Office Depot discontinues Vanilla Reload cards

Ever since May when I published “One card to rule them all,” I’ve received emails and tweets about once a week from different people with similar stories.  Almost all said that an Office Depot manager told them that Office Depot was no longer selling Vanilla Reload cards.  Each time I would run out to my local Office Depot and find the shelves still well stocked with the cards.  So, when JeffTheWanderer reported the same story a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t too concerned.  This time, though, the story seems to be for real…

Last night, Travel By Points reported the following via Twitter:

Well-stocked OD pulled all Vanilla Reloads today after corporate notice. Mgr thinks it is nationwide. Hope not. … was there last night, full of them. Mom went tonight, all pulled. I didn’t believe her so I stopped by and confirmed myself… mgr quoted fraud and also IRS issues (biz owners paying employees with prepaids to avoid taxes).

Then, today, Toms FF Stuff reported:

@FrequentMiler @travelbypoints Vanilla Reloads are pulled. Tried today and manager brought out a memo to all stores to pull this morning.

I then called my local Office Depot and heard the same story.  They had received a memo stating that they would no longer stock Vanilla Reload cards.  I have since contacted both Office Depot and Incomm (the company that produces Vanilla Reload cards) to ask for their official stories.  I’ll report more when I hear back from them.

Why?

You might wonder why Office Depot would stop selling these cards.  The most likely reason (and the one that has been told to people asking) is that there has simply been too much fraud associated with these cards.  See “When thieves steal our points.”  It’s sad when crooks interfere with great point earning schemes!

Will they restock?

Since we haven’t heard an official story directly from Office Depot or Incomm yet, we can still hope that the memo we’ve heard about is incorrect or incomplete.  There’s always the possibility that Office Depot will restock with a new version of Vanilla Reload cards that are somehow more secure.  Do I think that will happen?  No, but one can always hope.

Alternatives

If you were counting on these cards, don’t worry, there are plenty of good alternatives.  On Monday I’ll publish some new findings, but for now consider the following:

  • Other stores besides Office Depot still sell Vanilla Reload cards.  However, it takes a bit more work to find ones that take credit cards.  For example, while many Walgreen store registers are hard coded to not accept credit cards for these purchases, some do allow it.  If it doesn’t work at one store, try another.  To find cards that get bonus points at drug stores, grocery stores, and so on, please see “Best Category Bonuses.”
  • It is still possible to get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar!  Please see the “The 5X everywhere backup plan“.

Please stay tuned for more on Monday.  There are plenty of great opportunities still to be had!


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  1. […] Everyday spend is a different animal. I think the most effective way to explain this is to go over some of the popular cards and the best uses for them. Keep in mind that everyone has their own preferences and goals, so these can vary from person to person. Also note that if you feel like more of an expert you can just skip directly to The Frequent Miler’s trick to earn 5 points per dollar on every purchase (although this trick may not work anymore). […]

Comments

  1. Found lots of VR cards in Local CVS. Not sure if they accept Credit cards for buying the VR? Any idea? i think it’s still a good deal if you buy VR cards using Chase Freedom which will give me 560 points for each card.that’s about .9 cents per mile.

  2. The moral of this outcome: When there is an opportunity to get money for nothing people are going to exploit the absolute sh** out of it. These small business owners using VR’s to pay there employees really gets under my skin. The supposed backbone of America! Isn’t it ironic that big corporations and massive banks gave us these opportunities while the small business’ are the ones that exploited it?

  3. I bought 55 Vanilla Reload $500 each yesterday morning. Mgr quickly filled the rack with more Vanilla Reload. I am going back to buy another 50 cards in the morning. The deal is still on, just drive to every OD you can find. Mgr are holding the cards. You need to ask.

  4. Nathan,Jason, I have to agree with you. I myself bought 10 VR yesterday. Over the last few months, I have accumulated over 2300 VR at $500 each. I didn’t expect this thing last so long, so I was buying crazy at the beginning.

  5. “Over the last few months, I have accumulated over 2300 VR at $500 each.”

    Wow, I’m very impressed that you managed to buy over $1.1M worth of VRs over a few months. You must have some serious skills. Almost as much skills (and credit limit) as the poster above you who bought $27.5k in VRs yesterday, and has the credit limit still remaining to go buy another $25k worth of VRs tomorrow morning. 😉

  6. I think Bill and Jason are same person. Just try to give out an exaggerated number to make people jealous with unrealistic expectation…

  7. Well in that case, I bought $13.7M worth of VRs 2 days ago just before this deal died. I was gonna go buy another $50M tomorrow, but I guess those copy cats MMS (and gleff/MP/et al) have now ruined it for me. Thanks for nothing all you copycat bloggers. Now I will have to be content slowly cashing out $13.7M worth via $5k in Bill Pays per month. Crap, I just realized I’m gonna be dead before I am able to finish cashing out my $13.7M, in fact so will my great great great grandkids also likely be dead before I’m able to cash out all my VRs. Thanks a lot you lousy bloggers, not only is the deal dead, but it will now take me 228 years to fully cash out my VRs, and I have a $13.7M CC bill due in about 30 days!!! Yikes!!!

  8. I always tend to think the “sorry sir but weve seen lots of fraud with these” line is a complete load of bull. There is no fraud. Simply put, corporate compliance officials cant put a solid fix on how and why all these people are buying x so they cant give answers to whomever they report to. And so out of fear and their own drone-like doctrine, they feel better just pulling the plug. Then they give the fraud line to all store managers who tell us. Not many of these types understand or buy into the concept of doing monetary churns for miles and so they think anything like it must be wrong and therefore must be the fraud everyone has been beaten into believing about “since 9/11, sir…” “You know, fraud, money laundering, drugs, terrorism” (no, i dont know you dweeb. Im just trying to use my 796 credit score to get this chase card with a $10k limit to actually use that very limit to buy these from your rack cuz the card tells me ill get 5x points to do so and while im not telling you all this you have no right in my book to even ask! Now, ive shown you my id and paid for the product… Get awfff me!) but ive never said that. I just wanna.
    .
    What pisses me off about how everyone-every store, every drone, and every non thinker who ever says that to me is the fact i did lose someone in 9/11 on the first plane and so the legacy of it has now been twisted so much as to stop me from getting freakin miles to fly on planes!!!!!
    .
    I almost should just laugh at the sick irony only i can sometimes see here. EVERYONE I mean everyone buys into that crap!
    .
    If theres fraud and crooks here, its like 1% of the time and the cops catch them for something else anyway. They are not buying vanillas in od sorry

  9. @MarathonMan – completely agree – “fraud” is just the excuse to explain why so many VRs were being sold. The supposed “fraud” was that people were buying the cards and cashing out – and then disputing the charges to the CC companies. But it that were indeed the case, why didn’t the “criminals” buy out every gc and prepaid card as well? Not much difference other than ability to load on BB. And what “criminal” would take the risk/time to load on BB anyway? Why not simply spend the gc/prepaids immediately on items you could easily sell? Or sell the gc’s on PlasticJungle?

  10. Has anyone actually googled prepaid cards and money laundering. Drug dealers are using these prepaid cards to move money out of the country. Loading them up in America and then ATM the money out across the border. We are not laundering illegal money through Office Depot. I am assuming the IRS cares much more about the actual criminal activity than in the travel hacks. After all – we think that there are lots of people on the blogs and playing the travel game, but I can never get anyone to change their credit card ways – they think it is too much of a hassle. In the whole scheme of things the travel hacks are a very small minority. I am pretty sure the Feds are not going to come get anyone for buying Vanilla reloads for travel points :).

  11. well you guys crashed another party. just can not be discrete.

    FM- You CALLED Incomm? Wtf for? Why dont you give them more reason to work with stores to enforce cash / debit only?

    I honestly can not understand the mentality of some here.

