My Experience Trying Reselling as a Way to Increase Manufactured Spending

This is a scheduled post as I am on vacation. I may not be able to respond or approve comments right away. 

I’ve never been huge into manufactured spending outside of the “low hanging fruit” such as Amazon Payments back in the day and more recently with Redbird when credit cards loads at Target were allowed. I’ve dabbled with Visa Gift Cards, Bluebird, Serve, American Express Gift Cards etc. but I no longer deal with any of those as where I live is very manufactured spend unfriendly.

So while I’ve recently sat on the sidelines in regards to manufactured spending with those methods, I have been thinking of trying reselling as a way to increase my spending. A few weeks ago, I saw a few deals that allowed me to try reselling as a way to increase spending for the first time and I thought it would be interesting to share my experience. As you will see below, I broke up my analysis on my actual cash profit or loss on the actual reselling of the item and then separately analyzed the “bonus items” associated with it such as portal cashback, credit card points, rewards certificates and other items to see how I truly did.

Apple 13.3” Macbook Pro (Model Number MD101LL/A)


Buying Them:

I saw a post on Oren’s Money Saver that showed a seller on eBay discounting these to $799 each while Amazon was selling them for $880-$890. Additionally, there was a 15% off code (max discount of $100 though) that lasted only a few hours so I was able to purchase one for $699. I couldn’t use that coupon again but I had a targeted 10% coupon in my account so I was able to purchase a second Macbook for $719.

To make this a better deal, I went through the TopCashBack portal to earn 1% cashback which I was able to get increased to 5% by filing a Best Rate Claim and stating Inbox Dollars had a better 5% cashback offer (this no longer works). At the same time, eBay was running a targeted bonus eBay Bucks campaign in which you could get 10% back in eBay Bucks so that was $80 back per Macbook (it was based on listing price of item, not price actually paid). Lastly, I would earn 1,418 SPG Starpoints from my credit card which was my new American Express Starwood Business credit card (and this helped to meet the minimum spend on the card).

Selling Them:

I sold the Macbooks through Amazon’s FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) service which was was my first experience with them. It was quite easy to ship the MacBooks to them and let them handle everything else. Here are the results:

I was able to sell these for $850.99 each via FBA as prices dropped on these MacBooks. After Amazon fees of $56.37, I netted $794.62 for each one. The Amazon fees include shipping the MacBooks to Amazon which was only $4.32 each thanks to deeply discounted UPS pricing with Amazon FBA.


  • Total Cash Inflow on item (Revenue) = $1,589.24
  • Total Cash Outflow on item (Expense) = $1,418.00
  • PnL Before “Bonus Items” = $171.24
  • Value of TopCashBack Received = $80.00
  • Value of Credit Card Points = $28.36 (I value SPG points at $.02 each)
  • Value of eBay Bucks Received = $160.00

Total PnL = $ 441.60

Apple iPad Mini 3 – 16GB Space Gray


Buying Them:

Best Buy was having a 4 hour flash sale where these iPad Mini 3s were $175 off (normally $399.99) so I picked up 2 of them for $224.99 each + tax. My total cost including tax (shipping was free) came to $244.40 per iPad Mini. Amazon was selling these at the time for around $300.

To make this a better deal, I went through the TopCashBack portal to earn 1.25% cash + I would earn 449 Best Buy Points which are worth about $9 when redeemed for a Reward Certificate. Additionally, I would earn 489 miles from my credit card which was the Barclays Lufthansa Miles & More card (I wouldn’t recommend this card normally but I am trying to meet the minimum spend on the card at the moment).

Selling Them:

I sold the Macbooks through Amazon’s FBA service but for these I wanted to see the difference if I sold them myself via Amazon without using FBA. I’m not sure I made the right decision here but here are the results:

Of course by the time I went to sell them, the prices went down and I was only able to sell these for $265.99 each + I received a $5.49 credit for shipping. After Amazon fees of $17.50, I netted $253.98 per iPad mini. Since I sold these myself and not through Amazon FBA, I still had to pay to ship these to my buyers who were of course on the West Coast (I am in Long Island, NY). Shipping was $11.05 for USPS Priority mail – I chose Priority mail over Standard Post as it was only $.75 more.


