Manufactured Spending for Dummies

No, I do not think y’all are dummies! This is an extra post for the week. One of my readers mentioned on Monday that it would be helpful to give definitions of some manufactured spending abbreviations used in this hobby. I agree. My post on the best cards  suited for this activity was quite popular.

Like it or not, people are interested. Ok, you’ve decided that manufactured spending is the best thing since sliced bread. So, where do you begin? You can follow blogs I’ve mentioned previously, like this one. Or you can go hardcore and start by browsing this thread on Flyertalk. Be aware, you won’t understand most of the terms used. That’s where I come in. Without further ado:

MS  : Manufactured spending. An activity of collecting rewards by leveraging being able to buy money products or funding online accounts with a credit card. Some have actually invented their own term for it like MMR (Milenomics mileage run), essentially the same thing. Actually, Sam from Milenomics is such a brilliant blogger, he could call it MMW (Milenomics mileage walkabout) and get away with it.

BB : Bluebird card by American Express (happens to pay me commission), also referred to as “bird” and “colored bird.”   A channel through which you can funnel your prepaid money products. It’s a middle-man of sorts. You  buy the cards at the store or online, then load them to Bluebird and pay your bills. The bird’s wings have been clipped severely in the last few months, since you can’t buy certain BB compatible money products with a credit card.

AP: Amazon payments. Amazon will let you send up to $1,000 (I think?) per month with a credit card to another person, fee free. Obviously, the whole point is to earn rewards. So a husband and a wife can send it to each other and hit $2,000 in minimum spending per month just like that.

Be aware, you have to select “goods and services” option, otherwise you will be charged a cash advance fee by your credit card company. Of course, it begs a question: What sort of goods and services are you paying your wife for ?

MM : Marathon Man. The man, the myth, the legend. Yes, he has his own abbreviation dedicated to him. Marathon Man is an elusive creature mostly found in gas stations, grocery stores, CVS and Walmart, usually in that order. Is he real? No one knows for sure.

MM is like Elvis, in that even when he is gone, he will never truly be gone. I’m sure there will be  multiple sightings  reported around   the country. If manufactured spending were a religion, Marathon Man would be its high priest.

Wait a second… What am I saying? MS is a religion, and MM is its high priest!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my MS terms guide. Now go and  tell everyone about it. Spread this message far and wide. Marathon Man wants you to.

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4 thoughts on “Manufactured Spending for Dummies

  1. Have you done the Amazon Payments thing? I think that is the only thing I would feel comfortable with, but I’d still be afraid of my account being suspended or something.


  2. Shoesinks, I have never done Amazon Payments personally. I don’t think there is a huge danger, but it’s YMMV kind of thing. I would hate to recommend it to you, and then something might go wrong. What I’ve gathered is the biggest danger is Amazon shutting down your account, not the banks.
    You might want to find a trusted relative who can send money back to you via Paypal. That way it won’t look like you are funneling cash to your own account. I recommend you start with a small amount and see how it goes. The referenced thread should give you the latest updates on AP, since things in this hobby change constantly.


  3. Amazon Payments is my most frequent manufactured spend (MS) every month, especially to ensure I’m meeting min. spend requirements for new card signups. Even if I don’t have a min. spend to meet that month, I won’t let a month go by without sending the wife $1000 (broke up, $350, $350, & $300 in “Goods and Services”), having her withdraw the money to one of our bank accounts…and then me repeating the process of sending her $1000 that month for “goods and services” (although, I’m sure I’m worth more!! 😉 )

    Before Amazon Payments, the only other major MS I had done was the US Treasury $1 coins offer in $1000 lots…but that ended a long time ago after a breaking news story in both the Wall Street Journal and NPR’s radio program told everyone else about it!

    I wish I could really learn to be a better MS and use other options – buy gift cards, etc…pay my mortgage every month ($2k +)…Thanks for the article!!


    • BB, I’m sure you are worth more than $1000! Amazon payments service is the easiest thing to do, no question.
      Also, check out and see if you can pay your mortgage and car payment through it. You could buy Visa gift cards and just pay the bills as usual. Some report problems with it, but for the most part it’s not that complicated. I do recommend website to learn more on various MS techniques.
      Oh, and I was just kidding about Marathon Man wanting everyone to know about MS. He doesn’t!


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