Where to buy Vanilla Reload Cards

UPDATE 11/26/2012: On the weekend of November 10th 2012, Office Depot stopped selling Vanilla Reload cards.  As a result, most of the information below is now out of date.  See Office Depot discontinues Vanilla Reload cards and The reload game is on.

In recent posts, I’ve shown ways to earn 5X everywhere by buying Vanilla Reload Cards at Office Depot with an Ink Bold card and then loading the money to either an American Express Prepaid card or a reloadable debit card such as the ill fated NetSpend card.’  See ‘€œOne card to rule them all,’€ ‘€œNetSpend challenges the throne,’€ and ‘€œWe’€™re sorry, there is a problem with your account‘€ for details.

VanillaReload

For this trick to work, though, it’€™s necessary to find an Office Depot that sells Vanilla Reload cards, has them in stock, and allows you to buy them with a credit card.’  The table below shows what I’ve learned so far from readers regarding each of those points.’  The date shown is not the date of purchase, but rather the date in which the result was reported to me.’  In some cases you’€™ll see multiple entries for the same city because I’ve entered in data from multiple people, dates, or locations (within the city).

Reader input

If you have experience good or bad with buying Vanilla Reload cards, please report it in the comments below, including the location of the store, and I’€™ll do my best to keep this table up to date.’  I’€™m also particularly interested in finding stores other than Office Depot that sell these (or other reload cards) and allow you to use credit cards for the purchase.

UPDATE Nov 8 2012

Ever since Bluebird launched, stores have begun to sell out of inventory more quickly than before.  As a result, it doesn’t make much sense for me to keep updating this table – it’s out of date by the time I do so!  Instead, please continue to report your findings in the comments below, and use your browser’s search feature to find information about stores in your area.

Also note that since this was written, new stores have been found to carry Vanilla Reload cards.  Most notably, some CVS and Walgreens stores carry them and, of those, some allow credit cards.  Also see VanillaReload.com and hover your mouse over “Reload Locations” to get ideas of other places to look.

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Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. Oakland and Emeryville CA now require purchases of gift cards to be made by either cash or debit card. I now have to drive all the way over to SF.

  2. IS OD the only place that accept payment using credit card? went to Lucky near my office that have stack of this and it seems the register coded as cash/debit card only.
    I am still waiting for my ink bold that applied since 08/09 but no news about it.

  3. @ frequentMiller post # 117
    1) will citi AA card code them as purchases
    2) Vanilla visa cards cannot be added to amex prepaid permanent card ?
    3) if no to the above question is there a visa equivalent of amex prepaid permanent card ?

  4. Doug:
    1) I believe so. I tested a citi AA card by buying a vanilla reload card (not a vanilla visa) and it went through as a purchase. I’d assume the same would hold true for the vanilla visa
    2) No
    3) yes Netspend and Mio are good alternatives but to load either you still need to buy vanilla reload cards

  5. Chris:
    Call this number to talk to someone @ Chase and get a status on your Ink card. If you are approved they can overnight it to you and you can receive it as soon as the next day (this recently happened to me). If you have a trip or reason to use the card soon, they will expedite it for free.
    Chase:
    800-453-9719 Chase business card credit analyst
    888 – 609 – 7805 Chase application status department

  6. FM: Thks for the info…Sorry i didnt get back sooner, I have checked the notify me, but didnt get the notification.
    Lastly, do you know where when I can find $500 visa gift cards in supermarket category that will accept credit card?

  7. Ok That’s what i thought, but am a newbie- managed to find cards in DC area and vanilla reload website seems to imply one can reload at previous purchase site.

  8. There are 2 simple ways to reload your card:

    This is from the Vanilla Reload FAQs. Maybe it’s referring to new cards but it sounds like old cards might be included. It’s the “add” funds terminology that’s tripping me up.

    Buy a Vanilla Reload Network Card:

    Swipe your Prepaid Card at Retail:

    1Bring your prepaid card to one of the Vanilla Reload participating retail locations.
    2Present your card to the retail clerk and let them know you want to add funds to (reload) your card (* typically a $3.95 fee applies)
    3The clerk will take your cash, ring up the sale, and swipe your prepaid card
    4Your card is loaded instantly and ready for use!

