Posted by sirtheta on April 7, 2017
Manufactured Spending Stacking

Published on April 7th, 2017 | by sirtheta

44

When Stacking Goes Wrong: The Danger of Percentages & Framing a Problem

Yesterday, I went through an example of how stacking can misleading in response to US Credit Card Guide’s article “Hacking the Cost of an Engagement Ring”, which involved stacking two disparate deals. The other recent example that inspired that response was the (now dead) Office Depot/OfficeMax (OD/OM) deal, which involves stacking one deal. Stacking deals is an area where percentages and fungible money sources can be misleading, so here is a self-contained example using the OD/OM deal. (You can view an instance of stacking gone wrong in this post about the OD/OM deal at Laptop Travel; scroll down to the scenarios where the deal is leveraged further.)

Do note that there are any number of ways to stack deals, and many of them are not prone to “going wrong”—for example, stacking a cashback portal with a Visa Checkout offer with an Amex Offer, or stacking Hilton promotions for 52x Hilton points (some of the promotions mentioned in that article no longer exist).

This article is extremely long and detailed, but I believe it should be fairly easy to skim without losing the point. It’s still probably not for the faint of heart, though! It also makes any number of assumptions that likely won’t hold in the real world; they should all be explicitly stated and shouldn’t affect the math.

This article’s featured image comes from Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0, etc.

Introduction

You can read our full article for the details, but I’ll recap to keep everything in one place. The deal was simple: save $10 when you buy $50 or more in gift cards at OD/OM, restricted to American Eagle Outfitters, Catherines, Fandango, Groupon, MasterCard (MCGC), and Toys R Us. The discount was automatically applied at the register and buying $100 or more actually resulted in two discounts (–$20). Importantly, the limit was two discounts per transaction and mixing and matching gift cards worked (a $25 Fandango and a $25 Groupon gift card could be bought for $40).

The deal was especially lucrative if you used a card that earns a high rate at office supply stores. For the sake of this article, we’ll assume the use of a card that gives 5% cash back.

Initial Outlay – MCGC

The best percentage returns came from buying $100 gift cards, as anything above that still only earned a –$20 discount and they have a $5.95 purchase fee. Since OD/OM $20–$200 variable load MCGC with a $6.95 purchase fee, it made more sense to buy $200 MCGCs – easier to unload.

We’ll consider both possibilities, though, and it works out as follows. A $100 MCGC costs $85.95 and earns $4.30 in cashback – a savings of 18.35%. A $200 MCGC costs $186.95 and earns $9.35 in cashback – a savings of 11.2%.

Stacking the Deal – More GC

Once the initial outlay of MCGC occurs, you could use them to buy more discounted gift cards, whether MCGC or otherwise. Here are some examples:

  • $100 MCGC to $100 MCGC. $85.95 cost, $4.30 cashback, $14.05 left on original MCGC; $118.35 in total. Savings of 27.38%.
  • $100 MCGC to $100 any other gift card. $85.95 cost, $4.30 cashback, $20.00 left on original MCGC; $124.30 in total. Savings of 30.85%.
  • $200 MCGC to 2× $100 MCGC in separate transactions. $186.95 cost, $9.35 cashback, $28.10 left on original MCGC; $237.45 in total. Savings of 21.27%.
  • $200 MCGC to $200 MCGC. $186.95 cost, $9.35 cashback, $13.05 left on original MCGC; $222.40 in total. Savings of 15.94%.
  • $200 MCGC to 2× $100 any other gift card in separate transactions. $186.95 cost, $9.35 cashback, $40.00 left on original MCGC; $249.35 in total. Savings of 25.03%.

