Glad you guys are liking these hacks! This one is just for people who live where there’s a Smart & Final, which means just people on the West Coast like me in the SF Bay unfortunately. Can see if there’s an S&F around you here.
For those of you who read my guide to hacking your credit score by getting someone with an AMEX card to add you as an authorized user – this is also for you! Find someone on the west coast near a Smart & Final, and you can use this hack to persuade them to add you as an authorized user, since it’s a win-win: they help you get a better credit score, and you help them get a bunch of free money.
So what’s the hack? In short, you can earn $75 per every AMEX card you have. Normally, this would qualify as earn ‘limited’ money with AMEX and S&F, except for one crucial little detail, which is that authorized users also earn $75. And since you can add unlimited authorized users to your AMEX cards generally for free (minus some super premium cards like the Platinum and Centurion cards), this ultimately equates to unlimited money, hinged solely on how many people you can add as an authorized user.
Basically, AMEX and S&F has partnered up to offer you a $25 statement credit for every purchase of $50 or more at S&F, up to 3 times per card. That means you can make 3 $50 purchases at S&F and get $75 back per each card you have, including every additional cardmember you add to each of your cards issued by AMEX itself (not by another bank).
The brilliant thing here is you can just buy gift cards at S&F and they qualify for this bonus. At the most basic level, you could just buy their Visa and MasterCard gift cards, which can just be used as pure cash, though each card would cost you $5, so that your net earnings would be a $20 statement credit per transaction, or a total of $60 per AMEX card.
There are also swaths of other gift cards that come with zero fees, such as gas station gift cards, Amazon gift cards, Google Play Store gift cards, Apple iTunes gift cards, Southwest Airlines gift cards, and so on.
Personally, I went for a bunch of $50 ARCO gift cards, since I buy gas at ARCO anyway, and inevitably will use up all the gift cards (+ this lets me earn points on my ARCO purchases, which I otherwise couldn’t since ARCO doesn’t let you pay with a credit card normally and even charges you 35 cents per each debit card transaction. Total win.), and thusly this essentially makes all the gas I buy from now on 50% off for the foreseeable future.
Note: A word of warning- while I personally had absolutely zero problems at 3 separate S&F locations purchasing gift cards, apparently others haven’t been so lucky. Your mileage may vary, so use your own judgement and assess your own risk tolerance here.
Also – this offer expires June 30th, 2015 (like all good things in life apparently), so act fast!
So how do you do this hack? Here are the exact steps to take:
1. Gather all your existing AMEX cards, or get a new one. If you’re in the market for a new one, there are two in particular you should consider, on opposite ends of the spectrum. For a no annual fee card that you should keep and hold forever and add unlimited additional cardmembers to for free, get the AMEX EveryDay card here. This is an amazing card that is one of the *only* no annual fee cards, if not *the* only card, that allows you to transfer your points directly to a bunch of airline partners through the Membership Rewards program. What’s more, you get 10,000 miles after $1000 spend when you signup!
For an epic, epic, epic, epic, epic premium card that will give you more benefits than any other card you’ll probably ever open, + will let you add 3 additional cardmembers for free, with no annual fee the first year (normally $450!!), + 25,000 Membership Rewards points if you signup before June 30th, 2015 (DO IT!!), get the AMEX Amerprise Platinum card here.
Frankly, I’m shocked other bloggers don’t hype this card up at all and I had to find it on my own. It’s hands down the best credit card offer out there right now as far as I’m concerned, and I suspect the affiliate kickback to bloggers isn’t sufficient enough for them to let you know about it in lieu of other, more personally profitable cards. But since I don’t get any money for telling you about any of this shit, imma tell you to open this card right now.
In fact, this card is so insanely good I’m going to write a complete blog post just about it, so stay tuned for that. Suffice it for now for me to just tell you to take me on my word that you should open this card immediately and be extremely happy about your life decisions.
Next, everyone should open an AMEX BlueBird card too if you don’t have one already. This isn’t a credit card – it’s more like a debit card/checking account, so you can open it even if your credit score isn’t good enough/existent enough to qualify for any actual credit cards, or if you just don’t want to open any credit cards right now. Since it’s not a credit card, it won’t make a hard pull/inquiry on your credit report, and won’t impact your credit score at all.
There are a ton of reasons you should have an AMEX BlueBird (for one, it makes liquidating Visa and Mastercard gift cards such as the ones you may get from doing this very hack much easier), but for now, it’s reason enough that the AMEX BlueBird is also eligible for this promotion, so you get $75 in free cash just for opening one, with zero downside, so do it.
2. Sync your AMEX card[s] to your Twitter account[s] here (one per account, just make new Twitter accounts if you need more [or alternatively sync your AMEX card to your Twitter account, tweet #AmexSmartFinal, get a response, and then unsync your card here and sync your next card, rinse and repeat]), and tweet #AmexSmartFinal using your Twitter account and make sure you get a response from @AMEXOffers saying that the offer has been synced to your account. To read full terms and instructions for this deal, click here.
3. Go to Smart & Final and buy $50 or more worth of gift cards or other goodies in 3 separate transactions. I would recommend getting 3 $50 gift cards and telling the cashier you’d like to do 3 separate transactions. They’ll be cool with it. Check your email for a confirmation email from AMEX for each transaction you complete. The statement credits should post a day or two after your transaction posts.
4. Repeat this process with every card you have to make $75 for about 5 minutes of work per card.
5. Now get everyone you can to let you add them as an authorized user/additional cardmember on your credit cards (hopefully you have a really good AMEX card with a good credit score, so you can offer them an improvement on their credit score for adding them as an authorized user), and then use their card to get another $75. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum for unlimited money.
I personally did this on my AMEX EveryDay card, my AMEX Ameriprise Platinum card, and my AMEX BlueBird card for a total of $225. Since my wife is an authorized user on my AMEX EveryDay card and my AMEX Ameriprise Platinum card, and also has her own BlueBird card, she also did this hack for a total of $225.
Then, after I realized how ludicrously easy it was to generate free money using this hack, I used my mom’s AMEX Ameriprise Platinum card (also an authorized user on my primary card) for another $75. Then, since I’d helped a foreign friend recently get a credit score by adding him as an authorized user on my AMEX EveryDay card, I used his card for another $75 as well (thanks, Jimmy!).
Total earnings: $600. Not bad for about 20 minutes of waiting in line at S&F.
What’s exceptional about this hack is I didn’t have to open any new credit cards to do it – I already opened both the AMEX EveryDay and AMEX Ameriprise Platinum earlier entirely on their own merits (and have had the BlueBird open for years entirely on its own merits as well). This was just a nice bonus that AMEX decided to give everyone for free, for basically no reason at all. Take advantage of it!