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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oh Doofenshmirtz! Bank of America is killing the US Airways debit card

And I assume the Alaska card as well.  Normally, I don't do travel/miles programs here, but this one was a true gem and its death deserves an obituary.  Goodbye, 80,000 miles per year for virtually nothing.  Program dies 9/30/12.

"Whatcha Doin?"  Right now, lamenting the death of my US Airways debit card.  Alas, it has been killed off by the debit card exchange fee-inator laws.

"Hey, where's my miles?"  They are no longer.

BofA wasn't the first program to kill its rewards debit card but it is the most important.  Why is that?

Backstory: Unlike other programs, which only gave you miles for swipe transactions, BofA gave you miles with every debit transaction, whether PIN or swipe.  One mile per $2, to be exact.  But wouldn't I still be better off with a credit card?  For ordinary purchases, yes.  But it was impossible to find a place to sell you cash-equivalents with a credit card.  But there was a store that happily sold money orders with a debit card, as long as you were willing to use a PIN.  Let's just say it is a VERY, VERY large retailer.  You could purchase 10 money orders for $999.40 each, since the MOs cost $0.60 and there is a $10,000 per day limit.  The first and second time I did it, I got a call from BofA card security but, after that, I was fine.  The limit was 80,000 miles per year, but there are easy ways around that.  Well, were, anyway.  Net result: 5,000 miles per trip, which cost $6.00 in fees.  Take MOs to bank, lather, rinse, repeat.

But as of 9/30/12, it is no more.  The MO scheme was not exactly unknown (It's all over the internet.), but it was never a big point of discussion on the major travel blogs.

Curse you, Perry the Platypus! Bank of America!

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