Ask Tagging Miles

Have a burning question about points and miles? Wondering if that credit card offer really is a good deal? Not sure how manufactured spending works? You’ve come to the right place! With years of experience in mileage collecting, points hacking, and manufactured spending, Trevor is on your side! Feel free to submit your Ask Tagging Miles question below and he’ll answer as quickly as possible.

56 thoughts on “Ask Tagging Miles

  1. I’ve been in this hobby for a few years now, but have dialed back flying and MSing because the former leaves me feeling guilty (as we’ve discussed) and working on the latter seems like a waste of time.

    Most of my miles/points spending and saving comes through the credit card route.

    I was recently denied my second CSP from Chase for too many new accounts; the first I had 2011-2013 (paid the ann. fee once), then downgraded to regular Sapphire and continued to use it for restaurants until cancelling it in 2014. Have about 35k UR points on the Freedom, and only other Chase card is a sock drawer-ed IHG.

    At what point, for those who have been in the hobby for a while and have gone through multiple card products and issuers, does it make sense to forego 4+ applications over a 24-month period in order to prepare for a successful UR card (CSP/Freedom)? Does it ever make sense? (Note: I’ve shut down some outside consulting I did, so I no longer have a business.)

    Feel free to use this for a full post.

    • Working on a Blog Post for this one. May be a couple days, but I think I have a pretty good answer, just a little more research.

  2. I’m about two years into MSing and I lost my old blue cash because of their updated terms, was shut down on the NBA Amex card and already did the six months of 5% cash back via wells Fargo. Now I’m in desperate need of another cash back avenue. Any advice is greatly appreciated. I’m open to private message as well.

    • @Jason – So as I understand it, there are 2 Wells Fargo 5x cards. One is Cash Back, one is Rewards, both of which offer 5x Rewards at gas, groceries, and drugstores for 6 months. That may extend your opportunities a bit. Also, a limited option may also be the AMEX Everday card, however that’s not unlimited. As far as other 5x, I’m not aware of any. But hopefully the Wells Fargo Rewards Visa gives you another 6 months, so we can figure out something to follow after that.

  3. Hi Trevor, unlike Harvson above — who was of invaluable help in advising that using the US Bank Travel Rewards AMEX Flexperks did not incur any cash advance fees when linked with an AMEX Serve account (and earned points, too) — I am a newcomer to this game and therefore have questions only concerning the “low-hanging” fruit which like most of this sort of activity, appears to continually undergo some sort of change — especially recently.

    With respect to Serve, I have read some anecdotes that one cannot use a Gift Card to load online but a debit card is OK.

    Fine, but what about a hybrid of a gift card and a debit card — by that I mean the Visa Buxx card?

    Now, yes, I have read anecdotes that a US Bank Visa Buxx card can no longer fund a Serve account, as well as that at least in the past, a Nation Wide Visa Buxx card had been used successfully (as did the US Bank Visa Buxx card) to fund a Serve account, as it is not really a gift card, but it is not really a true pre-paid debit card.

    So, might a NW Visa Buxx card still be able to be used to fund a Serve account?

    Moreover, since I am on the topic and the NW Visa Buxx card is the only one left available to a newbie like me, I have read countless posts on this and the other Visa Buxx products — which are not open to me — and still have some questions as to the NW Buxx card’s operation.

    First, there seems to be some divergence of opinion as to whether the $800.00 withdrawal/use cap from your Visa Buxx card would permit one to also then withdraw an additional $200 from an ATM within 7 days of your having hit that $800 cap, assuming that the Visa Buxx card was filled to the hilt with the maximum $1,000.00 it could hold at any one time.

    Not having executed anything with a Visa Buxx card, I don’t know whether the cap of a $200.00 rolling 7 day withdrawal from an ATM is “counted against” that other cap of no more than an $800 use/withdrawal/purchase with the Visa Buxx card within any 7 day time frame.

    In addition, I get that one can only have 2 linked credit cards to a Parent account, and that most people have 2 Teen accounts per parent account — although you can have more — but something that kind of gets lost in the sauce so to speak is the cap on the use of the credit cards for those Teen accounts.

    From what I have read, each linked credit card appears to max out at $1,000.00 within any 30 day period but is that for EACH Teen account listed under the Parent account, or is that for any an all Teen accounts listed under that Parent account? In other words, can that single credit card be used to fund let’s say 2 Teen accounts the maximum $1,000.00 within a 30 day time frame, or can it only be used to fund a maximum of $1,000.00 within a 30 day time-frame, regardless of the number of Teen accounts it may be tied to?