Theoretically, you could’ve stack this infinitely. An example with $200 MCGC proceeds as follows:

IterationBuy $200 MCGC with....for (c total)....with Cashback x....giving $200 MCGC +
y left on n MCGC (z total)
05% earning credit card$186.95 ($186.95)$9.35$0, 0 ($209.35)
1$200 MCGC (from 0)$186.95 ($186.95)$0$13.05, 1 ($222.40)
2$200 MCGC (from 1)$186.95 ($186.95)$0$13.05, 2 ($235.45)
3$200 MCGC (from 2)$186.95 ($186.95)$0$13.05, 3 ($248.50)

We can quickly construct an equation and find that an initial outlay of $186.95 yields, after each iteration, $200 (MCGC) + $9.35 (Cashback) + $13.05 × n (MCGC), where n is the number of times you’ve bought a $200 MCGC with a $200 MCGC. (It works the same for $100 MCGC except an initial outlay of $86.95 yields, after each iteration, $100 (MCGC) + $4.35 (Cashback) + $13.05 × n (MCGC).) Ignoring the feasibility of infinitely stacking, we can find the total profit and the % savings by claiming that all MCGC can be transformed into cash at face value with no opportunity cost.

Iteration$200 MCGC + x Cashback + y left × n MCGC% Savings
5$200 + $9.35 + $13.05 × 5 = $274.601 – $186.95 / $274.60 = 31.92%
10$200 + $9.35 + $13.05 × 10 = $339.851 – $186.95 / $339.85 = 44.99%
25$200 + $9.35 + $13.05 × 25 = $535.601 – $186.95 / $535.60 = 65.10%
50$200 + $9.35 + $13.05 × 50 = $861.851 – $186.95 / $861.85 = 78.31%
100$200 + $9.35 + $13.05 × 100 = $1,514.351 – $186.95 / $1,514.35 = 87.65%

When Stacking Goes Wrong – MCGC

Any time you can theoretically manufacture infinite money out of thin air, there’s probably a flaw somewhere. The flaw happens to be the same as that from the Churning & Engagement Rings article: independent events and opportunity cost. Perhaps I’ll refer to this by the fancy term “dependence of relevant alternatives“. Independent events come into play when there is an alternative to using your $200 MCGC to buying further $200 MCGC in a chain—for example, liquidating it to a money order (MO). And opportunity cost comes into play when the alternative involves earning a different amount of rewards.

Let’s proceed with a few more assumptions and then do an example of buying many $200 MCGC with a credit card instead of MCGC. We’ll continue to ignore the feasibility of infinitely stacking. Crucially, we’ll assume the end goal is to convert MCGC to some form of cash. And we’ll assume that you can liquidate all the MCGC from the previous section (the 1 × $200 and the n × $13.05) at full value while you can only convert the $200 MCGC in this section to individual MOs of $199.30. Extremely generous assumptions for the previous section, much less generous assumptions for this section; I introduce this dichotomy to drive home the point.

IterationBuy $200 MCGC with....for (c total)....with Cashback x....giving n $199.30 MO
(z total)
15% earning credit card$186.95 ($186.95)$9.351 ($208.65)
25% earning credit card$186.95 ($373.90)$9.352 ($417.30)
35% earning credit card$186.95 ($560.85)$9.353 ($625.95)

We can again quickly construct an equation and find that each iteration yields a cost of $186.95 × n and $9.35 × n (Cashback) + $200 × n (MCGC), where n is the number of $200 MCGC you bought. (The numbering difference brings the iteration number in line with the variable n; it arises due to the previous section requiring only an initial outlay while this section requires a continuous outlay.) (Also, it again works the same for $100 MCGC.) Ignoring the feasibility of infinitely stacking, we can find the total profit and the % savings by claiming that all MCGC can be transformed into $199.30 in cash. We cut the table short here because the % savings is always the same.

Iterationx × n Cashback + $199.30 × n MO% Savings
5$9.35 × 5 + $199.30 × 5 = $1043.251 – $186.95 × 5 / $1046.75 = 10.40%
10$9.35 × 10 + $199.30 × 10 = $2086.501 – $186.95 × 10 / $2086.50 = 10.40%

So…what gives? Why has stacking gone wrong when the % savings is much worse than in the previous section? Why is this article subtitled “The Danger of Percentages & Framing a Problem”? Because percentages are dangerous when presented without context, or when the problem is not framed correctly.

