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Traveling Momma
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February 25, 2013 2:31 am  

Hi all - I'm active with my first round of card and had even met some of the min. spending thresholds. I'm now diving into more non-mainstream ways to build points like BlueBird and Vanilla Reload Cards. I did a search by both topics and read everything I could find. I still don't entirely understand.

Am I correct in thinking this:

Sign up for Bluebird account online. This will allow me to load cash on the card in a prepaid format to make online payment for Mortgage, car payments and the like.

Then, find a CVS or Walgreens that sells $500 Vanilla Reload Cards, and buy one a day with a Chase Ink or some other card that has more than 1X the points for shopping there.

Then, load the cash from the Vanilla Reload onto the Bluebird and pay my mortgage, car payment or anything else not payable by my active credit cards.

Benefit:
I get more than 1X the points for the $500 purchase
I get to pay for mortgage, car, etc.. essentially with a credit card (when typically I can't)

If I find a CVS or Walgreens that will allow me to load up on $500 Vanilla cards over the course of a week, I can make monthly payment for a $2,500 mortgage getting points for this at more than 1X the value because of having purchased these at a CVS.

Is this all correct? This seems very confusing but I think I'm getting it.

Darius at MMS suggests newbies be careful and buy the right cards. I need the Vanilla Reload correct?

Whew!

Blue.

Have Kids and Travel- On points and miles for free with a kid in tow.
2013/2014 trips - DC, Yosemite, Skiing Utah, Bangkok, Florida, Amalfi Coast 😎


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c2d
 c2d
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Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 16
February 25, 2013 2:40 am  

Cdnblue, post: 1874681, member: 100248 wrote: Hi all - I'm active with my first round of card and had even met some of the min. spending thresholds. I'm now diving into more non-mainstream ways to build points like BlueBird and Vanilla Reload Cards. I did a search by both topics and read everything I could find. I still don't entirely understand.

Am I correct in thinking this:

Sign up for Bluebird account online. This will allow me to load cash on the card in a prepaid format to make online payment for Mortgage, car payments and the like.

Then, find a CVS or Wallgreens that sells $500 Vanilla Reload Cards and buy one a day with a Chase Ink or some other card that has more than 1X the points for shopping at there.

Then, load the cash from the Vanilla Reload onto the Bluebird and pay my mortgage, car payment or anything else not payable by my active cards.

Benefit:
I get more than 1X the points for the $500 purchase
I get to pay for mortgage, car, etc.. essentially with a credit card (when typically I can't)

If I find a CVS or Walgreens that will allow me to load up on $500 Vanilla cards over the course of a week I can make monthly payment for a $2,500 mortgage getting points for this at more than 1X the value because of having purchased these at a CVS.

Is this all correct? This seems very confusing but I think I'm getting it.

Darius at MMS suggests newbie be careful and buy the right cards. I need the Vanilla Reload correct?

Whew!

Blue.

You got the overall picture, and yes you need the "vanilla reload" card (not myvanilla etc). Just two missing points:

1. Each Vanilla Reload card purchase will cost you $3.95. So, you will pay $503.95 and get a card with $500 loaded on it. But if you are buying with a card that gives you >1x points and/or you use it to pay stuff that you otherwise cannot pay with a credit card, you come out ahead.

2. It has become quite hard to find Vanilla Reload cards at CVS. Even if you find it, it is hit or miss on cashier/manager to allow using credit card to load the card. My nearby CVS used to carry these cards back in Dec, but I haven't seen them for the last several weeks.

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mapenn
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February 25, 2013 2:52 am  

Count yourself lucky if you find a source for buying Vanilla Reloads with a credit card. Those streams are drying up, unfortunately. But, yes, you have the overall concept. I would be careful not to overdo it, although I don't know if there is a magic amount that might raise a red flag with your CC company. I played it pretty conservative when my Walgreens was selling these -- usually one $500 card per week, mixed in with other "normal" spending (filling up the tank, fast food, etc).

The AMX Hilton card earns 6x on Drug Store purchases - but rumor has it that this is on the way out soon (I've not gotten an official notification yet). There are some other options out there of credit cards that offer bonus rewards on drug stores.

Good luck!


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HaveMilesWillTravel
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12802
February 25, 2013 3:04 am  

Speaking of picture... this is the Vanilla Reload card:

I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked into a CVS here in the Bay Area and actually saw one on the shelf. Not only one actually, three! That's like discovering a pack of Tasmanian Tigers!

There are lots of other Vanilla-branded cards around. Those can't be loaded onto the Bluebird card and are meant as debit cards by themselves while this is a reload card that needs to be loaded onto some other card.

I don't write a whole lot of checks these days (I guess other than taxes and credit card bills), so I am going to try and resist the temptation. For now I have loaded enough on my Bluebird to pay the HOA fees for the rest of the year, and it helped me meet spend on a recent card acquisition.

Oh, and I think the Chase Ink doesn't give 5x at CVS or other drugstores. People used those cards at office supply stores, from what I read, and those don't carry the cards anymore.

I don't always drink beer, but when I do I will certainly NOT drink Bud Light.


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c2d
 c2d
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February 25, 2013 4:31 am  

HaveMilesWillTravel, post: 1874711, member: 648 wrote:
Oh, and I think the Chase Ink doesn't give 5x at CVS or other drugstores. People used those cards at office supply stores, from what I read, and those don't carry the cards anymore.

This is technically correct.

But, Chase Freedom has rotating 5x categories and the current Q1 includes drug stores, so if you have a Freedom card, you can do up to $1500 spend at drugstores yielding 7500 pts.

