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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.
TPG Twitter follower Michael tweeted me @thepointsguy this week asking:
“Will I still get points if I set up automatic payments for bills (utilities, cell, rent, car, etc) using my rewards card?”
Yes, absolutely. Whether your credit card payment is automatic or not, if a vendor accepts your card payment, you will get the points.
With bills that you can’t usually pay with points-earning credit cards like mortgage, car payments, insurance premiums and more, you still have some options for earning points on these expenses. If you live in an area with stores like CVS that sell Vanilla Reloads and let customers purchase them using credit cards, you can purchase them, then load the value of those reloads onto your Bluebird card from American Express, which functions as a debit card/checking alternative, and then cut checks and pay bills electronically from that account.
It’s not cheap, necessarily – you’re essentially paying 0.8 cents per point (each Vanilla Reload costs $3.95 to load up to $500 on) to be able to pay these kinds of bills through Bluebird, and Vanilla Reloads aren’t available everywhere. Just be sure to pay off your credit cards on time so you’re not paying interest!
For more information on Bluebird and Vanilla Reloads, 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
CVS Raises the Daily Vanilla Reload Purchase Limit to $5,000
Maximize Monday: Buying Vanilla Reloads at 7-11 and CVS to Generate Points and Credit Card Spend
Maximizing Reload Cards – Vanilla vs. GreenDot vs. ReloadIt
My Permanent Amex Bluebird Card is Active and the Points Are Flying
The Platinum Card® from American Express
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Credit Rating|
|N/A||N/A||$450||See Terms||Excellent Credit|