Our crucial assumption from above (the end goal is to convert MCGC to some form of cash) means that money is fungible, and so is the outlay – even though our brains don’t automatically perceive the situation that way. The previous section makes everything seem simple because you just keep buying $200 MCGCs with $200 MCGCs in a chain. In this section, it seems like each $200 MCGC requires an additional outlay, which destroys your % savings. But because the money is fungible, you could easily consider the new $200 MCGC (costing $186.95) to be purchased with the funds from already-liquidated or to-be-liquidated MCGC. And you can in fact consider this to be in a chain: the initial outlay is $186.95 for a $200 MCGC that is converted to $199.30 cash (at any point now or in the future), and each successive iteration is bought with the $199.30 in funds from liquidating the MCGC from the previous iteration. In this case, instead of the chain leaving a string of $13.05 in MCGC, the chain “leaves” $12.35 in “MO” (cash) ($199.30 – $186.95).

IterationBuy $200 MCGC with....for (c total)....with Cashback x....giving $199.30 MO +
y left on n MO (z total)
05% earning credit card$186.95 ($186.95)$9.35$0, 0 ($208.65)
15% earning credit card$186.95 ($186.95)$9.35$12.35, 1 ($230.35)
25% earning credit card$186.95 ($186.95)$9.35$12.35, 2 ($252.05)
35% earning credit card$186.95 ($186.95)$9.35$12.35, 3 ($273.75)

Now we’re getting somewhere! I won’t bother producing a table of % savings; the z total in this table is directly comparable to the z total in the first table of the previous section. The zeroth iteration (the initial outlay) is –$0.70 compared to the previous section’s zeroth iteration due to the assumption that all MCGC in the previous section can be liquidated at face value. Under this scenario, you gain an additional profit of $8.65 × n over the previous section, where n is the number of times you’ve bought a $200 MCGC after the initial outlay.

The basic thrust here is that % savings can be very misleading because the natural inclination is to frame the two situations in different ways that makes them incomparable. For this reason, it’s a much better idea to focus on the actual numbers.

This also applies to the decision between buying a $100 MCGC or a $200 MCGC (whether for the initial outlay, or otherwise). The 18.35% savings for a $100 MCGC seems better than the 11.2% savings for a $200 MCGC. But the actual profit for a $100 MCGC is $18.35 ($20 discount – $5.95 purchase fee + $4.30 cashback) while the actual profit for a $200 MCGC is $22.40 ($20 discount – $6.95 purchase fee + $9.35 cashback). Because the difference in profit arises from the cash back and the difference in cost is exactly $101, the break-even rate for which one to buy is about 1% cashback, at which point you make $0.01 more on the $200 MCGC. (Note that this occurs due to the limit of two discounts per transaction. It would be more profitable to buy 2 × $100 MCGC, but that requires two transactions, in which case you could buy 2 × $200 MCGC.)

When Stacking Goes Wrong – GC Reselling

The exact same analysis can be done for gift card reselling, and we will use the exact same assumptions.

Iteration 0: buy a $200 MCGC with a 5% earning credit card for $186.95, earning $9.35 in cashback.
Iteration 1: Buy 2× $100 gift cards in separate transactions, yielding $200 in gift cards, $40 on the MCGC, and $9.35 in cashback (a total of $249.35 against a cost of $186.95).
Under the assumption that everything is worth its face value, you “stacked” the deal to get a savings of 25.03% on the gift cards, which would theoretically make you a nice profit if sold at 80%+ of face value. Let’s say you sell them at 90% of face value, netting $180 in cash. Your total is then $229.35 (cash) against $186.95 (cost), which puts your total % savings at 18.5%. Your total profit is $42.40.

