Ever since we ran our article about how to earn one million miles with just two credit cards I have been asked to lay out a better guide for 'Manufactured Spending'. Given the rapidly changing field, I will try to keep this guide updated.
Table of Contents
Buy Visa/MasterCard gift cards at supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations with your credit card
These cards are issued by MetaBank and US Bank and come in variable sizes. Some stores will refuse credit card payments while others have no issue to accept whatever the register accepts. 'My' stores in the SF South Bay Area usually accept credit card payment up to $5,000 per day (for multiple cards).
To get your money back you can go to the Walmart Money Center and buy Money Orders. While Walmarts in the SF Bay Area had stopped to accept those gift cards to buy money orders in 2014 it seems the cashiers do not care much about it anymore.
I was able to buy money orders with my gift cards n April 2016 again. Be very courteous with the cashier and never buy more than $3,000 in money orders at one time.
Buy PayPal Load Cards (usually at CVS and Walgreens)
The PayPal load cards come with a $3.95 fee for $500 and are widely available in the SF Bay Area at many CVS and Walgreens. Buy these with your credit card – CVS allows to buy up to $2,000 per day (ID required), Walgreens has no limit but many stores allow you to buy just one at a time.
You can transfer up to $2,000 to your PayPal Prepaid MasterCard per month for free and get the money back through cashback in stores (Safeway allows up to $200) or buying money orders at Walmart.
Some people have been shut down if there Paypal account(s) has only been used to withdraw money. Paypal wants to make money too – so make sure you use your Paypal account for lots of small purchases.
PayPal is extremely cautious and running even very legitimate transactions between account holders is a pain once you scale up. I would not touch this.
Square was initially very happy to get transactions going and I never had any issues but I haven't tried recently and have no plans to do so.
Buying Reloadit cards or MoneyPaks with a credit card and loading them to a prepaid card
This is a GREAT avenue but I have yet to find a retailer that lets me buy these cards with a credit card. Maybe there is an option online? If so, let me know!