Evolving; Thoughts On Glitches










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 vacationsBahamas 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.

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70 Comments On "Evolving; Thoughts On Glitches"

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Nice, why are you telling everyone now it will be plugged


Like I said, it’s been covered today by several other major sites and therefore I consider this to be a limited-time glitch, not a glitch that can live on forever if it’s not blogged about.

May as well enjoy it while it lasts now that it’s being publicized.


Without any of the possible evolve payees selling VGC, what more is there than just paying existing bills? Even if you use a CC directly through evolve how much further are you really getting other than cutting out a 6.95 fee per GC for payments that actually need to be made. I want another coin churn. :/


Like I said…

Anyway a $6.95 fee (less $2 Visa cash back) for over 1,000 miles is a fantastic bargain. No need to avoid that.


Make a private paid part of your site for this type of information.

Achas Ve'achas

You mean you knew this all along and didn’t tell us? I demand a refund 😛


Would never stay private.

@Achas Ve’achas:
Chargeback 😀



It was a joke


I hope someone will have the patience to explain to me what this is. i just just get what to do. thanks


Dan, can i sign up for a 2nd evolve account with diff email? cant pay more then 3 or 4 bills per day.


Not sure I under stand… I can use my cc to pay other bills or I can pay my cc bill with evolve?


You wrote . ” Especially because the box is bigger than just paying bills you owe.”

What else can be done with this service besides paying real bills I owe?



Dan have you checked that paying a bill with CC doesn’t post as a cash advance?


May be risky. Don’t have a spouse?

Yes, I’ve been using Citi and Chase and it’s always been a purchase (so far).


Assuming @dan got those GCs with a Chase Ink card ( otherwise it wouldn’t be worth the activation fee), the cards in that pic is worth over 260k miles!


Be careful! there are also reports of getting charged the cash advance fee after a few days ! Has anyone ever tried setting their cash advance limit to $0 and with whom has it worked ?


If i understand correctly, you can use your CC to pay your mortgage, lease and other bills without getting VR or BB. Is this what you were referring to?


@Dan: Thanks for the Quick Reply- have a great Shabbos


Dan, just tried paying with cc and message said ‘card entered is not a debit card’.


Thanks dan, I appreciate all of your posts! And I DO like when you post about the no fee on us airways etc. Otherwise its not fair that only a few ppl know and they get upset when someone leaks the trick. Its a free country. Freedom of speech. Keep on posting! Good shabbas.


There’s a reason I’m sitting on 8 figures of miles 😉

Which bank?
People have done that, though I haven’t.

Well yes, that’s how Evolve works.

So use a different one.


nope. cc is not being read as debit. i tried 3 cards.


Which 3 cards?


1. Can I use it for anything other then real actule bill? In other words can u make more miles buy paying not real bills.

2. Why is using a cc and getting 1 point per $1 spent better then buying CG with the ink card and using those and getting 5 points per $1 spent?


Read the post again.


Clearly you have a burning problem. Get your kids on the road.


Dan, here’s what I’m seeing. Chase is either not letting it go through or after a few days changing it to a cash advance and charging the fee. It seems that Citi can set a $0 cash advance fee to the account and those charges are going through. In any event however, I was about to do it but now I am holding back because either way I think this is just crossing the line and will open up too many potential problems individually and collectively. This was definitely a bad move by whoever publicized this first. I don’t blame you but maybe just maybe you should have stayed away from this one too. Time will tell.


Actually I have an earning problem.
I burn 7 figures a year, I just earn ’em faster. I’ve has 7 figure earn days, though I did think it was a cute when a big deal was made over earning 7 figure miles in a month.

Good problems to have.

Have lots of charges with both of those banks over the past months and none posted or were switched to cash advance.

Not a big deal though, just use gift cards for faster earning.


I’m also getting the “Card entered is not a debit card” error when trying to use a cc. Just tried using 2 different Chase cards with no luck.


