Posted by Chuck on June 21, 2019
Manufactured Spending

Published on June 21st, 2019 | by Chuck

101

[Update] Reports: Simon Mall to Make $1,000 Visa Available to Churners via U.S. Mail with $3.95 Fee

[Update 6/21/19: Frequentmiler reports hearing from Simon corporate that this information is inaccurate, and it’s NOT possible for churners to buy $1,000 Visa gift cards. I’m a bit skeptical given the multiple sources of these reports; it’s possible that it’s being considered or that it’s in the process of being formulated. It’s also possible it’s not meant to be a change in corporate policy, rather a change on an individual level; as reader Ric noted, once you have five orders they’ll review your account and approve it for higher limits and the $1,000 cards. Of course it’s also possible that it’s completely inaccurate, I guess we’ll see.]

Pointchaser reports that Simon Mall locations are said to be in the process of enabling miles-and-points enthusiasts the ability to buy $1,000 Visa gift cards with a $3.95 purchase fee, shipped via U.S. mail.

It’s been known for long that Simon Mall carries $1,000 Visa gift cards which are available to corporate customers. From what I’ve heard, it’s not easy for just anyone to get into that corporate program. Now, it appears Simon Mall will allow those interested in racking up credit card points the ability to join the corporate program.

The corporate program is available both in-mall and online, I believe, but the report indicates that we’ll only be able to signup for the online option which has the cards sent via mail. Some may prefer the store option for security while many others prefer the mail option as they aren’t near a mall location. I don’t know if there are shipping fees on top of the $3.95 purchase fee.

This policy is said to be coming to Simon Malls nationwide. Regular gift card buyers will need to join a special mailing list. This could be done in-store or online.

In addition to the ability to buy $1,000 Visa gift cards, the program will also run “special promotions” for regular gift card buyers. I imagine this will be things like lower fees for limited times, e.g. $2.95 fee during holiday season.

This new program has not been publicly advertised yet, the information is coming from various Simon reps. I’m inclined to believe it only because we’ve seen Simon reach out to the churner community over the past number of months (Frequentmiler has been reporting on that); this is another move on that front.

Reader Ric adds: “I have confirmed with Simon Mall, and They need you to have a purchase history of at least five orders prior to approving higher limits and $1,000 cards. They will happily review your account order limits.”

Reader Philip adds: Shipping fee is between $.47 and $3.75, depending how many cards you order (1-10).

Hat tip again to Pointchaser



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Rob
Rob

Wouldn’t it look suspicious to cc companies to purchase 1k ? someone able to ELI5 how to MS this properly

Zachek
Zachek

More suspicious than when I used to buy $10k every trip?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

Why would it look suspicious? They don’t have any problem when I buy $9600 at a time.

ABC
ABC

Using which cards?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

Chase, Amex, Bank of America, Capital One regularly, other issuers for sign up bonuses only

escot
escot

Really, AMEX? Are you serious, or joshing? Though we’d heard regular reports of Amex red-flagging Simon Mall gc purchases? If not, I’d be tempted to mix in some Simon gc spending while meeting “Brilliant” Bonvoy 25K match….

Zaos
Zaos

Amex is fine with you buying there, but don’t expect to get anything out of it.

Mimi
Mimi

This is true based on a lot of DPs on FT and reddit that I’ve read. Reports say they did NOT even get the base points at all meaning….nothing was gained for the purchase made. Those who are skeptical about this, feel free to try and those who already did, check your May earnings to see.

Joe
Joe

You don’t meet MSR with amex. It won’t work.

Also, I believe that amex doesn’t give points at all for simon mall purchases. I didn’t get any credit with my hilton cards trying to meet the free night status late last year, and read another data point more recently for MR points.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

I met a few Amex bonuses with Simon purchases. My local Simon mall was sold a year or two ago, about the same time Simon purchases stopped working for the sign up bonuses. Bought probably $100k+ on Amex cards through GCM in the past year, then went on vacation for a couple of weeks. Now I’m seeing that people aren’t getting any points at GCM anymore with Amex.

Mimi
Mimi

There are also DPs of purchases made at Simon.com tied to GCM that people did NOT earn even base points, try it and see if you have a counterDP.

Logan

How do you MS ~$9600? Is it all through Simon? How do you liquidate?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

The same way you’d liquidate any other VGC. If you’re not familiar with the process, read through the forums on Flyertalk and reddit to get a feel for the process. I doubt you’ll find anyone to hold your hand and walk you through the process as that’s called “spoon feeding” and generally looked down upon.

Here’s the basic resource from reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/churning/wiki/manufactured_spending

BigL
BigL

This is awesome…if true

Debit
Debit

Would prefer cards with names. Perhaps reloadable online using a credit card for a fee.

MrObvious
MrObvious

You might look into GCM, GC.com, or Serve cards.