    Thanks much!

    • @Horace – I’ve got to apologize from the start here. I don’t have a Nationwide Visa Buxx card, so don’t have any experience with it. If I recall correctly, you’re limited to $800 in withdrawals per 7-day period, so withdraw $800, wait 8 days, withdraw $200. As far as loading the Serve card, I haven’t seen any reports that you can’t continue to use a PIN-based Visa Gift Card.

      • Thank you very much for your reply, Trevor, I appreciate your candor and will let you know what I find out as I venture forth into the unknown!!

        Well, not really the unknown, as many people have posted on this area, but as I have noted, there have been inconsistencies. As it now appears, the idea of loading NW prepaid Visa Buxx appears to be a no go, however.

        Thanks, again!

        • I meant to write that as of this writing, the idea of loading Serve with the prepaid NW Visa Buxx appears to be a no go, for although there were reports that it was OK to do so in 2014, there have been scattered reports that Serve will no longer accept the NW Visa Buxx as a loading card — this appears to have happened with respect to the US Visa Buxx card and it appears to have now spread so that one is now unable to load Serve with a NW Visa Buxx card.

          From what I have read on FT these changes are recent, and they are not helped by response in that forum that essentially the “NW Visa Buxx is not a true pre-paid card.”

          Of course, it isn’t, but that did not stop Serve from previously accepting loads from it in 2014.

          So, if anyone has any data points or recent information with respect to trying to load the NW Visa Buxx card to Serve, I am all ears, but until then, I will have to go with the anecdotal statements that “of course you can’t as it is not a true pre-paid debit card” and their relative worth — which is not much of anything, sadly.

          • @Horace – understand your concerns… Stupid question, but, is there a particular reason that you’re spending so much time and concern over $1k of MS? Seems like a RedBird would quintuple it, and its pretty easy to liquidate Visa Gift Cards onto it. Then you’d be MSing $5k.

          • Hi Trevor,

            I could not reply to your reply below, so I am submitting it above.

            I’m “old school” and am new to MS.

            I would like to keep it simple with the easy MS opportunities just to pay off bills that I would otherwise not be able to pay off — thus the use of Serve.

            Although I don’t begrudge you guys and gals the techniques that you use, it just isn’t for me.

            In addition, I live in a major metro area where fraud is rampant and from what I have read, many opportunities elsewhere just aren’t the same here — no Kate machines, cashiers checking to see if the names match, etc.

            In addition, I am not interested in all the steps that are involved, much less the likely greater scrutiny to unload gift certificates, etc., not to mention a dearth of nearby Walmarts and although RedBird would be an option, I like the fact that I have linked my new FIA AMEX card directly to my Serve account to pay off those bills that could not be paid off by credit card.

            Of course, my non-credit card bills exceed the $1000 monthly from the FIA AMEX, but that is better than what I had before!!

            In addition, having a SERVE account means no Redbird, so I’m OK with that.

            Anyway, thanks for asking, thanks for answering my questions and thanks for publishing the blog!!!

          • Hey folks,

            I just got a new NW Buxx card and it worked perfectly for me the first time I tried. However, my next opportunity to load didn’t work out so well…I got denied at the register (Kate down at the only Walmart in my area), and the cashier politely told me that it was denied. Tried using it as a Debit card on my Serve (which was probably stupid) online, and that was also a no go. I had to call Serve to get my account unfrozen. The customer rep actually approved my using the Nationwide Buxx as a debit card (even though it probably isn’t quite that), but since then I’ve gotten a message saying my card issuer (NW) is denying the transaction. I haven’t called in, or gone back to the store to test it out yet, but from where I’m sitting it looks like that avenue is dead, at least for me. This all happened within the last 3 weeks (the denial, etc. happened Sunday Night).

          • @David – I have to be candid – I’m not an expert on NW Buxx cards. The best I can offer is that maybe using your NW Buxx card with your serve isn’t the best idea… I know you’re probably trying to go for the lowest MS cost, but perhaps your NW Buxx card could be more efficiently used with a RedBird (if you have access to one, of course if not, that would mean giving up the Serve which may not work), or just getting money orders.

  4. I have a question or two for you, although not really miles/points oriented. My wife and I are visiting Bali for the first time in a few weeks. We will need airport – Intercontinental, Intercontinental – Sanur, Padang Bai – Ubud, Ubud- Hyatt, and probably a couple of days of driver-guide for culture/sightseeing/shopping. Would you suggest grabbing taxis on an as need basis or making arrangements in advance with a specific company or person? If the latter, can you recommend any particular company or person? Thanks! I’m still mesmerized by that beachside picture of Fleet Bar that you took.

