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RIP Vanilla Reload…and Bye Bye Bluebird?

If you’ve read any points and miles blogs over the past few months, you’ve surely heard of Vanilla Reload cards and the ability to earn 5 points per $1 when purchasing these at Office Depot. When the Amex Bluebird card was released last month, everyone was excited about the potential to fund these cards with Vanilla Reloads and earn 5 points per $1 on their mortgage, rent, and other bills. Unfortunately, that bubble appears to have burst.

Bye Bye Redbird

FrequentMiler reports that Office Depot has stopped carrying Vanilla Reload cards. I had a nagging suspicion about this when I recently visited the nearest Office Depot (which is usually well stocked) and found they were out of cards. They did have re-loadable American Express Prepaid cards in stock, but that was it. I called several other Bay Area locations and they were all out. When I called the nearest store on Friday, I was told “We’re not going to have those any more.” It seems all other stores have followed.

This is really unfortunate, as many were counting on this when they purchased their Bluebird cards. Thankfully, all is not lost and you can still buy Vanilla Reload cards at other stores including: 7-11, Dollar General, Save Mart, Walgreens, CVS, and more. The challenge is finding a store that allows credit card purchases.

I’ve had zero luck this week tracking down a store near my home or work that allow purchasing these with a credit card. The newly hired cashier at my local CVS almost let it slide, but his supervisor stepped in and informed us both that giftcards had to be purchased with cash only. The 7-11 close to work does allow debit card purchases, but my Alaska Airlines Debit Card only earns $0.5 points per $1. I guess I could use a credit card to load my Target Amex, use the Target Amex to purchase the Vanilla Reload cards at 7-11, load them onto Bluebird, and use that to pay my student loans? That is a long, drawn-out process involving several fees that may not be worth it. Without Vanilla Reload cards, Bluebird might as well be dead for me.

Maybe I’m holding onto a pipe dream, but has anyone in the Bay Area found an Office Depot location that still carries Vanilla Reload cards? Or any of the above-mentioned stores that allow credit card purchases?

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Ariana Arghandewal

13 Comments

  1. at OD vanilla visa debit can purchased with $6 fee for 500, can you use the visa debit and buy vanilla reload at 7/11 ?its a two steps process and two fees but if it works then, game is back on.

      • @ Lucy, probably not. Although if you’re using it to pay your mortgage, 1 point per $1 + nominal fees may be worth it. I’m gonna try buying the cards at 7-11 with my Target for Amex card. I have two of these cards and need a way to cash out some of the funds.

    • @ Choi Lu, I don’t like the $6 fee on the Vanilla Debit, so I recommend getting an Amex for Target card instead. The load fee is just $3 per $1000. I think as long as the card comes with a PIN, you should be able to purchase the reload cards at 7-11. I’m going to try this on Monday with my Amex Prepaid and update you on whether it works.

  2. I’ve been trying to find a CVS or Walgreen’s in the Bay Area as well. They all stock the reloadable cards themselves, but not the reloads.

    • You can still find the re-loadable cards at Office Depot, which I guess is better than nothing. I’m almost tempted to take a trip LA to stock up on reloads…

      • I know, I had the same thought. Are you going to the Frequent Traveler University in LA this weekend? Hopefully there will be a CVS near the site.

    • Plenty! Two CVS stores on Market Street in SF, two in Berkeley, one in downtown Oakland. There are more, but these are the ones I’ve frequented.

      • Thank you for the reply! I really appreciate it. But… do you know bout further south? Santa Clara, SJ, Morgan Hill, Gilroy are more my general spots.

        • Unfortunately, I don’t. The farthest I’ve gone was Daily city and none of the 711/CVS stores let me use a credit card. Keep trying though!

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