My Biggest Mile Manufacturer – TD Go

During a time where Joann & I have more miles & points than we do vacation days, I’m looking for easier ways to manufacture these points instead of ways to just amass a stockpile of them. Notice my emphasis is on easy. 

I’m not a fan of driving to Walmart to load my American Express Bluebird 2-3 times a month.

I don’t enjoy driving to multiple CVS stores to find $500 gift cards (and then driving to Walmart to load them to Bluebird).

Buying $200 gift cards from Staple with my Chase Ink is pretty easy, but then I’m stuck with several small denomination gift cards to liquidate.

Enter TD Go.

This is a prepaid product that is intended for parents to issue their “teens” debit cards with certain limits.

The main advantages are that this debit card can be funded by a credit card online and TD is very lax on what they consider a “teen.”

The main disadvantage is that this card is ONLY offered in the following states:

CT, DC, DE, FL, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA

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Bluebird & Serve Increase Daily Load Limit to $2500

American Express Bluebird has updated their Membership Agreement. Previously, the daily load limit was $1,000 via loading online with Vanilla Reload cards or loading in person at Walmart with a debit/gift card.

As of July 1, the daily load limit will now be $2,500. However, the daily limit for loading at Walmart will be $1,999.99.

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bluebird walmart

This effectively halves the amount of times you have to visit a Walmart to reach the monthly limit of $5,000.

I’m very happy with this news because it decreases the time & effort it takes to load our Bluebird accounts. It also aligns perfectly with our latest points-earning strategy, the TD Go card. Stay tuned for a future post on that.

Note, American Express Serve has also mirrored this increased daily load limit to $2,500.

Hat tip to Frequent Miler

Bluebird Life After Vanilla Reloads

Since the big news last month that Vanilla Reload cards were going cash only at CVS stores nationwide, some manufactured spenders have been scrambling for alternatives. There are definitely options, though none easier than the good old Vanilla Reload.

Enter the OneVanilla Prepaid Visa Card.

You can still, at the time of this post, purchase these prepaid cards at CVS stores (and other stores) with a miles/points earning credit card. The fee on these cards is $4.95 ($1 more than the old Vanilla Reloads).

You can then go to Walmart and load you Bluebird account at a MoneyCenter kiosk or at a regular cashier by using the OneVanilla as a debit card. The PIN is whatever 4-digit number you enter upon your first purchase. In this case, the first and ONLY use of this card so enter any 4 digits.

There are, of course, caveats to this. You need a Walmart within a reasonable distance. The further it is from you, the more time & gas you waste, adding to the overall cost of points. Also, you can only load $1,000 per day with this method so to max out your spend potential each month, you would have to visit a Walmart a minimum of 5 times.

My process (which includes Joann) is as follows:

  1. We each buy 2 $500 OneVanilla Prepaid Visa Cards at our local CVS using credit cards. (Note: Your store’s policy may differ regarding the number of prepaid cards you can buy in one transaction)
  2. With our $2,000 worth of OneVanilla cards, we go to Walmart (ours doesn’t have a MoneyCenter so we do this with a regular cashier)
  3. We each load our Bluebird accounts with $1,000 (in 2 separate $500 transactions)
  4. We go home and pay our credit card bills with Bluebird Bill Pay!

Again, we try to maximize our trips to Walmart so we both load the maximum $1,000 per day to our Bluebird accounts. It wouldn’t be worthwhile to just buy one $500 OneVanilla, drive to Walmart, and load only $500.

It’s never going to be as easy as it was with Vanilla Reloads, but Bluebird is still a viable option for manufactured spend. It just takes a little extra effort now.

Bluebird Gets Real Checks

As I’ve written about in the past and the miles and points community very well knows, Bluebird by American Express is a great way to earn points, especially on things you don’t normally earn points on like your mortgage or student loans.

Now, Bluebird has gotten its wings. American Express has made it as viable as any checking account product. American Express has given Bluebird FDIC insurance, increased the amount of money the account can hold, and added physical checks.

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From American Banker:

The New York credit card company said Bluebird customers who can already deposit checks by snapping a picture from their smartphones, electronically pay billers and send cash to friends, can now place up to $100,000 into their accounts annually. Previously, a customer could only keep $10,000 in an account at any one time.

Customers can now also order physical checkbooks for the online and mobile account. Customers can order one checkbook for free until August, after that they will be charged $26 for a group of 50 checks. Separately, people will be able to mail-in checks to be deposited in order to fund their near-feeless Bluebird accounts.

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Chase Freedom Quarter 1 Bonus Categories – Live!

Happy New Year, hustlers!

A new year = a new quarter = new bonus categories for Chase Freedom cardholders.

If you haven’t already, activate your card now. This quarters runs from January 1 – March 31, 2013.

The bonus categories for this quarter are Gas stations, Drugstores, and Starbucks.

Ways to Complete $1,500 Spend

Aside from the standard way of buying things in these categories, if you find yourself a little short of the $1,500 spending limit, here are a few ways to complete the spend without wasting money:

Nothing out of this world here (except the Bluebird scheme). Just don’t leave bonus points on the table. Remember, maxing out the $1,500 limit means a total of 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the quarter!