  12. Sunday, 10:30 a.m. EST: The manager at my local reliable OD broke the bad news to me. He said, “We got the word yesterday.” Sad weekend. Oh well, on to the next thing…….

  13. I was able to get a few yesterday, and this morning run to the store again. No more. A manager said he didn`t know what was going on, but said they had to discontinue them. I grabbed just regular prepaid card I was satisfied with before. I believe it has something, if not everything, with Bluebird and ability to reload into it, otherwise, OD would had discontinued all prepaid cards, not reloadable only.

  14. Oh well, back to reloadit packs for me, and back to CC churning for FM :)
    .
    Does anyone know if you can transfer a balance from the temporary myvanilla cards to the permanent one?

  15. Oh well. Back to buying visa cards or $500 gift cards at that other store and getting UR points for 0.2 cents each. What awful lives we lead.

  16. gregorygrady says:
    November 11, 2012 at 1:25 am
    Well in that case, I bought $13.7M worth of VRs 2 days ago just before this deal died. I was gonna go buy another $50M tomorrow, but I guess those copy cats MMS (and gleff/MP/et al) have now ruined it for me. Thanks for nothing all you copycat bloggers. Now I will have to be content slowly cashing out $13.7M worth via $5k in Bill Pays per month. Crap, I just realized I’m gonna be dead before I am able to finish cashing out my $13.7M, in fact so will my great great great grandkids also likely be dead before I’m able to cash out all my VRs. Thanks a lot you lousy bloggers, not only is the deal dead, but it will now take me 228 years to fully cash out my VRs, and I have a $13.7M CC bill due in about 30 days!!! Yikes!!!

    lmfao!
    I nominate yours for POST OF THE YEAR AWARD – at least!

  17. “Tana says:
    November 11, 2012 at 7:30 am
    Has anyone actually googled prepaid cards and money laundering. Drug dealers are using these prepaid cards to move money out of the country. Loading them up in America and then ATM the money out across the border. We are not laundering illegal money through Office Depot. I am assuming the IRS cares much more about the actual criminal activity than in the travel hacks. After all – we think that there are lots of people on the blogs and playing the travel game, but I can never get anyone to change their credit card ways – they think it is too much of a hassle. In the whole scheme of things the travel hacks are a very small minority. I am pretty sure the Feds are not going to come get anyone for buying Vanilla reloads for travel points.”

    True… we have been innocently – but fervently – ODing on vanilla and ur points, a highly potent and addictive cocktail. Now maybe we have to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately this weekend another dealer of my office supply fetish has offered a methadone-like support program. What a mess I am!

  18. Just returned from several Tampa area ODs that had V-reloads on Thursday–not only are there no cards, but the slots that previously held them were replaced with other things. (They still stock Vanilla Visas–only the reloads have disappeared.)

    Say goodnight, Gracie.

  19. Slomo – I agree wholeheartedly with you on the addictiveness of this perpetual point machine we look for – especially with the new addition of the Bluebird. I actually still found some reloads at OD today and bought 4 of them. I did not want to clean them out since I just got the Ink last week and did not to max out a new credit card.
    My point is mainly that us point enthusiasts are getting a little paranoid, and when OD manager says these reloads are being used for fraud and money laundering – it is actual drug dealers, etc that they are talking about. I think we are all blowing out of proportion our importance in the grand scheme of things :). I did check with my CVS – none out yet but they said that they have a big shipment of gift cards. I would still at least like to pay my car note and mortgage. On to the next scheme.

  20. I am going on a 7 CC churn/ 12k/ 3 mo. spend, mid-week. I am frugal and will not increase spend just to meet bonuses.

    Will have no problems in meeting min spend. Of course, the 5x OD/Ink was always blown out-of-proportion by the bloggers and their associated “dumb-wit” followers.
    For the bloggers it amounted to $$$…

    P.S.: Too lazy to search. But wasn’t there a comment in this very thread to the effect: ” I don’t know why I am buying VR. But you guys know what you are doing. Hence, I follow!” Open your legs wide, babeeeee….:)

  21. My cvs just got vr but sadly, cash or debit card only. Manager said it’s company policy but I see a bunch of people posting they r getting it with credit cards. I’ll have to drive around to see if any other cvs would accept credit card.

