A money order is like a check without the need for a checking account. It's seen as more trusted than a check as it's prepaid, and more secure as it can't bounce like a check that has insufficient funds. Money orders are often bought to pay the bills or the rent or to send someone money, but in the world of travel hacking, we buy them to manufacture spend, to generate miles and points.
You can buy a Moneygram money order at a Walmart's MoneyCenter in individual stores for a fee of 70 cents. Moneygram are the nation's largest money order processor and so are reliable and trusted. You can purchase a money order up to $1,000, up to $3,000 per day – by spending more than this, SARs can be triggered.
It's simple to buy a money order at the MoneyCenter using a debit card or cash (you can't purchase them with a credit card) and a prepaid gift card that acts just like a debit card has in the past been the best way to do so in order to MS. In recent times, however, Walmart introduced a new policy of not letting you buy a money order with a debit card that didn't have your name printed on the front, and this seriously affected the game.
This does depend on your local store, though. Torsten's local Walmarts in SF do not let customers purchase money orders with gift cards anymore.
The Walmart registers still accept gift cards – it's the MoneyCenter cashiers who have been instructed to not accept ones without a name printed on. They may accept them to load your Bluebird card, if you have one.
Also, your local Walmart may let you if you have a debit card with your name on. This is rare, but currently the Simon Mall Visa gift card prints the recipient's name on it when you purchase online. The card has higher fees than other gift cards when bought online, but it may be your only chance of using a gift card to buy a money order at Walmart's MoneyCenter. It will depend on the store, though, so don't necessarily rely on this method.
Once you have your money order, you need to fill it out yourself. Write your own name on the 'Pay To' section, then sign it on the 'Purchaser' line and on the back of the money order straight away. Keep your receipt separate to the money order as if you lose it, it can be difficult to resolve without proof of purchase.
You can now deposit the money order into your bank account and use the money to pay off your credit card bill – the credit card you will have used to buy the gift card in order to purchase the money order in order to generate the miles 😉