Considering Pure MS vs. Resale

Pure MS vs Resale

I’ve seen a few twitter conversations this week about pure Manufactured Spending (MS) vs. Reselling and MS in general, as far as time/value of MS. One was with @Milesabound who’s argument was that reselling just doesn’t compete with MS, unless reselling on a significant scale. My argument was that in some cases, it can make sense.

In retrospect, I kind’ve agree with @Milesabound with respect to the ease of being able to scale MS. However, I stand by my opinion of reselling, for two reasons:

  1. Reselling affords the opportunity to leverage portal bonuses to a greater extent
  2. Reselling provides the opportunity to receive cold hard cash, in addition to cash back.

The argument

While I will completely agree: If the sole purpose of the miles and points game is to generate miles/points specifically for travel, then yes, you will likely best off with pure MS.

If however, you are looking to put the time in to potentially receive an out-sized reward, then I would argue for reselling.

Think about it this way: I’m not a stock broker or a stock trader, but, pure MS is like buying an index fund. Greater stability (at least in theory). Reselling is like stock picking. You shouldn’t dare go for stock picking, or reselling, if you are unwilling to put in the time. But, lets say, you just want to pure MS, you’re looking at a maximum of 5% return (5x), really its less, because as you scale, your ability to liquidate becomes more costly. I’m specifically vague here, because I assume that either you, the reader, know what I’m talking about, or will visit Saverocity Forums to research, because quite honestly, if you aren’t willing to research, you probably shouldn’t be MSing, let alone reselling.

Back to Reselling

Just like stock picking, reselling has inherent risk. If you leverage portals, you can mitigate that risk, and potentially see a significantly higher multiplier than pure MS. Look at how I pursued the Southwest Companion Pass, with updates here, and here. I went through the Southwest Rapid Rewards Portal, I bought e-gift cards with 9x, then went back through the Rapid Rewards portal, and bought product, receiving essentially 19x (9*2+1 for the card) Rapid Reward points. The best I see through pure MS is 5x.


I think its great to have a debate and difference of opinion. There isn’t necessarily a right answer. Yes, one way may generate a higher multiplier than another way, but if you can’t leverage that higher multiplier efficiently, it is outweighed by the increased time commitment.


8 thoughts on “Considering Pure MS vs. Resale

  1. If you can only find a 5% margin for resale, I don’t think you are looking hard enough…

    5% taking a real risk if you don’t move enough product for returns to average out as a small percentage…

    • Flyingpig – thanks for your comment. I may not have been clear enough. I was comparing 5x as that’s the highest credit card spend category I am aware of, vs. reselling, where you can do portals of significant numbers. I tried to leave the discussion of margins vague, because they vary, and require significant research. I can tell you, I am finding that I can get 20%+ margins.

  2. The miles/points game is similiar to the stock market; it pays to diversify and not have all your eggs in one basket. I find that doing both (reselling and pure MS) actually compliment each other in that the $$ made from reselling offsets the fees I can incur doing MS, as well as pay for the extras during our vacations that miles/points dont cover.

    I agree with your point regarding the portal bonuses too: I’m only about 10,000 points shy of the southwest companion pass simply by using their portal for buying reselling deals from Sears/Kohls etc in the past 30 days. And, thats not counting the miles earned via the CC used to pay.

    • Dan,

      You make great points. Diversification is really the key. As far as your pursuit of the Companion Pass – I hope you make it soon! Within about a day of the points hitting, I was able to change some reservations and save a few hundred dollars!

  3. I don’t bother with reselling. Just too much time needed with too many potential pitfalls
    I stick with straight MS. Predictable results and scalable.

    • I think it really comes down to how much time folks want to contribute to it. I’m married with no kids, and my gracious wife supports the hobby, so, sometimes reselling makes a ton of sense. That said, we do MS as well.

  4. It also depends on your geography. GCs are a problem where I live. My WM won’t load Bluebird at the register, won’t sell money orders w/ more than one debit card, and Kate is constantly down. My local Family Dollar can’t load Serve. However, my local Staples and Best Buy are extremely generous w/ coupons and coupon matching. I do the basic MSing w/ Amazon Payments, Serve online, and Evolve,and am lucky to have a Rite Aid nearby that will sell Paypal Mycash, but I’m more limited in that arena. However, I’ve been killing it w/ reselling.

    • You’re completely right – geography makes a huge difference. Glad to hear you’re doing very well w/ reselling!

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