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Why I Spent £1,052.84 on LEGO Friends – Confessions of a HfP reader (Part Two)

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Here is part two of HfP reader John’s experience with manufactured spending.  You should read Part 1 of the article here before continuing below.  HfP has edited the article and any errors are probably ours.

What about the coffee machines?

“I was actually hoping to offset a slight loss on my LEGO sets with the profits I’d make from the coffee machines.

It turned out to not be as easy.

Nespresso decided to do a sale and suddenly the machines were selling for only slightly more than I’d purchased them for.  This meant I’d actually end up losing money after deducting sales, shipping and handling fees.

Deciding that I just wanted to get rid of the stock, I revisited my calculations and tried to estimate the maximum price I was prepared to pay for my points.

Having recently signed up to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and in-effect paid 0.66p / Avios, I decided that this was my upper limit and reduced my prices to 90% of the RRP.

Suddenly, the floodgates opened and order after order started coming in. To speed up the packaging process I purchased some packing bags on Amazon for next to nothing and got Hermes to pick up the boxes from my workplace.

I did look at getting a thermal label printer which would have made getting boxes ready for shipping an absolute doddle, but they aren’t particularly cheap and after reviewing my calculations I decided I wouldn’t be making a habit of manufactured spending via reselling.

Thanks to Hermes destroying one of the boxes, getting another one wet and losing a third one, I had to deal with three complaints. Hermes sorted out the first two complaints (each item was covered up to £25) and I assume the third person managed to track her LEGO down after I suggested filing a ‘missing item’ complaint.

So … was it worth the effort?

My total outlay stands at £321.63 in return for 99,666 equivalent Avios.  In effect, I’ve ‘bought’ 99,666 Avios for 0.32p each.

I’m relatively new to the miles and points game so I’ve not claimed that many miles but based on my tracking, I’ve averaged 0.3p per Avios.  Most of these miles will be used up on a redemption from Manchester to Dubai in First Class in February next year and I’m looking at a value of around 2.06p / Avios on that route. Even if you value miles as low as Rob (0.75p/Avios) this is still a pretty good deal.

What about your time? Doesn’t that reduce the value of these miles?

It’s true, I haven’t accounted for my time. This wasn’t insignificant and has taken several hours over the past few weeks. I’m a reasonably well-paid web development contractor so I could have almost certainly spent my time on a more productive activity than packing and shipping LEGO boxes.

When factoring-in my time, it is not quite as lucrative a deal.  Knowing the value I’ll be getting on my redemption to Dubai still means it’s a net gain on my time and money.

Would I recommend reselling? Would I do it again myself?

Difficult question …. I can see myself doing this again under the right circumstances (another big Clubcard bonus from Tesco for example) but definitely won’t be in a hurry to repeat this process each month.

When researching reselling as a manufactured spending technique, all the guides encourage you to build up enough cash reserves that you can afford to have your stock sat for as long as a few months to ensure you get a good price for it. I neglected this and was in more of a rush to sell.

I got lucky with the LEGO sets and ended up with 42 boxes of a product that was reasonably easy to sell. However one of the coffee machines was heavily discounted just a few days after I purchased it and I’m now left with £69 locked up in a coffee machine that Nespresso is selling for £59. Not ideal …. but a reasonably small problem in the grand scheme of things.

If you are tempted by reselling, make sure the numbers stack up before you pull the trigger on your move. Research your products and ensure you can sell them quickly and at a price that works for you.

The goal with reselling should be to generate profits and allow the points to accumulate as a bonus on top. In my opinion, this isn’t a great way of accumulating points even if you can ‘buy’ them very cheaply!”


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (126)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nick says:

    I miss Harry

  • Tilly71 says:

    Forgot to mention, when any clubcard lego deal comes up now a lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon recently. Take a look on ebay for proof, mums who are just selling second hand kids clothes are now selling lego, its justifiabke for a cheap family meal out these days.
    So your Competion has increased four fold meaning price wars go on, the race to the bottom as its known where lots start to reduce to shift as they need the money back quicker, you get priced out of the market or make little or no sales unless you reduce making your cost per avios go higher and higher.
    Then argos promote on tv a 3 for 2 lego offer, that hits sales overnight. The list goes on and on against this route.
    The Nespresson route maybe better as lesser competition.

  • James says:

    MAN-DXB is 272,000 Avios points in F, where are the other points coming from and how much £ are they going to cost ?

    So far you have…
    Manufactured spend = £321
    BA Taxes = £1062
    Amex Gold Card Fee = £140
    Amex SPG Card Fee = £75
    Other Costs ?
    Additional points cost = £ ?

    I would have just given Qatar £975 pp (Total £1950) and booked MAN-DXB in Business Class in the last sale. This would have also given you + 10,000 Avios pp. BA First (on such a short flight to DXB) is simply not worth the Economy Class Shuttle to and from Heathrow and all the hassle of coming back through LHR.

    • Genghis says:

      I think you can decrease the cost of the Amex cards due to pro-rata refunds?

      • Genghis says:

        But still, agree with the principle. You need to compare the avios prices against a comparable cash ticket that you would take.

    • Tom H says:

      Prorata refer do negating these costs or gold free in the first year?

    • John says:

      Two of us flying.

    • Mark1980 says:

      Agree with most of what you’ve said but you can’t include the inconvenience of the Heathrow connection when comparing to Qatar because you have to connect in Doha when flying MAN – DXB with Qatar…

    • Tilly71 says:

      Good point as Qatar biz is nearly as good as BA F.

  • Boi says:

    OT sorry: hubby has to go on an unplanned family trip to Trinidad. We have Avios and virgin miles but can’t get availability. Any other angles I am missing? He can travel either week of 7th November or 12th December. Any tips? Can’t afford to pay full fare business from uk but don’t want to travel economy. I know that sounds like nonsense

    • Lady London says:

      He could get to the USA relatively cheaply and probably find Avios seats right now easier, and aren’t flights to the Caribbean much cheaper from there?

  • LEE MOSS says:

    When will Tesco points balance be in my tesco clubcard acc for this quarter ?
    Its just says processing come back in a few days ?

  • Lady London says:

    Did I spot that out of about 14 packages with them, Hermes couriers managed to lose or damage 3 of them? That’s a loss or damage rate of over 20% !

  • Dan says:

    Great article John. I did exactly this on a smaller scale last time Tesco ran this promo and it all worked fine. I am repeating the exercise now though looking on Amazon there are 100s of people selling the same items so I suspect this idea is not a new one!

    One other thing to note is that you have 14 days to collect a click and collect order so you could place the order, put the items on Amazon / EBay and if they don’t sell in 2 weeks just don’t pick up the order.

    If Tesco were that bothered about bulk buying they wouldn’t allow it. I’m sure their systems are eminently capable of placing restrictions on order quantities which they probably do on items that are genuinely popular. I’m assuming they are running this promo to clear out stock which isn’t shifting fast enough.

    • Tilly71 says:

      I thought you only had 7 x days to collect from store or it gets returned and points deducted?
      Clubcard has hits lots of people who least expected it from reading past experiences on other forums. It just takes an unlucky event and your shut down with nil points.
      Strangely, their systems allow you to buy in bulk but their terms clearly state they can shut you sown if they suspect not in the spirit if the scheme.
      I would never bank on you will be fine buying lots of the same items or similar especially when big points are at play. Long game like Genghis said is best to ensure safety.

  • Rob says:

    Got my daughter the hotel last Christmas (at her request)!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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