Best Credit Cards to Buy Vanilla Reload Cards
Rewards Credit Cards
Avatar_160_hilary
Hilary Stockton
Google+

My Award Booking Service helps travelers book first class and business class with miles and points. As an independent affiliate of Cadence, I also have access to Four Seasons Preferred Partner, VirtuosoPeninsula Hotels PenClub, Dorchester Diamond Club, Belmond Bellini Club, Shangri-La Luxury Circle, Langham CoutureRitz-Carlton STARS, Starwood Luxury Privileges, Rocco Forte and other 5-star hotel partners, so I can book, for no extra cost, your perfect luxury hotel or luxury cruise with VIP amenities not available anywhere else. Become a client and upgrade your stay!

GOT A BLOG POST IDEA?
Have a travel question we haven't covered yet? Want to share your secrets for traveling well for less?

Best Credit Cards to Buy Vanilla Reload Cards for AMEX Bluebird

 

What are the best credit cards to buy Vanilla reload cards at CVS? This is assuming, of course, that you have CVS or other stores near you that sell Vanilla reload cards and also allow you to pay with a credit card. As I tweeted yesterday, Vanilla reload cards are pretty scarce in NYC since there are only a few that arrive at each store each week, and of course plenty of miles and points addicts competing for them! But with any luck, you live in an area where the competition isn't quite as fierce.

By way of background, buying $500 Vanilla reload cards, even with the $3.95 fee per card, can be a good way of earning miles and points for a few reasons:

  • Reload a Permanent AMEX Bluebird Card so that you can use it to pay bills or write checks on expenses that normally do not earn points, such as rent, mortgage, tuition, and other payees who accept checks but not credit cards. Don't forget AMEX Bluebird offers free checks until May 21.
  • Meet Minimum Spend: Front loading your spend on Vanilla Reloads can help you meet minimum spend for credit card signup bonuses
  • Take Advantage of Category Bonuses: The best deal was when it was possible to buy Vanilla Reloads at Office Depot using your Ink Bold for 5X, but that ended some months ago. The Chase Freedom offered 5X for drugstores in Q1 2013, so it was possible to buy $1500 worth of reloads per Freedom card then. The other favorite credit cards used for its drugstore bonus category was American Express Hilton HHonors and the Hilton HHonors Surpass cards, which until May 1, 2013 earned 6 HHonors points per dollar at drugstores. Currently, the best drugstore category bonus I'm aware of is the Citi ThankYou Preferred card, which for has an offer for new applicants that enables you to earn 5 ThankYou points per dollar spent at drugstores (as well as gas stations and supermarkets) for the first 12 months.
Ok, so now on to the best credit cards to buy Vanilla Reload cards with:
 
1. Credit Card Minimum Spend for Bonuses
 
This will give you the highest return. For example, let's say you signed up for the Ink Bold and met half of the $5000 minimum spend through regular business expenses, and the other $2500 by buying 5 Vanilla Reload cards. You would have paid $19.75 in fees for the 5 Vanilla Reload cards, and with the combined business and Vanilla Reload spend of $5000 would receive about 55,000 points (the 50,000 bonus points plus points from your actual spend). So the $19.75 is responsible for half the bonus, 25,000 points, plus your spend of ~$2500, giving you a cost per point of 0.14 cents per point. I would caution you not to go overboard, however, in using Vanilla Reloads to make up all of your minimum spend. Be reasonable and mix up your spend.
 
2. Credit Card Incentive and Retention Offers

Although usually the best deal is meeting minimum spend for signup bonuses, the next best (and sometimes even the best return) is to buy Vanilla Reload cards with credit cards that you'll receive an incentive or retention bonus for, after meeting certain minimum spend. These are more targeted, but here are some examples that are active for me right now (and feel free to share yours in the comments).
 
US Airways Dividend Miles 
15,000 Dividend Miles after spending $750 per month for three consecutive months. If you bought 2 Vanilla Reload cards per month for 3 months, that would be $23.70 in fees, and you'd earn 3023 + 15,000 points, so the equivalent of buying miles at  0.13 cent per mile--that's even slightly better than meeting minimum spend to earn the Ink Bold signup bonus! See US Air Card 15,000 Bonus for $750 Monthly Spend March-May (Targeted).
 
