The Most LUXURIOUS FIRST Class Experience For JUST $5.60

Etihad First Class Apartment has been a dream of mine since literally the day I applied for my very first travel credit card. Words cannot describe how much I obsessed (and still do) over flying in my own suite! I watched YouTube reviews, read blogs, scoured the net for photos of the apartment…(yeah it got a bit unhealthy) Continue reading “The Most LUXURIOUS FIRST Class Experience For JUST $5.60”

Manufactured Spending Flowchart

I have been into travel hacking for about a year and half and I would consider myself an expert having accumulated and redeemed close to 2,000,000 points thank so to mainly manufactured spending.

When you’ve been immersed this hobby for a long time I find it difficult to explain it to others because I don’t even know where to start. To most people, what we do is completely foreign, others would Continue reading “Manufactured Spending Flowchart”

Staples MasterCard Gift cards bought at store and how to use them as debit

I just got a Chase Ink card and could not wait to use it at Staples. I went over to my local store the day the $20 Rebate on MasterCard giftcard purchase of $300 or more. There was plenty of $200 MasterCards on the rack. I got 4x $200 MasterCards and asked the cashier that I pay for two $200 separately (to get the $20 rebate twice. It’s one rebate per household but I will write another post on how to get around this)

The transaction went through smoothly and it drew a smile on my face because I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to be able to buy MC GCs with a credit card – that’s always a plus because not many retailers in my area accept CC payments for GCs (except Simon)

I have done the GC -> MO route numerous times though this was going to be my first time using MasterCard GC’s and I naively thought it was going to be smooth sailing just like it’s been with Visa GCs.

It took me a few minutes to call the number on the back of the card to set a pin.I went across the street to WM and asked for a $800 money order. I did 4 swipes and paid the fee with cash. The register did not prompt me to enter the pin which I thought was weird but it didn’t reject the swipe right away; it just deducted $200 from the total purcahse. I did not think it was strange because I remember using a Simon Visa GC to buy MOs, it seemed to have gone through as credit and it never prompted me for the pin.

Anyhow, everything was going smoothly until the last swipe when the cashier stated the “system” rejected the entire transaction because the payment must be in the form of debit. WTH?! Having a payment rejected is embarrassing especially when there is a line forming behind you but I’ve learned to keep my composure and act cool. I thanked the cashier and left the store.

I remember a while ago how my bank issued debit card had a similar issue and the cashier I dealt with said that I should hit the “Cancel” button on the register if I wanted to use it as debit. With that in mind, I made my way to another WM, asked for a MO and payment to be split on 4x $200 swipes. I swiped the first card and hit the cancel button and it went right to the signature screen; Not good! I asked the cashier if she knew of a way to make the register prompt me for the pin. She said no but she was nice enough to let me experiment with the register. So here I am standing there swiping time after time, trying different buttons and I was still getting the damn signature screen, then on the fifth swipe I finally figured it out!!!

So if you have a MasterCard GC from Staples this is how you get it to process as a debit transaction (note: I have tried this only at WM so I can’t speak to whether this method will work at other retailers)

My WM has the exact reader pictured above


  • Swipe the card and quickly place your finger on the red “Cancel” button. I say quickly because you will have one to two seconds for this to work.
  • As soon as you see “Authorization” and orange spinny display on the screen, PRESS the cancel button.
  • You will then be presented with a bunch of buttons, hit the green “Debit” button and breathe a sigh of relief.

    Let know if this works for you!


Another Free Manufactured Spending Deal

Thanks to Yazing, I came across this American Express deal for fee free Gift Cards when using code ADAYP16.

Shopping for American Express gift through Yazing will yield 1.5% cashback HOWEVER be sure to only buy cards of $200 value or less, otherwise your purchase won’t qualify for cashback.

I bought 5x $200, paying just $8.95 for shipping fees (Note, Amex has another coupon code for free shipping but it can’t be combined with the fee free code; you get to use only one code)

amex fee free card screen shot

And there you have it! Another easy way to meet the minimum spending requirement or MS FOR FREE!

Amex Gift cards aren’t the easiest to liquidate due to not being able to set a pin, thus they cannot be used as debit cards. You can always use them for daily spending, also Pointchaser has a nice write on how to get money orders using ACGs.