Bluebird lands. Questions answered

Last week, in the post “Bluebird takes flight and changes the game,” I described a new product from American Express that has some terrific features both for people looking for a no-cost checking alternative, and for points & mile collectors.

Just like the older American Express Prepaid cards that I wrote about in “One card to rule them all,” the Bluebird card can be reloaded with Vanilla Reload cards.  This is important because some stores allow Vanilla Reload cards to be bought with credit cards.  In other words, it is possible to get points and miles from loading Bluebird.  Once loaded, Bluebird can be used like a credit card, or as an ATM card for cash withdrawals, or to pay bills, or to send money to friends.

Bluebird arrives

I ordered my Bluebird card last week (Tuesday) and it arrived yesterday (Monday).  With my Bluebird in-hand I was able to run experiments.  Some of the experiments were doable from home, but for the others I rushed out to a couple of Walmart stores in the area….

Load via Vanilla:  Some people questioned whether Bluebird could really be loaded with Vanilla Reload cards.  In fact, some American Express reps even told customers that they could not be used that way.  However, online documentation was clear that Vanilla Reload cards could be used.  So, the first thing I did after activating my card was to load $500 from a Vanilla Reload card to my Bluebird.  No problem.  Result: SUCCESS

Load via credit card in-store:  The online documentation makes it clear that in-store reloads (“swipe reloads”) require cash or debit card, but an American Express rep I talked with said that “some stores” allow credit cards.  I tried at a register in one store, and at a reload ATM in another store.  No luck. Result: FAIL

Load via gift card in-store:  I didn’t think this had much chance of working, but I had a Walmart gift card sitting around, so it was worth a try.  At a register in one store, and at a reload ATM in another store, I tried to reload Bluebird with a Walmart gift card. No luck. Result: FAIL

Load via bank gift card: I thought this one had a chance of working since online documentation said that debit cards could be used for swipe reloads.  I brought along two Visa gift cards, both with the word “debit” in the bottom corner. I tried one at a register in the first store and the other at a reload ATM in the second store. No dice.  The register told me to select “credit” and then rejected the whole idea.  The ATM machine asked for my PIN.  I tried 0000, but the machine ultimately told me (in a distressingly loud voice) “card not accepted.” Result: FAIL

Load via true debit card in-store: I fully expected a debit load to work, but since I was at the register anyway, I tried it just to be sure.  Using a real debit card (my Mio, actually), I successfully loaded $200 to my Bluebird.  The good news is that neither Walmart nor Amex charges a fee for this.  So, for people with mile earning debit cards (e.g. Suntrust Delta card, BOA Alaska Airlines card, UFB Direct Airline Rewards checking) this might be a great alternative to buying Money Orders.  Since I don’t yet have any of those cards, I’ll have to rely on readers to try this out and let me know if miles are earned when loading Bluebird.  Result: SUCCESS

Manage card with Mint.com: One great thing about the older Amex Prepaid cards is that it is possible to monitor your account(s) via Mint.com.  I tried to add my Bluebird to my Mint account, but it didn’t work.  Hopefully Mint.com will fix this soon.  Result: FAIL

Manage card with iPhone App: I installed the Bluebird by American Express app.  It’s very easy to use; it allows you to pay bills; send and receive money from others; deposit money via check, bank account, or debit card; and view your transactions and balance.  I was happy to find that the app existed and that it seemed to work, at least for the basic functions I tried.  Result: SUCCESS

Next Up

There are still many things yet to be discovered about Bluebird:

  • Do points-earning debit cards earn points when loading Bluebird at the register?
  • Where, besides Office Depot, can people buy Vanilla Reload cards using a credit card?
  • What about Bluebird Feeder Packs – will we be able to buy those with a credit card?  Where can we buy them?
  • Can we make debit payments with Bluebird (to pay taxes, for example)?
  • Do transfers from PayPal or Amazon Payments count as direct deposits for free ATM use?

Have you tried Bluebird yet?  Have you learned anything worth sharing?  Comment below.

 

Related Posts and Links

Last updated on August 6th, 2013

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.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Sergey
Guest
Sergey

FM, thanks for the post! If using debit card in store to load your BB, what is the limit for transaction and what is the fee?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Sergey: no fee to load via debit at Walmart. Limits: $1k per day, $5k per month

Kc
Guest
Kc

This is great for those who can get the vanilla reloads. For now I am stuck with the visa gift cards. Going to check out a couple of other Office Depots today.

Rob P
Guest
Rob P

Thank you for your efforts, FM!