    • Rick C: The second option means that you can bring your prepaid card (Amex, Netspend, Mio, etc) to certain locations and simply have them reload the card directly without a Vanilla reload card in the mix. I’ve never tried that, but I should…

  9. 8/30/2012: Ann Arbor Walgreens register would not accept credit card for Vanilla reload purchase (cashier was surprised). Ann Arbor Rite Aid allowed credit card purchase of $500 Vanilla Visa card (no reload cards to be found).

  10. Seem like ODs in the Chicago area (at least North and Northwest suburbs) are out of the reload cards and don’t expect to get any more :-(.

  11. 9/6 – OD Houston Galleria, yes, yes, yes – mgr had to call for authorization. Had a stack of 15 or so.
    9/3 – OD Silver Spring, MD – New Hampshire Ave., yes, no, yes. Had a couple that I bought.
    8/31 – OD Silver Spring, MD – Georgia Ave., yes, no, ?. Out of stock but cc likely ok.
    9/2 – OD Gaithersburg, MD, yes, no, ?. Out of stock but cc likely ok.

  12. OD North side of Chicago on Ashland – None, I asked the manager about cards, he said none for a while, when will they be restocking them, mgr trying to get them ordered, but none have been available for a while.

    OD South side of Chicago – still a bunch left, picked up a couple, assistant manager at register states “Chase Ink again, whats the deal withe these cards, is there a promo going on? Too many people buy these with this chase card”

    Enjoy it while it lasts!

  13. Bought a Vanilla reload card at the Office Depot on 3rd St. in San Francisco. Using a credit card to pay for it required manager intervention, but no hassles beyond that.

    This is helping me meet some large spend requirements I have over the next few months. The ATM withdrawal capability is hugely helpful here.

  14. @Aaron
    was this a myvanilla Mio card which can be added to Amex prepaid card . I visited a couple of OD’s in eastbay and was not able to find any . I dont want to go all the way to SF and come back emty handed ..

    TIA

  15. I looked all of southbay in northern california and could not find any.

    If I have to go all the way to 3rd street in SF, I’ll have to hit it up this weekend. sigh.

  16. Update, today: no Vnla Reload cards at the OD on Potrero and 16th in SF, CA. Manager didn’t know if/when they were going to get another order in. Settled for a prepaid MyVanilla and Visa gift card, both for 5 bills + 4.95. Ample parking available.

  17. I just bought 4 vanilla reload at the Kent’s office depot and they let me use my Ink Bold. I also saw a lot of Visa/Amex giftcard for fees range from 3.95 – 6.95, so even when I cant get the Vanilla reload anymore I always have other option. Thanks for the page FrequentMiler, this is so awesome

  18. I tried to buy a Vanilla Prepaid Reload card at Dollar General. There was no scratch off box on the back only a barcode. When they scanned the barcode they were told to swipe my card. I was trying to reload my prepaid American Express card. When they swiped by prepaid American Express they received an error message that said “Invalid Merchant”. I was unable to load my American Express Prepaid card although the Amex symbol was featured on the front of the Vanilla Reload pack.

  19. Miami Beach: in stock 9/20, would not let me purchase with credit card (said it was a new rule implemented 3 days ago)
    Miami 22nd/27th: in stock 9/21, allowed CC purchase (however I bought the remaining 4)
    Silver Spring, MD: out of stock 9/18
    Merrifield, VA: out of stock 9/18
    Van Ness, DC: out of stock 9/18
    Silver Spring, MD: out of stock 9/18

  20. Is there anyone in NY that knows of any spots? I live on long island where there arent any OD. Closest ones are in NYC but they have all been reported as not carrying. Anyone in my situation have any solutions or easy suggestions?

  21. Visited/called several OD stores in bay area and San Francisco, no cards are available any more anywhere. Finally talked to a SF OD store manager, she mentioned all OD stores are ordered by the corporate to take down the cards until further notice, because “something wrong with the card”.