Once again the dependence of relevant alternatives comes into play, though. You could liquidate that MCGC and use those funds to buy the gift cards with a 5% card.
Iteration 0: buy a $200 MCGC with a 5% earning credit card for $186.95, earning $9.35 in cashback and resulting in $199.30 in cash.
Iteration 1: Buy 2× $100 gift cards in separate transactions for a total of $160, yielding $200 in gift cards and an additional $8.00 in cashback. Subtracting $160 (cost) from $199.30 (cash) yields $200 in gift cards, $39.30 in cash, and $17.35 in cash back (a total of $256.65 against a cost of $186.95).
Under the assumption that the gift cards are worth their face value, you “stacked” the deal to get a savings of 27.16% on the gift cards, which would again theoretically make you a 7.16%+ profit if sold at 80%+ of face value. Again, let’s say you sell them at 90% of face value, netting $180 in cash. Your total is then $236.65 (cash) against $186.95 (cost), which puts your total % savings at 21.00%. Your total profit is $49.70.

Because we’re using a high % face value for reselling, the problem with % savings does not immediately stand out here, but it still exists. Buying the MCGC and buying the gift cards are independent events, and rolling them into one % savings number cumulates data that should be kept separate. In the second example, if you were to liquidate the gift cards for 80% of face value, your profit would be $29.70 and your % savings would be 13.71%—a clear profit on its face. But $21.70 of that profit comes from the MCGC – the only profit you made from the gift cards was $8.00 from the 5% cashback; this is perfectly fine, but 5% profit is very different from 13.71%. And if you were to do liquidate the gift cards in the first example for 80% of face value, you wouldn’t make any additional profit!

Concluding Thoughts

If you actually read all the words I typed up above, you already know my concluding thoughts (and I’m impressed!). First, be careful about using percentages; ofttimes the actual monetary value of the profit reveals much more information. Second, it’s essential to be careful about how you frame the problem when you stack deals—money is fungible and the way you conceive of the funding matters. And third, you have to keep independent events separate. The last two points deserve particular emphasis.

Questions, comments, etc.? Drop them below.



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Phill
Phill

Excellent Post!

Sam
Sam

Wasting all this good analysis on churning 🙂 reminds me of the guys that are smart enough to go to Ivy League schools, but it end up trying to win the World Series of Poker lol

I do like looking at the details though – good stuff!

Lenny Williams
Lenny Williams

Haha why would you want to pay 100k a year for someone dumber than you to teach you stuff you probably already know when you can just play poker for a living?

Just because they are trying to win the WSoP and not winning doesn’t mean they aren’t making money playing poker at other more profitable tournaments or cash games.

It doesn’t even have to be poker – why would you wast 4+ years of your life going to a $100k a year school when you are smart enough to make money doing anything else?

NinjaX
NinjaX

great article theta. i dont think people think about this too much unfortunately due to traditional tribal mentality that permeates all forums. it would disrupt the very essence of people going balls to da wall on many deals and shatter their inaccurately perceived profit margins.

the worst example of group mentality i see is when people claim “i dont value X at $100 because I would never pay that with my own money. therefore this benefit is not worth $100 of value to me. its only worth $50 for X”. that is the biggest trash i read daily. So a Ferrari at $1MM is not worth that because you wouldnt pay that amount? sure buddy… however, its just too complicated to explain the differences between book value, market value and economic value theories and how those theories tie into price elasticity of supply/demand. maybe someone can do an article on that…

Phill
Phill

Agreed. In essence it seems clever by doing such but you’re only taking away from the “deal.” Whoever did something like this not only took them self out of the deal by buying on top of MCGC with MCGC (also based on the quantity purchased which YMMV on that one) but they also probably took an extreme amount of time out of their life to do so especially since this took tedious effort from a large quantity perspective. Long story short never take away from the “deal” but find other ways to add by using other (r)avenues instead of losing out in the long run from CC award opportunities.

Frito Pendejo
Frito Pendejo

I totally disagree. If you wouldn’t buy a $1MM Ferrari for $1MM, then it isn’t worth it to you, its worth whatever you could sell/trade it for so you have something you *do* value, like fungible money.