MileageUpdate
Guest

Can a person own more than one of these? ie – the blue ax from Office Depot?

FrequentMiler
Guest

MileageUpdate: I believe that each person can only own one Bluebird account. That account can hold “sub-accounts” for family members, but that doesn’t change the overall limits to the account. The same person can also have up to three Amex Prepaid cards.

Dave: You can add Prepaid Amex cards to Mint by searching for “American Express” and selecting American Express Gift Card

Dave
Guest
Dave

How can you add a prepaid AMEX to Mint? I’ve been wanting to do this, but all I find when I search for that type of account is “American Express Credit Card” and that just links to my normal credit account with AMEX.

RJ
Guest
RJ

bluebird has taken flight! i just received card in mail, loaded it with $1000 from vanillas bought from OD and paid my rent through the bill pay section! score! will load 1000 per day until full ($5000). one great difference between bluebird and older amex prepaid is that with the older amex prepaid you had to wait 30 ACTUAL days to refill to the max $2500, for example. fill up to max, today oct 23 and you couldn’t fill up again to the max until Nov 23. with bluebird i can fill up to $5000 by oct 31 (then spend that money) and refill up to $5000 the next day!! on Nov 1st ! awesome…

Sil
Guest
Sil

what is the fee for ATM withdrawal of BB? How much per transaction? What about the PIN?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Sil: If you go to a MoneyPass ATM then there is no ATM owner fee. If you also have direct deposit setup, then there is no Amex fee. Otherwise Amex charges $2 per withdrawal after Nov 4th

Dan: The bill pay features appears to be very simple and straightforward. There is a list of billers that you can pick from. If yours isn’t there, then you can add a new one and they will be paid by check

Don T: Vanilla Reload cards cost $3.95 each and can be loaded up to $500 each.

Dan
Guest
Dan

What I am most interested in is finding out more about the bill pay feature and using it to pay things that normally can only be paid by check(at least without fee) such as utilities or even better health insurance.

Don T
Guest
Don T

FM, is there a fee for the vanilla reload card?

BothofUs2
Guest
BothofUs2

FM-Great post many thanks! This card might be one step closer to the Perpetual Points Machine you’ve written about in the past. Use Chase Ink or Plus at OD to buy Vanilla – Load Vanilla onto Bluebird – pay Chase bill with Bluebird funds- rinse/repeat.

AlohaDaveKennedy
Guest
AlohaDaveKennedy

This is not going to last very long. Cardinal Fang has gotten wind of this scheme and is gearing up for a Spanish inquisition. Be warned.

Ryan from MA
Guest
Ryan from MA

I thought it was a $10K limit…awesome news about the debit card!!!

DRSP
Guest
DRSP

Does anyone see anything about direct deposit minimums? For example, if I do a $5 DD from my employer, will that satisfy the DD requirement?

FrequentMiler
Guest

DRSP: I haven’t seen anything about direct deposit minimums either. I think we’ll learn from trial and error. My guess is that any direct depost will qualify no matter how small. Just keep in mind that you have to have a direct deposit within 30 days prior to your ATM use so setting up a regular $5 deposit might make sense.

Sil
Guest
Sil

for paying property tax, what do your type in for the “nickname for Payee”. Also is the account number the Parcel number. I don’t see the account number anywhere.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Sil: The nickname is whatever you want. It will show up in your list of available payees. The recipient won’t see that name. For the account number, put in whatever is needed by the biller. In your case, yes, parcel number probably makes sense if that’s how your county tracks tax payments.

Talon
Guest
Talon

Looks like BB allows to move money to checking/saving accounts. If that’s true, why bother to use BB to pay bills? The billpay service also appears to have trouble taking account numbers!! bummer!!

FrequentMiler
Guest

Talon: that’s true that you can simply move money directly to another bank account, but you need to be careful. Amex is likely to shut people down if all they do is load it up and immediately withdraw all the cash. It will look like money laundering, plus it won’t be at all profitable for Amex. Amex would like for you to keep a balance and for you to use the card for credit transactions. As much as possible, I recommend keeping Amex happy so that they’ll keep supporting awesome products like this one.

Ryan from MA
Guest
Ryan from MA

18, really???…thats’ pretty amazing too

Grant
Guest
Grant

@FM, what do you think of this aspect of Bluebird? Similar to ATM i guess… http://i50.tinypic.com/123slki.png

I did a few $1 test bill payments to Chase, Citi, AMEX, and Paypal so I’ll see how those go.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Ryan from MA, Grant: see my answer to Talon.

