Middle Age Miles

Pour One Out for a Great Friend – Bravo App No Longer Earns 3x TYPs on ATTAM – Plus Next-Step Strategy Ideas

bravo tip or pay app credit card points rewards strategy citi AT&T access more attam

Sadly, it’s time to pour one out for an opportunity that’s been a great friend to Middle Age Miles – payments through the Bravo “Tip or Pay” app appear to no longer earn 3x ThankYou Points (TYPs) on the Citi AT&T Access More card.

Even with this unfortunate change, however, there may still be some useful opportunities with Bravo.

Background & Our History with the Bravo App

Bravo is an online app that facilitates person-to-person (P2P) payments. Its original basic business model was designed to allow people to tip or pay a service provider when they didn’t have cash. If both the payer and payee had the Bravo app, the payer could send money to the payee through the app without sharing any personal data. The pitch, when Bravo’s founders appeared on Shark Tank during Season 9, involved a person paying a tip to a street musician through the app.

Bravo’s founders Dr. Hector Rodriguez and Maria Luna appeared on Shark Tank Season 9, Episode 914 [image courtesy Bravo & ABC]

Bravo charges a 2% fee on all transactions made through the app. Through some experimentation, we learned that payments made through the Bravo app earned 3x TYPs on the Citi AT&T Access More (ATTAM) card. These payments qualified for the ATTAM card’s 3x bonus category for online retail purchases. We reported this opportunity in our well-received article on the ATTAM card:

As you can imagine, this situation created a great opportunity for acquiring TYPs. The opportunity had limited scale, but this limitation wasn’t too bad. We believe that transactions were capped at $500 per day (until recently), although we never personally tested it beyond $400 for fear of ruining the opportunity. [The Bravo terms & conditions as of 5/17/2019 now say that payments less than $500 are charged a fee of 2%; payments of $500 or more are charged 3.5% plus 30 cents.] We also varied the amounts of our transactions and generally limited our transactions to every other day.

Beyond just earning 3x TYPs, spend on ATTAM through Bravo was also instrumental for us on receiving and then collecting on a great retention offer this year – 2x bonus TYPs on all spend on the ATTAM card, up to a cap of $17,500 (35,000 TYPs max). We reported on the retention bonus in this article:

Payments made through Bravo also consistently showed up and were available in the receiving account within 3-4 days. We have never had a problem with a “lost” payment made through Bravo. This consistent performance further endeared us to Bravo and its combo with ATTAM.

All this to say – the Bravo-ATTAM opportunity was a very good friend to us.

Demise of the Bravo-ATTAM Opportunity

Bravo appears to have stopped earning 3x TYPs on the ATTAM card as of June 27 or 28, 2019, about a month ago.

[On a side note, we apologize for the delay in reporting this change. It’s impossible to see TYP earning on a per-transaction basis online. Even the monthly statements don’t contain transaction-level earning detail; you have to back into which transactions earned 3x or 1x by using the summary of TYP earning on each month’s statement. Our statement closed a couple of weeks ago, but we didn’t review it closely until today, as we’ve been catching up on a million things following our wonderful trip to Switzerland & France.]

Looking at our most recent ATTAM statement, here is our TYP earning summary:

As you can see, we earned 7,863 TYPs for online purchases that earn 3x ($2,621 * 3), and we earned 1,445 TYPs for “regular” purchases that earn 1x ($1,445 * 1).

And here are the charges on our most recent ATTAM statement:

As you can tell, we didn’t have $1,445 of non-Bravo purchases, so we’re quickly tipped off that some of our Bravo charges didn’t earn 3x.

We also know from past experience that the Amazon Digital charge on 7/5 would code as 3x, whereas the Amazon Prime subscription renewal for $128.82 on 6/26 would only code as 1x.

With those data points in mind, we could work backwards to find out when Bravo changed from 3x to 1x. If you add the Amazon Prime charge ($129) to the 4 latest-occurring Bravo charges from 6/28 through 7/2 ($388+$255+$326+$347), you get $1,445 – hence, our conclusion that Bravo changed from 3x to 1x as of June 27 or 28, 2019.

For what it’s worth, we don’t see that anything changed in the categorization of our Bravo charges between the June 26 charge that earned 3x and the June 28 charge that earned 1x.

Here are the charge details for our June 26 charge, from our Citi online account:

And here are the charge details for our June 28 charge:

Nothing changed. The Bravo charge was in the category “Services – OTHER SERVICES-NOT ELSEWHERE CLASSIFIED” at all times. We also didn’t see any changes in the detail of other transactions utilizing Bravo during our most recent statement period.

We assume that Bravo charges also no longer earn 2x on the Citi AT&T Access (ATTA) no-fee card.

Where Do We Go From Here with Bravo?