Eric
Eric

Basically a debit card that can be loaded with credit card for a fee. Revolutionary

Michelle
Michelle

I miss my Visa Buxx cards.

Andrew
Andrew

Isn’t it possible to rewrite the strip on an old card you’re not using any more? I feel like I’ve seen the devices online for $100 or so that allows you to program write/erase magnetic strips on card. For big big spenders it might be worth it. Request an authorized card or say that you “lost one”, rewrite your extra card with the bar code info from one of the VISA gift cards, and then spend that. Now obviously places that are hard coded to not accept the cards probably will still fail, and I wouldn’t get an old Amex card and then run it as a VISA, or use an expired card, but I highly doubt many employees would look very close at the card as long as it processed correctly, especially if you’re using it for something legit, like paying rent or a mortgage or something. I’ve thought about trying this, or buying one of those fancy cards with eInk or something that allows you to store like 5 cards on one physical card (that basically was DOA since they didn’t support chips and just came out a couple years ago). However, I’ve avoided doing this kind of manufactured spend past one intro bonus on a Chase card a few years ago because it sounds like now too many companies pay attention and flag or shut down accounts, or places stop taking certain cards and crack down on selling money orders, etc

Ann
Ann

Having a physical card that doesn’t match the last-4 of the number its stripe is encoded for sounds like a great way to end up in big trouble if you get a store employee who wants a close look at your card.

lilurbanachiever
lilurbanachiever

Andrew, you are actually writing about falsifying a legal tender. Are you that delusional ? ‘Obey the law’ – Chris Rock (c).

Ric
Ric

I have confirmed with Simon Mall, and They need you to have a purchase history of at least five orders prior to approving higher limits and $1,000 cards. They will happily review your account order limits.

Dana
Dana

After 5 purchases, would they automatically raise your limits? What’s the timeline on this? Do I need to push it to further review?

escot
escot

purchase history as what? Sure, I’ve bought many more than five “orders” at various Simon Mall counters? Do they keep track of these purchases — as “orders”? Or is referring to orders as a certain category of customer?

FP
FP

I’m assuming this applies to online only? I doubt they’re keeping track of in-store purchases even though you have to fill out that form every time. I imagine it just gets thrown into the back of a drawer

Ric
Ric

This applies to corporate accounts and online orders only.

Debit
Debit

Also amazing the about turn in Simon’s attitude. Why can’t the idiots at walmart and the grocery come to their senses.

I would be willing to do a background check if they then allow me to buy without limits. But idiots won’t do that. Just be under strong notion that they are stopping fraud.

sevillada
sevillada

it’s because of the scammers that we can’t have nice things

86
86

At one area Walmart a year or two ago, a person working in the MC told me they didn’t allow debit gift cards to purchase money orders because of the potential for “money laundering”.

sevillada
sevillada

it’s great to be loved

Sam
Sam

Am I missing the angle at buying these? I don’t get bonus spend with Simon and I thought most/all liquidation routes are long gone?

rick b
rick b

At the very least, since WM limits you to one transaction per visit, you can now knock out 4x $1000 MOs in one visit. It increases your efficiency. With shipping and handling fees, those 1K cards aren’t quite half the price, but still it lowers costs too, thus increasing MS profit.

MSer
MSer

But such presumes your local WM accept gift cards – many don’t. The usual giveaway is when you try to split payment and then are asked to show cards. $1K could come in handy for militant stores where you could ask for $1K MO and only need one swipe.

rick b
rick b

That’s exactly it, $1000 card gives you much better chance to slip under the radar. The anti-MS stores have been trained to look out for $500 splits. They won’t think twice when a random amount like $995.75 slips through.

JT
JT

Nope not missing anything. Buying GCs from Simon always has been a waste of time. Move along.

FP
FP

Compared to what? It’s great when you’ve maxed out your bonus categories anyway.

Ann
Ann

I suspect he was doing the obnoxious thing that you see more on Reddit and Flyertalk where people intentionally spread misinformation to drive away people who aren’t already ‘in’ on it.

Alli
Alli

“Regular gift card buyers will need to join a special mailing list. This could be done in-store or online.” Can you link that to join?

Ric
Ric

You need a corporate account and also have a purchase history of at least five orders prior to approving higher limits and $1,000 cards. Once you reach your fifth order they will review your account.

Alli
Alli

This article reads that one is able to join the corporate program by joining the in-store or online mailing list. You are saying you already need to be a corporate member. I am asking how you become a corporate member?
“From what I’ve heard, it’s not easy for just anyone to get into that corporate program. Now, it appears Simon Mall will allow those interested in racking up credit card points the ability to join the corporate program. The corporate program is available both in-mall and online, I believe, but the report indicates that we’ll only be able to signup for the online option which has the cards sent via mail.”

Mimi
Mimi

You are correct, it is NOT that easy to be approved for a corporate account by any random MSer. I read they ask for biz documents and those with real businesses can easily provide them.