AJH
Guest
AJH

Fantastic news! Great post, FM.

Josh
Guest
Josh

FM-The Bluebird website says debit card transactions are limited to $100/day, $1000 in aggregate per month. Also, Vanilla reloads are limited to $1000/day, $5000/month.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Josh: There are two ways to load Bluebird with a debit card, one is online and one is in the store. Online, you are correct that you are limited to $100 per day, $1000 per month. They also charge a $2 fee per load. In-store, you are limited to $1000 per day, $5000 per month and there is no fee.

Arc: Good to know!

JetsFan: I’d be nervous about having Bluebird send a tax payment to the IRS on my behalf via check without having accompanying documentation of what the check is for. Since sites like PayTaxUSA charge only $3.49 per debit transaction this could be a decent alternative if Bluebird can be used that way.

Arc
Guest
Arc

I added bluebird as a new ‘checking’ account in both Paypal and Amazon payments, and they both issued two small amount into bluebird to verify the account. Then I got emails titled ‘Direct Deposit Load Complete’ for both. And in the transaction page on bluebird website, they show as ‘$0.** Direct Deposit funding’.

JetsFan
Guest
JetsFan

Responding to your fourth question: Why would you need to use the BB debit to pay taxes? Can’t you just use BB and send the government a check?

And thanks again for all this info!!!

Jack L
Guest
Jack L

If we want to keep Chase (or any credit card issuer) happy in general, do they prefer we make one $500 purchase or fifty $10 purchases? Which of those earns them more commission from the merchants, or does it not matter?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Jack L: I don’t think it matters for credit transactions although some individual vendors pay a per transaction fee on top of a % so they would be unhappy with many small transactions.

JetsFan: That would look very suspicious to Amex. Next year BB is supposed to have checks available for you to write yourself. Wait until then to send checks to the IRS

JetsFan
Guest
JetsFan

Responding back on my tax question and other uses for billpay. Is a possible step having a check made payable to a vendor, but mailed to yourself? This might enable you to address the documentation issue by re-mailing the check to the merchant. I admit that I have not received the card yet, and have not tested BBs billpay capabilities.

ck
Guest
ck

to meet a new spend on a credit card how can I load BB without using vanilla

FrequentMiler
Guest

ck: It doesn’t look like there are any good options besides Vanilla. There’s a small chance that once Feeder packs become available we’ll be able to pay with credit cards (but there’s evidence to suggest otherwise).

FrequentMiler
Guest

Hey everyone: don’t forget to add your Bluebird card to your RewardsNetwork dining program so that you’ll get even more points when eating out!

Dave
Guest
Dave

Is there an added benefit to doing direct deposit on the BB? I’m not sure why people are asking about this. Do you suppose it makes AMEX less suspicious?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Dave: By establishing direct deposit once a month you get free ATM use at MoneyPass ATMs

pas
Guest
pas

What is the best (and least expensive) way to move the balance from Amex Prepaid to the bluebird?

FrequentMiler
Guest

pas: I think your best bet is to find the cheapest ATM machine you can and withdraw the money (over time) from your prepaid card in order to move it to the Bluebird

Ron: Very interesting! Maybe you can have more than one after all…

newbie008
Guest
newbie008

@kc: I am in the same situation as you, no vanilla reloads here too. May I ask you how do you cash out Vanilla gift cards? TIA!

Ron
Guest
Ron

I signed up for two BB accounts using my same name and SSN. Rec’d em both. So far, only activated one, but if they were sending me a second card, with an entirely different number, can’t see why two (or more) cards won’t work. But then again, one has to suspect that activating two cards using same SSN would raise a few eyebrows inside their compliance office…

Preacher
Guest
Preacher

Is the 5K/month Vanilla/DC load limit per CALENDAR month, like the PP, or 30 day cycle?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Preacher: The limits are per calendar month according to the T&C

Mattolo: Yes

Gary: I don’t see an option to make recurring payments but you might be able to setup your mortgage to pull from Bluebird (don’t know for sure yet). I don’t think Amex would mind a lot of bill pay activity. It is a feature they advertise and so it would just show that you are an engaged customer

Mattolo
Guest
Mattolo

So basically to take advantage of this card depends on either a) being able to buy Vanilla Reload cards at Office Depot with a CC, or b) having a miles earning debit card?

Gary
Guest
Gary

Does anyone know if bill pay has an auto-pay or schedule feature to pay some recurring bills automatically, like mortgage?

