This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.