New York-Based Duane Reade Drugstores Now Accept Credit Cards for Vanilla Reload Cards

Hat tip to Point Me to the Plane who reports success in finding Vanilla Reload cards at Duane Reade drugstores, and making a purchase for (2) $500 cards via credit card.

The Duane Reade chain, which is almost exclusively located in Manhattan and surrounding suburbs, is owned by Walgreens — which sells Vanilla Reload cards but only takes payment for those in cash.

If any of you live in New York or find yourselves there for Thanksgiving, it might be worth stocking up on whatever you need for your travels.. and your prepaid reloadable cards.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. FWIW, I just tried to purchase VR cards at a Duane Reade in Jersey City and credit cards were not allowed.

  2. Thanks for the tip Gary. I will try this out later today and report back. Anyone know what the best card is to load them onto if my intent is to withdraw the cash back out via ATM?

    I’ve heard people recommend Amex Bluebird, but I know there is a $1K limit per day and $5K per month on Vanilla Reloads. Anything better out there that won’t hit you with all sorts of fees?

  3. @Jonathan – Bluebird is the best because it is the cheapest and most reliable in that Bluebird does not shut people down and hang onto their money for a month or more. Next choice would be MyVanilla. You can load 10K on it and quickly cash advance the money out at your bank. You can get three of these. There is a big thread on Flyertalk about MyVanilla in the Manufactured Spend forum. Then there is PayPal debit card. You can load that up with the paypal cash cards you buy like VR. Then you can transfer the money to your checking account or a friend. You need to be careful with Paypal though, they are more aggressive than MyVanilla on shutdowns, of course you will eventually get your money back. But Bluebird is the one that doesn’t bite, so far.

  4. Not sure how well known this is (probably very, at least on FT and MP), but Sam’s Club is currently selling some kind of VR product. It’s branded as a VR MasterCard.

    As I’m only interested in putting spend on Visa credit cards right now, it was of no use to me, but for those looking on to spend on MasterCard, they might let you buy it. The Sam’s I was at only said it had to be a separate transaction.

    There were hundreds of the cards available at pop-up stands at the end of the register/checkout aisle.

  5. Thanks @Jack!

    From comments to that post on Point Me to The Plane:

    UPDATE 2:44 – From reader Mike P – Success at 53rd and Lex, 3 cards remaining!

    It looks like the policy of cash only is applied inconsistently across locations. Still worth checking out, but not the bonanza it could have been.

  6. Several folks now in various places online are reporting success at several stores. So it may be some stores only. It may also be that some negative responses are really just meant to discourage folks from trying (disinformation, to keep the deal for themselves). It could also be a mixture of both. We’ll certainly see how this develops!

  7. Just tried at DR in Midtown and was told cash only by the cashier before I could even take out my card to pay.

  8. Just tried at 55th and 5th and it was cash only. Cashier swiveled his monitor around to show me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.