Just tried AA Exec and UA Club, both still work fine.


Interesting. I have tried my Sapphire Preferred and Freedom multiple times (and in different browsers) but no go. Not sure if it’s an issue with those cards in particular or something with my profile, but I keep getting the “card entered is not a debit card” error message. Oh well. Thanks anyway Dan!


ink and freedoms

Im stuck in a box, get me out, its getting claustrophobic!

How do you pay bills that you don’t owe?

Eric M

Stupid question. How would those cards in the picture be worth ~260k miles? I thought you only get 5 times the points and that is a bit over 10k in gift cards. Just curious

In Debt

@Im stuck in a box, get me out, its getting claustrophobic!
You are always invited to earn points on my bills! 🙂


Thanks. sorry, I see the post does address my second question. How about my first question? From what i am reading it seems like there are ways to make points for non real actual bills that you need to pay anyways. i am wandering is there any way to use this service to “manufacture” spending?


was actually a little hesitant to try evolve with credit card for that reason, wasnt sure on cash advance. or for that matter any website that says debit but doesnt ask for pin.


really dont understand why evolve just doesnt allow you to pay bill with CC in the first place , who needs a website were you can pay bills with GC anyways??


Well said!


@Anonymous: It’s not intended for gift cards it was intended for people to pay with their debit cards and debit cards only because the fees on credit cards are much higher now which is why banks have stopped offering bonuses and paying miles for debit card purchases due to the Fed regulations capping the fees where it no longer pays for them offer all those miles. Suntrust Delta seems to be about the last card giving out miles and that looks like that is ending too.

dan torah

Can you send evolve money back to yourself in the form of a check?




rosanne skopp

evolve does not accept the united visa signature cc.

dan, you haven’t responded to my question about what funny business united is dealing out with their star alliance partners. it’s no longer possible to see the letter you are booking on discount economy which means you may not (probably not!)earn points on many many flights. either you go blindly or you pay the ridiculous cost of regular economy. please comment on this after shabbat!


Beyond mortgage and utility bills, other ways to churn on Evolve? I’ve asked to add different lending companies without success on evolve.


It’s a pity, I’ve been using this to cash out the 4-5k in rebate cards that I get from Staples every month. Looks like this is going to die soon.


what does “don’t necessarily believe terms and conditions” mean?


@Mont: Private student loans is a great way!!!


Your rationalizations for hastening the end to some nice deals is sort of entertaining. So one or two ‘major blogs’ (which I haven’t noticed) announce this Evolve glitch and you have to immediately yell to everyone “I knew this too! I knew this too!” Your insecurities really show on this one. And your impressive modesty too: “million miles in a month? How cute. I do a million in a day.” humility is so overrated.

Eric M


Dan, can you please explain to me how the picture indicates over 260,000 miles?

Eric M

So Dan, how do the cards in the picture add up to over 260,000 miles?

Will you please answer and not delete my post?

Eric M

So Dan,

Will you please tell me how the cards in the picture add up to over 260,000 miles?

Please don’t delete this post too.


Do you think a payment made on a discover it card would go through as a purchase?

A member

well killing us air yyz fuel dump didn’t meet the category of a one time glitch


Isn’t this kind of stuff kind of borderline abuse/dishonest? It’s one thing to benefit from a glitch after the fact, but to go out of your way to benefit from it seems like it could be unethical, possibly assur. I could be wrong, but from what I’m reading it seems shady, and not so clear if such transactions should be encouraged in the Jewish community. Not criticizing anyone here or telling anyone what to do. I’m not a Rav, and I’m not sure I entirely understand this whole process here.


if I make a payment to Macy’s more than I have to will they send me back a check? If yes till how much can I overpay?


Hey Dan,

did you need to activate the visa giftcards you got from staples before you used them at walmart? I went to walmart to get money orders but they didnt work. The cashier said it may be because I have to activate them.


@Eric M:
I didn’t run the math on that, but it looks like that commenter was probably including signup bonuses.