  • Total Cash Inflow on item (Revenue) = $485.86
  • Total Cash Outflow on item (Expense) = $488.80
  • PnL Before “Bonus Items” = ($2.94)
  • Value of TopCashBack Received = $5.62
  • Value of Credit Card Points = $4.88 (I value Lufthansa miles at $.01 each)
  • Value of Best Buy Rewards Certificate = $9.00

Total PnL = $16.56

Final Results:

  1. So how did I do overall? I did really, really well on the Macbooks as I was able to make a nice profit before even counting all the “bonus items” such as the eBay bucks, credit card points etc. On the iPad Mini 3s, I didn’t do as well as I took a loss on the actual product (though a quite small loss at $2.94) but I made a profit if you count the “bonus” items.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is the time involved. I don’t think it was too time intensive though I spent the most time boxing & labeling items and driving around to UPS/USPS to ship these items. That probably took an hour or so plus the time to buy the items, list the items for sale and followup with buyer’s questions or order updates. Overall I’d estimate my total time at 2-2.5 hours total. For the amount made on the iPads, this wouldn’t be worth my time but is definitely worth it if I can find another deal lik the MacBooks. 

Will I continue doing this? In short, I’d like to but I am going to set a goal for myself to make sure I earn a profit of at least 10% on the actual reselling without having to count the credit card points, cashback or other bonus items. By only looking at deals where I think I’ll turn an actual profit reselling, I won’t get caught up in too many deals and it will allow me to focus on more valuable deals. Of course, this may or may not feasible as it could be a while until I find a deal that meets this criteria but I am ok with that as I don’t NEED to do this – it’s merely an avenue I want to explore further when it makes sense for me based on my criteria.

Our Awful Experience Trying to Get to the Park Hyatt Maldives

Update: I got to speak with the Hyatt General manager via phone while waiting (and major props to him for that) and he was told it was due to technical difficulties. I told him that wasn’t true as I was able confirm with the staff here that exact same plane flew us back to Male. So it was unsafe to fly 15 minutes to Kooddoo but safe enough to fly 45 minutes back to Male?

I’m writing this post as I need to vent about our awful experience trying to get to the Park Hyatt Maldives – in fact we still aren’t there yet and I’m back sitting in the Moonimaa Lounge in Male for the second time today. Let me explain.

To reach the Park Hyatt Maldives, you first need to fly into Male international airport, then transfer to a domestic Maldivian airlines flight which make a stop at another airport before reaching Kooddoo. Once at Kooddoo you have a 30 minute boat ride direct to the resort.

Today started off great as we flew Emirates 652 DXB-MLE in first class with suites (there was a late aircraft switch) and we landed at 3pm local time in Male. Our flight to Kooddoo was scheduled to depart at 5:15pm but unfortunately was making a “20 minute” stopover in Kaadehdhoo. At 5pm we were informed our flight was delayed 30 minutes and would take off at 5:45pm which it did. So a small delay but nothing to complain about.

We landed in Kaadehdhoo at ~6:30pm and about half the passengers deplaned as many of them were going to the Six Senses resort. The pilot announced the stop would take 20 minutes or so and everything looked fine at this point so we could fly the 15 minutes to Kooddoo. Around 7pm, we were still on the plane with the door open and we could tell something was wrong as the ground staff and pilot were discussing something intently. Finally, we were informed there was an additional 30 minute delay and they escorted us off the plane into a waiting room at the airport.

It is 8pm now and the waiting room is filling us as new passengers are arriving to the airport who were schedule to depart for Male. We are finally told boarding will begin but the plane was going BACK to Male instead of continuing on 15 minutes. We were given no explanation and when we asked the flight attendant all we got was “there a flight schedule change”.

What?!?! We have finished one leg of the flight and NOW they do a schedule change? I’ve never heard such a thing! So without any choice, we flew back to Male and landed a little after 9pm. So 6 hours after I got to Male, I am right back after flying a roundtrip to Kaadehdhoo for no reason. The best part was landing in Male and the staff having NO idea what to do with us (a woman comes on board and goes “more than 8 of you?” and runs off obviously not prepared for us). Finally someone has the wise idea of leading us off the aircraft to the lounge which is nothing to write home about.


Our new flight time is 11:15pm (which is about an hour from now) so I’ll be sure to update this post if any further delays or mishaps occur. With the Park Hyatt being 1 hour ahead, we are not expected to arrive now until close to 2am. This isn’t at all the Park Hyatt’s fault but it does leave a sour taste in my mouth as this is suppose to be a relaxing trip and this hasn’t been a great experience thus far. Is a 6+ hour delay & taking a domestic flight for no reason the worst thing in the world? No, its not but any fanfare or joy of arriving will now be focused on getting to our room as quick as possible and gong to bed.

Thanks Maldivian Air!

End Rant.

