Manufactured spend is a great way to make minimum spends on new credit cards and pad your mileage accounts. For those not familiar with the term, it's essentially using your miles/points earning credit cards to purchase cash equivalent products that you can then redeposit to pay off the original credit card obligation. Although there are many ways to do this, one of the best tactics that I've used has been fee-free Chase Gift Cards.
Originally, you were able to purchase $2600 worth of Chase gift cards in a 30 day period. This limit was good for each Chase credit card you had, which is great for me as I have seven cards from Chase. After loading the cards with the maximum amount possible, I would assign a PIN number to each card and liquidate the funds in a variety of ways. Many of these tactics cost nothing such as using Amazon Payments, loading a Bluebird card or getting $200 cash back on "debit card" purchases at Safeway. Others required a small fee, such as purchasing money orders, and using bill-pay services at Walmart locations.
Having several Chase credit cards, this practice of buying gift cards from Chase was a great way of padding my mileage accounts with 10,000+ points a month, so I'm very sad to see it go. However, since we all have till September 22 until they discontinue the program, I'd suggest loading up one last time. As with everything in the travel hacking game, when one opportunity goes away, another one usually comes to fill its place. Anyway, you can find the page to buy Chase gift cards here: