Miles and points fee free

I’ve written often of ways to earn miles, points, or cash back by buying gift cards and reload cards.  The best opportunities entail earning credit card category bonuses at drug stores, grocery stores, gas stations, and office supply stores.  By earning 2 to 5 points per dollar, the rewards earned often greatly exceed fees incurred when buying these cards.  However, you can profit even more if you find ways to buy reloads and gift cards fee free.  Luckily there are a couple of current opportunities:

PayPower Prepaid Card

As Milenomics discovered earlier this month, PayPower cards are now fee free in at least some locations.  The trick is to find a store that carries them and that is willing to let you pay with a credit card.  You can use this store locator to find them, but you’ll have to do your own legwork to find out if you can pay with a credit card. 

PayPower-Fee-Free

Note that if you do not want to register for a permanent card, you can instead call to setup a PIN on your temporary card. 

Serve swipe reloads

The American Express Serve card is almost identical to the Bluebird card.  It has mostly the same limits and the same bill pay functions, and both can be reloaded with Vanilla Reload cards.  There are a few differences, though.  One huge difference is that while Bluebird can be “swipe reloaded” at Walmart, Serve can be reloaded at CVS and some 7-11 locations (as of late 2013).  I’ve verified in my local CVS stores that I can reload a Serve card up to $500 at a time for no fee.  And, via two transactions its possible to load the card to its $1K per day limit.

ServeFeeFreeAddCash 

Unfortunately, each person can only have one card: either Bluebird or Serve.  Of course, if you have a Bluebird card you can continue to load Bluebird fee-free at Walmart using a debit card.

See also

Last updated on February 17th, 2014

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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Corridor!
Guest
Corridor!

What is the monthly load limit for Serve?

anon
Guest
anon

Meijer sells their GCs at 3% discount if you buy $5k worth. You then use those in store to buy BB cards. then goto BB and buy BB VGCs with 3% fee. So now you break even. Then add on your CC rewards and portal (AA portal gives 1 mile/$ at meijer)

FrequentMiler
Guest

Yeah, I’m still looking for a more profitable option. It sounds like a lot of work for small gain.

anon
Guest
anon

Yes I know, I keep posting to see if anyone can improve on it :-).

I am waiting for holidays to roll around again to see if they will up it to 3x AA portal like last year (and the $15 coupons!). THAT will be worth it!!

steeler59
Guest
steeler59

What are the different ways to cash out Serve? Are checks available?
Thank you in advance.

Great post, as always!

jan
Guest
jan

There is a $5.95 monthly fee for the Pay Power card. If I purchase $500 and spend the $500 within several days to drain it to zero, can Paypower try to collect the monthly fee from me?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Corridor: Serve has the same $5K per month limit as Bluebird
.
steeler59: They don’t have paper checks that you can write yourself, but the bill pay function lets you pay anyone and they’ll mail a check if that person isn’t in their database for electronic payments. You can also withdraw money directly to your bank account (same as Bluebird).
.
jan: Those fees only hit if you register for a permanent reloadable version of the card. Best use here is not to do that. Simply call to add a PIN to the temporary card and then use that card with no fees.

Roger
Guest
Roger

I’ve read reports that the $5.95 monthly fee had been immediately deducted from the temp. card. I.e. after the initial purchase, the temp. card is only worth $494.05, not $500.

DeanO
Guest
DeanO

No fee charged when card gets its PIN and has not been activated, I just verified on mine. Still has $500 after a week of sitting in my wallet while I figure out what now to do with the this Paypower card

jan
Guest
jan

Thank you. Also, can i have the BB. Can I also have the AMEX Serve card? If so, is it best to buy a temporary card first then register for a permanent card?

FrequentMiler
Guest

You can only have one: Bluebird or Serve.

ffi
Guest
ffi

Freq Miler,
What is the advantage of the Paypower if we are just going to spend it like a visa?
If I use it for purchases, I could have just used my regular rewards card
The only place I can think of is if I can use that to load BB as a debit card using a PIN
or
perhaps pay taxes for 4$ fee

Can I load Serve with CC at CVS

FrequentMiler
Guest

There are many ways to use a gift card that is setup as a debit card. One way I wrote about recently is Evolve Money to pay bills. Also, even when using it as a regular credit card you can do well if you bought it using a credit card that earned a good category bonus. In other words, its a way to extend the category bonus across more types of purchases.

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

How do I convert my BB to a Serve?

steve
Guest
steve

Lynn,
you have to first cancel Bluebird, then wait some amount of time (the first of the next month) then apply for Serve. you cannot convert/product change, and you have to wait for the old account cancellation to be processed in their systems before getting approved for the other

DonT
Guest
DonT

Can the Paypower card be loaded to Bluebird?

FrequentMiler
Guest

At WM, I expect so but some people have run into situations where gift cards are not allowed. Nevermind, I see that you followed up!

captain what's his name
Guest
captain what's his name

What is the monthly allowable swipe cc load at a CVS for a Serve? You can load up to $1,000 on line with a linked CC each month.