Also, is too much bill pay activity a negative to AMEX or are they earning trans fees for these?

Thanks

Dave Op
Guest
Dave Op

I don’t have a Chase Ink credit card. As such, is there a way for me to get 5% or 5 points off the Vanilla Reload card? Otherwise, I don’t see the benefit of getting the Bluebird since I don’t make any payments that a credit card can’t handle.

Thanh P.
Guest
Thanh P.

The billpay feature of this card is simply amazing. I do not believe that Amex will let this loophole live for long though.

Ron
Guest
Ron

What qualifies as a direct deposit for BB? I am self employed.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Ron: At this point it is unclear. some people plan to try simply moving money into Bluebird from Amazon Payments, PayPal, bank accounts, etc.

frequent churner: No, I haven’t tried doing a PIN debit transaction. With the bill pay feature available and even the ability to move money directly to a bank account I don’t see any situation where a PIN transaction makes sense except maybe to pay taxes online.

frequent churner
Guest
frequent churner

Keep cool my babies! This is nothing revolutionary, and has already been done (by me for example) with some other pre-paid cards, like Netspend. If you don’t use this carefully you will get shut down. Don’t even think about paying your CC bill with this bill payment feature…tried, worked, shut down by NS. It’s just too obvious.
.
One question for Frequent Miler, have you tried doing a PIN debit transaction at the register? This is where the true laundering capabilities lie.

Cd
Guest
Cd

I bought the bean with a cc today at a corner store where you can also get a flu shot. I bought a couple other items with it.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Cd: Great! Any chance you’re willing to give more details?

I Can See for Miles
Guest
I Can See for Miles

The last thing I want is to start a flame war. I just want to respectfully ask AlohaDaveKennedy to stop posting the Cardinal-Fang-be-afraid posts on so many posts and threads on numberous sites that offer great potential earnings such as this — but may eventually be shut down due to perks abuse or for other capricious reasons. If Chase puts a stop to this, Chase puts a stop to this. But what point do the sky-will-soon-fall sentiments serve? In the meantime, I’m all for fellow miles/points collectors weighing the risk/reward proposition on every offer, and then making a sensible decision on how to proceed.

Sergey
Guest
Sergey

Instead of paying by check to utility companies,they usually offer free ACH from your checking/savings account. I’m wondering, if BB can be used for this? If I have routing/account numbers for direct deposit, then I can use them for ACH, right? Or money can only “go in” to BB, not out?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Sergey: Since Amex’s goal is to compete with checking accounts it seems like they should allow ACH withdrawals, but I don’t know yet if they do.

amod: Yes, good point. Using Amazon Payments to move money out of the old prepaid cards is a great way to go.

amod
Guest
amod

@pas , @frequentmiler : the other option which I am using is , funding my amazon payment account with amex prepaid and transferring them to BB .

cost = 0 dollars

Sergey
Guest
Sergey

FM, thanks! If ACH withdrawals works, then paying property taxes would be very easy – in our count ACH payment is free (CC/debit card payment is not).

trackback

[…] fees! However, make sure to read the Caution section at the bottom of his post. You can also read The Frequent Miler’s post about it as […]

Matt W
Guest
Matt W

Absolutely terrible customer service! Even though I have 2 AMEX credit cards and my (very old) cell phone is registered on those accounts, the rep told me that “the 3rd party company we use to verify phone numbers is unable to validate your phone number”. I was told that there is no recourse – I am just SOOL!

frequent churner
Guest
frequent churner

@FrequentMiler — it makes sense because transferring money directly to banks from the BB will look suspicious. If you’re happy with just regular purchases and bill payments, that’s fine, but if you want to buy a few grand of money orders every month, you need a PIN #. I get them at an obscure local grocery store with a pharmacy…makes for a good cover story.

FrequentMiler
Guest

frequent churner: I understand. I just think that it would be easier to send checks to relatives, send money to others via Bluebird (for them to withdraw the money to a bank), etc. Very similar to Amazon Payments but with $5K/month limits

Curtis
Guest
Curtis

@FM – It doesn’t look like you’ve tested loading via Visa Vanilla cards to BB. Right? Expecting my permanent card today and have a good source of these cards (in addition to OD MyVanilla reloads). Would like to use the regular Visa Vanilla’s for non-IB spend requirements to avoid taking away all of the supply of OD MyVanilla’s (since demand is obviously about to go up).