Reminder: Today is the Lasy Day to Transfer Amex Membership Rewards into British Airways Avios at a 1:1 Ratio

Starting tomorrow, October 1st, the ratio to convert American Express Membership Rewards points into British Airways Avios will increase from 1000:1000 to 250:200. In other terms, transferring the same 1,000 Membership Rewards Points will only net you 800 British Airways Avios starting tomorrow (10/1). It is important to note that the transfer ratios from Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1) and Starwood (1:1, could be 1:1.25 if done in 20,000 mile increments) remain unchanged and are obviously more favorable going forward.

Not after today!

Not after today!

This is an unfortunate devaluation for me as my main use of American Express Membership Rewards points were transfers to British Airways for short to medium length flights on American Airlines domestically or the Caribbean. I’ve been struggling with how many, if any, points I should transfer over before the ratio changes as between my wife and I we are sitting on close to 400,000 Membership Rewards points. I’ve also transferred MR points to Delta and even Hawaiian (though that won’t happen again) in the past so I’m not totally dependent on using them for British Airways. Furthermore, there are additional partners such as Singapore or Air France where I could see myself transferring a fair amount of points for a premium cabin award in the future.

My real hesitation for transferring points now is I lose the one aspect of these points that make them so valuable and that’s the flexibility component. Membership Rewards points can be used for flights across all 3 major alliances + several independent carriers (JetBlue, the Virgin family etc) so I’m struggling with the idea of tying up a good amount of these points for a very specific use – American Airlines flights either domestically or to the Caribbean. On the flip side, I don’t think I’d want to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards or Starwood points over unless I needed to top off my account for an award flight. I use all my Chase UR points for Hyatt/United redemptions since there is no other feasible way to obtain a mass amount of points for those two programs. For Starwood, I’ve been using points for transfers to Alaska Airlines or for hotel stays at mid-tier Starwood properties which can represent a great value.

In the end, I decided to transfer a very small amount of my overall MR balance to British Airways. My wife just picked up the 100k British Airways Avios offer and combined with our existing balance of Avios, I decided to “top off the account” so I would have enough Avios to cover several roundtrip flights on AA. The amount transferred was less than 5% of my MR balance so not a huge number but enough to make me feel comfortable based on my projected future travel needs with Avios. In the event I need more Avios down the line, I can always hope for an Amex transfer bonus, dig into my Chase or SPG stash or if those aren’t realistic options just bite the bullet and transfer points at the devalued ratio.

It’s not such an easy call to speculatively transfer points without an actual use for them so I’m curious is anyone making a speculative transfer today ahead of the deadline?

Our Sunday Night Mini App-O-Rama – 175,000 Points for $95 in Annual Fees

For whatever reason, some of my most popular posts (and maybe other bloggers can weigh in if this is true for them as well) are posts about the credit cards we chose to apply for. I wonder if its a phenomena of “well that blogger applied for it, so it must be a good deal and we must follow!” Or maybe just curiosity to see what the “experts” are doing? I always find it interesting as what I chose to apply for will most likely not be the right solution for you. We are all at different stages in the points/miles game with different needs for points/miles based on our current balances and future trip goals. I’m happy to share what I’ve done but please remember I am an experienced travel hacker with years of knowledge and I understand the risks involved. Do not apply for credit cards just because I did!

As some of you might recall, my wife’s latest round of credit card applications was back in early July and she just about hit the minimum spend on all of them. While I like to stick to a 91+ day application cycle (others will say this is not necessary and they are correct to an extent but this is what I like to do), we will be away for the next two weeks starting Thursday (2nd anniversary trip woohoo!) so I wanted to complete a small round of applications for my wife. Here is what she applied for:

Card 1: Chase British Airways Visa Signature – 100,000 Avios – $95 Annual Fee


I posted about this offer when it came out last week and let me stress, this card is NOT for everyone (see that post for why). It works for us because we live in an AA hub and we love using AA miles to fly to the Caribbean for cheap. We’ve been to Antigua and Puerto Rico in the last year using Avios for 20,000 Avios roundtrip instead of using 35,000 American AAdvantage miles. The other big reason to get this card for us is the upcoming devaluation of Amex Membership Rewards transfers to British Airways. While we could still transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to BA, I like using my Chase UR points for United & Hyatt so picking up a 120,000 Avios (including the spending requirement) will not force us to rely on flexible rewards from either Amex or Chase.

