Manufactured Spend on the United Club Card

I don’t usually go into details of how I manufacture miles and points.  There are other bloggers that specialize in this, and I also do not want to publicize fragile methods that I don’t want to disappear due to too much exposure.  I don’t mind talking about dead deals, or zombie deals that are on their last legs.  This post discusses a method that is on its last legs.  I’m posting it to explain this method to curious friends and family.  Yes, this is for you whose eyes glazed over as I was trying to explain what I do.

I have had the United Club Card for almost a year now.  I have been putting a lot of spend on it to earn United miles.  Before I got it, I had had my eye on this card for a very long time, because spend on the card earns 1.5 United miles/dollar.  Since I value United miles at 1.6¢ each, each dollar I would spend would earn almost 2.5¢ worth of value.  The card also gives lounge access not only to United clubs in the US, but Star Alliance lounge access abroad.  The only problem was the $395 yearly fee (now $450).

united club card

Now, I will pay a yearly fee if I can get a lot of miles.  For example, I paid a yearly fee of $450 last year on the AA Executive card because the sign on bonus was 100k miles, and I’m paying a $450 fee on my newly acquired American Express Platinum card, because the sign on bonus was 100k Membership Rewards.  However, the United Club card has never had a sign on bonus, so I always looked at it longingly from afar.

Late last fall I found an application for the Club Card with no annual fee, and I jumped on it.  I put a lot of spend on it, and I gladly used the Star Alliance lounges on our trips to Greece.  One of my spending methods I used was to load money onto USBank Visa Buxx debit cards.  You can load these with a credit card.  It costs $2.50 to load $517.50 via credit card.  The debit cards are then unloaded via the usual methods, ie., Bluebird or money orders.  Each load using the Club card generates 776 miles at a cost of 0.32¢ per mile.  Not bad for miles that are worth 1.6¢ each to me!

But in the Hobby all good things come to an end eventually, and we got served notice that the program was ending in October.

usbank visa buxx

It will be business as usual until October, which will very nearly coincide with the anniversary date on the Club card.  At this point, Chase will ask me for a $450 fee to renew, and I will politely decline.  I will cancel the card or downgrade into something with no annual fee.

2 thoughts on “Manufactured Spend on the United Club Card

  1. I do the offset method. I will go to WM, buy 2, $500 VGC’s with my United Club, then I buy 2 $500 VGC’s with my Spark. So The $10 Profit I make from the Spark purchases offsets The $10 I Pay for The Club Card purchases.

  2. I haven’t heard this expression “offset method” before, but I like it! We can’t buy VGC’s with CC’s anymore at our WalMart. Our BlueBirds have also been shut down, so liquidation expenses have gone up. Glad you’re still active with this.

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