Mark O
Mark O

So if you get a $200 gift card for the platinum card you value that at $200 when you could buy the same card for $180? That seems like the wrong way to think about things Ninja. If you wouldn’t have already spent that money then they are making you the sucker….

Shifty Sam Salad
Shifty Sam Salad

I agree with both sides, to an extent. If you devalue your own redemptions as a method of personal finance (to realistically account for your gains compared to your outlays), I see no problem with that. If someone would normally pay $200 for a flight, but paid $400 for a credit card fee to gain a $1000 first class flight going to the same destination, they haven’t “saved” anything and have spent more than they would have. So from a personal finance stance, it makes sense to use realistic numbers based on how you would spend if the game didn’t exist.

However, I think a big part of the game is bragging about redemptions, and, as you said, feeling that you got a deal. It’s fun to tell friends and people online you scored a 10cpp redemption. And thinking that way to yourself makes it fun, at least for me and a lot of people. But it sucks when someone comes in and starts on about how “Well, technically, you didn’t really get 10cpp if you never would have bought that $10k flight, so really, you only got a $1k flight, blah, blah, blah.” It’s a negative “I know better than you and I’m going to shit on you” type of attitude that detracts from the fun of the game, but hey, that’s the internet. The world is full of self-righteous assholes, not going to let them ruin my 10cpp redemption 😉

chaseaholic
chaseaholic

The fallacy of the “hacking the cost of the engagement ring” article was that he could’ve just unloaded the 3 MCGCs for a profit of ~$230 + 1x pts or whatever and kept that money regardless of an engagement ring. At which point he could’ve bought discounted Jared GC’s with a 2% card at the same discount of 10-15% or whatever which he could do regardless of the first part which makes it not stacking, just buying discounted gc’s with a high % back CC – which while smart and commendable, is not “stacking”.

This article somehow falls into a thought trap which I think has made you miss the forest for the trees:

To make this simpler, let’s ignore unloading for now and look at things strictly in dollars. 2 x $100 MCGC for $86 vs 1 x $200 MCGC for 187

Profit for $100 x 2 is : $28 (200 – $86 x 2) and 860 pts. Profit for $200 x 1 is : $13 (200 – 187) and 935 pts.

So we’ve established now that it is significantly more profitable to buy 2 x $100 MCGC’s now as it’s $15 profit for <100 pts. Now if you want to make an argument that unloading 50 x $100's vs 25 x $200's would be god awful that's a fair point and your time/sanity are worthwhile. However, mathematically, it is indisputably more profitable to buy $100 MCGC's with this deal. Whether or not it's worth your sanity/unload costs and time is YMMV.

Geo
Geo

Author of the Engagement Ring post here. Check the comments of Sirtheta’s post from yesterday, but in short I don’t have other liquidation outlets for MCGC

chaseaholic
chaseaholic

Hi Geo,

thanks for commenting back.

anyways I suggest you and physix fan look harder for ways to liquidate GC. I live in an MS wasteland but I assure you (especially for the SC deal) it is possible to liquidate that low volume anywhere.

Geo
Geo

No doubt I could find a liquidation method for MCGC if I tried, but I push enough volume and have a routine with VGC so I just stick with those. I only use MCGC if there’s a deal at Sam’s. Don’t even touch the OD/OM MCGC anymore after many fraud problems.

Jay
Jay

Thought trap? It seems that you’re the one who’s “missing the forest for the trees”.

Your fallacy here is assuming that two transactions ($100 x 2) has the same opportunity cost as one transaction ($200 x 1), which is not true in the vast majority of cases. For example, in my area, there are six OD/OMs. Four of them strictly enforced a transaction limit of 2 per household per day (likely due to a misinterpretation of the actual offer limit of 2), which means that you’d be choosing between $100 x 2 or $200 x 2. The other two actually enforced a transaction limit of 1 (which is really the correct interpretation of the offer limit if you buy at least $100 FV of qualifying GCs, since each $10 discount is one ‘offer’), so that’s either $100 x 1 or $200 x 1 (or $50 x 1, if you want to save yet another dollar in activation fees). It’s been a damn long time since I’ve talked to any OD/OM employee who was willing to continuously ring up transactions over and over again…and it’s really not worth your time, psychological effort or breath to convince the manager to let you clean out their stock.