    • @Christian – Awesome that you’ll be going to Bali! I’ve found its pretty cheap and much less stressful to arrange for airport transfer with the hotel. You’re getting off of a flight of however many hours, you just want to get to the hotel without worrying. As far as getting from hotel to hotel, I think taxi’s are fine. But always get a Blue Bird taxi, and always make sure they use the meter. Like many countries, not all taxis are equal.

      As far as a tour, when we were at the Grand Hyatt Bali, a few years ago, we hired a car, driver, and tour guide from the hotel-based touring group. It probably wasn’t the cheapest option, but it was ~$100 US for a day tour of Ubud Monkey Forest, up to have some Luwak coffee, and the Elephant and Uluwatu Temples. I felt it was a good value, and again, peace of mind.

      If you liked Fleet Bar – Check out Warung Yasa Segara. Its much closer to the Grand Hyatt Bali, and we felt the food was very good, and prices were reasonable.

    • Dive the Liberty wreck, or dive anywhere, for the love of all that is beautiful. You’re right next to the Wallace Line. I can recommend Two Fish Divers as a serious, well-equipped, well-trained dive team, or Reef Seen in Pemuteran if you make it that far.
      The rest of Bali is much nicer and more interesting than Nusa Dua is.

      On a driver:
      We employed the services of Wayan Kamar (iwayankamar at yahoo) a few years ago and found him a delightful and patient driver; don’t remember how good his English was. I think he sends a friend if he’s not available. He’s mentioned in Lonely Planet, I recall.

  5. Hello Trevor:
    I may cancel my AmEx card soon and need a good suggestion on which program I should move my points to?
    My travel is mainly North & Central America, Caribbean and some Asia.

    • @Juan – if you have the time, I’d wait for another transfer bonus to British Avios, and move them there. Alternatively, Singapore KrisFlyer is a great program, and you can usually get some reasonably good redemptions on United metal through that. Last, I’d offer JetBlue’s TrueBlue program, which is a revenue based program (like Southwest), however, points never expire. So if expiration is a concern, that may be another option. JetBlue also has a reasonably good network in North America, the Caribbean, and some of Central America.

  6. Has anyone (or Trevor) any info on paying, for example, MY credit card bill with my SON’S serve card? Is this allowed or kosher?

    I already managed to elicit too much interest in his serve card from Amex by trying to put money directly onto HIS serve card with MY credit card online, which, it turns out and I did not know, is definitely NOT allowed. Stupidly, I called them on the phone and this generated more interest, rather than less. Lesson learned but am waiting for them to respond to him about his serve card and sending in his DL, etc.

    • @Carl – I don’t have a serve, but I use other RedBirds that I manage to pay my credit card… the bill pay shouldn’t be a problem, if its the same as RedBird/BlueBird.

      • Ok, thanks. I have not tried to load at Kate yet so plan to try A pin enabled GC to do that today. I think the loading directly from the CC though is a bit problematic so even though I like it due to NO fee, I’ll let that slide for now until my son has his own CC with his name on it.

        Tough learning curve in this hobby but lots of blog and comment reading and paying attention is reducing the cost bit by bit. Thanks for the good writing and advice along the way!

  7. Hey Trevor,
    Working through my first FBA sale for an Apple Macbook Air. Went through the inventory process, shipped to FBA and got the received by FBA email. A week later, listing still shows as “inactive”. I call customer support, and they tell me that Apple products are gated. They say the only work around is to change the listing from “new” to “used like new”. Am I SOL here? Am I missing anything? I figured if there was an option to sell as “new” when I created the listing then I would actually be able to sell as “new”. Not to mention that I’m pretty sure the blogs would have mentioned this caveat.

    • @Steve, I’ve never heard of Amazon allowing you to list it as “New” then after you send it in, they change it to “Like New.” Can you tell me which model Macbook Air it is? I can do some more digging?

      • @Trevor,

        Just got off the phone with another FBA representative. I was confused about 2 things. 1), I didn’t realize that Apple products could not be sold on FBA as “new” without permission from Apple. Rookie mistake I suppose, but now that I think about it I think I remember BH mentioning that somewhere. 2) I was further confused on why Amazon lets you list it as “new” and send it in to FBA, but then won’t activate the listing because you’re not authorized to sell a New apple product. Long story short, I have to have then ship it back to me and then I will create a new listing as “Used, like new”.
        Growing pains…but hopefully will be worthwhile after getting through a few sales.

