Earning Miles With Bluebird and Vanilla Reload

There are several ways earn airline miles, and we did it with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload Cards. Make earning a free flight your mission before your upcoming trip. This is a great place to start.

UPDATE: This method is no longer valid as of April 1, 2014. However, here’s an excellent resource to loading gift cards and circulating your money back to your bank account in order to earn those miles. Check it out at Million Mile Secrets.

There’s no need to pay for flights! Earning Miles with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload Cards is possibly the smartest and best way to meet your minimum spending requirements on those new rewards credit cards you just applied for (or will apply for after reading this article) without really spending any money. This was the exact strategy we used when we locked down Thailand as our future home.

Basic Step-by-Step Process:

Planning your next trip or permanent move abroad and want to fly for free (not sure why anyone wouldn’t) but don’t know where to start? As you may know, a rewards credit card is a credit card that offers miles, points, or a reward when you use it to spend money. You will have to research these, apply, and be approved. Here is an example from Southwest.

  1. You can use your rewards credit cards to buy Vanilla Reload cards over the counter at stores like CVS.
  2. Load the funds from those purchased Vanilla Reload card into your Bluebird checking account via online code provided on the back of each Vanilla Reload card when you get to a computer. See specifics below.
  3. Electronically transfer those funds into your normal everyday checking account.
  4. Now, use those same funds to pay off the rewards credit card that you used to buy the Vanilla Reload cards in the first place. This means you are paying off the credit card with the same funds that you used to buy the Vanilla Reload cards in the beginning…meaning you have not really spent any money other than the $3.95 fee for each reload card.
  5. Repeat until you satisfy the minimum that you need to spend to get the miles bonus for each [rewards] credit card that you own.

This is widely unknown to most people, and the reason you wouldn’t just put pay your bills using your reward card is because unless your bills are thousand of dollars a month then it is sometimes hard for people to meet the minimum spend requirements.

Specifics on Earning Miles with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload Cards

Here are the answers to questions that we received from friends and family about earning miles with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload cards.

Bluebird Card:

Q: What is a Bluebird account/card?
A: A Bluebird account is a free bank account online from American Express that doesn’t charge maintenance fees. You can transfer money to and from your accounts with other banking institutions, quickly transfer money to friends, set it up for deposit, and more.

Q: Ok, but what makes Bluebird different from my current bank account?
A: Bluebird allows you to pay major bills like your car payment, mortgage, and any other large monthly payments you may have.

Q: Yea, but I can do that with my current bank account, right?
A: Yes, absolutely, but do you earn miles or points when you pay these bills using your current bank account? Of course not, and this is where the Vanilla Reload cards come into play.

Vanilla Reload Card:

Vanilla Reload Home Page

Once on the Vanilla Reload website enter your Bluebird card number in the top line, and the pin from the back of the Vanilla Reload card in the bottom Line

Q: What is a Vanilla Reload Card?
A: A Vanilla Reload Card is sort of like a gift card, but one that can be purchased with your rewards credit card and then loaded into your Bluebird account. Once these funds are transferred into your Bluebird account, you can spend them just like cash.

Q: What is the benefit?
A: You can now pay your high dollar monthly bills using your rewards credit card!

Q: What makes this so special?
A: The big kicker here is that you can buy Vanilla Reload cards with your rewards credit card, load them into your Bluebird account, transfer those funds into your current bank account, and then pay off the credit card you just used to buy the Vanilla Reload cards.

Q: Wait, how much is this going to cost me?
A: Like we said, not much at all. Each Vanilla Reload card can be purchased for $3.95 with a maximum allowable load of $500 per card (minimum of $20). This means you can easily meet any minimum spend amount required to earn that big miles bonus and spend next to nothing doing so.

Earning Miles with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload Cards Changes the Game

Think about it for a second…this method beats the heck out of having to wait months that you may not have trying to meet minimum spends on two or three rewards cards.