From what I understand, even those with real biz that get approved are told the $1K corporate GCs are not meant for a single purchase and these will be closely monitored so that non compliance may result in closure of account. It’ll be interesting to find out if they will enforce their T&C.

SideShowBob233
SideShowBob233

Any chance they’d take Mastercards to $500? Why are they limited to $250 in the first place?

David
David

Why do I feel this is something that will kill MS?

Pwd847
Pwd847

Agreed!

Hodor
Hodor

Are there that people who have or are likely to get Simon corporate accounts?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

I have a corporate account. What do you want to know?

slowbrake
slowbrake

How to get one.

Real business needed? Just an LLC/Tax ID? Just ask the rep to “Can I sign up for a corporate account”?

I haven’t used the mall because it’s a solid 30 minutes out of my way, but I’ll make that trip 5 times to get a mailing option

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

Pretty sure you need a real business. I think I made one order, asked for the $1000 cards, ordered once with a bunch of $1000 cards. Was told when they upgraded my account to buy the 1k cards that they watched them closely and if I liquidated them immediately, they’d withdraw my ability to get those cards.

There was a shipping fee and processing fee. Buying from GCM turned out to be cheaper once portal cash back was taken into account.

I haven’t used it in a while.

Tyler
Tyler

So I’m assuming you did liquidate them. How long did you wait?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

I liquidated them immediately, but they were 5-back cards and the program was still working, so I spent them at Lowes, BBB, etc. I didn’t buy any money order directly or load to Serve/BB.

Ann
Ann

So you spent the GCs in a relatively normal fashion, multiple transactions per card, rather than the kind of ‘liquidation’ they were warning against?

cowsareverywhere
cowsareverywhere

Nope, I have a Corporate account with just an EIN and made with MS as the reason for opening the account.

slowbrake
slowbrake

Thank you for the answers Curmudgeon.

Thank you cowsareverywhere for your input as well.

Mike
Mike

FrequentMiler has been having these regular sit-downs with Simon and the most important update comes from Pointchaser?

Kyle Shanahan
Kyle Shanahan

your 1st problem is assuming that he knows anything other than how to pump CC apps. He was never an MSer only someone who could steal someone else’s ideas and post them.

escot
escot

are you referring to Greg, Frequent Miler? If so, you’re quite misinformed. (and missed his multiple posts with insider access to Simon execs) OTOH, if you’re referencing Ariana the “point chaser,” she indeed has had a tendency to be wildly off base, flagrantly push the ms envelope far beyond the reason of mere mortals, flatly contradict herself, (from one month to the next) then blame and attack her readers/critics….. yup, that’d be “pointchaser.” Maybe she’s got this one right…. but knowing the way she then will brag incessantly about 100k ms runs, she’ll have a lot to do with ruining the party too.

Mimi
Mimi

I was surprised Ariana admitted her friendly WM in Norcal that allows her to buy $10k per visit doing $2k/trxn to accommodate 4 swipes per trxn, she said there’s a new rule people have to go back to end of the line for multiple trxns.

Kyle Shanahan
Kyle Shanahan

If you are taking advice from “Greg” you arent very sharp. He isnt creative just following the path that has already been carved.

Crazy Dog Lady
Crazy Dog Lady

IMO Greg was one of the few who actually carved the path.

Philip
Philip

Total game changer. Shipping is $3.75 BTW

MrObvious
MrObvious

Now we just need them to pay cash back via portals!

GreenTea
GreenTea

I don’t understand the incentive for them to do this. Presumably they’re paying the interchange fee, which would be more than their fee and shipping. Unless they have a special extra low rate or get their own swipe fee when the card is used, what’s their motivation? Does anyone know if they’re somehow not losing money on this?

n0n0n
n0n0n

i believe retailers get a portion of the gift card sale, so it must be more than enough to cover processing (and shipping if it’s free).

J
J

From what I know (mostly a Flyertalk post), they get 6-9% per card they sell.

James
James

Does it earn 5x on any cards?

jed
jed

nope

Jeff
Jeff

Does Walmart allow $1,000 swipes for MOs?

Debit
Debit

Yes

Mimi
Mimi

There’s lesser chance of scrutiny with 1 swipe for 1 MO, including fee. I’d just buy $999 MO and drain the 12 cents to WMgc at SCO. As always, YMMV.

HT
HT

Mimi, what is SCO?

dan
dan

HT self check out

kcihtred2
kcihtred2

wait do wm sco auto drain?

John
John

Didnt they restrict SCO to $5 minimum on gc relod?

Ann
Ann

So buy a banana instead.

Mimi
Mimi

There are some NMs that set min load limit to WMgc at $5 so I cancel trxn but so far in different states I’ve tried, most took as little as .01 for reloading.

IME sco registers come up with prompts to input amount to load/reload WMgcs. I noticed all registers autodrain a WMgc when I choose it for full/partial payment; VGCs may possibly autodrain, too.

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