  22. Just stopped by my local OD here in the Bay Area (Ca.); grabbed the last four cards on the rack. When I went to purchase them, the assistant store manager informed me that they recieved an email from corporate to discontinue selling the Vanilla cards; said it had something to due to the ‘security’ of the cards.

    He also mentioned that the ‘vendor’ will have an updated version of the card available in a few weeks. We’ll have to wait and see.

  23. All, there is life after OD after all. On my 2 attempt to find vanillas at CVS, I hit the jackpot. There was at least 30 in the rack. And the beauty of it I was able to pay with my Citi. I wanted to buy 4, but they said they have a limit of 1K per transaction. My first 2 went through, the next 2 the register said needs another form of payment. I did not understand…I have 30K available in that card. When I got home, the fraud department called me to verify that I made the purchase of $1007.90 at CVS.I verified so maybe I won’t be stop next time. The CVS clerk and manager were very nice to me. I asked the manager to order some more because I plan to be a regular customer for them with these vanillas. The manager said she will order more. Finally,I asked if I can pay with a visa gift card and she said no. Maybe getting 5X from OD with visa gift cards and then use the cards to buy vanillas at CVS might not work out for me. However, I will try when I go to OD next time and buy a visa gift card. Additionally, I will try to load these visa gift cards to my WF.

  24. Will, I get 5X from office depot…so for every 1K I make a profit of $30.10 or I am buying 5000 UR points for $19.90. Do not worry about the cashing out fees…I can use Bluebird, Netspend, or MyVanilla to cash out with no or minimal fee $2.50 for netspend only

  25. All, I broke down from vanillas withdrawal. I went back to CVS after having bought 1K earlier and bought an additional 3K. So I bought a total of 4K from CVS in 30 minutes time. The only irritating thing with CVS is that I can only buy 1K at a time. So the manager did 3 separate transactions. I confirmed with the manager and she said she already ordered more vanillas for me.:)

    • I went to Walgreens today and they had the Vanilla Reload, but the register came up as cash load only. Do I have to try another store, or is there something the clerk can key in so that it would take the credit card?

  26. Regardless of fraud or money laundering, I see a link between pulling off VR from OD and reduction in spending requirement for chase ink from 10k to 5k in 3 months.

  27. If the IRS or FBI is truly concerned about using the reload cards to launder money, they should impose a requirement that such cards be purchased using credit cards. This would immediately put an end to the laundering concern.

  28. Has anyone tried buying VR at walmart using CC? any success?
    i saw someone buying VR from CVS. What best card to use besides AMEX hilton?

  29. All…the first CVS that I was successful in buying VR with a credit card or prepaid card now only accepts cash or debit as payment. Just like OD, a memo(via email) from LP was sent to stop the cashiers from accepting prepaids or credit for these VR :( . So sad…less than 2 weeks when this deal died on this particular CVS. I thing the main reason was me…I bought about 20K in less than 2 weeks span at this particular store. Fortunately, I have backup CVSs that keeps this deal alive…for the time being.

  30. I asked one of the Bellevue OD managers why they had discontinued Vanilla Reloads. He said that he *thought* it was because people were using cash back credit cards to buy them. The OD systems were incorrectly coding the sale as tangible goods. A credit card company asked them to fix this, but they pulled the cards instead.

    • @MeLovesVanilla- no, it does not have to. there are far more CVS stores than OD stores. people need to approach this with common sense ( i know it is hard given the nature of this crowd and the blogs). 20 grand in one store in less than two weeks obviously shows up to loss prevention.

  31. Mick…maybe your right. From now on I am going to spread the “love” to a couple of CVS. I am still going to get a lot, but not entirely in only one store. Will this be acceptable to you?

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