There’s currently a shortage of Vanilla reloadable cards on the market- many TPG readers are reporting their Office Depots are either sold out or no longer offering the card. This is causing a lot of frustration for those looking to leverage Bluebird to earn miles and points by paying everyday bills with extremely low fees and I’ve gotten a lot of emails asking whether there’s an angle without Vanilla reloadable cards.
And the answer is YES, there are still ways to maximize your point earning at Office Depot by buying non-reloadable cards for nominal fees. You still get the 5x points for shopping at Office Depot, but you lose the flexibility to reload in larger quantities or to use Bluebird to pay any bill or make free ATM transactions. However, at the end of the day you can still convert more of your regular spend to earning 5x points, which is great.
Option one is to buy $500 Amex Prepaid cards at Office Depot for a fee of $4.95. I don’t recommend using a non-5x point earning card, unless you need to meet a minimum spend requirement, because you are better off just using your point or mileage earning credit card to make everyday purchases instead of occurring the $4.95 and hassle of buying the pre-paid card. Carrying around $500 prepaid cards can be annoying, but it’s worth it to get the 5x points on everything. You can check the balance of your Amex prepaid cards here.
Option two is to buy a OneVanilla Prepaid Visa cards at $500 intervals with a $5.95 fee. Since they aren’t registered to your address you may have an issue shopping online where you need to verify your address, but for simple purchases at retail stores and restaurants you should have no issues.
The angle here is that you earn 5x points when purchasing these pre-paid cards so even though you don’t earn base points when using them, it doesn’t matter because you’ve already banked the 5x points for purchasing them on the front-end. This is not a new concept- my friend and fellow blogger Frequent Miler pioneered the Prepaid/Vanilla movement and has been blogging about this technique all year- especially with his “award winning” post “One Card to Rule Them All” on May 1.
To sum it up, getting the Bluebird/Vanilla is the ultimate option, but in the meantime while there are widespread Vanilla shortages, there are ways to earn a boatload of points on everyday purchases. Let’s hope they all restock and that other retailers (like Walmart) begin selling them and allow us to use credit cards to make purchase them!
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.
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