FrequentMiler
Guest

Curtis: I did try to use a Vanilla Visa in store to load BB. It didn’t work because I didn’t have a valid PIN to use. You can use them online to load, but you are limited to $100 per day / $1000 per month and you’re charged $2 per load (e.g. 2% fee)

trackback

[…] post, answering questions on Bluebird and the results of some of his experiments with the […]

pas
Guest
pas

@amod,
Thanks for that suggestion.
I guess I can move the funds from Amex Prepaid to any bank checking account via the Amazon payment. I don’t need BB for that. Have you tried that? Are there any costs associated with moving that?

jerry
Guest

I just signed up for a BB card for myself and my wife and will try to get some Vanilla cards soon

Can I pay an emplyee ( in this case my wife ) reimburseable business exspenses. ?? I have done this through AmazonPay, and I keep a record of her reimbursemnets for tax purposese each month . We have a small business and she is actualy one of my emplyees

FrequentMiler
Guest

jerry: the easiest option for paying someone is if they have a BlueBird card as well. Then you can send them money using their email address. Alternatively you could pay them with the BillPay feature, but I’d be nervous about having a check sent to the same address that your own BB is registered to

Smitty06
Guest
Smitty06

FM-would you suggest that we email you a list of OD’s that have reloads. I want to share with others that are having trouble finding but I don’t want to piss folks off if a run on the store leaves them dry.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Smitty06: As Curtis noted, there is a post for collecting that info: https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2012/06/22/where-to-buy-vanilla-reload-cards/. It would be great if you could post the info there. I don’t think it would spark a run since not everyone finds that page!

Titan limousine: check the page I referenced to Smitty06

Randy: Yes, there are many ODs that don’t carry Vanilla. In particular, I’ve been told that ODs in Manhattan and Hawaii don’t carry them. There are others as well, but I don’t have good data about where they are. No, currently there are no other Ink 5X options for Vanilla Reloads.

Curtis
Guest
Curtis

@Smitty06, there is an old post of his that has a chart already.

Titan limousine ground transport IAD DCA BWI
Guest

Where can I get Vanilla reloads in the DC metro / VA / MD area? All ODs have been out of stock for months.

Titan limousine ground transport IAD DCA BWI
Guest

smitty06 – please email me the OD list 🙂

Randy
Guest
Randy

Thanks FM. Have you heard anything about certain Office Depot’s not carrying the Vanilla reload card? I have been to our local OD twice and have been told by store employees that I can purchase them online. If I cannot purchase Vanilla reload at Office Depot, is their somewhere else I can purchase and still receive 5X Ink points? Thanks!

frequent churner
Guest
frequent churner

Sending checks is all good, but my relatives don’t want to participate in this, and it looks like income so there’s tax implications. Plus AMEX will have to pay for physical checks to be mailed so you better be profitable for them.
.
I prefer a strategy of doing my normal purchases with them, then buying MOs and paying mortgage. Make it look like normal spending.

Rob P
Guest
Rob P

Chase website is down right now, I blame FM. 😉

FrequentMiler
Guest

Rob P: Just doing some Lab experiments with Chase’s website servers. Everything will be back to normal soon… 🙂

Don T
Guest
Don T

I’m trying to figure out how this can generate some UR points without having an Ink card. If you have Freedom and CSP, can you see any good ways to get a substantial amount of UR points without paying fees?

Peet
Guest
Peet

Darius from MMS posted an identical article today. FM, if this isnt unfair competition lawsuit, you must proceed as follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxEpRtKfd-o

Rob P
Guest
Rob P

@Don T: Buy the VR cards at OD with Freedom and Sapphire, load BB and use it for bill payments like mortgage, rent, utilities.

Rob P
Guest
Rob P

…or use any CC. But you won’t get as many UR points without Ink.

Sapan
Guest
Sapan

Can’t wait to get mine in mail

jim
Guest
jim

Hi

If there is no office depot in my area and I got bluecard and INK, where can I get the 5x everywhere? Do you have a list of stores where 5x points for INK and a sub-list of them that allows vanilla reload?

FrequentMiler
Guest

jim: you really do need to get to an OD that carries Vanilla reload cards to do the 5X everywhere trick. Some people take time when they travel (within the US) to pickup reload cards

Chris
Guest
Chris

Just got mine in the mail yesterday. can’t wait to get my ice cream at OD andtry it out!

