How I’m Preparing for the #milemadness Manufactured Spend Challenge

If you haven’t heard yet, I am competing in Saverocity’s Mile Madness Manufactured Spend Challenge. The aim of the competition is to see how many points and/or cash back someone can earn in one month by manufacturing spend. The rules are quite simple:

The Game: To set a level playing field everyone will start with a bankroll of $5,000 and credit or debit cards of their choice with which to spend that on. Players must use the tips and tricks that they know to turn that in to as much as possible within the month of March. – Saverocity

The Assumption

The rules state that if purchasing Vanilla Reloads, the entire amount purchased will be “available” to use again the next day even though the money might not have cycled back into the bankroll. This was due in part to the fact that many people in this competition have multiple bluebird cards and other cards to load out to. Taking this method into consideration, the most one person can spend this month is $155,000. (31 days) I highly doubt that someone will actually do that because even though someone can have 10 bluebird cards, they may not have a limit that high across their cards. (but then again, they might) Like Big Habitat stated, most competitors might focus on the bonus categories. This can be a good value for most but to maximize at the 5x level for the Chase Ink Bold, one would have to have 3 of them with absolutely no spending at office supply stores beforehand as the Chase Bold gives 5X for the first $50,000. The next viable option would be the Wells Fargo 5% Cash Back card or American Express Blue Cash 5% Card. Both offer 5% cash back but the Wells Fargo Card has a fatal flaw in which they sometimes hold payments from Bluebird for up to 20 days! Even though the cycle resets everyday for Bluebird, the credit limit on the card doesn’t. This can affect how much someone can spend on the card at any given time. The next assumption would be that someone foregoes Bluebird completely and heads for money orders with the cash back cards. This can be a good option but eventually, it will get tiring taking in 10 $500 cards from CVS to Wal-Mart for money orders every day. Not to mention, the employees might get a bit suspicious. In the end, I think the biggest drawback to someone will be their credit limit more than anything. Everyone has a different credit limit and those with lower limits will have to do more work to keep their limit from going to $0 Available. For example, someone with a $15,000 credit limit will have to make sure that by day 3, their card is showing a $5,000 payment so they can continue to purchase. In addition to all the spending, the fees must be taken into account as well. To “buy” 1000 points from the typical places it will cost the following: (Based on Chase Ink Bold)

  • $7.90 for Vanilla Reloads ($3.95 *2)
  • $6.95 for Gift Cards from Staples or Office Depot ($200 @ 5X)
  • $9.90 for Gift Cards from CVS, Grocery Stores, ETC. + $0.70 Cents for Money Orders @ Wal-Mart ($500 *2 @ $4.95 Each)
  • $0 If someone finds a certain debit card at a store that will sell to them. 😉

As Big Habitat stated before, the total costs in fees alone can rise to almost $5,000. That could be worthwhile for some but I do not plan to spend anywhere near that and i’m sure others in this tournament won’t either.

The Plan

I believe that the best way to approach this challenge is with efficiency and simplicity. Although we are graded based on creativity, we will also be judged on how easy it is to liquidate the money back into the bank. That is why I have gone ahead and started preparing before the challenge so that I can set off running. Some of these preparations include:

  • Creating a separate business bank account to handle all of my cash and money order deposits.
  • Calibrating all the credit cards I plan to use to have my bank account added.
  • Signing up/buying now empty Reloadable Prepaid Debit Cards.
  • Gathering somewhere between 0-20 Bluebird accounts. (My Secret)
  • Mapping out an efficient daily purchase route that includes CVS, Staples, Wal-Mart, Stater Brothers and ATM’s.
  • Clearing out the credit limits on the cards I plan to use.

Many people might wonder how I have so much time throughout the day to do all this. The truth is that I am in college and have an extremely relaxed class schedule this quarter due to being scheduled to graduate in a few months. With that set aside, I know that my competition is extremely fierce and most probably more knowledgable than me in this subject. I wish all who are playing Good Luck & Happy Earning! You can follow me along the way on twitter. I will also be posting updates in the middle of the month with my progress! If you were to do this challenge, is there another way you would approach it? Let me know in the comments below! -BMG

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  • Biggles209

    The math on the fees is inconsistent. VR seems to be correct; Office Supply total is too small (unless the “based on Chase Ink Bold” implies an unstated valuation of UR points) and is completely missing the liquidation fee; Grocery has liquidation fee but it is not in the total

  • HT

    $6.95 for Gift Cards from Staples or Office Depot ($200 @ 5X)

    which means $ 34.75
    maybe adj down by Plink (10 uses only a month= $30 for the month) and if it is a VISA card another 1% off the total cost every time (=$2.07 credit per card).
    What’s the ‘debit card’ – phrasing seems to be missing something at the end of that sentence ?

  • Fanfoot

    Don’t forget Evolve Money for paying off your Mortage. Won’t be a big factor, though another $N,000 is another $N,000.

    You also left out Amex Serve given that it can be swipe reloaded at CVS for $0… Of course since you can only have BB or Serve and you have to load with a CC in your name, it might only be useful to have ONE.

    • Big Habitat

      Fanfoot, paying bills doesn’t count as it goes one way and is not “recycled”. I actually like Evolve Money a lot and would prefer it was in play.

  • Julian

    No, his math is correct. The $200 gift card purchased at an office supply store with an Ink card garners 5x and therefore gets 1,000 points. Therefore, he only needs to buy one card and pay one $6.95 fee per 1,000 points. The gift card can then be liquidated via BB for no cost.