        • That’s really interesting, because I’ve noticed that with some MacBook Air’s, but noticed that you can sell other MacBook Air’s as new, and other apple products can be sold as new. Odd.

  8. Hi Trevor,

    I haven’t really seen comprehensive coverage on applying for business credit cards. Say, I have a business (which I do, though it’s a DBA and not a corporation). When applying for a business credit card for this business, I must tie it to my personal credit file.

    So, can more than one person apply for the same or different business credit card for the same business? Myself and my wife, for instance, both applying for Ink Plus for the same business. I’m guessing no, but haven’t been able to find a definite answer.

    Or how about me applying for a Chase business card and my wife for an AMEX, but for the same business?

    How do banks verify that the business you put down an application is real? Is there a national registry they check with?

    Can a bank I’m applying to see how many other business credit cards the business already has, like with personal credit cards?

    If this stuff has already been covered, my apologies — if you could just point me in the right direction, I’d be very grateful.

  9. Mark, I’ll have a post up tomorrow morning answering your question. You have some great questions and concerns, thanks for asking!

  10. Pingback: Questions When Applying for Business Credit Cards – Tagging Miles

  11. Trevor,
    Do you host meet ups in the wash/Baltimore area, or know of any?
    I would like to learn more and think this would be a good way to learn and to share.

  12. Hi Trevor. I am a 24 yr. veteran teacher that is very interested in reselling. I have a daughter in college and excited about the possibilities. BUT, very nervous. Being a teacher in NC (Sadly ranks 50th in the nation for teacher salaries), I need to make wise decisions on products to resell. Do you have a suggestion of a good place for a beginner to start cautiously, and a few products that would be good to get my feet wet? Thanks for our input!!

    • @Amy, so if you were doing it for purposes of manufactured spending, my recommendation would be far different, than if you were just trying to get your feet wet in reselling. I’d say, first you need to identify what you’re “float” or “initial investment” is… Consider maybe that would be $250-500? With that in mine, you could look Kohls, next time they have a big sale. I haven’t done much Kohls lately, but used to find reasonable deals on blenders or coffee makers (keurigs), just make sure you look through my post on analyzing products (link: and also make sure to download the Amazon App (I’ve got posts on that too). Make sure to avoid gated products – initially, I would advise you not to go with the professional seller account that has a $39.99 monthly fee. The alternative (which I do recommend) is to pay $1 additional per product sold… Do that until you reach breakeven (e.g. 40 products a month). Does that help?

    • Hi Thom,

      Thanks for your question! So, not knowing your dates, I threw some random ones in. 4/24/16 for example, cost for 1 economy seat MIA-LHR-GYD for 35k Avios and $342. So you’d be short by about 15k Avios unfortunately.

      Alternatively, could do $994 on BA World Traveller (Economy), paid, and maybe use the points to upgrade to World Traveller Plus on the transatlantic segments?

  13. Hi Trevor,

    Thanks for you site, is it really helpful. Do you think it would be possible to buy online and ship directly to your own FBA? I would be willing to pay some extra fees if that was possible?

    • Brian – thanks for your question! I believe you can do that for private label products (e.g. have a pallet sent directly to Amazon). Your other alternative is using a Prep, Pack, and Ship company. They are usually in tax free states like New Hampshire or Montana, which is an added bonus. The cost is anywhere between $1-2 per unit. But they don’t always turn around products as quickly as they state.

    • What are the best and easiest ways now to manufacture credit card spend — I need to score some spend and no longer have blue or redbird systems to produce spend. Thanks. G

      • @Glenn – All MS is local, unfortunately, with the death of Redbird and others. That said – this post should give you some of the basics. Essentially your solution is to buy money orders with the visa gift cards, but not all money order outlets will accept debit cards, so it will require some trial and error. Hope this helps!

        • Thanks. Where is a good post that describes where the money order routine may work for starting out. I recall there are limits and ways not to create attention. I only seem to see posts when programs end. I guess I need best practice guidance and ways to start
          Would Simon malls vgc to Walmart money order to bank deposit work ok ?

          • @Glenn – Simon to Walmart MO to Bank Deposit is the most widely publicized one, that should work, but as always Your Miles May Vary (YMMV). Also, I’d recommend after initial tests, you consider depositing those MOs in bank accounts that are not integral to your lifestyle (e.g. I use USAA for most of my stuff, I would never deposit an MO at USAA).

    • @Brock – I do have business liability insurance – I use State Farm, but there are many options out there. It is also an Amazon requirement.

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