Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world.


  1. Joey

    October 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Awesome post! I went to FTU this past weekend and even in the beginner’s workshop a lot of people wanted to learn more about Vanilla Reload cards.
    Can you actually pay your credit card directly from Bluebird? I thought that was not possible?

    • Keri Anderson

      October 1, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      You can! If you start typing the name, they’ll display a list of options to choose from and then I just put my account number in the memo. 🙂

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      October 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      I do it all the time, and almost immediately when I get the card. If the credit card company is in their system, it applies within 24 hours or so. (if not, 2-3 days)

  2. Rick

    October 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I believe you can transfer the funds to your regular checking account and then you can use the money however you want.

  3. Minos

    October 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    The new blog with arrows and circles!!
    Too bad that, unlike some aspects of the FrequentMiler, there is not even a hint at something new or something that was experimented. Just the old horse that keeps being beaten…

    • Ruthi

      October 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      “this post is for the folks who might be new to miles and points…
      If you already know how to do it, this post is going to bore you”

      As someone who just heard about this, I found the post quite helpful.

  4. Nic

    October 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Please also tell them about the scam with VRs. Also, how much risk there is in the game. etc Bloggers only paint the rosy picture.

  5. Paul

    October 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Appears to be all shut down in Nevada and CA. All the CVS I visit are Cash only now.

  6. Jason

    October 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    These seem to have disappeared over the last 2-3 weeks in my area of Chicago. Store managers have given a variety of explanations. Is the game over?

    Any help?

  7. Reese

    October 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    These have disappeared in my area in the last month. Hoping they’ll be back, but this might be on its last legs everywhere. If so, it was great while it lasted.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      October 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      I thought they were for me too and then I suddenly started seeing random ones at times I didn’t usually go to CVS. I think someone in my area figured out when they stock up and attack then.

  8. Lynn

    October 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I have been unsucessful in the last month at three close by CVSs to find any VRs. Someone posted a comment in another blog that one CVS did not care if people took the blank cards out the store and then brought them back to reload because they have no value without the reload. The poster said they saw someone take the entire stack out of the store. I don’t know if that is true.

  9. mm

    October 2, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I have never come across any VRs so I never had the need to open a Bluebird account but I thought there was a fee to load $ onto your bluebird acct if you do it online but if you do at walmart its free?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      October 2, 2013 at 11:31 am

      There’s a fee if you load debit money, but if you put a VR on, you have to pay the fee in the store for the VR, but loading online is free

    • Keri Anderson

      October 2, 2013 at 11:36 am

      And it’s free to load a gift card with a PIN through the in-store Walmart money center (though like Jeanne said you usually have to pay a fee for the gift card upfront). Also in the comments on Mommy Point’s post, someone mentioned they have had success loading their bluebird with a gift card (fee free) in the check out line!

  10. Drew B

    October 4, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Luckily i live in an area with a constant supply of reloads. I easily clear 2-3k a week at my CVS. This has made minimum spends an afterthought when applying for rewards cards

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      October 4, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      I’m jealous!

  11. Pingback: Meeting minimum spending requirements for an average Joe | Miles For Family

  12. dan

    January 16, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Hi is this method still working in jan 2014? Is there any chance the credit card company, in this case citi will code this as a cash advance?

    • Keri Anderson

      January 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      I haven’t purchased any this month, but haven’t heard any reports that it’s not working. Based on my limited experience, it shows up as a purchase from that store, so the credit card company would have no way of knowing if you bought Vanilla Reload or $504.95 worth of laundry detergent 🙂 All my purchases have shown up as a Drug Store purchase — Walgreens, CVS, etc

  13. JJ

    January 20, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Tried to buy a Vanilla Reload Card with my credit card but all CVS stores refused to sell it. Maybe I need to buy it with credit pin code, so the card will act as a debit card… Any advise will help thanks

  14. Felix Flores

    January 22, 2014 at 2:02 am

    is there any reloadable prepaid card that does not need to be tied with a banking account ? please advise.For example the vanila PREPAID MONEY PACK needs to be loaded into a BLUE BIRD DEBIT ACCOUNT CARD ,WHICH YOU HAVE TO OPEN IN THE AMEX BANK. THIS IS WHAT I DO NOT WANT.

    • Keri Anderson

      January 22, 2014 at 10:20 am

      A good question, unfortunately I don’t know 🙁 For me, the appeal of Vanilla was the ability to get credit card spend by writing checks through Bluebird for purchases that don’t accept credit cards. Readers?

  15. Salina

    January 22, 2014 at 4:29 am

    When loading vanilla reload card can you get cash back just off that reload card, also can you shop with it??