Yes, it is true that $100 MCGCs would yield a higher margin per $ of initial outlay, but that figure is meaningless since we’ve already determined that initial outlay isn’t important to us anyway.

We’re more interested in the margin on each transaction (or margin on each $10×2=$20 discount, if you want to look at it that way), since that is the limitation on this deal. In this case, $100 MCGC yields $14 + 430 pts per transaction, and $200 yields $13 + 860 per transaction.

‘Course, that extra $100 initial outlay is not actually entirely meaningless though, since it does count towards your 5x card’s annual bonus cap. It is effectively equivalent to spending an extra $1 to buy 495 pts, which not everyone is willing to do if it’s cap-limited.

Jay
Jay

*Meant to say “$200 yields $13 + 935 pts per transaction,” not 860.

chaseaholic
chaseaholic

…what?

this whole post is about multiple iterations of stacking this deal.

Hence it is completely silly to think that using $200 MCGC is in any way worthwhile from a financial perspective as $100 MCGC’s are strictly superior.

Whether or not it was worth doubling the transaction #’s for an approximate doubling of the time and unload costs was up to you.

I know that many including myself were not limited buying multiples and when asked explicitly OD staff none gave answers as to what the transaction limits were.

Jay
Jay

“Hence it is completely silly to think that using $200 MCGC is in any way worthwhile from a financial perspective as $100 MCGC’s are strictly superior.”

“I know that many including myself were not limited buying multiples and when asked explicitly OD staff none gave answers as to what the transaction limits were.”
“I live in an MS wasteland”

Not sure if you’re trolling or not at this point anymore…

Do you really think that most of us would just blindly follow the terms of the offer as written, without pushing it (and the staff) to see how far we could go past the limits? Most MMs and MS deals that come around nowadays are not scaleable if the terms are always strictly followed, so it’s certainly ‘superior’ and logical from a financial perspective to try and get around them.

But no, it’s certainly not a coincidence that the employees at all six of the stores I mentioned seemed to be trained by their manager to aggressively enforce some kind of limit on this particular deal, whether it be one or two. If you have never been transaction-limited, asked to leave the store and/or threatened by the employees at your OD/OMs (whether it be during this deal or all the previous ones), then maybe you need to re-assess your definition of “MS wasteland.”

I’d have happily bought out the entire stock of $200/$100/$50/$20-200 variable MCGCs, $25/$50 TRU and $25/$50 Fandango GCs at all six stores if I was allowed to. Liquidation of even that volume is absolutely no problem for me at all, and I have sufficient credit to tackle it without cycling CL either (assuming that each store only has about 50x of each card type in stock). I don’t care about the “doubling of the time and unload costs” that you refer to; I’d do it no matter what (though I should point out that I never use liquidation methods with upfront monetary costs for VGCs and MCGCs, so the only costs are time and gas). Alas, we can dream on.

But I was only trying to be realistic in defending sirtheta, and for that I apologize if your personal experience differed from mine.

chaseaholic
chaseaholic

MS wasteland as even the PO’s sometimes ask to see the cards and I’m not talking about high volume. WM etc. are all without question look at the gc and disallow it for MO purchasing – some won’t even take gc.com ones…. Most cvs’s, staples / WG / RA around me (not all but most) strictly disallow CC->VGC etc. Multiple of which I’ve even convinced a CSR to let me try and having it be hardcoded.

“I’d have happily bought out the entire stock of $200/$100/$50/$20-200 variable MCGCs, $25/$50 TRU and $25/$50 Fandango GCs at all six stores if I was allowed to. Liquidation of even that volume is absolutely no problem for me at all, and I have sufficient credit to tackle it without cycling CL ”

I think this kind of sums up my point right here as you would easily hit the 5x cap (if your not lying about CL size) at that type of volume. Just clearing out the 100/200’s of a store would easily break 10k…let alone doing other GC’s.

