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.
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.
This is great news and is really just icing on the cake for this unique product. I don’t think I’ll find the physical checks very useful, but they are a great backup plan for getting instant access to the money in your Bluebird account.
There are a few caveats to watch out for regarding the Bluebird checks:
- You must pre-authorize every Bluebird Check before you write it.
- We will deduct the amount of your Bluebird Check from your Available Funds at the time of pre-authorization.
- After pre-authorization, write the 8-digit pre-authorization code provided by us on the front of the check before giving it to the payee.
- Bluebird Checks over $2,000 cannot be instantly pre-authorized. For security purposes, if your Bluebird Check is over $2,000 the pre-authorization process will take 1 to 2 business days.
None of those rules are deal breakers. In fact, they seem like good rules; they prevent you from overdrafting your account or writing a check that will bounce.
So order your physical checks while they are free, until May 21, 2013.
The Future of Bluebird
Hopefully, you have all been taking advantage of the cheap points Bluebird can generate through purchasing Vanilla Reload cards. After several months, I have slowed down due to my local CVS stores imposing policies restricting the amount of gift cards a customer can purchase with a credit card. Another store I used to frequent has straight banned the purchase of gift cards with credit cards; they’re cash only.
Many people on the forums are still finding success, but you have to wonder how long this can last. Nothing like this lasts forever, that’s for sure.
The bottom line is that if you can source Vanilla Reload cards bought with credit cards, keep on buying and keep on generating points!