Minimum Spend is No Longer an Issue for Credit Card Signup Bonuses

The advent of the American Express Bluebird card has been a huge development for frequent flyers in the miles and points game.

It’s a product for the ‘unbanked’, American Express has partnered with Walmart and that should provide insight into the target market for the product. It’s a prepaid American Express card (for folks who aren’t getting credit cards) combined with an online bank account — it holds money, accepts direct deposit, and allows you to pay bills by check through its bill pay system. And you can even withdraw funds from an ATM machine.

The key feature though is the ability load funds into the account by buying Vanilla reload cards with a credit card. You’re basically buying money with a credit card for a fee of $3.95 per $500 card.

And then you can pay your credit card bills through Bluebird’s online bill pay system.

You can also pay other bills that way too, with merchants who do not usually take credit cards. You can earn miles for your rent or mortgage, which has long seemed the holy grail of miles and points.

What it means, though, is that you have an extra $60,000 in spending available at your fingertips each year. You can load $1000 per day, up to $5000 per month, onto Bluebird with Vanilla Reload cards.

That means you have $60,000 more to play with to meet minimum spending requirements for credit card signup bonuses.

Back in April I wrote about Ways to Goose Your Spending to meet the requirements for credit card signup bonuses. I wrote about using Amazon payments for $1000 a month, free after rebate items, and other ways to ‘manufacture’ spend.

But all of those pale in comparison.

Some folks have been frustrated searching for the holy grail of buying Vanilla Reload cards at stores that were earn them bonus spending, but that’s not an option for everybody. Folks in the New York metro area were pretty much shut out of that. Finding them at office supply stores, grocery stores, or drugstores where they’ll let you make your purchases with a credit card is tough in some places. The whole middle of the country, more or less, has been awash with Vanilla reload cards. Finding them in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas has not been a problem as far as the reports I’ve seen go.

For many it’s been fool’s gold.

That’s ok, once you decide to use Bluebird to help you meet the minimum spending requirements for cre3dit card signup bonuses, you can do that by buying your Vanilla Reload cards anywhere that sells them and accepts credit cards for their purchase.

From the Vanilla website:

You get a Bluebird card. Then buy Vanilla Reload cards with the credit card you want to meet minimum spend on. Load Vanilla (money) onto Bluebird, and then pay your rent or mortgage, or even pay your credit card bill directly. You meet your minimum spend requirements nice and easily.

Bluebird is of huge value, even if you aren’t able to find reload cards at bonusable stores.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. There are no CVS stores in Colorado so that knocks out an entire company chain for me 🙁 The other handful of places I’ve found that sell VR cards are cash only 🙁

  2. Any way to use the Bluebird account for “auto pay”, ie give the biller AC # and routing # to take out what’s owed, similar to what one can do with any checking account?

  3. Is it legal to do the loading onto Bluebird thing? My husband find it a bit over the top to buy a prepaid, transfer to bluebird, transfer to bank account. Tough to keep track of. Do you have a spreadsheet or graphic or some way that helps you keep it all in check? I am on my first time doing this and it’s a bit mind boggling to me too! 🙂

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