Ever since Office Max decided to stop selling Vanilla Reload cards at all of their stores, miles enthusiasts–such as myself–have been looking around creatively for alternative solutions to maximize our 5x points bonus.
One solution has been that CVS stores are supposedly selling Vanilla Reload cards. Creatively, you could purchase $500 visa gift cards at Office Max, Office Depot, or Staples using the Ink card to get the 5x points, then use the gift card to purchase a Vanilla Reload at CVS. The Vanilla Reload cards, which let you load to American Express Prepaid Card or to American Express’s new Bluebird product, is essentially like loading cash to your card. The biggest benefit here is that 5x points means essentially you’re getting at least 5% back on your purchase. (So buying a $500 gift card at an office supply store using the Chase Ink card means you’re getting at least $25 back in rewards. Significantly more if you transfer for miles instead of cashback.)
I’m not really going to go into detail about how the Chase Ink 5x system works. If you want to read up about that, read my post earlier this year about Chase Ink & the 5x points everywhere.
What I do want to talk about are my adventures at CVS lately.
Over the past several weeks, I have been pit stopping by just about every CVS I’ve seen. I’ve visited about 20 CVS locations in the San Francisco bay area, and none of them carry the Vanilla Reload cards I have been searching for.
Yesterday night though, by chance, I found a store location that carries Paypal Load Money cards. I had tried purchasing a Paypal MoneyPak card (which is green and a different product) a few weeks ago at CVS using a credit card, but the system declined and said it had to be cash/debit.
I took a risk and grabbed the Paypal Load Money card and took out my credit card to swipe with. Voila. Went through. Loaded $500 on the card at the cost of a $3.95 purchase fee. I was pretty excited—and even more excited once I went home and just plugged in the card at paypal.com/cash and had the $500 instantly loaded into my Paypal account for me to play with or withdraw to my bank account at no additional cost. Just as good as a Vanilla Reload.
Here’s what the Paypal Load Money card looks like, so you can know what to look for:
Now, what are these good for if you’re just exchanging money and taking a $3.95 purchase fee hit? It depends on your needs. Sure, there are credit cards like the Hilton American Express which will get you 6x points at pharmacy stores–including CVS. But if you don’t have one of those, there are other options–like using gift card to purchase the Paypal Load Money card. (Just remember that if you have a $500 gift card, you can only load $496.05 onto the card because of the $3.95 purchase fee.)
This is also a great way to simply hit your spend requirements for credit card sign up bonuses.
- You can purchase Paypal Load Money cards at CVS locations.
- You can use credit cards to purchase these load money cards. (Gift cards will work too.)
- Load any amount from $20 to $500 on a load money card.
- Redeem your card at paypal.com/cash
- Voila…money is loaded to your account!
- Limits: Load up to $500 per Paypal account per day. Load up to $4,000 per Paypal account per month.