Manufactured Spending 2023: The Complete Guide

With a new year comes a new guide to manufactured spending. Here is an updated guide on manufacturing in 2023!

Points can get you free travel to anywhere in the world including the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabo Pedregal

What is Manufactured Spending?

Manufactured spending e the practice of using a credit card to purchase items or services that can be easily converted into cash, in order to generate rewards or points. This can be done through a variety of ways covered in this blog including the use of gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, and consumer goods. The goal of manufactured spending is to maximize credit card rewards or points, which can then be used for travel, merchandise, or other perks. Using manufactured spending, Jen and I have been able to visit some amazing destinations, stay at breath taking properties, and travel in premium class while flying.

What Manufactured Spending Methods Still Work?

Manufactured Spending methods have really dried up in recent memory. Liquidating pre-paid debit cards have been extremely tough especially if you live in a big city such as San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles. With so many others getting into the churning and M.S.(manufactured spending) game, the space has gotten pretty crowded and many methods such as using money orders as a means of liquidation have dried up. Here’s what still works as on 2023!

1)Drop Shipping Electronics

macbook pro
Photo by Pixabay on

Great way to make a little bit of cash and rack up tons of spend.

2)Bill Pay with Plastiq

Plastiq has once again increased fees which make this a last resort option for meeting a minimum spend bonus. Using Plastiq, you can pay a variety of different bills including student loans. Just remember there is a 2.85% fee so only use this service as a last resort for meeting minimum spend.

Use my referral link to earn Fee-free dollars. No fee on the first $2,500 in payments within 30 days of signing up.

3)Good Ole Visa Debit – Money Order Trick

person holding brown credit card and cellphone
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

This method varies substantially by region, but almost a decade ago, manufactured spending began with the purchase of visa gift cards and liquidating them via money orders. This was highly profitable as many were able to purchase visa gift cards on a credit card that earns 3-5 points per dollar and liquidating them for only a couple bucks. Ironically this method has not worked for me since California is not a very manufactured spending friendly place.

4)Pay Your Taxes

tax documents on the table
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

It’s not a great thing to need to pay taxes, but in the case that you need to pay your taxes, you can pay via credit incurring a minimum of a 1.87% up to a 3% fee. Typically I’ve seen rates under 2% but double check just to be sure.

5)Gift Cards

woman wearing mask in supermarket
Photo by Anna Shvets on

You can purchase discounted gift cards and then use them to make purchases that you would have made anyway. This can be a good way to save money on everyday expenses.

My best way to utilize gift cards is as follows:

  1. Buy a visa gift card during a fee-free or discount promo
  2. Use United MPX or similar app to buy gift card you actually need while earning miles
  3. Spend gift card

using this method I have gotten at least 10x at many stores before cash back portals.

What Manufactured Spending Methods no longer work?

Some methods that may have been effective in the past may no longer be viable due to changes in credit card policies, merchant acceptance of credit cards, or other factors. I’m mainly looking at you American Express. While some methods have dried, most methods vary by area.

YMMV = Your Miles May Vary

1)Fee-Free Visas( YMMV)

Fee-Free Visas promos from office supply stores such as Staples and Office Depot are often high in demand. I’m not sure if everyone who takes advantage of these deals are travel hackers, but I always struggle with finding visa gift cards during these promos. If you’re able to find an office supply store to frequently take advantage of such promos, this is a great way to go.

2)Gift Cards at Supermarkets(YMMV but Good Success Rates)

Not sure what the big reason is, but I’ve had some trouble buying gift cards (non-visa) at supermarkets to maximize Chase Freedom bonus categories. At several different stores, I was strangely told that I couldn’t buy a gift card with a credit card.

3)Money Orders

The money order hack has all but died in most urban areas. Because this method also looks very suspicious and scam like, many places have stopped selling money orders. Other places have required buyers to hand over “debit cards” for extra verification when making the purchase. Anyhow, I have yet to crack this code or I may never crack this one.

Final Thoughts

Manufacturing Spend might not be for everyone, but there is certainly a time and place for every aspiring traveler to employ a few of these methods to meet sign up bonuses. Hopefully, most method continue to workout throughout this year!

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