    Game over?

  22. Just today, went to the OD on 3rd street in SF. Bought 10 with my ink bold. No problems after the manager gave approval. Only about 5 left on the rack.

  23. RIP – Bought the last 5 at my local OD, South side Chicago, cashier recognized me and said that “you and another guy always come to buy them”.

    I asked him about when they will re-stock, checked the system, and stated that most likely will discontinue.

    Told me that OD have a problem with stolen cards and “cloned” cards, explained about home made cards, steal your numbers but put a name with matching ID…..anyways, I hope that they come back.

  24. Office Depot Spartanburg SC yes, yes, yes.
    I was worried today since there was a trainee at the register and this was my first vanilla purchase, but she just asked for my ID and everything went through smoothly.

  25. UPDATE:

    I got my IB and other 2=UME & SP shut down 2 days ago.

    I couldn’t log in and thats when I knew something went wrong. Called and spoke to reps but they had no exact explaination as to why I am banned. The 4rth Manager I spoke to yesterday asked me whats and whys about my IB usage at OD in the last 3 months. But he told me no one has authority to restore banned accounts. It f***kin sucks! I did use my cards for other purchases too and paid off full balance due weeks before due date.

    I will try opening new chase CC next year and see if it works.
    If you want relationship with with this company, Stay away from OD trips.

  26. Office Depot Dublin and San Ramon, CA. Both had about 6 in stock. Was able to buy using Bold CC. When I bought second batch of cards in the second OD location, my CC was flagged and they had to call in – but got immediate approval.

    What I didn’t realize is the OneVanilla Prepaid card isn’t reloadable so all the MyVanilla Prepaid Reload cards I bought wouldn’t work on the prepaid OneVanilla Prepaid card – what a confusing mess. Went to Safeway and bought $20 Paypal Reloadable and used the $500 MyVanilla reloads from Office Depot. OD didn’t seem to have any reloadable CC that could take advantage of the MyVanilla reload cards – very odd and confusing.

    The Dublin Office Depot did have reloadable Amex, (San Ramon was out) which I will use for Costco purchases.

  27. Evanston, IL…was in the area, decided to check the OD there. The AMEX display was full of Prepaid cards but Vanilla Reload was empty, ready to leave until I saw way in the bottom 8 cards, bought all of them with a non chase card. Cashier checked ID, stated new policy from loss control was to ring each one separate.. annoying, but got all of them through with a combination of cards. Not sure if they will restock, but this store is now out of vanilla reloads.

  28. Stopped by Mountain View, CA OD tonight. Was told they have none in stock, have no indication if/when they will get more, and he couldn’t find any cards in stock at any ODs in the region (though I should have pressed him to be more specific about “in the region”).

  29. Omaha, NE had them…on West Center, they didn’t have them at the one on Maple Street. yes, yes and yes on the West Center one.

  30. The two stores in Raleigh NC have plenty of temporary AMEX cards, no Vanilla Reloads. The other great option though is the Vanilla Visas. There are plenty of those.

  31. purchased some today with non-chase card at OD on W. Fullerton (chicago). They had several cards (excluding the 10 or so I found hidden in a different location). The cashier asked if I was using a chase card. When I said “no” she said okay because they now how to call in all chase purchases for approval (but you can still purchase with chase). Don’t worry if you are the person that “stored” the cards in a different location. I left them where I found them.

  32. OD in West Norriton, PA does not have Vanilla reload cards. Unsure if they sell it and are just out of stock or just don’t sell it. Also means I have no idea if you could use a credit card to buy one.

    I’ll continue to check a few more OD’s in the area and report back.

  33. After striking out at 2 Walgreens, I had success at a 3rd. This purchase was not without drama. First the card reader at the register would not work. I was sent to a different register and swiped my Barclay Mastercard (wanted something non Amex). No go. My card was denied and I came home to a call from fraud protection. Next, I tried my freedom card. Success! I will go back in few days to try out some other cards. Even though I will only get 1x for these purchases, its still better than nothing for bill pay (mortgage, utilities etc).