First, we’ll continue to try Bravo charges on ATTAM periodically, to see if the earnings revert to 3x. We’re not optimistic, but it would be really nice if this change turns out to be just a temporary glitch.

Otherwise, the good news here is that Bravo still seems to present some great opportunities, given its 2% fee for transfers using a credit card as the payment method, up to $499.99.

It seems that Bravo can still be quite useful to help in hitting minimum spend requirements, big-spend thresholds and special spend offers on credit cards. In addition, we can see where Bravo may be useful to liquidate gift cards, depending on what types of cards are supported. We’ll try to experiment with this and report back in our ongoing Manufactured Spend Data Points series.

Bottom line, we think we can still get a lot of use from Bravo, just not with ATTAM. We’ll have to be a little more creative, but I think we’ll still be fast friends with Bravo going forward.

Do you have any additional Bravo-related data points that would be useful? If so, please let us know in the Comments!

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29 thoughts on “Pour One Out for a Great Friend – Bravo App No Longer Earns 3x TYPs on ATTAM – Plus Next-Step Strategy Ideas

  1. Ron

    I don’t get this deal. Spending 2% to make 3x TYP? Assuming 1.25cpp for TYP, you were only netting 1.75% on tiny spend amounts. You were better off with a straight 2% card and weren’t limited to airline redemptions.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Ron – Thanks for reading Middle Age Miles and taking the time to comment. We often say that everyone’s situation is different, and deals & strategies that work well for some people may not work for others. You have to evaluate you own individual circumstances. This was definitely a deal that worked well for us, given our travel & points usage patterns and the ease with which it worked. As you can tell from the article, we’re quite sad to see it go. ~Craig

  2. Ron

    Fair enough, but enlighten us on what redemptions were giving more than what you could earn via a basic 2% card? And if you weren’t, just say so. Everyone makes these kinds of mistakes when they are starting out.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Ron – I honestly can’t tell if your question is genuine or if you’re just trolling me. I’ll assume that it’s genuine and that you’re simply misunderstanding something about the deal.

      Using a 2% card makes no sense – you’d pay a 2% fee and earn 2%; that’s net zero.

      Using ATTAM at 3x means that you earn 3 TYPs for the 2% fee. That is, as you say, a 1.75% profit (assuming a value of 1.25 cents per TYP). And the money from the underlying transaction was just transferred from one account under our control to another, so we still have every dollar used in the transaction (aside from the fee). We effectively bought TYPs for 0.67 cents each. If we use the TYPs for travel at 1.25 cents, we’re saving 42% on all of our travel. Plus the airline tickets we purchase in this manner count toward qualifying for elite status. This has worked very well for us.

      If a TYP is not worth more than 0.67 cents to you given your own personal circumstances, then you shouldn’t have been using this strategy.

      I hope this explanation helps. ~Craig

  3. Matthew

    I had two Bravo in July and although at first it looked like they may still be working, perhaps not. My statement is a lot more complicated than yours as there’s lots of different charges and credits. It’s hard for me to try to figure out which online retailers or apps code at 3x or not. I do suggest to keep testing as sometimes Citi has taken something away just for it to come back anyway. Regardless, I did finish the 35k offer on two cards, barely.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Good morning Matthew! That’s awesome that you were able to get the 35k offer on 2 cards and knock out the spend on both! Sweet 🙂

      Agreed, Citi definitely does not make it easy to sort out what’s earning 3x vs 1x on ATTAM – especially if you have a bunch of charges on your statement. Maybe the new interface I’ve seen recently on my Premier online account, where points-earning is displayed for each individual transaction, will be incorporated for ATTAM as well.

      Please let me know if you get any additional info on using Bravo with ATTAM. It would be quite nice – and quite valuable – if it returns. Many thanks. ~Craig

  4. Brandon

    Just wanted to write that I appreciate your continued testing of the ATTAM – it’s a great card, but since it’s no longer open for apps it just doesn’t draw much in the way of articles/testing anymore.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Thanks, Brandon – very glad you’re enjoying the ATTAM articles! It’s a great card, and it’s fun to run experiments with it to see what works 🙂 Have a great weekend! ~Craig

  5. Sideshowbob233

    In my (limited) Bravo experience, when I changed the credit card (only did it once) they wanted me to send a photo of the front and back of the CC. So not sure how well it would work with gift cards. Maybe a regular user might be able to do it without any verification from them, not sure.

    Had not even noticed the fee increase — funny I don’t remember seeing any notifications from them about it.

    Just curious if you normally check plastiq every few months to see how that codes? Plastiq seems to change their coding often for whatever reason.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi SSB – I have good news coming with respect to using gift cards on Bravo (so far; knock on wood). The full DP will show up in a later episode of the MS DP series. As you say, though, I’ve been a regular Bravo user for many months now, so perhaps that makes a difference. I do remember having to send in photos when I first signed up for Bravo.

