The more you spend, the more points you get right? Obviously that’s easier for some than it is for others. But… what if you could spend at a level that’s 10,20, maybe even 50x your income, earning points for every purchase and then somehow manage to convert all the spending back into cash, like it never happened? You’d be a points millionaire, without needing to be a cash millionaire…

Wait, What?!

Manufactured spending is a “next level” mechanism for earning massive points and miles via credit cards. Through tricks and techniques which largely live “offline”, the savviest travelers spend crazy amounts of money, knowing that they can convert their purchases back into cash. This allows them to spend a multiple of their annual income, on a monthly basis. Aside from the complexity of manufactured spending, there are more straight forward mechanisms to earn crazy points, such as reselling, though they require greater effort. Essentially,ย buying things which can be resold at equal or greater value, often gift cards for certain chains, which have been purchased at a discount. For a complete rundown of the most common techniques, check out this utterly fascinating post

Of course, if you want to earn more points without this crazy stuff, just pay attention to category bonuses when you spend, like 5x back at grocery stores with Chase Freedom…

Let’s Take An Example…

Credit card companies LOVE spending. That’s because they get a transaction fee from the merchant for every purchase. For that reason many loopholes have never been closed. These savvy travelers, some with perhaps only $20,000 of annual income will spend $20,000 in a MONTH,ย perhaps covering meals for friends, buying gift cards and converting them to cash, purchasing mall gift cards at a discount and selling them, all the while netting a cool 250,000 or more points per year. These wizards are constantly developing new ways to convert credit card purchases back into cash, sometimes relying on just a single local store which still “works” to complete the trick.

So These Sharp Spenders Go On INSANE Free Vacations…

So people literally go on insane free vacations, which cost more than their annual income. If someone earns hundreds of thousands of points per year through these techniques, many even making money in the process, they can then book those insane first class, private suite plane tickets and massive hotel room vacations you read about and when they say “free”, they mean it. Of course they won’t tell you how they racked up all that spending, but that’s another story…

But There’s A War Going On Here…

The more that’s known on the topic, the more avenues get shut down, the harder it is for these savvy spenders to succeed. If someone’s winning, someone is probably losing. Certain gift cards, such as an Amex gift card now often cannot be purchased using a credit card in many stores, partly to prevent things like fraud, but also to prevent people from turning credit card purchases into cash. If you want to really get involved, you’ll have to attend a session like a Frequent Traveler University, where no cameras or recording software are allowed, and nothing ends up on the internet…

So How Do They Spend So Much?

There’s risk involved here. Significant risk. If you have a limited income and used thousands of dollars of your available credit to purchase something which cannot be converted back into cash, you’re going to seriously struggle to pay your credit card bill. It’s definitely not a game for amateurs and extreme (and I mean extreme) research is required before starting. With that said, there are certainly more and less ethical ways to participate.