While limited, Canadians have access to some manufactured spend techniques. As a reminder, manufactured spend (‘MS’) is where you use your credit card to buy a cash-like product and then pay off your card using those funds. In doing so, you can earn a substantial number of points.
This post will review my three favourite Canadian MS techniques. As a disclosure, I am not fully revealing all techniques, namely to preserve them, and because some techniques have been disclosed to me in confidence by others.
Royal Canadian Mint
This is by far the easiest MS technique in Canada. The Royal Canadian Mint sells special face-value coins at cost. This means you can buy a $200 coin for $200, using a credit card. Right now, you can purchase $2350 worth of these coins ($20 for $20, $25 for $25, $50 for $50, $100 for $100, $200 for $200). Once you get the coins, you simply deposit them into your bank account and pay off your credit card.
Update: This program has closed.
You can use a Visa, American Express, or Mastercard to make your purchase. There is no delivery fee, nor is tax/customs charged on deliveries to Canada or the United States. To get to the full $2350 value, make sure you add the maximum number of all face value coins from the main menu.
I’ve written about this product before. Lots of people have had problems with it (read the comments). While this is, in theory, an excellent method of MS, I’ve had a lot of problems with it. The technology is finicky, ATM withdrawals often fail, and I actually just had a problem where the ATM withdrew $400 from my account, but didn’t give me the cash… which is going to take months to fix.
Credit Card Gift Cards
You can buy credit card gift cards from a number of stores, including gas stations and grocery stores. Some of these products have “reload cards”. This method is pretty obvious – use your credit card to buy these pre-paid gift cards, some of which allow you to take the value as an ATM withdrawal. Some stores will even give you a rebate on your purchase in terms of their own points (think Air Miles or Shoppers Optimum). This method isn’t the best, considering you’re almost always paying a purchase/reload fee, but can definitely be helpful in meeting minimum spend requirements.
At the end of the day, I think the Royal Canadian Mint is by far the easiest and most profitable MS technique in Canada. You can easily do ~ $2000 a week through this method, which translates into a free short-haul flight a month (or a round-trip European flight a year).