I have three older sisters and one of them plays the points game. She does a little  bit of manufactured spending (I think roughly $500 – $1,500 a month) and she asked me a great question today. “Can I pull cash out of an ATM with my credit card, and then deposit the cash via BlueBird and send it back to the credit card company?” 

Technically you could do this, but it wouldn’t benefit you whatsoever. Here are a couple of things that are flawed with my sister’s idea:

  1. Credit card companies charge a cash advance fee when you pull money out of an ATM. It’s typically a 25% fee.
  2. Cash advances don’t earn you any miles. Therefore, it would be pointless to pull out cash unless you want to dig yourself deeper in debt.
I visited the London Eye via Travel Hacking

By purchasing Visa gift cards on my credit cards to earn miles, I was able to see the London Eye and fly to London first class for a fraction of the cost!

This is why credit card companies frown upon its customers buying gift cards with their credit card. Gift cards are just as good as cash and once they are liquidated into, say an American Express BlueBird account, then you’re free to do whatever you want with the money. The credit card company gets the short end of the stick where they end up giving you miles for the gift card purchase and they don’t get to collect their 25% cash advance fee. It’s a lose-lose situation for the bank and a win-win for the consumer.

In fact, most credit card companies allow you to set your cash advance limit to $0. Depending on the bank, you can either do it online or call the 1-800 number on the back. I would highly recommend this to avoid any unnecessary fees in the future. I would much rather have my card declined versus paying a 25% fee.

If you’re new to manufactured spending and travel hacking, I would check out my  Beginner’s Guide to read up on how you can earn free travel by simply purchasing Visa and MasterCard gift cards with certain credit cards.

It’s a complicated game that’s always changing. My advice to you is do as much reading as possible, start off slow, and follow my blog! I try to stay as current and up-to-date as possible with the manufactured spending game.