Manufactured Spending

On a PointChasing Mission in Santa Clara, California

Save Mart Vanilla Reloads, Vanilla Reloads at Save Mart Grocery Store

I am heading off to Santa Clara for a really boring weekend. I once again got suckered into taking my sister and her debate team to another JSA (Junior State of America) event. During these events, watching her debate is completely out of the question, leaving me with little to do. Since watching reruns of Parks and Recreation is starting to get old, I’m going to do what I did last time – drive around looking for manufactured spending opportunities. The South Bay is the absolute worst place for manufacture spending. I have readers constantly asking me about Vanilla Reload sources, and even before that gravy train came to an end, I had nothing to share.

I do have a handful of Visa gift cards I need to cash out and I know there’s at least one Walmart in the area where I can do that. Grocery stores are plentiful, so I’ll be making the rounds to see if any of them will accept credit cards for Visa gift cards. If I can buy Paypower/ReloadIT cards at one of these locations, the whole trip will be worth it.

However, I’m getting weary of rejection, so this is where I put myself at the mercy of my readers. If you live in the South Bay Area and know of any places to buy gift cards or prepaid cards with a credit card, I would love it if you shared your source with me. I won’t blog about the location or share it with others, if that is a stipulation. There won’t be any clearing of the racks, photo shoots in front of the gift card rack, or instructing the cashier on how he/she can travel the world for next to nothing by doing the same. I’m just going to be bored and need something to do. If you’re willing to share, please comment below or email me.

Subscribe via email for more points, miles and free travel

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



  1. “The South Bay is the absolute worst place for manufacture spending.” Tell me about it. I live in the South Bay and I have yet to see any Vanilla reload cards. At least there are Walmarts down here, but that requires another trip.

    • If you don’t see VR cards, you’re not looking hard enough. SInce the apocalypse has hit, let me tell you about it:

      1) the Mountain View one restocked every Monday. $3k limits. Typically behind counter.
      2) The Cupertino one restocked every Wednesday/Tuesday. $5k limit
      3) The one on N 1st St. keeps theirs behind the counter.
      4) Hit up the CVS in less dense areas/further out to the edges of civilization if you want stocks that never deplete even after 2 weeks.

      I walked into 2 CVS in San Francisco (not knowing a thing about them) and bought $2k each a few weeks back too.

    • an addendum is that there’s worst places. NYC being one for sure.

  2. I’m surprised you say your weekend will be boring. I thought you enjoy experimenting with miles and points. Do you think it’s boring because you already have places in Fairfield that you regularly visit, so you think it’s unnecessary to drive around looking for manufactured spending opportunities elsewhere?

    Anyway, one idea I saw on Flyertalk last night is to buy Visa gift cards at a Simon Mall, like the Great Mall in Milpitas. You might have already heard of it. Basically, they might have Visa gift cards there for a 2.95 fee at the info kiosk. For a list of locations, to For a location closer to your home, Vacaville Premium Outlets is a Simon Mall. While the end of VRs at CVS sucks, this is actually better than VRs.

    Also, I suggest that you experiment at Rite Aid this weekend. I was at a Rite Aid last night in Tuscaloosa, AL, and I saw Rush Cards and Green Dot prepaid debit cards with an initial load of $500 for no fee. It might be worth it to do the initial load, set a PIN, liquidate it, and then toss it.

    To increase your chances of successfully buying Reloadits at Safeway or another store, I recommend that you request amounts of less than $500. I read that on the Flyertalk thread about the T-Mobile Prepaid Visa, and you might have also seen that advice ( Since I’m from San Jose, I think it’s cool that you’ll be in the South Bay this weekend.

    • PointChaser

      Thanks Brandon! I had no idea the Vacaville Outlets were a Simon Mall. I will give that a shot. There’s a Riteaid in Downtown Oakland where I used to buy the $0 fee moneypaks, but they only took credit cards.

      I was expecting this to be a boring weekend because after dropping off my sister, I would have to find a way to pass the time by myself. With the disappointing manufactured spending excursion of the past, I figured I wouldn’t have much else to do. Several readers have emailed me with gift card sources, so it definitely won’t be boring.

  3. qwerasdf is right. I’ve gotten more than enough in South Bay, but East Bay has worked the best for me since there’s 2 CVS’s within 5 min of each other that always have cards (or at least the Paypal ones) at the end of the week! Every store I’ve been to though only allows 2 cards at a time, but I just come back a couple hours later and get more, or go in pairs. 😉

    Also, South Bay has so much fun stuff!! I grew up here and I love the Bay Area. So much good food and things to do!

    • PointChaser

      Thanks, Star. Last time I was here, I drove all around (within 10-15 miles of Great America) and none of the stores would let me pay with a credit card. Since CVS is pretty much out, I’ll be making the rounds at grocery stores. Agree – I love the Bay Area too, but not the frustration of manufactured spending.

  4. Thanks for the tip on the $2.95 cards. My brother is now your biggest fan! 😉

Leave a Comment