      Fee increase only comes into effect at $500 or greater. I think it used to simply be a ban on payments > $500. I’ve never paid the higher fee as I’ve always kept payments under $500.

      I use Plastiq regularly, but almost always to meet minimum spend or toward big-spend bonuses. So, it’s usually on a card where there’s no possibility of it hitting a bonus category. I haven’t been paying close attention to the coding. I agree with you, historically it has changed fairly often. Thanks for reminding me to keep a closer eye on this.

      Have a great weekend! ~Craig

      1. Sideshowbob233

        Based on this I tried and was able to liquidate a gift card via Bravo. Looks like they don’t care about payment changing after your account has been open for a while. Will definitely come in handy in the future as it’s cheaper than plastiq and quicker too.

        1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

          Hi SSB – This is a great confirming DP. I’m glad your result with a “seasoned” Bravo account was successful and consistent with mine. It’s nice to have this liquidation option. I hope it sticks around for a long time. ~Craig

  6. Brooke

    Have you tried testing amex cards with bravo? Curious if it’ll count towards min spend requirement and earn points… or if it’s coded as person to person payment like venmo.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Brooke – Great question. I have not tested Amex credit cards with Bravo, because of fears about the same things your question is concerned about. (Side note, I have liquidated an Amex gift card via Bravo and it worked fine.) With Citi & Chase cards, Bravo seems to count as a purchase. As you know, though, Amex is more vigilant about stuff like this.

      Hope you’ve had a great weekend, and thanks for reading Middle Age Miles! ~Craig

    2. Sideshowbob233

      It might work but would be a terrible idea. Amex is known to clawback points much later. You’d be much better off just buying gift cards at supermarkets or cvs and then liquidating them via bravo. Yes it’s1% more but even for $10K in spend you’re talking $100. Not worth angering the Amex RAT team.

      1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

        Thanks SSB. You’ve just articulated much better than I did the reasons that I’ve never tested using Amex via Bravo, as well as the alternatives. I appreciate you weighing in here and hope you’re doing well! ~Craig

  7. Chris

    Hey there! If I have the 3x all purchases promo for my CFU, this would benefit me assuming minimum 1.5cpp, correct? Just want to make sure I’m not missing something before I max it out. Thanks!

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hey Chris – Thanks for the comment. I think you’ve sized up the benefit correctly. And I believe this should work. I don’t know of any problems earning UR from Chase on Bravo payments. We’ve done it several times on our Hyatt card. I would apply a couple of cautions (1) space out your payments a bit, as much as you can, so you’re not hammering it every day, maybe even varying the amounts slightly (although that may not be totally necessary, it does make the payments easier to track); and (2) I wouldn’t transfer more than $500/day (including fee). I’ll spare you the longer explanation, but I have reason to believe that payments >$500 in a day incur extra scrutiny (and single payments >$500 incur a higher fee).

      Hope this works out for you! Please let me know how it goes and if you learn anything useful! I hope you continue to read and enjoy Middle Age Miles. ~Craig

  8. Sideshowbob233

    Anyone else having problems adding cards to the Bravo pay app? I am unable to add a card after removing another card. No error, just doesn’t do anything when I click on “DONE”.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hey SSB – This happened to me about a month ago and briefly panicked me. I was able to get it to resolve, although I can’t remember exactly how. Some combination of downloading an updated version of the Bravo app, deleting it from my phone and re-loading it, re-booting my phone, and/or logging out of the Bravo app and back in. I’m sorry I can’t recall the detail but hopefully if you work through those strategies things will revert to normal for you as happened for me. ~Craig

      1. Sideshowbob233

        Thanks that’s good to hear, I’ll do some hacking and see if I can get it to work. Not sure I’d want to call attention to my account given than I have a new card added every few days but I guess if I absolutely can’t resolve it I have no choice.

      2. Sideshowbob233

        Delete and reinstall fixed it. Logout and login likely would have – seemed to be somewhat disconnected from my account I realized it had lost my bank account number from the settings, but it came back when I logged back in.

        1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

          Excellent! I’m glad that worked. You probably had about the same huge amount of relief that I did when Bravo started working like usual again 🙂 Thanks for checking in and providing the follow-up DP! ~Craig

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  10. Sideshowbob233

    Craig did you ever go over $20K with 200+ transactions (1099 thresholds) using Bravo in a calendar year? Concerned too much Bravo (even at their new crappy rates) could trigger a 1099 nightmare.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi SSB – Hi, and glad to talk privately. Can you please send me a DM on Twitter @MiddleAgeMiles1? Thanks! ~Craig

    2. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi SSB – Hi, and glad to talk privately. Can you please send me a DM on Twitter @MiddleAgeMiles1? Thanks! ~Craig

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