Chris
Guest
Chris

and try out the bill pay.

trackback

[…] before making your own. I will post some on the topic, but Million Mile Secrets, Gary Leff, and the King of Prepaids, Frequent Miler, also seem to be quite interested in Bluebird. I recommend keeping an eye on them, and especially […]

Nick
Guest
Nick

My Bluebird account keeps getting locked out – I’ll do the email verification and reset my password, get logged back in, but it gets locked right away again. Anyone else having this issue? I can’t load any vanilla on to the card currently and I am assuming it is because my account keeps getting locked. So weird.

marathon man
Guest
marathon man

I posted this (below) in MMS blog. I think he over-exposes things and doesn’t share the wisdom, just shows the steps of an idea. On the other hand, I think you, FM, show things and help people learn, which is a great thing. That is why I like your blog and your style.
.
Sadly however, your blog posts about this subject may also over reveal the use of debit cards from all the mile banks at WM but I guess we will have to see how long that all lasts now. Maybe the use of debit cards that earn miles to load a BB will be ok to do at WM but this all resurfaces the MO thing, which many were hoping would NOT be so publicized. It is being done though. The train is moving. The ride has an end.
.
.
Anyway here’s what I wrote:
.
marathon man | October 24, 2012 at 8:20 am |
.
I have this obligation as a human being to remind people who are planning to use such a service as bluebird to bill pay their mortgages, etc to really look into how things credit and how long they take to post first. Some have auto-pay on their bills now –coming from a checking acct or whatever, and they may elect to change this and use BB to manually do it by loading funds on the BB card, etc. But you need to first find out how long it takes to have BP send the funds, how they credit, what that may do to any other auto pay you may have set up, and whether it’s sent by some paper check or some electronic ACH. It would stink, for example, to have swiped thru to ‘bill pay’ the bluebird today but find that the mortgage company doesn’t really get the money til say 10 days later. You could be late and have fees imposed, or worse.
.
Also some banks like BofA do not like partial payments and since many mortgage payments are higher than the $1000 daily limit you need to find out what your bank has for policies on receiving part or multiple funds from you. I know that if I send a physical check to pay my prop taxes or bring it to town hall, it goes in pretty quickly and counts for the day I gave it to them. But if I bill pay from any bank it takes up to 10 days and goes to some far away place they set up and once in the system it’s on its own path that can take 10 business days! So you need to know this going in.
.
In my opinion, there are risks with all of this and many here are prepared to take them, but what I had said in my earlier post was this: Because MMS has outlined these things so easily here, he makes people think it IS just so easy, and it’s not. He also further exposes deals and systems that should not be on blogs, period. Blogs are too widely read by entities other than those who just want a few miles. I am not sure why he feels the need to over expose this stuff – maybe to get hits on the blog, look cool for seemingly knowing things, illustrating his presentation skills, or whatever, but it’s going to do more danger than good. Again, why expose some of the things one can do with debit cards over and over? WHY? WHY! Are we trying to just TELL the banks about their card uses? Lets do that, instead!
.
I think seasoned people as well as newer people have every right to know of and learn of these things but like I have said I think these sorts of things are best discussed in smaller groups and settings. the steps all make sense but they also invite too many issues which could kill the thing off or put further restrictions on it. That, plus making people think they can JUST pay their bills with ease, is not a good thing to lead people down to thinking.

FrequentMiler
Guest

marathon man: Thanks!

Branson B
Guest
Branson B

Marathon Man,

I equate this with the Efficent Market Hypothesis. In today’s world you are not going to keep somtehing that you are talking about on the internet a secret. So while blogs may get the information out to a wider audience more quickly the results are inevitable. In this example, BB partners with Wal-Mart to market to a certain demographic niche. In so doing, they open the door for what some are calling “exploitation” of the market. But I believe it is Amex’s responsibility to use risk management and not the consumers. If 5k per month on a BB is too much exposure then they can adjust accordingly. Similarly, this topic of Chase “perk abuse” is also absurd. They use 5x on office supplies as a marketing tool. Office supply stores sell pre-paid cards. Chase caps the potential at 50k spend at office stores per year. Why do they have the right to shut someone down for spending up to 50k at office stores? Agagin if the risk is too high for chase, they can lower the cap to 25k, do not just arbitrarily shut down people’s account because they are using your marketing tool to their advantage. If a restaurant advertises all-you-can-eat but then says that after 2 plates you are abusing the “perk” would anyone find that acceptable?

Kathy
Guest
Kathy

If this has already been addresses, I apologize. I have some property taxes to pay. They can be paid online with a credit card but a fee would be charged. I can pay it with bluebird and have them send a check but county asks that checks are sent with the tax notice stub. I know that many people use their bill paying services through their banks so their payments stubs don’t necessarily get sent in for student loans, car payments, etc. Does this ever create a problem? I have never done it before. Thanks!

