Maximizing Fee-Free Chase Gift Cards With Bluebird

by on September 9, 2013 · 47 comments

in Amex Bluebird, Chase

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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.

Chase announced to its cardholders on their most recent credit card statements that they would stop selling Visa debit gift cards as of September 22, 2013, and because branches are not selling them at this time, the bank is waiving the standard $4.95 per-card shipping fee.

Screen shot 2013-09-08 at 7.41.56 PM

The standard $4.95 shipping fee is being waived.

So for the next two weeks, you can buy Chase Visa debit gift cards here. You can buy cards in any denomination between $25-$500 each, and you can buy up to five gift cards in a single transaction. Plus, if you use a Chase card, you earn points on these purchases like you would any other, so if you used the Ink Bold or Sapphire Preferred, for example, you’d earn 1 Ultimate Rewards point per dollar.

Chase Gift Card featThese cards function as debit cards, which is important for a few points-earning reasons I’ll get to below, such as loading your Bluebird account with them, and once you get yours, you can call Chase to set up PINs on each of them so that you can use them like a debit card.

Check out the Chase FAQ page for details on the cards as well as this informative FlyerTalk thread, but the pertinent things to know are:

-You must buy them using a Chase-branded card

-Purchases of gift cards count as purchases, not cash advance, so these transactions earn points

-You are limited to $2,600 in gift card purchases per 30-day period per account (though see below, because this varies with additional cardholders and whether you have a business or personal card)

-Additional business cardholders (like the Ink Bold and Ink Plus) get their own 30-day $2,600 limit

-Additional personal cardholders (like the Sapphire Preferred) do not get their own 30-day $2,600 limit – any gift cards they purchase count towards the main account’s limit

-The checkout process involves keying in your social security number, but there is no credit inquiry

-Though they function as debit cards with PINs (when you call to activate them, the system will generate a PIN for you) you cannot use them to withdraw cash at ATM’s or to get cash back Chase branches. It’s still unclear whether other merchants will offer cash back for them, but most reports say they won’t.

-Customers in AR, CT, HI, ME, NH, NJ, RI, and VT cannot purchase them online

Maximizing Points With Chase Gift Card Purchases

The reason this is exciting news is that it can 1. let you meet minimum spend on a new credit card to meet the bonus requirements without laying out any extra cash, and 2. is a great way to load your Bluebird account and earn points that way.

In terms of meeting minimum spending on a new Chase card – that’s pretty straightforward. Let’s say you got the British Airways Visa that requires you to spend $2,000 in 3 months in order to earn 50,000 Avios, or the Hyatt Visa that requires $1,000 spending in 3 months for the 2 free nights bonus, or if you don’t think you’ll quite meet the $5,000 spending requirement on the Ink Bold or Ink Plus for 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points – purchasing Chase gift cards and giving yourself some more breathing room to spend that money over a few more months. Check out this post for The Top 25 Cards with the Lowest Bonus Minimum Spending Thresholds.

To me, the Bluebird angle is more interesting, even though given the time left that Chase will be offering these is only a couple weeks and you will only be able to squeeze $2,600 in value – but that means you’ll essentially be creating 2,600 points (or more, depending on the card you use – for instance the BA Visa earns 1.25 Avios per $1) for free without any fees.

That’s because since these cards function as debit cards, you can use them to load Bluebird accounts at Walmart Money centers -up to $1,000 per day, and $5,000 per month. Then, you can use that money to pay any bill you want, or even use the Bluebird card as an ATM card since that is one of its functions as a debit/checking alternative. That’s a great, quick way to rack up some points-earning spend fast.

As long as we’re talking about Walmart, the huge retailer also allows customers to use PIN-based debt cards to purchase money orders of up to $1,000 for a mere 70 cents each. You can either visit their customer service desk, or the MoneyCenter ATM, so that’s a good alternative for folks who don’t have a Bluebird account.

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.

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  • jim

    Don’t do this! read reports

  • Eric L.

    In NJ, are they selling them in Chase branches?

  • Eric L.

    Any specifics?

  • thepointskid

    what can you by money orders with, credit or debit?

  • donationguru

    the cost benefit ratio of driving to a walmart and loading these babies is not worth my time….I live in NYC so there is no walmart to be found thats close. Staples is my best friend

  • Ed Chandler

    Indeed. What “reports”? Linky please?

  • jasmine

    doing the money order into banks will throw a red flag. i know iam a bank teller. anyone who deposits alot of money orders gets flagged and reported. nothing illegal but law enforcement has shut down accounts for up to 180 days while law enforcement investigates for possible money laundring. not to mention all the paperwork required. best to use bluebird to make deposits

  • mikeb

    Yes very true. Never make alot of MO deposits into the same account. I usually deposit among several accounts as to not draw a inquiry. Bluebird only allows 5000 deposit per month via debit or reloads.

  • kaijunky

    …but adding / loading funds to BlueBird from debit cards incurs a $2 charge per transaction and is only allowed $100 daily limit.

    am i missing something here?

  • MrWho

    Aware of SAR & CTR. That should solve the problem.

  • MrWho

    Yes, you are missing something.

  • Nick

    On the walmart site it says you can pay credit card bills for aslittle as $1. Does anyone have any experince with this? Would you have to do seperate transactions for each GC for $1 per GC? or could you do say $1500 and spread the cost accross 3 cards and just get a $1 fee?