  34. Frederick, MD – out of stock on 10/25/12
    Sterling, VA – none 10/26/12
    Manassas, VA – 10/26/12 asked if they had any and they went into the back room and brought some out for me. Bought 5, needed to show ID.

  35. Went to OD in Fort Lauderdale and bought the last two they had in stock. Tomorrow will go to the other two locations within the city to check

  36. Went to two different OD’s – Cincinnati, OH (had about a dozen) and Springdale, OH (had several dozen) and both had cards and allowed CC purchases. Bought 2 at the first and one at the second with no problems (used different cards at each). Manager at first went to back to check on if he needed to call in, but for 2 @500 did not apparently.

  37. Sunnyvale, CA, October 28, 29, 31. No vanilla reload cards left in the rack. Then I discovered this blog and guess that there might not be any anywhere. Anybody found a Walgreens in the area that has Vanilla Reload cards and can be bought with a credit card. I have cards that I need a minimum spend on

  38. I purchased the last Vanilla Reload Cards at the Wilmington, DE OD without hassle. Paid it all with credit card. All NJ OD are out of the Vanilla Reloads, and they have no idea when they will be getting more.

  39. @ PirateRadio: which ODs in FLL & MIA did you use?

    I tried the OD at NE 163rd St in Miami, FL, and they wouldn’t allow credit card–only cash or debit card to purchase.

    The OD on Biscayne & NE 172 St, and they allow credit card purchases, but did not have the reload card in stock–only gift cards.

  40. does anybody know if this would work for office depots in other countries? and if they even sell vanilla reloads at ODs in other countries?

  41. Went to all the OD stores in the Charlotte, NC and Rock Hill,SC area today. No vanilla reloads. Per managers, none coming. Called OD stores in Myrtle Beach and Columbia, SC, no cards. Went to several Walgreens in Charlotte area, plenty of Vanilla reloads but wouldn’t accept cc as payment. Has anyone tried to order the cards from the OD web site?

  42. Austin, TX OD which had vanilla 2 days ago pulled the remainder saying they were “expired” and/or were the “referral cards” and would no longer work in the system. Manager would not explain what “referral” meant.

  43. OD Dallas, TX. First one was out but said they were getting more later in the week. Second one had 5 left. grabbed ’em all and ran for the door. heads up: apparently when buying these in dallas with an out of state credit card, a passport is needed. Luckily had mine on hand. Anybody else get that reaction?

    • Better luck today. I am finding plenty of Vanilla Reloads at Dollar General Stores. Granted, no 5X miles, but 1X is better than nothing for my mortgage and car loan.

      • Bob: At my local Dollar General, they have a different kind of Vanilla Reload card. These cards are scanned at the register and used right there to move money to a reloadable debit card (not Bluebird). It works with MyVanilla and Mio, for example. They don’t allow credit cards. Is your Dollar General different?

        • My Dollar General sold me the last of their Vanilla’s with a scratch off pin number on the card and somehow they accepted a credit card. Went back today and they now have only the reload display card and will not accept credit cards. Store manager said the system is being converted over to not accept CC. I stopped at a CVS and the manager assured me that they would accept a CC with two forms of i.d. But they are out of Vanilla reloads.

  44. I have had three different experiences trying to purchase a VR at Walgreens. At one, I was able to purchase cards without any problem. At another, I was sternly told by the cashier that it can only be paid with cash. At the third, I was able to convince them to let me purchase it with a CC but my Hawaiian Airlines visa only rang up the 3.95 charge. They said “Sorry. See? Only cash”. I asked if I could try a different card but they wouldn’t do it.

  45. I’ve had pretty good luck until this week in San Diego. But this week all of the Office Depots are out of stock. I can only hope they plan to get more.

  46. Boca Raton, FL today: Bought 4 Vanilla Reload Cashier asked if I was paying cash, said no and then she called Chase. Took a long time to finally get the ok. While I was waiting I heard the “manager” on a call telling someone they were out of Vanilla Reload cards. I was looking at some on the rack as he was speaking. Wish the load limit was higher than $5000 per month per card. Property tax bills are in. Have Bluebird for me and my husband and enjoyed paying bills today. Had to remember to stop automatic bank payments when paying with Bluebird. Going to hate paying bills from bank accounts now.