And also, people have had success buying other normal Visa/MC/Amex gift cards from Office supply stores using Ink Bold to get the 5x bonus and then using those gift cards to buy the vanilla reloads from CVS/Walgreens. Of course this adds a little more in fees and a lot more of time/effort. You have to decide for yourself how much effort you want to put into this kind of thing.

AA PLT, UA GLD, FL Elite, WN A+CP, Marriott GLD, HHonors SLVR, Avis Pref.


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Traveling Momma
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February 25, 2013 12:54 pm  

Got it. Thank you!

I've seen the VR cards at my local Walgreens. And, I live right downtown Chicago so have lots of CVS and Walgreens at my disposal. I'll look today to see what I can buy with one of my credit cards. I'll look to pay my HOA fees with a check then from my Bluebird account. Does anyone know if you can set up a reocurring billing for the first of the month automatically?

Blue.

Have Kids and Travel- On points and miles for free with a kid in tow.
2013/2014 trips - DC, Yosemite, Skiing Utah, Bangkok, Florida, Amalfi Coast 😎


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autolycus
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 2138
February 25, 2013 1:25 pm  

Cdnblue, post: 1875085, member: 100248 wrote: Got it. Thank you!

I've seen the VR cards at my local Walgreens. And, I live right downtown Chicago so have lots of CVS and Walgreens at my disposal. I'll look today to see what I can buy with one of my credit cards. I'll look to pay my HOA fees with a check then from my Bluebird account. Does anyone know if you can set up a reocurring billing for the first of the month automatically?

Blue.

You cannot do auto bill payment at this time. Each check has to be requested manually. It does, however, save your payee information, so the process is very simple after your first check.


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Traveling Momma
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February 26, 2013 12:42 am  

Can I buy a bunch of Vanilla Reloads, load on my Bluebird and then pay my credit card bills with a check from Bluebird? This seems too good to be true so please let me know if this is against some rule or will shut down my account in some way.

Have Kids and Travel- On points and miles for free with a kid in tow.
2013/2014 trips - DC, Yosemite, Skiing Utah, Bangkok, Florida, Amalfi Coast 😎


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MX
 MX
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Posts: 2242
February 26, 2013 5:42 am  

Cdnblue, post: 1875874, member: 100248 wrote: Can I buy a bunch of Vanilla Reloads, load on my Bluebird and then pay my credit card bills with a check from Bluebird? This seems too good to be true so please let me know if this is against some rule or will shut down my account in some way.

There are no rules against any bill payments. Some are sent out by EFT, and others by checks. Just keep in mind that bill payment is a money losing service for AmEx. If you want to act more like their target customer, you should also mix in occasional retail spending with your bluebird card, and keep a balance in your account.


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Traveling Momma
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February 26, 2013 1:14 pm  

M7VO, post: 1876200, member: 82764 wrote: There are no rules against any bill payments. Some are sent out by EFT, and others by checks. Just keep in mind that bill payment is a money losing service for AmEx. If you want to act more like their target customer, you should also mix in occasional retail spending with your bluebird card, and keep a balance in your account.

Understood. Thanks for the tip. I'm on it!

Have Kids and Travel- On points and miles for free with a kid in tow.
2013/2014 trips - DC, Yosemite, Skiing Utah, Bangkok, Florida, Amalfi Coast 😎


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Dad to GO
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February 26, 2013 5:36 pm  

Cdnblue, post: 1875085, member: 100248 wrote: Got it. Thank you!

I've seen the VR cards at my local Walgreens. And, I live right downtown Chicago so have lots of CVS and Walgreens at my disposal.

Isn't it hard coded into the Walgreens system that they will no longer take credit cards for VR purchases? I believe you'll want to focus mostly on CVS stores.

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Traveling Momma
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February 26, 2013 5:56 pm  

Dad to GO, post: 1876697, member: 80550 wrote: Isn't it hard coded into the Walgreens system that they will no longer take credit cards for VR purchases? I believe you'll want to focus mostly on CVS stores.

As it turns out I'm mistaken. There are no VR at my local Walgreens or at the Office Depot. I'll focus, as you suggest, on my CVS. Wish me luck.

Have Kids and Travel- On points and miles for free with a kid in tow.
2013/2014 trips - DC, Yosemite, Skiing Utah, Bangkok, Florida, Amalfi Coast 😎


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Traveling Momma
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February 27, 2013 4:01 pm  

Just checked CVS here downtown Chicago and there are no Vanilla Reloads. Perhaps VR here in Chicago are dead. Just FYI.

Have Kids and Travel- On points and miles for free with a kid in tow.
2013/2014 trips - DC, Yosemite, Skiing Utah, Bangkok, Florida, Amalfi Coast 😎


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HaveMilesWillTravel
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12802
February 27, 2013 4:17 pm  

Cdnblue, post: 1878012, member: 100248 wrote: Just checked CVC here downtown Chicago and there are no Vanilla Reloads. Perhaps VR here in Chicago are dead. Just FYI.

I suspect they'll be restocked on a certain day of the week when new deliveries come in, and then they quickly get picked up by the Vanilla "mafia". Cities like Chicago or the Bay Area (where I am) have a higher density of point and miles manufacturers than more rural areas.

I don't always drink beer, but when I do I will certainly NOT drink Bud Light.


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autolycus
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Posts: 2138
February 27, 2013 4:18 pm  

Cdnblue, post: 1878012, member: 100248 wrote: Just checked CVC here downtown Chicago and there are no Vanilla Reloads. Perhaps VR here in Chicago are dead. Just FYI.

Make sure to check all three possible locations within each CVS: 1) gift card rack toward the front of the store 2) gift card rack near the pharmacy at back 3) magazine stands at the register

VR tends to be at the bottom of the rack with the largest # of generic cards like MyVanilla and Amex gift cards. There are usually PayPal and Greendot reloads as well. Those will likely require cash though.


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