Brian
Guest
Brian

CVS loads via CC swipe count as a “Cash” load, so it is the $5000/month cash load limit.

hambone47
Guest
hambone47

so, you can swipe load directly with a CC? Can you loard with a GC being used as a debit card?

DonT
Guest
DonT

Of course the answer to my question was in the post and comments section by Milenomics.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Anyone have any luck at either a Hess or Albertsons/Shaws location?

Those seem to be the only options in the BOS area. Thanks!

Vadim
Guest
Vadim

Does anyone know if you get bonus cashback with wellsfargo card or amex blue cash one when doing swipe reloads at CVS?

Sameer
Guest

Has anyone tried loading them to BB ?? I will be trying to purchase with CC this evening and then try to load them onto BB, but just wanted to check if someone has had any luck with it so far..

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

That would be a negatory.

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

Oh crap that didn’t post to the right place.

@Sameer, yes I’ve used one to load to BB at WM register with no trouble.

@vadim, you can’t do swipe reloads at CVS

FrequentMiler
Guest

Yes, you can do swipe reloads at CVS but only to Serve, not to Bluebird

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

This post is disappointing. I bet this loophole is closed by next month (as soon as everybody had time to cancel their BB).

FrequentMiler
Guest

The ability to swipe reload at CVS isn’t a loophole, its an advertised feature of the Serve card

justSaying
Guest
justSaying

I’ll be keeping my two Bluebirds………VR cards from Charlie Victor Sierra are like nova cane…….just stick it in and wait for the pain to go away………..and then Freedom does their 5X on gas so that Circle K purchases of VR cards are down to a measly .158 cents…..Sometimes it’s good to pay for something…………….

Yankee79
Guest
Yankee79

If Serve can be swipe loaded with any CC up to $5k a month with no fees, why bother with vanilla reloads and their $4.95 fee with BB anymore? Can you transfer money directly to your bank account the same way BB lets you?

goarmed
Guest
goarmed

These bums charged the annual fee already, and I just bought the cards this morning!!

Went to try to load these to my BB and charge was not approved. Try another card, same problem. So, I called the number on the back of the card and it says my balance is $494.05. After waiting like 20 minutes to get an operator she tells me that I don’t have $500 on the card because the monthly fee of $5.95 was billed. I litterally had to go through an hour long conversation with her and her supervisor for them to agree to refund the $5.95. However, they disabled the card for this, and said they would have to mail me a check, and took all my information down to do so, even requiring SSN. Worse still, they said they would only do it as a one time courtesy for one of my cards I bought, they didn’t do it for the other!!! The supervisor even smugly went and said that I know guys like you are doing this for credit card miles, and this is not what this card is meant for, we’ve been more than fair in refunding one of the fees, but, we won’t be refunding any more, or something like that. I guess since they have my information for the first refunded card they can make sure of this.

Horrible card, big waste of time, I’m out $6, and had to load an oddball amount to my BB from the other card.

I’m going back to VRs

goarmed
Guest
goarmed

I mean they charged the monthly fee, not annual fee.

Max
Guest
Max

That sucks. I woud not have given them my SSN for $6 though.

DonT
Guest
DonT

Did you register it online or use a temporary PIN?

Lively
Guest
Lively

Sorry to hear your trouble goarmed…but you saved a lot of people some trouble. There’s no way I’m buying even though there’s a stack of’em down the road.

Gabriel
Guest
Gabriel

The trick here seems to be unload them as soon as you buy them. Call and set the PIN from the parking lot of the place you’re going to unload them.

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

@FM the ability to swipe with a CC is a loophole. The advertised feature is to load CASH to serve for free at CVS.

FrequentMiler
Guest

I don’t think it is a loophole, but I did leave that little fact out of my post to make it less obvious.

Jim
Guest
Jim

I’m quite sure it is a loophole. Only a matter of time till it’s plugged.

Nick
Guest
Nick

Not a loophole. A Serve rep even volunteered that I could load by credit card at CVS. CVS is not stupid — they know about Serve loads by CC, just like they know about the Vanilla reload game.

jd
Guest
jd

I search the Paypower website, which lists one of the Giant Eagle around my house has these cards in stock. I went there today, did not find anything :(

trackback

[…] Miles and points fee free […]

misty
Guest
misty

Thanks for the tip on this card.
I was able to buy it in Denver at my local Safeway with an A/E credit card.

trackback

[…] but equal, with one minor difference… the Swipe Reload at CVS, which I first read about on Frequent Miler here, this allows you to reload $500 per transaction (max $1K per day) fee free let’s see what […]

Paul
Guest
Paul

I tried to reload my Serve card at CVS, but they said only cash. I guess I don’t understand how this works.

FrequentMiler
Guest

You may have been unlucky and found a cashier or store that requires cash

Tay
Guest
Tay

Any tips on coaching the cashier at CVS? They only sometimes seems able
to figure out how to process a swipe reload to Serve.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Yes, tell them that you want to reload a prepaid card. I think the register has a button or something for that.