Imagine how long it took you before to earn those spending requirements on your rewards credit cards. Trying to use your credit card to pay for gas, lunch, and your small dollar bills just hoping you meet the spend requirements in time. If you aren’t someone who makes a ton of money, or just don’t have high enough regular spending habits to take advantage of earning miles, then this now opens up the world of flying for free to you.

So, pick a destination (maybe Thailand), research credit cards offering big miles bonuses, look at flight costs, and start working on earning miles with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload cards. If you plan to travel with a significant other, friend, or family member, then do them a huge favor and share this article with them.

Limits on Earning Miles with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload Cards

According to the Bluebird website, the maximum amount of funds you can add to your account via cash funding sources such as Vanilla Reload cards is $1,000 on a day and $5,000 a month. When we’d go out and purchase our Vanilla Reload cards, we’d buy the max amount. It really doesn’t make sense not to.

If you plan to pay bills using your Bluebird card, there is a limit of $10,000 a month to its registered payees and $5,000 to unregistered payees. Bluebird’s list of payees is quite extensive, so you shouldn’t have an issue if you have bill payments through mainstream banking institutions.

Limits on transactions other than direct deposits are also $10,000 a month, and the same goes for your total monthly account balance of funds not deposited via direct deposit. Simply transfer any Vanilla Reload funds out of your Bluebird account before the month ends to free up space and continue earning miles with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload cards!

Where Can I Buy Vanilla Reload Cards?

Earning miles with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload cards can be a bit of work if you don’t know where to buy the Vanilla Reloads, so based on our experience here’s a few establishments that should be happy to sell them to you…if they’re in stock!

CVS – Our go-to place for buying Vanilla Reload cards. They are all over the United States and the word is out that they recently upped their limit on the daily purchase of reload cards from $1,000 to $5,000 a day. Now, this doesn’t change the fact that you can’t load more than $1,000 a day into your Bluebird account from third-party sources. However, it does mean you no longer have to make five trips to CVS every month!

7-11 – As of late, people online have reported that they were able to now purchase Vanilla Reload cards with their rewards credit cards at 7-11 stores.

Office Depot – We had no luck with Office Depot, but Bluebird account holders online say otherwise. When we lived in Virginia, the Office Depot stores never seemed to restock their card inventory often enough for us to consider them a reliable place to purchase them.

If you don’t have any of these stores near you then check out this full list of stores you can use to begin earning miles without Bluebird and Vanilla Reload cards.

Earning miles with bluebird and vanilla reload card

Make sure that you buy the card that is pictured above. It is not the shape of a credit card.

Also, be prepared to deal with human error. We ran into a few cashiers who didn’t think we could purchase Vanilla Reload cards with our credit cards. Whenever this happened, we asked for a manager and they usually set their employee straight. If the issue persists, just politely let them know that you have done this before and that you’ll be taking your business to another location.

Earning miles with bluebird and vanilla reload card

Instructions and the scratch off code is on the back of the card

Pros and Cons

As stated before, earning miles with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload cards is usually really simple. It helps you surpass those minimum spend requirements faster than traditional spending, and it creates an environment for everyone to have some skin in the miles earning game. Additional pros are:

  • Free ATM withdrawals at MoneyPass ATMs
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No inactivity fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • No card replacement fees

Unfortunately, there are some cons, but if you use your Bluebird account strictly for paying bills and buying Vanilla Reload cards all of them are avoidable:

  • $2 withdrawal/decline fee on non-MoneyPass ATMs
  • $500 daily maximum ATM withdrawals
  • $2,000 monthly maximum ATM withdrawals
  • Transfers to and from other banking institutions takes two to three days, but my first transaction took almost a full week to process.

Verdict on Earning Miles With Bluebird and Vanilla Reload Cards

Again, we never used our Bluebird accounts for anything other than earning miles and points to pad our rewards accounts. It was simply used as a workhorse to buy miles bonuses at an extremely cheap rate. If you stick to using it as we did then you should be able to reap all its amazing benefits.

What are you waiting for? Start researching credit cards offering big bonuses and start earning miles with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload cards. You never know…this method may not be around forever, so it’s best to take advantage while you can!

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