By Definition, Bloggers Killed Manufactured Spend


Every year the Merriam-Webster dictionary adds new words that have become part of the English lexicon. Examples include ‘selfie’ and ‘dab’. When Amex Served notice of my account being closed, I noticed that they used the term ‘manufacture activity’ in the reason for account closure. The old Terms & Conditions made no mention of ‘manufacture’ before. This addition is clearly a result of the blog community cleverly inventing the term for how one can spend without spending.

On the one hand we should be proud that our collective voices have been heard. On the other hand the credit card companies are listening to us more than ever which spells trouble for our points churning lifestyle. I wouldn’t liken the elimination of Serve & Bluebird to past deals that have been killed by overzealous bloggers. The practice of manufactured spending became so commonplace that I even stopped calling it by the sly code word ‘ms’. It had been going on from so long that many of us transitioned from Vanilla Reloads on Bluebird, to Target, to Serve. Those products have been around for more than two years making the sudden shut down of my account that much more surprising.

The one positive, if you can call it that, is knowing that ms is not fraud. That argument delivered by those outside the points community can finally be put to rest as the T & C’s clearly say that an account can be closed for fraud or manufactured activity, a clear distinction between one over the other. Having said that, by closing our accounts, Amex has essentially grouped those in manufacturing with those that try to launder money via gift cards, an unfair pairing to say the least.

We’ve suffered a lot to keep up our manufactured first class lifestyle from going under. Last year, I posed the question: Where Have All the MS Gone? somewhat in jest. Now I really want to know when those jobs are coming back, if they ever are.

Time to say goodbye?
Time to say goodbye?


  1. I applaud your spot on analysis. Other bloggers do not take ownership in regards to that they have indirectly caused MS being more difficult than it has ever been. Not only this, but they deny any slight accusations or reasoning in why or how.

    • Well there’s no doubt that we played a part in its demise but I’d like to think that, for the most part, we help not hurt the game. Like the real estate bubble in the US, everyone knew this was coming. I hope you took advantage while it lasted. Onto the next method…

  2. Blaming bloggers is worthless. For whatever reasons, including mergers accounting for a little less competition between cards/banks, as well as more people learning about MS, the days of MS are getting much, much tougher. As someone who never bothered to MS, I never begrudged those who did or do. But I am not sad to see MS loopholes being closed, either. The less MS, the fewer points/miles outstanding to cause further devaluations.

    • The point of my post is that our blog voices are heard. It’s no coincidence they use the term manufacture.

      Your comment isn’t consistent with what I wrote.

    • You contradict yourself in your comment when you include “as well as more people learning about MS” as a (extremely valid) reason. Blogggers are THE reason more people learned (and are learning) about MS. Thus, bloggers can logically be cited as a primary reason MS is dying off.

      • I’m confused by your comment. Bloggers helped others learn ms techniques and in doing so ultimately killed it. This is like a ‘greater good’ philosophy question.

        • What is confusing about it? I’m not saying that bloggers did anything wrong. But MS by nature exists because a loophole hasn’t been closed, unintentionally. Rarely would the loophole remain open if the company involved either knew about it, or perceived it as a liability. When the damage from a loophole remains small, the company involved doesn’t care. But when that damage grows, the company will take action to shut the activity down and close the loophole. This is the part where bloggers are to blame. Many of these loopholes would never be known to Joe Average without the numerous blogs to herald them as valuable techniques. Yes, bloggers are to blame for killing off MS — but that’s not inherently wrong of them.

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