Charged $50,000 on your Merrill Plus Visa card? Here’s what to do next

Introduction

I had written about how awesome the Merrill Plus card was already.  It was so awesome I kept putting spend on it so I could reach $50K spend to qualify me for the Delta lounge pass or the $200 annual travel credit.  When I met the spend, I gave it a month or so and called the number on the back of the card.  I told the lady I wanted to pick my perk since I charged $50K.  She had no idea what I was talking about.  She then forwarded me to someone else who knew what I wanted (I’m guessing not many people have called about this yet.)  He sorta knew what I wanted to do, and I told him I wanted to pick the $200 travel perk.

 

Delta lounge access or $200 of travel

For ME, living in Seattle, and having access to the Centurion and Alaska lounges, I didn’t think the Delta lounge was worth $200.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved the Delta lounge.  Hands down the best in Seatac.  However, the marginal benefit over Centurion wasn’t worth it to me.  Meaning, the hot foods and the (better?) wine and alcohol selection wasn’t worth $200 to me.  If I was in Atlanta or Cincinnati, I’d probably pick the Delta lounge.  So to each their own.

 

Travel Credit

While the rep told me I was good to go, I still wanted to wait a few weeks just to make sure.  Plus, I was in no rush.  I also asked him if I could use the travel credit on seat upgrades, and he assured me it would work on that.  Eventually, I decided to upgrade my seat on a future Jetblue flight.  It took about 5 days, but the $80 credit did post back to the card.  I should be a more thorough blogger to test other permutations, but I’ll let the other big boys do that.

 

Conclusion

Was it worth spending $50K to earn $200?  In my situation YES!  I was running very heavy MS and using up all of my CL on my 2% cards.  The ML card was a 2% card in my eyes, so I had no qualms racking up the spend.  Once you factor in the $200, the card really becomes a 2.4% card.  Do I plan on keeping the card for next year?  Sure why not?  A 2.4% card is better than my other 2% cards, plus it has no annual fee.  See you next year.

  • I too am running out of 2% throughput. Thanks for this, I hadn’t fully considered it but now I’ll be starting to add my extra monthly spend on the ML cards to hit that $50k.

    • Miles per Day

      whoa, did I teach the infamous Milenomics something he didn’t know? blogger level up!

  • Jeremiah

    What bank do you use for MS? I’m having trouble finding one that don’t close my account. Any advice would help. Thanks

    • Miles per Day

      A local CU. I don’t know your area so you’ll have to figure it out via trial and error.

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  • in4tar

    You said you were running “very heavy” MS. I have a question – how do you dispose of MO? depositing them all into one single bank? Splitting between banks? Paying off your credit cards directly?

    • Miles per Day

      Single bank

      • in4tar

        and you are ok with depositing over 10K a month? some say that’s the limit if you dont want to attract too much attention.

        • Miles per Day

          Yup

  • InnominateThoughts

    Makes sense for the revenue Alaska tickets. Especially with status.

  • Volatility Strat

    At a reasonable 1% cost, $50k worth of MS would be $500 in fees. Even 0.5% cost would be $250 in fees so I’m not understanding how it was worth the cost, let alone the time?

    • Miles per Day

      Like one of my other readers say, “Make it up in volume.” If you’re already going to liquidate X amount at Y time, then it’s not that much more effort to liquidate an additional XX volume and just spend an extra YY time since you’re already there.

      • Volatility Strat

        What about the gc and MO fees? Do you mainly get your gcs through cashback portals and only during promotional periods (eg. Staples and Macerich) to save on the cost?

        • Miles per Day

          No this was back when I was buying them online. I have since stopped and wouldn’t MS on this card today.

          • Drunka Mexchick

            Wait, Vinh… I don’t understand. This articles (which appears to have been posted yesterday) implies one should consider spending 50k on the M+ and that “heavy” MS shouldn’t be a problem, but now down here buried in the comments you’re saying you wouldn’t MS on this card today?

          • Miles per Day

            I had met the $50K spend back in Q1. Only got around to redeeming my 50K benefit. I don’t think I implied that anyone should spend the 50K on the card in the post. I just said that IF they already met the spend, then this is how to redeem.

          • Drunka Mexchick

            Hmm, I inferred from the way you wrote the article that MSing was in bounds:

            “Was it worth spending $50K to earn $200? In my situation YES! I was running very heavy MS and using up all of my CL on my 2% cards. The ML card was a 2% card in my eyes, so I had no qualms racking up the spend.”

            I’m not trying to criticize your writing, I just want to use this card for MS and get 2.4% if I can… but are you saying that’s a bad idea now?

          • Miles per Day

            It’s up to you if you want to MS on the card. Remember it’s 2.4% of flights, so if you don’t fly a lot, it might not be worth it. I have a few 3% cards now that I’d rather use.

  • Justin

    How successful have you been in getting flights exactly at $500 to max the 2%?