Jay
Jay

Since the commenting system no longer allows nested replies to your latest response (04/07/17 8:35 pm), I’ll just have to post the reply here; sorry if it doesn’t make much sense trying to follow the chain.

The point about your CVS stores not taking CCs is fair enough–I’ve only encountered one CVS store that said debit or cash only, and the rest were pretty happy with credit up to the 1k daily limit.
Not that CVS is that valuable after they pulled out of the 5B program, though. Not much to do there nowadays besides Freedom MS…between my SO and I we’ve got three Freedoms, but the $4.5k cap per year is still pretty weak.

I don’t use POs for MSing and I don’t cash out to MOs anywhere else either, so I wouldn’t be able to understand your pain on that part, sorry.

“you would easily hit the 5x cap (if your not lying about CL size) at that type of volume. Just clearing out the 100/200’s of a store would easily break 10k…let alone doing other GC’s”

No one said that you had to use 5x cards for all the MS during this deal; it was just the example that we used because it was the best-case scenario. It’s certainly still profitable even if you wanted to pay cash like I saw some people in the line do, lol.
In my previous response, by “CL”, I was referring to my total credit across all of my CC lines, and not just my 5x cards. If you really wanted to know though, I was working on my SCP (5% CB) min. spend at the time so I used that for this deal, not my Inks.
If you did the arithmetic with the GCs that I mentioned and my assumption of 50x per card type, you’d see that it works out to just $32.5k per store, or $195k total, which isn’t much when you’ve been churning and keeping everything without an AF for ages.
TBH I’d be surprised if each store only had $32.5k of eligible GCs to begin with though…so in reality, I probably wouldn’t be able to clean out six stores if they were fully stocked.

prussiablue
prussiablue

This is like why you shouldn’t add three independent events of probability 0.5 together and say, “well look there’s a probability of 1.5 that these events are happening together, miracle!”

DrRyan_L
DrRyan_L

LOVE your comment, Prussiablue. Can I make the argument here, as a teacher, I feel that we should be teaching more statistics over algebra? On average a student has 3-4 years of algebra and little stats and people are railroaded with the misuse of stats every day. Enjoyed the post!

James
James

We human beings have a way to overcomplicate things in life unnecessarily, including in travel hacking. I like to quote from a Wall Street exec when explaining the financial crisis of 08, “we always figure out a new and more complicated way to lose money, when the old ways of losing money worked perfectly fine”.

Personally, the financial rewards and costs aren’t great enough to complicate it. If a deal looks good to me, I’ll do it, otherwise, I’d rather focus on my job and other areas of life.

Dan
Dan

You probably should not advertise the buying of MCGCs with MCGCs…

physixfan

The fundamental assumption here is that you can liquidate MCGC easily, which may not be a true statement in big cities…

John Gibson

I would just look at it as total amount made in dollars.

For the 100 MCGC bought with MCGCs you would make $1327.4 and for the same 100 MCGCs bought with 5% earning CC you would make $2240 – the cost of converting it to cash with MO or whatever and the value of your time that you used to convert it to cash.

So, is the work involved in converting 100 MCGCs to $20,000 cash worth $912.60 to you?

Lela, Frugal Nellie
Lela, Frugal Nellie

That’s a much clearer analysis!

Dollars per hour is the best assessment in my book! With limits on actual number of available stores!

Huge variability in determining this number, but it is more often consistent with number of total gcs to unload not with dollars of the cards!

Mike
Mike

I love these type of analytical posts!

Nick
Nick

r/iamverysmart/

CJ
CJ

The entire hack the cost of an engagement ring article is stupid..

You should have turned the sams club gift cards into MO’s and then clicked through gift card granny’s portal to get the rewards and used your INK at ABC Gift card to get 5% you dummy…

Both of those giant articles are so long and dumb…

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