Card Details:

  • 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000 in 3 months
  • 25,000 additional Avios for spending $10,000 total in the first year
  • 25,000 more Avios for spending $20,000 total in the first year (so 100,000 total Avios if you spend $20k or more in a year)
  • 3x Avios earned on British Airways Purchases
  • 1x Avios earned on All Other Purchases
  • $95 Annual Fee (not waived)
  • Travel Together Ticket after $30,000 in spending in a calendar year 

Neither of us have had a British Airways credit card before so I didn’t have to worry about the 24 month rule nor does Chase’s 5 recent inquiries rule apply on non Ultimate Rewards cards (the rule does apply to the Chase Slate however) as my wife would have failed this requirement. She applied online and got a message asking to call Chase right away to verify some information. She called and after moving some credit lines around from other Chase cards, she was approved.

Card 2: Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature – 75,000 Hilton HHonors Points – $0 Annual Fee


This offer (which expires today by the way) is the highest ever on this card that I am aware of. I actually got this card for myself last year when it was 60,000 points but this offer is obviously better. My wife has just shy of 100k Hilton HHonors points now so this will be a nice little infusion that will cover a few nights at mid tier Hilton hotels.

Card Details:

  • 75,000 Hilton HHonors Points for Spending $2,000 in 3 months
  • No Annual Fee
  • 6x Points earned at Hilton Family Properties
  • 3x Points earned at Supermarkets, Gas Stations & Drug Stores
  • 2x Points earned on All Other Purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Silver Status (basically you get 15% bonus points that’s about it)

It’s a shame Hilton devalued their program a few years ago but the program isn’t totally dead for our travel needs. I like that this is a no annual fee card that my wife can keep and it ensures will she will always have some status with Hilton, even if it is only marginally worth something. She applied online and was approved instantly.


This was a quick and painless round of applications that netted us another 175,000 points for $95 out of pocket. I’ve been waiting to apply for the British Airways card until a 100k offer returned and while it is a bit more spending than I’d like, I have no doubts I’ll accomplish it within a year especially with  some new reselling venues I’ve started to get into (post coming once the items sell and I can calculate my profit).

The Citi Hilton makes sense (especially with the bonus at its highest point ever) for us since we tend to stay in Hiltons that average 40,000 to 50,000 points a night so we will hopefully get 2 nights out of this signup bonus. At the worst, we get one night and some leftover points but my wife will now finally have a no annual fee card from Citibank that she can keep forever. This will help her establish a better relationship with Citi as she has been cancelling many of their cards before the first year is up.

*As always, this post contains does NOT contain any affiliate links*

Roundup of Current Free Points & Money Offers

Over the past few days, there have been several offers out there for free points and cashback for certain members or cardholders. I figured I would put together a quick post that summarizes each offer in one post.

1) $15 Statement Credit for Chase Sapphire & Chase Sapphire Preferred Cardholders – Through 9/30/15, Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred cardholders who make a purchase using Visa Checkout at a participating merchant with their respective card will receive a $15 statement credit within 1-2 billing cycles. There is a limit of one $15 statement credit per account (unlike the recent American Express offer which was a statement credit for each merchant and thus you could earn multiple statements credit per account). Some of the participating merchants include Newegg, Fandango, UnderArmour, Pizza Hut, Staples and more.


Since the terms do not indicate a maximum purchase, you could purchase a cheap $.49 cent game code from Newegg using Visa Checkout to make a profit of $14.51 which is exactly what I did. Of course you could also buy something you need from a participating merchant and use this to take $15 off the purchase. Just remember to take advantage of this before 9/30/15!

2) 500 Free IHG Points – IHG is offering members 500 free IHG points if you link your IHG Rewards credit card to your online profile by October 31st. This might be targeted (though the terms don’t explicitly state that) as several people received an email about this offer but I think it is worth a shot to try it anyway. Worst case you don’t earn anything while best case you earn 500 points for linking your IHG MasterCard to your profile. The terms also state if you already have your IHG card linked you would receive the bonus points (again assuming this is not targeted) so no need to unlink it and relink it. While 500 points isn’t a lot, it will reset the expiration of your points.

3) 200 Free Starwood Starpoints – Starwood is promoting the use of their SPG Dashboard which is an online tool that tracks all your historical stays, summarizes your account activity and offers exclusive promotions when using the SPG Dashboard. When logging into the SPG Dashboard, most people are reporting seeing an offer for 200 free points if you opt in to receive emails from Starwood.


If you don’t see this offer displayed, check your SPG profile and see if you are already subscribed to receive emails from Starwood. If so uncheck all the boxes to unsubscribe, sign back into the SPG Dashboard and you should then see the offer appear for 200 free points. I did exactly this for my account and it worked. As with the IHG offer, 200 points isn’t much but does serve as a great way to extend the life of your points.