FrequentMiler
Guest

Kathy: If your county asks that checks are sent with the tax notice stub, then you probably don’t want to take a chance with this. Next year Amex promises to add the ability to write checks directly so that you can send it yourself. For now I’d recommend paying bills where you don’t need to include a stub.

frequent churner: I believe that if you pay a biller on BB’s list, they will receive the funds electronically. Otherwise a check will be sent.

frequent churner
Guest
frequent churner

Does BB actually send a check when you do a bill payment, or does it pay the bill electronically?

pas
Guest
pas

I am having setting up payee in the BB account. After talking to their customer service, they referred the issue to technical team. Until its resolved I can’t use BB account to make any bill payments.

pas
Guest
pas

**having issues setting up Payee **

FrequentMiler
Guest

pas: Make sure you enter the biller’s zip code not your own. Also try entering the full “zip + 4” without the dash

TonyL
Guest
TonyL

For mint.com users, you can request Bluebird support at the link blow. The more people request it, the more likely, and sooner the support will be added.

http://satisfaction.mint.com/mint/topics/when_will_mint_support_bluebird

FrequentMiler
Guest

TonyL: Thanks

TonyL
Guest
TonyL

@FM, I agree with Pete (#78), Darius from MMS reaped the fruit of your hard work by writing BB in his blog first and as if it was his own discovery, I call this stealing.

FrequentMiler
Guest

TonyL, Peet: I’ve learned that people have different views about what level of attribution is required and/or good form. Regardless, it’s great having readers sticking up for me 🙂

Nick
Guest
Nick

Disregard my previous question/issue – apparently my card wasn’t activated even though the option was no longer showing online – their technical support fixed the issue for me. Vanilla reloads worked after I was able to activate.

jerry
Guest

No Vanilla AMEX at my OD, bur they do have Visa One Vanilla and AMEX Gift cards , neither of which work , I assume??
Must be AMEX Vaniila correct or a bank debit card ??

glen
Guest
glen

So far, success! Finished loading my Vanillas onto BB card (because limit is $1K per day), used bill pay to pay my rent by requesting a check made out to my rental company, but addressed in care of me (because I usually just hand the check to my landlord, who lives upstairs). Supposed to arrive by 10/30, but as long I get it by 11/1 I’m cool.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

I’m going to pick up a $500 vanilla card at Office Depot. I signed up online for the BlueBird card, but haven’t gotten the hard copy by mail yet. I looked at the account online though and can’t figure out how to load the vanilla card to it once I get it? Do I go through the vanilla site? I know this is basic stuff but I seem to be missing a step. Please forgive me for the beginner question!

Bill N
Guest
Bill N

@Michelle – you load thru the vanilla site. Enter your card # and then the number underneath what you scratch off the back of the reload card. Should load instantly.

pointsmachine
Guest
pointsmachine

Your account is locked.
To unlock your account submit your e-mail
to reset your password.

That is what it shows whenever I login. What happened

Nick
Guest
Nick

@pointsmachine – I was having the same issues, turned out I was using my email address to log in rather than my username and my account would show as locked every single time I went to log in. Use your username/password to log in and you should not have any problems.

Brian
Guest
Brian

@FM — I’m in NYC, with no access to the prized Vanilla Reloads. I spoke last night with a Bluebird CR, to ask about the future of Bluebird feeder packs. After being on hold for a bit, she came back with info that the Feeder packs were for the previous incarnation of Bluebird, and are incompatible with the new Bluebird product. She re-emphasized that the only reloadable available for purchase and compatible with Bluebird was the Vanilla Reload.

I was suspicious this was the case, as the website for Feeder packs has a 2011 incarnation date. Since Frequent Churner mentioned these in the comments of your first post on Bluebird, I’ve watched the website for the list of merchants who sell the packs, but the link was perpetually broken. The website has now been updated with the “Where to Buy?” tab completely removed.

So, for those of us interested in potential Feeder pack funding of Bluebird, it appears that this will not be an option.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Brian: Great info. Too bad about the Feeder packs in away. On the other hand, it shows that Amex is totally committed to Vanilla Reloads which is a great thing.

Teri
Guest
Teri

@FM Vanilla Reloads are only good if OD have them in stock and let you pay with a cc. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Chris D.
Guest
Chris D.

