit the backspace pretty quickly. Try doing this with some of the autofill when you enter the card information.

 

Conclusion:

To get back on topic, the site has always claimed at “minimum” you will receive X number of miles, but I have always seen a fixed number from the graphic they post. Because of this, the gift card arbitrage opportunity here is to buy the least valued gift card and sell it through the Gift Card Exchange. My favorite kind of arbitrage, a floor price.

I hope they(Cardcash/ABC Gift Cards) bring this back for the US Bank Flexperks, it was the one reason why I signed up for the Flexperks credit card.

I also find it absolutely comical that they’re accepting American Airline gift cards to convert into United miles. In the previous iteration of this, all other competing air carriers were off limits