@rosanne skopp:
I’m not sure what you’re referring to.
What website doesn’t let you see the fare class?


It seems like you’re rather angry, so I’m happy that I was able to entertain.

I’ll just say 3 things.

1. The blogs that wrote about this before me on Friday have more traffic than I do.

2. Hundreds if not thousands of people have been using Evolve for credit cards.
My point was that it doesn’t take a genius to figure this stuff out. It just took reading forums or very minor experimenting.

3. If I wanted to brag about stuff I did I could do a tell all to the WSJ and have loopholes that would blow your mind closed in seconds.

But that doesn’t interest me…you’ve completely missed my point. Namely that if you play the game right, read up on forums, and do your own experimentation that anyone can play the game on an expert level. It doesn’t require you to be a genius, only a little sweat in the game.

@Eric M:
Eric, allow me to explain how comment moderation works.

In any given month there are over 500,000 spam comments and thousands of legit comments left on this site.

Akismet automatically separates everything it thinks is spam and places everything else in a moderation queue.

There are some real comments that get put in the spam folder and I’m not about to sift through 500,000 comments to find those. C’est la vie.

30% of the comments in the moderation queue are legit and the other 70% are spam. I need to manually approve every real comment and spam the bad ones that have thousands of links in them or language that would make a rapper blush.

This is an extremely time consuming job, but that’s the behind the scenes of blogging. I do this often, but sometimes there can be a significant delay.

When you make a comment it looks like its published, but only you can see it until I clear the moderation log. If you go into a another browser the comment won’t be there.

As an Orthodox Jew I don’t go online from sunset on Friday until late Saturday night. Thus any comments will be waiting in that queue until I get back online and clear the queue.

In summary, have a little patience.

@A member:
I didn’t know at the time that that was a glitch though I got plenty of email afterward.

Someone posted a good fare for PHL-TLV-YYZ. That’s happened before and in fact can always be done as the connecting TLV routes are always cheaper that the nonstops. Furthermore I hadn’t even realized that USAirways had added a fuel surcharge to any of their airfare.

The irony is that if any of the folks who know about that fuel dump had emailed me beforehand about that tip then I would have guarded it and not posted it as I do with lots of other tips I’ve gotten over the years.
Instead they emailed me afterward about exposing a secret I didn’t even know existed.

If they didn’t want credit card payments they would just require a PIN and be done with it.
Feel free to ask your LOR, but I’m not your Rabbi nor ethicist.

From Staples.com?


@ Dan it sounded from your comments that you can pay an outstanding cc bill on evolve with these UA & AA exec cc ? Am I mistaken ?


can you pay a credit card bill with evolve



Can you pay an outstanding Credit Card bill with evolve?

rosanne skopp

Very recently it was easily possible to see if you would earn pts on United Star Alliance partners before you booked the fare. This is no longer true. You can see which code letters earn points but when you book the lowest economy fares you don’t see the letter you are booking. Hence you can no longer tell if you are earning pts or not. This is huge and I don’t see any mention of it anywHere. Test it yourself please.


Has anyone tried this with amex cards and not been charged a cash advance fee. I have some spending to do 🙂


My friend sent me $1000 Amazon payment in April, is it safe for me to send back to him $1000 this month (May)?


Evolve only gives you two ways to “add a payment method. Debit Card or Cash.” I selected debit card and tried to put in my SPG number whereupon a note came up “invalid card number.”

chaim yankel

@Dan: just wanna let you know that you just went from pretty awesome to totally awesome in my book. (Yes I keep score)thanks for doin what you do. 🙂

jimmy james



Is the trick how to MS, by overpaying my bills?


Is this still alive? I tried adding a citi MC and I got a error saying that it’s not a Debit Card.


The ball game is over.
I tried Chase Sapphire Visa, Citi AA MC, Barclays US Airways MC, UA Explorer Visa, Citi CashReturns MC.
None worked.