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.

The Bluebird from American Express is a checking account/debit card alternative with a lot of great features that can save you money and earn points in the process. You don’t undergo a credit check when you apply for it, and from your Bluebird account you can do everything from paying bills and sending money to others to writing checks and withdrawing cash from ATM’s.

Bluebird has eliminated the debit load fee.
Bluebird has eliminated the debit load fee.

There are several ways to fund your Bluebird account including direct deposit, cash deposit refills at Walmart, by buying Vanilla Reloads cards that some merchants (like CVS and 711) allow you to purchase with a points-earning credit card, but you can also fund it using a debit. However, many gift cards like the Visa Vanilla, now function as debit cards with PIN’s (though they do not work at ATM’s). They can be loaded with anywhere from $20-500 each and have a one-time $4.95 load fee.

That’s interesting because while you can use them to load Bluebird accounts at Walmart Money centers up to $1,000 per day, and $5,000 per month, up until now, Bluebird would charge you $2 per transaction when you used a debit card to load Bluebird online. However, it looks like Bluebird has removed that fee for online debit card loads. You are still limited to loading $100 per transaction and per day up to $1,000 per month, but at least you can do this without paying $2 each time, and there’s 1,000 more points to earn per month in the process (all you pay is $9.90 in fees for the gift cards) and is convenient for those folks who don’t have a Walmart nearby.

So while you might max out your Bluebird loads each month with $500 in Vanilla Reloads that you purchase using a points-earning credit card, you can now add another $1,000 to your loading capability by purchasing a gift card that has a PIN and then using it to load your Bluebird account like you would with any other debit card.

While this won’t alter my Bluebird strategy drastically, it’s good to have an option to add another $1,000 to my Bluebird account per month and to be able to do so without having to visit a Walmart or worry about whether my CVS is going to accept my credit card to purchase Vanilla Reloads.

For more information on Bluebird, check out these posts:

Bluebird From American Express – The Basics
Maximizing American Express Bluebird FAQ’s
Maximizing Prepaid / Reloadable and Reload Cards For Points And Miles – Choosing Which Credit Card To Use
Maximizing Visa Prepaid Gift Cards
Maximizing Prepaid and Reload Cards For Points and Miles

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
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
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.