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Jan 09

The Death of Manufactured Spending (MS)


MS is Dead


I had a plan for a few weeks now about what I was going to write today, it was going to be a discussion on how to utilize credit cards to assist with getting lucrative travel benefits, and no matter how one forms it eventually there will be a question or a subject of Manufactured Spending, or MS.

Manufactured Spending is literally what it says it is — it’s the extra spend that one would typically experience during their normal daily, weekly, monthly purchases.   I’m pretty sure some people make made a full time living out of it.  MS primarily originated in hobby forums, and while not painfully secretive it was not main stream and one had to search and learn the niche of it.  There was always major contention between people on the forums that would take the time and effort to find an opportunity only to have TPG or his brethren post about it on their website, attach an affiliate credit card link and have the whole thing explode like wild fire in drought stricken California forest.

Well — the day of reckoning is here, and MS as it was presented and available to the masses is 99% gone.  The last viable and sustainable method of moving credit card spent around through a Serve/BlueBird Amex card has come to a pogrom-type end this morning, and in one day has generated 20+ page threads on the forums.

But you know what — it’s OK: Because MS was always around on borrowed time. It’s like arbitrage where you do a currency trade 7 different ways and end up making 10$ after heavily leveraging $100 at 1/100 ratio, if you’re lucky.  If you’re unlucky, you get wiped out of your $100 for every $1 of currency fluctuation and in the case of MS in the best case you now have a $5000 credit card bill and you’re trying to figure out what to do with 10 $500 Visa Gift cards and in the worst case you’ve put all your eggs into this basket and quit your day job trying to scam the system for 2-5% return on money invested.

And mainly it’s OK because that’s not what we do and talk about here at Travel Savvy Dad.  And when you come back here the next time there will be a post that gets into the philosophy of leveraging and understanding credit card bonuses, value of points/miles, but they will never be, or I should say that they can never be, the sole way of affording travel.  Credit card companies, airlines and hotel chains didn’t get to be billion dollar businesses by simply giving out award travel and even though they compete for the same finite pool of customers they’re still in the business to make money.

So I ask that you continue to travel this journey with me and let’s continue learning together.


One comment on “The Death of Manufactured Spending (MS)

  1. Stephanie on said:

    Ever since I started “credit card churning,” a few years ago, I have managed to NEVER PAY for airfare. I travel to London several times a year with my husband and all I pay are airport fees and taxes (although these can be quite hefty when flying in and out of Heathrow). I have found two points schemes which I really love, namely Chase Ultimate Rewards and Delta’s Amex miles. Maybe you can talk more extensively about these in future posts. The reason why I like these is because (1) Delta and Chase points are the only points that never expire and (2) you can open multiple cards (for businesses and personal) and combine points between accounts, so the bonuses really add up.

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