AMEX Premier Rewards Gold
The retention offer was 20,000 Membership Rewards points immediately, and an additional $7500 after spending $3000 within 60 days (See Current AMEX Retention Bonus Offers)
Taking into account the $3.95 per Vanilla Reload card fee, that equates to buying AMEX points at 0.22 cents per AMEX point, since you get the bonus points plus points from your actual spend. While not as good as buying Vanilla Reloads in order to get sign up bonuses, still good in its own right.
 
Hyatt Visa
My current targeted offer is 5000 bonus Gold Passport points after spending $3000 April-June. Taking into account the Vanilla Reload card fees and the Hyatt points you get from the spend plus the 5000 bonus points yields a cost of 0.3 cents per Hyatt point.
 
 
3. Cash Back Credit Cards
 
If you don't travel internationally or in first class or business class, your best bet may be a cash back card. There's the 2% Fidelity Investment Rewards AMEX, and there are some interesting niche cards such as this Marukai Premium JCB Card for California residents that gives 3% cash back. Fees are waived the first year, then a $15 annual fee and $10 Marukai annual fee apply starting the second year. Feel free to add your favorite cash back cards in the comments.
 
 
4. Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for New Cardholders
 
Personally I can't get excited about the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card even with the 12 month 5X offer, because Citi ThankYou points aren't transferrable to any airline programs--so your ROI is very limited. Sure, if you have the Citi ThankYour Premier card you can use each point for 1.33 cents off travel, but still not impressive--and remember that you have to go to the trouble of using the ThankYou program's travel booking system, where everything is a bit more expensive. Still, if you're really counting your pennies, this may be for you.
 
Have another favorite credit card you use when buying Vanilla Reload cards for your AMEX Bluebird?
 
 
Related Posts
 
 

Need Award Booking Help? Our fee is as low as $75 per ticket if you book your hotel through us.

If you enjoyed this, join 90,000+ readers: please follow TravelSort on Twitter or  like us on Facebook to be alerted to new posts. 

Become a TravelSort Client and Book Your Hotel with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred VIP Amenities!

  • |
  • Print
    print |
Related Articles
Comments
Leave a Comment
Comment
Facebook-logo
Rewards Credit Cards
Get Free Email Blog Updates
Popular Articles
Square_chase_freedom_2017_5x_categories-gas_stations-local_commuter_transportation-grocery_stores
12/16/2016
  The Chase Freedom 2017 5X Categories are now available for Q1 and Q2, and you can activate your Q1 2017 5X categories now. Here's the Chase Freedom 2017 5X Calendar so far, also pictured above: Q1 2017 Gas Stations...
Square_review-emirates_economy_class_cabin_777-300
12/8/2016
  This Emirates Economy Class 777-300 Review is from our recent Emirates flight from Dubai to Male, Maldives, after a short stay at the Raffles Dubai and an Emirates First Class A380 flight from NYC to Dubai. We booked our...
Square_5x_almost_everywhere-no_fee_amex_gift_cards_and_chase_freedom
12/2/2016
  Earn 5X almost everywhere, via no fee AMEX Gift Cards from Walgreens and CVS purchased with your Chase Freedom, which earns 5X on drugstore purchases in Q4 2016. The CVS offer I mentioned before Thanksgiving (see 5X on No...
Square_jetblue_20_percent_off_deal_and_getaway_ideas
11/29/2016
  JetBlue is offering 20% off Flights today and tomorrow only, in celebration of its inaugural flight from NYC to Havana, Cuba. Here are the details: Travel December 7, 2016 to February 15, 2017, except for blackout dates December 16-January...
Square_best_no_fee_travel_credit_cards_to_downgrade_to
2/15/2017
  The top travel credit cards can come with high annual fees, which is why it's a good idea to have an exit strategy for cards that don't justify their benefits after you've earned the signup bonus. Here are three...
Square_3x_jetblue_trueblue_points_for_amazon_spend
2/5/2017
  Earn 3X JetBlue TrueBlue Points at Amazon with your unique JetBlue link. While this offer has been around since last year, I missed posting about it, so better late than never. The great thing is that you can stack...