May 16th, 2014
Gift cards that have evolved.
I’ve written about Evolve Money several times this year. It’s a great service that’s intended to let you use debit cards to pay bills like your mortgage, property tax, auto loan, health insurance, utilities, store charge card (Gap, Macy’s, Target, etc).
I wrote about buying Visa gift cards from Staples to pay bills with Evolve to get miles for dirt cheap. (Of course Bluebird continues to work for that as well).
What I neglected to write was what was already brought up more than 3 months ago on DDF, that you can also use credit cards from many banks with Evolve. The reason for the neglect is simple, it’s not the intended use of the product and I don’t break news on hacks that could last for a long time if they’re not written about explicitly. I cover glitches like airfare that are always short-lived. It’s not like $50 first class tickets to Hawaii, all expenses paid Vegas vacations, Bahamas vacations, or $300 United (and Delta, El Al, and USAirways) tickets to Israel are going to just stick around because they’re not blogged about. And I talk about some mileage glitches at seminars where the info can be better contained. But in the wild, wild internet it’s just stupid to break the story on glitches that will be killed by the coverage just for the benefit of a few extra clicks.
A couple weeks ago I covered the news that USAirways wasn’t collecting fuel surcharges on British Airways only because other major sites were covering it as as well and once that happened I felt that it was on borrowed time. Indeed within a week that loophole was plugged. I posted it here at that point because once it was going to die anyway, my readers ought to benefit from it as well.
I covered the news that my United award hack was incredibly successful despite naysayers saying it would never work. Once it did work people didn’t like that I wrote about it, but it was a simple bet that United wasn’t going to spend the resources to close a loophole that was already closed to people that didn’t listen to me while it was still open. And it still works for those lucky folk.
At any rate many other sites are now posting this Evolve glitch as breaking news. A glitch like Evolve taking credit cards is really one that anyone worth their salt in the mileage game should have figured out on their own months ago even if they weren’t on DDF. All it entailed was trying 1 bill payment with a credit card instead of a gift or debit card just to make sure that it worked and posted as a purchase and not a cash advance. That’s barely even thinking outside the box, it’s just making your box a little bigger.
I have no idea how much longer credit card payments will last, but it’s on borrowed time now, so enjoy it while it lasts. Then again the entire Evolve business model makes little sense. Especially because the box is bigger than just paying bills you owe.
The truth is that while it’s really nice to be able to use credit card payments to meet minimum spend thresholds for a signup bonus, you’re still better off generating 5x the miles plus cash back thanks to $200 Staples gift cards when you’re not trying to meet a spend threshold.
In short, don’t expect to be spoonfed every aspect of a deal, don’t necessarily believe terms and conditions or what reps tell you, get involved on DDF/make new friends, and learn to expand your box by testing the fences for yourself.