Manufactured Spending

PointChasing Weekend: Hunting Vanilla Reloads & A Scary Experience at 711

This weekend I came away with a nice stash of points. I spent Saturday driving to Daly City, where I had absolutely zero luck at every CVS/711 store I stopped in. I didn’t feel like driving into San Francisco to my trusted sources on Market Street and instead headed to a quirky town down the freeway. I found two CVS locations, a mile apart. At one of them, the cashier told me I could buy as many Vanilla Reloads as I wanted, so I came back with another $5k on top of the $1k I had already purchased. I would have bought more, but I had to get going and this was taking a lot of time.

On Sunday, I reloaded my Target for Amex card with $1,000 and came away with an easy 785 points from Shopkick, aka $3 towards a giftcard.

Later, I got lost taking the backroads in the next town over and stumbled upon a 711 and a CVS next to each other. The 711 turned me down, so I headed to CVS where the cashier informed me they had a limit of 2 per day. Fine by me! A few miles down the road, I stumbled upon a Chevron/711 combo and had to try it out. I was in luck – the cashier rang up the transaction and not only did I earn 2x on my pretty blue card, but I earned points through Plink. Deals We Like has a great post that explains how it works.

Feeling greedy, I went back and tried to buy more. The cashier saw no problems with that and began ringing up 2 cards. The cards went through, but when the receipt printed, it showed the purchase was refunded. I tried this with my Sapphire Preferred and the same thing happened. Two cards later, it became apparent that this just wasn’t going to work. Not just because the transaction kept being refunded, but by the very last try, the phone rang. One of the associates answered and asked the cashier what I had been paying with. “Credit card.” He repeated this to the person on the other line, hung up, and relayed, “That was 711 corporate. They said we can only take cash for those cards. That’s why they kept getting refunded.” Not only was this hugely disappointing, but it freaked me out a bit. Corporate knows what’s going on and they are closely monitoring the purchase of giftcards. I hope 711 doesn’t get all chummy with Chase the way Office Depot did. In any case, I’m going to go easy on the manufactured spending with Chase.

Aside from a few setbacks, this was a very productive weekend for me. I’m taking a trip to Australia in December and since my brother has decided to join us, I’m 100k miles short. I could meet this deficit with the opening of a new card for him, though he’s young and I want to focus his next application cycle on no-fee cards he can keep permanently, before getting him another card that is going to have a short run in his wallet. In any case, I got a decent chunk of my point goals out of the way this weekend.

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  1. Any hint about which CVS locations worked for you, south of SF?

    • PointChaser

      Nothing in South SF, but the two on Market St work great – also, the 7/11 next to one of the cvs stores too. In Berkeley, there’s one about a mile from the downtown BART station on telegraph – let’s you buy as many as you want.

  2. any luck on the same CVS locations recently? It looks like CVS pulled the VRs down. thanks!

    • PointChaser

      I haven’t been back, but Kendra from Points & Pixie dust told me they instated a limit and recently ran out of cards altogether. Hopefully they’ll restock their shelves.

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