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Update: You can no longer purchase Vanilla Reload cards using a credit card and Vanilla Reloads are no longer available in Office Depot.
Our first question this week is from TPG reader Tony who is looking to meet spend bonuses by purchasing prepaid cards:
“Some credit cards, such as the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express, define eligible purchases as ‘Eligible Purchases means purchases for goods and services minus returns and other credits. Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of other cash equivalents.’
Given such terms, does the Vanilla/Bluebird method still work to rack up points or bonuses?”
Although the terms & conditions of American Express cards does state that cash equivalents, money orders, and prepaid cards do not count as qualified spend to reach a bonus I have never experienced purchasing a prepaid card and not having it count towards my spend, and I have a lot of reader comments to the same effect.
Buying reload cards like Vanilla Reloads or GreenDot MoneyPaks to put their value on a prepaid card like the Bluebird or Serve cards is a great option to help you maximize your point earning and meet the minimum spend on a card, though as we’ve discussed this week it can be somewhat time-consuming. If you are concerned that the purchase won’t be eligible and you have a few months to meet your spend, I would recommend buying the prepaid cards in small portions and confirming with Amex at the end of the month when your statement closes that your spend is being met through these purchases.
Aside from my personal experiences buying Vanilla Reloads, I have yet to see anyone report that the purchases are being deemed as ineligible. If you have seen or heard otherwise please comment below!