    • Keri Anderson

      January 22, 2014 at 10:22 am

      My understanding is you need to load the vanilla reload into another account — such as Mio, Paypal, bluebird ( — then you can use the card you loaded to shop. I think some cards do allow you to get cashback, but not something I’ve tried.

  16. Mike

    January 25, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    1.can i directly reload vanilla and pay bills without linking any bank account or debit cards? much is max you can pay off credit card via bluebird? (pay chase $1000+ possible?)
    3.could you pay multiple credit cards same month?
    4.which CC let you buy vanillas & pay them off?
    I don’t want to raise any flags, do it the right way. any advice? thanks

    • Keri Anderson

      January 27, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Mike, I’ve only used Vanilla Reload with my Bluebird account so I don’t have the widest experience, but here’s what I know:
      1. Any bills that accept prepaid gift cards as payment would probably take whatever card you loaded your vanilla onto.
      2. Bluebird has a limit of $5,000 deposits/withdrawals, so that would be the max.
      3. You can pay multiple cards a month, but I advise avoiding the one that you bought the vanilla reloads with.
      4. I’ve not had a problem any of my credit cards to buy vanilla reloads — MC, Visa, or AMEX from various banks — just differing levels of fraud precautions.

      Here are my tips for staying off the radar — don’t use vanilla reloads to pay off the credit card you used to but it. Particularly if it was an American Express (since Bluebird is owned by AMEX). As much as possible, try to use it to pay off expenses where credit cards aren’t taken — rent, mortgage, taxes, etc. Should your account come up for audit, you then have legit expenses that aren’t just $5K a month in and $5K a month in credit card payments out. Also keep in mind that you’re paying $3.95 per $500 in spend. Make sure you value the points, miles, or cashback for more than that. I personally find it most useful when I’m trying to hit a large minimum spend on a new credit card! 🙂 Hope that helps!

  17. Mike

    January 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Keri,
    Thanks for the excellent advice. I’m guessing I’ll be fine with loading $4000 a month in bluebird, paying $2000 for rent & auto and remaining $2000 to pay CCs? But I’m not sure I understand when you say “don’t use vanilla reloads to pay off the credit card you used to buy it.” Say if I bought multiple vanilla reloads with chase & citi(provided I also include other expenses) how will they know which I used to pay? Am I at risk?

    • Keri Anderson

      January 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      if you’re using multiple cards to purchase in a month and not using bluebird to pay off that exact amount, I think you’ll be fine. Example: If you buy 2K with a citi card and 2K with a chase card, apply 2K towards auto and mortgage, then apply 1.5K to pay off your citi and .5K to pay off your chase, that should be fine. I don’t have facts to support this, but I think it’s when you’re paying off credit cards with close the exact amount you charged (purchasing $2015.80 and applying $2,000) that you risk popping up on the radar. Particularly with American Express. That’s based on the limited anecdotes I’ve heard.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      January 28, 2014 at 12:34 am

      I’ve paid off the same credit cards that I bought the reloads with, but I didn’t spend that much and I used the credit cards for a lot more, so YMMV.

  18. Mike

    January 28, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Thank you both for your responses. I guess following your way would carry balance, but will be safer, I was thinking about paying full balance to avoid interest. Do points post after min. Spend is met or min. Spend + paid off? I’m really new to all this..

    • Keri Anderson

      January 28, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Definitely pay full balance! If you pay interest then the points probably aren’t worth enough. I recommend just buying what you can pay off — put as much as you can towards things like rent, auto, mortgage, etc that would normally be paid with a check and use the remainder to pay off the cards 🙂

      From my limited experience it varies by credit card when the bonus posts, but typically its when the billing cycle closes after minimum spend is met. Hope this is helpful (and welcome)!

  19. Tammy

    February 16, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Hi. So i would like to start vanilla reloading. I have a few questions.
    1. Can i buy the VR with a savings account, checkings or credit?

    2. Can i load the money to my bank account other than paypal or bluebird?

    3. If so can i then withdraw the money asap?

    4. How many VR cards can i buy at once? How many in a month?

    5. One last sorry. Do any of you use wells fargo for banking with a clearance of purchacing the vr cards and all transactions?

    Thanks in advance i appreciate it!

  20. Tammy

    February 16, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Oh and what is a minimum spending or maximum spending. Tell me all the little rules im rusty. Thanks again!


  21. Tammy

    February 16, 2014 at 5:47 am

    Sorry again guys lol.can this go through with a sub account also? Have any of you guys tried before? Please feel free to email me also guys if you can better tell me everything;) thank!! 🙂

  22. Imanie

    October 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    This blog helped me so much! my bestfriend recently just gave me $180 on a Vanilla Card and none of knew how to use it but now that i do i can finally get my Iphone!!!!! Thanks so much!

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