How to Use Bluebird in a Post-Vanilla Reload World

You can no longer buy Vanilla Reload cards with a credit card at CVS.

That was the simple way to load Bluebird.

Buy the Vanilla Reloads with a credit card, put the funds on Bluebird, transfer the funds back to your bank account. It was the lazy way to earn miles with a single trip to the store, with the rest of the work done at the computer, sitting on your couch.

Vanilla Reload cards cost $3.95 per $500.

But you can still accomplish the same thing, with the same $1000 per day load limit, with two store trips and a cost of $4.95 per $500.

  1. Buy a $500 OneVanilla Prepaid Visa for $4.95. CVS still lets you pay for these with a credit card (you can also substitute a $200 PIN-enabled card from an office supply store).
  2. OneVanilla is a Visa gift card. It’s simple to use. The PIN number is whatever 4-digit combination you use first (use it once, then that’s the PIN for future uses, of course there’s no need to use it more than once).
  3. Go to Walmart, find the Moneycenter.
  4. Load it onto Bluebird for free.
  5. You can do up to $1000 per day this way.

You can also buy money orders for 69 cents, although some cashiers at some stores do not like to do this with gift cards that do not show your name pre-embossed.

The economics of this doesn’t work well for me because I do not live near a Walmart. As a result the $1000 per day limit means I can’t spread the cost of time and gas across enough miles and spend to justify the trip.

Update: Apparently Travel With Grant manages to do this in less than 10 minutes.

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. The last time I did a VR to my Bluebird account at CVS, I noticed they had Paypal money cards. The price was also $3.95 so I put $500 on it and put it in my Paypal account, then transferred it to my bank account. Is there some reason no one has mentioned this method of manufacturing spend with a CC?

  2. @Sunnie paypal tends to shut accounts down quickly, and it can take time to get your funds back, but if you can float the funds it’s one avenue

  3. Is it possible to load Visa gift cards to bluebird without going to Walmart?


  4. @Lisa, no, you have to go to Walmart to load your Bluebird Card with gift cards, no way to get around that.

  5. I can confirm that Walmart in both MA and NH (and I tried them both tonight (5/29)) would not load pin-enabled Visa GCs onto Bluebird. There is a register hard stop, and both stores cited a new policy due to alleged “money laundering”, with people loading GCs to BB only to use BB to extract cash. I had previously loaded my BB card this way several times at the MA Walmart to pay bills, so this method of loading BB is CONFIRMED DEAD. Any suggestions?

  6. I don’t know if this has already been covered, but you have to activate the debit on the OneVanilla Prepaid Visa by purchasing something on each card before you go to the walmart moneycenter, otherwise it comes up as credit and they won’t accept it.
    For me currently it’s an easy 5k miles a month but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do this.

  7. I purchased 2 Visa Vanilla $500 Gift cards at CVS on June 5, and paid with a credit card, then I took them to my local Walmart and attempted to reloads my Bluebird card with them as I was able to do last month.

    The Walmart computer declined the transaction and did so 3 more times. When I spoke to a Manager she told me that the computer attempted to load the Visa Gift card as a CREDIT card, even though the card was imprinted Debit.

    Now I am stuck with a few Visa gift cards which I cannot load into Bluebird.

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