Buy MasterCard gift cards and Stand Up To Cancer

A new Vanilla branded MasterCard gift card has appeared:

MasterCard gift card

I found the above card at my local CVS store.  I find it noteworthy because of the promise to donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer for every card sold.  I tend to buy a lot of gift cards like these anyway, so I’m thrilled to be able to support a good cause at the same time.

This is a Vanilla branded gift card, so it should work well as a debit card at many grocery stores, Target, Family Dollar, etc.  One likely exception: don’t expect it to work as a debit card at Walmart (Walmart doesn’t seem to like Vanilla cards).

I used the card yesterday afternoon at Target to reload REDbird as a debit card, and it worked without a hitch.  As with all Vanilla brand gift cards, you can use any 4 digits as the PIN upon first use (from then on, the PIN will be set to those 4 digits).  I always use the last 4 digits of the card number since that approach works for many types of gift cards (examples found here).

One downside to this card is that the word “Gift” is displayed prominently on the front.  Some stores have policies against letting customers use gift cards as debit cards, so this is unfortunate.  In contrast, One Vanilla Visa cards do not show the word “Gift” anywhere on the card.  On the plus side, the word “debit” is prominent as well.  Also, the card lists the same low activation fee as One Vanilla cards ($4.95).  Many of the other new Vanilla cards have a $5.95 activation fee.

MasterCard gift card

I think its great to be able to contribute to a good cause while paying less of an activation fee.  I love the idea of doing good in the process of earning points, miles, and cash back!

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

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. FM- I have a ? on buying GC’s. The t&c on the BLUE$ Pref states that purchases of prepaid, reloadable and cash equivs are not eligible. Any data points to suggest otherwise?

    Also, if the merchant is coded as Grocery and they have fuel…..any data .’s to suggest you get 6% vs 3%?

    • In my experience I’ve always earned points or cash back regardless of those terms. I don’t have experience with the grocery / fuel question but if your fuel purchases code as grocery you should get 6X

  2. regarding those Vanilla Gift Cards, that say $20-$500….. Do you load them with your Amex gift card as debit for $500? Or how does that work? Also, are those also pin enabled liked the fixed amount gift cards for REDcard loads?

    • No fee is very YMMV. Those that reported on FT had a pretty low success rate. Granted that OP did provide documentation that there likely was an error. Free GC rock, but I’m still awaiting the next AGC 2.25% to come available soon.

  3. Did you have to call in to set up PIN? If I remember correct, the last 4 digits isn’t necessarily a default PIN for mastercards. Thanks.

  4. What is the purpose of using a debit card at a grocery store?

    Also, what is the “Etc” that you refer to – I thought you covered all the relevant places.

  5. I tried to buy a One Vanilla card at WM and the POS wouldn’t let me buy it with a CC. Can I buy other Mastercard GCs at WM with a CC? Sometimes some stores are out of VGCs and only have MCGCs. And how do I set a PIN for the MCGCs that WM sells? I think they’re Vanilla MCs.

    • Buying VGCs/MCGCs @ WM with CC is hit or miss. Depends on store policy. When local WMs were stocked w/ Sunrise bank VGCs I had no problem at one and was told no CC at the other.

      As for PINs look for leaflet inluded. Some MC require to call in to set PIN, some let you use *any* 4 digs 1st time MC is used and some might have PIN inside already.

      • But will the WM system allow it? Recently I tried to buy a OV GC and the system denied a CC for payment, but I buy Sunnies all the time. Which MC GCs will WM’s system allow me to buy with a CC?

  6. Greg.. Off-topic question.. If I apply for 2 BoA cards at the same time.. will it be a one credit pull or two? Thanks for all you do for point junkies.

  7. Only found these “Stand Up To Cancer” GC @ one out of 4 CVS … bought 4 $500 and they rock. Will buy $2K everyday until they run out. Helping me make a $20K spend. Thanks FM, you also rock!!

  8. I went to my local Target in Southeastern Wisconsin yesterday to do my usual Red Bird load and was denied. Target is introducing a new Red Card with a chip requiring a PIN sometime in the future. The manager I talked with thinks maybe in September but didn’t have a firm date. She did say that no one can load Red Bird until the new card is available. Until then my socks are sharing space with many Vanilla GCs .

    • Hank, see my comment above for the step by step guide in loading Redbird with the new registers, or just click on my handle.

      MO are always a backup option since some grocery stores allow you to buy them with pin gift cards…this varies locally.

      • NoonRadar, thanks for the tutorial to K8 at Target. I can’t wait to lead the cashier through the first GC load with your step by step guide!

  9. For those who have been lucky enough to not be charged a fee for these: last night I wasn’t charged a fee, but this morning I was. I think they’ve fixed their systems. I still like this card for its donations to cancer research, though!

    • If you read the fine print on the packaging, it is a partnership between Mastercard & CVS. I was hoping to find them @ a grocery store. Maybe there are other companies that also partner w/ Mastercard?

  10. Googled “Stand up to cancer mastercard gift card” and guess who was on the top of the list?
    Buy MasterCard gift cards and Stand Up To Cancer – The ……/buy-mastercard-gift-cards-and-stand-…
    3 days ago – A new Vanilla branded MasterCard gift card has appeared: … because of the promise to donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer for every card sold.

  11. Bought two today, the regular vanilla fee applied but it was just as easy to load to Redbird by using any pin the 1st (and only for me) time.

    Like others said, if we buy this even with the fee we get the same MS value out of it as with the VGC, so might as well support Stand UP To Cancer in the process!

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