  47. Fort Worth, TX. Dollar General – cashier and manager rang up VR, got “invalid merchant” error on cash register – no chance to purchase with a credit card.

  48. In Atlanta ga went to 5 OD stores,they dont stock it anymore….went to walgreens,they dont accept CC…..went to couple of gas stations they would need only cash…..went to Dollar general and Family dollar,they had these cards without pin number abd the guys at the register have no idea how to reload!!!!!

    I have not yet used bluebird and i dont plan on using it unless i get a reload with a CC

    Has anybody had luck in any part of Atlanta buying vanilla reload with a CC.

    • Ajay, Just north of you in South Carolina CVS is now starting to stock the reloads and the store I visited near Charlotte, accepted CCards. It may spread your way.

  49. I believe OD has discontinued. I went last week to verify that my OD carried them. There were plenty in stock. I received my BlueBird yesterday so I went today to actually purchase some VR’s and they aren’t there at all. That section had been replaced with Amex prepaid cards. It looked like they were phased out; went to another OD a few miles away and same story. They’re no there and there was no display showing where they would be stocked. Called the 3rd OD in town and was told that they didn’t have the VR, only pre-paids.

  50. i had the same experience at family dollar as Ajay. the guys at the register had no clue how to use the vanilla reload card and just said “it doesn’t work”

    they do have to load up the card right away so i had my bluebird card with me, but they couldn’t get it to load properly. fail.

  51. Checked an OD in Berlin, NJ – all out. Found ample supplies at both CVS and Walgreen in Mt Ephraim, NJ, but neither would allow credit card to purchase – both stated cash only

  52. I went to my OD store and was told the cards were killed Nov. 10th. with a memo to remove them from the racks.

    I spoke with an OD dude. I have no idea if any of this is true, but he suspected new OD investors who own 12% of the company didn’t like the VR cards. He also said people were buying stacks of them at a time. Noted that people were using them somehow to get cash in areas affected by NY area superstorm Sandy. (I find the last tidbit odd but who knows.)

    The cards are gone, they even taken out of the POS system so you can’t load up with blanks at CVS and drive over expecting to use them, LOL. He said the VR cards came up as a ‘sale’ in the OD POS system rather than a ‘gift card’ so they may have been the cause of some accounting confusion.

    All the other Vanilla products are there and he said the VR cards may return in the future.

    So we shall see. For now I’m buying OneVanilla Visa cards there.

  53. Can confirm VR is dead at OD. Two DC locations today told me so. I had a blank VR I had saved and it wouldn’t load. Plus they say OD has pulled all VR’s.

  54. Today I went to the OD at 5300 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Atlanta GA and I was told that this type of cards have been pulled permanently. bummer!

  55. All the Walgreen’s in Grand Junction and Fruita, CO are no goes! They only take cash, not even debit! Office Depot is a no as well! They pulled all the cards a couple of weeks ago!

    I went to the dollar general here and you can but vanilla reloads with a credit card (I’m not concerned as much with points as I am with meeting my spend) but the cashier and manager both could not figure out how to do the transaction. The register kept telling them to swipe the card, but there is nothing to swipe! They tried entering the bar code number manually, but it gave them a declined message. Any advice on what either they or I are doing wrong?

  56. This is just too much nuisance to get the lousy 60,000 points. OK, so you have enough points for perhaps 2 round trip tickets, but how much time was wasted. You could have taken the time to investigate some good stock investments instead of working with this petty stuff. You have to consider how you are using your time.

  57. @Glenn,
    Hi Glenn,
    Are you referring to Vanilla Reload Cards?
    Did you make this purchase in Norcal or Socal?

    Thanks in advance for your inputs.

  58. That’s Bay Area, NoCal only, right? Still not much luck outside of the 3-letter pharmacy down in SoCal. Local 7-11s only accept debit.

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