  • thepointsguy

    Online debit card loads have a fee, but ones at Walmart do not.

  • Steven

    “since these cards function as debit cards, you can use them to load Bluebird accounts at Walmart Money centers.”

  • joe

    Been maxing this out for months. Awesome way to get free points

  • Steve

    Does Staples let you cash them out somehow? Or are you referring to something else?

  • Russ L.

    Can’t you also just buy Green Dot/Vanilla Reloads at Rite Aid/CVS with these? My Rite Aid won’t let me buy Green Dot Money Paks with a credit card but says you can buy them with a debit card.

  • kaijunky

    ahh gotcha. thank you for clarifying..!

  • A.J.

    Havent had a chance to browse the link to purchase. Shipping fee is waived but is there any cost for the card itself ( like the $4.95 fee one would pay if purchasing these cards in a store) ? Would someone who has ordered please let me know? Thanks.

  • JS

    Order form seems to be broken.I’m getting “We are temporarily unable to process your request. Please try again later, or call Customer Service if you require immediate assistance.

    [Reference code FCD80DC2 - Normal - p_mybcf01]” — Not calling Cust service of course.

  • Trav

    There are no shipping fees and there are no fees for the cards themselves. This has been around for several months now, and it sucks that they are going away…

  • Trav

    They are probably referring to buying gift cards at Staples with an Ink Bold card and earning 5 points per dollar. I find this especially great for Amazon gift cards.

  • Zila

    Agree…I was hoping it will last forever..

  • Kha Dang-Tran

    So if I have a personal account and a business account, can I purchase up to $2600 on each? Or is it $2600 to my ssn and then if I had additional card holders on my business account they could purchase additional ones?

  • A.J.

    Thank you !

  • joe

    What would be the point of doing that?

  • Russ L.

    To load a Green Dot compatible prepaid CC and then pay bills. Same point as loading a Bluebirdcard.

  • Valerie

    Deal will be dead on 9/22. According to another blogger, chase will stop selling gift cards on 9/22. He has a screen shot of the detail from his chase statement.

  • Techie

    Have these been free for months? Or are you not counting the shipping fees?

  • danny

    how do u unload the Amazon GCs?

  • David

    Been ordering these for 2 months now fee free… Greatest minimum spend helper and points machine recently! Sad to see it go :(
    Not sure if TPG just didn’t know about this deal (and if so, missed out on 30k+ free points), or if be was protecting the deal by waiting till the end to post…

  • TheBrokeProfessional

    Thanks for the timely post. Just got approved for the United Mileage Explorer business card with a 50,000 bonus after $2,000 spend in 3 months. They said it should be here in about a week giving me a few days to buy the gift cards! Little late to the bluebird party but that card should be coming later this week as well. Great post once again.

  • Ben Wexler

    i just purchased a gift card.. can i upload the card to my bluebird card at walmart? if so how do i do that ?

  • Devon Pack

    So do you just buy $2600 at one time and then deplete that card $500 at a time on the Bluebird card($1,000 per day) until it’s all used up? Or should I buy separate gift cards of $500 each?

  • yourPFpro

    I rarely see this mentioned with Bluebird but can’t you just load up your BB account and write yourself a check(since they give you a ton of free checks) or would this draw a red flag?

  • addicted

    Does the $2600/30 day giftcard purchase limit is per each chase credit card or per individual with chase card?

  • Trav

    I actually use them on Amazon as I do a lot of shopping there. For instance, Amazon has Subscribe and Save options for many household and food items. If you have more than 5 subscribe and save items ship per month (easy to do), you get 15% off your order. So you could get 1 point per dollar using most cards, 3 points per dollar using the Chase Amazon or 5 points per dollar buying the gift cards at Staples with the Chase Ink. I like 5.

  • Esskay

    In Northern California, Walmart has issued instructions that only Bank issued Debit cards can be used to load Bluebird. Even the Walmart Money Kiosk. Looks like the game is over


    Take it to the register and the clerk and do it for you if you don’t want to use the kiosk.


    I reported on this deal back in early July:

  • Devon Pack

    So do you just buy $2600 at one time and then deplete that card $500 at a
    time on the Bluebird card($1,000 per day) until it’s all used up? Or
    should I buy separate gift cards of $500 each?

  • JC

    I’ve been asked for my license twice by the same person at Walmart. The other cashiers don’t do this. I asked her why she’s the only one that does it and she says her supervisor asked her to do it. Does anybody know what the purpose of asking for the license and typing in all that information on their system?

  • sfgadv02

    Not sure if it’s new, but did anyone notice that Bluebird does not charge the $2 fee anymore for debit card reload?

  • dcjimmy

    My 2 Atlanta CVS stores have had no Bluebird cards for 3 weeks now! Anyone else having a problem finding them? The stores don’t seem to know the reason.

  • Murtaza

    Do people advise against loading these GCs into bluebird and then immediately using bluebird to pay off the chase balance?

  • guest

    Just tried to fund my bluebird card with a visa gift card at Walmart and it was denied with the reason: tender is not allowed. Any way around this?

  • torah talk

    it does now work any more, any other option to do? i have money on credit cards i want them in my blue bird card? thanks

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