Like you always caution, it is not good push Ink Vanilla purchases too far. But it would still be good to earn even 1x points for non-points transactions – like shopping at Costco (which this card will aid tremendously). Do you think Chase would be concerned if I also purchased Vanilla reloads with my Sapphire card? Not sure if they pay attention across accounts or if they even look twice if you are not earning 5x. Thanks.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Chris D: I don’t think there would be any problem with using a Sapphire card or any other 1X (or even 2X) card.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Thank you Bill & Frequent Miler!

Max
Guest
Max

So far I’ve visited or called 12 OD stores (in different parts of the country), and none of them carries Vanilla Reloads.

Phil
Guest
Phil

Don’t call…you have to arrive in person. They typically don’t actually look hard for the item as it’s not a item number on their inventory. I’ve been to many stores that actually had them but they say on the phone that they are out.

Max
Guest
Max

@Phil: Thanks. I’ll keep trying in person, if other folks still find OD stores that carry Vanilla reloads.

trackback

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Teri
Guest
Teri

I tested out Blue Bird bill pay with my mortgage & car payments. Both have been received by respective lenders on the date indicated by Blue Bird. It looks like ODs in LA area are out of Vanilla as well. My husband & I check the one by our work and the clerk said people have been asking for them. One even bought 10 at one time.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Teri: Thanks for the update!

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

I’m just so hesitant to push the thresholds of this by paying my mortgage and large bills. I love chase, and all their signup bonuses, UR points, and everything else! I would hate to lose all that. I think I’m going to stick with lower spending than most people that are using BB and maybe add 1-2 more bills that a card can’t be used for, i.e. college loans, car loan. Please don’t ruin it for the rest of us. Let’s keep this deal alive for as long as it can be!!!

Teri
Guest
Teri

@Joshua I agree!! My mortgage & car payments are still less than the recommended $2,500 monthly spend on the Ink card. We’ve been diversifying OD purchases by using different cc’s to meet sign-up bonus requirements.

Curtis
Guest
Curtis

FM, if Amex is totally committed to the vanilla reloads, one really has to wonder if they will start expanding the sale of those at more and more places. Time will tell I suppose. If another office store or grocery stores (while unlimited 6% cash back is still available with the Amex BC Pfd!) joined in, that would be great.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Curtis: Yes, that’s true! Already, you can buy them in some drug stores and gas stations (success varies store to store). Many people have reported luck buying them at Walgreens, for example. In my case, I succeeded at only 1 out of 3 Walgreens stores that I tried.

jkm1317
Guest
jkm1317

Has anyone put together a good list of cc with office supply category bonuses? C AA biz cards are good for 2x. I have another which gives me 9x, but afraid to ruin that one…obviously 5x for ink. DS biz is good for 5x as well. I know there are more. What else?

FrequentMiler
Guest

jkm1317: Amex SimplyCash 5% back for first $12K per year. I’m dying to know where you get 9X!

SITM
Guest
SITM

Anyone else having a problem adding a mortgage account to BB billpay? I tried adding both my mortgages (WF and GMAC), but both give me an error of invalid account number.

FrequentMiler
Guest

SITM: Most people who get the error about the invalid account number get it cleared up by fixing the zip code. Make sure the zip code is not yours but the biller. Try the 9 digit zip without the dash

pas
Guest
pas

BB’s ‘Add Payee’ screen is a sham. Without any pattern or reason, It allowed me to add some payees and erroring out on others. Change in an alphabet here and there seems to change its behavior. The customer service is not upto the par in taking care of simple items such as these.
Boooo Amexp! You could do better than that.

Larry
Guest
Larry

With no ODs within 150 miles, I’ve been largely left behind in the 5x game. Even so, I’d be happy with a a product that gives me 1x for mortgage payments. Has anyone found anyone else that even sells vanilla reloads? My local drug store sometimes lets me buy green dot refills with a credit card, which gets me 6x on a Hilton card, but I don’t think I can reload this card with green dot.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Larry: There are plenty of good options for loading green dot packs. If you want Vanilla, try Walgreens. Not all will let you buy with credit, but some will.

B-Rad
Guest
B-Rad

Has anyone successfully taken vanilla reloads from one store (unloaded) and taken them to OD and loaded them?

Ronald
Guest
Ronald

NB: Vanilla reload NOT working!!! Vanilla CSR Yvette claimed the reload cards are NOT for AE BB – ONLY for AE pre-paids!!!

TheScooter
Guest
TheScooter

I was able to use Vanilla Reloads on my AMEX BB. Loaded four, $500 Vanillas. Make sure that you are loading to a REGISTERED, PERMANENT BB Card.