Vanilla Reloads Being Discontinued!

Vanilla Reload cards used to be a widely available and amazing tool. You were basically buying money that could be loaded onto a variety of prepaid card products. And many places took credit cards when purchasing them.

Back when they were sold by office supply stores, many cardholders earned 5 points per dollar. And when they were sold broadly at drugstores like CVS, there were still category bonuses (including 5 less valuable Thank You points per dollar).

The option to purchase Vanilla Reload cards with a credit card ended at CVS back in April. That was sad because of CVS’ reach, and because they were permitting the purchase of $5000 worth of cards each and every day. Some smaller, regional chains or individual stores within chains still allowed it.

According to a notice that American Express sent to Bluebird cardholders that was forwarded to me by Stu:

While many mourned the demise of Vanilla Reload cards long ago (and a few still had access to them), it looks like the product itself may find its way into the dustbin of miles-generation opportunities. There are of course other ways to ‘buy money’. But a moment for the beloved reloads are in order.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Oh well, once it became difficult and then impossible to load them to BB/Serve at WM, and then you couldn’t pay your mortgage with them, they became close to useless. I would only buy them for category bonuses like at 7-Eleven during any quarter where Gas was 5X, and then liquidate them paying bills. Not scalable, but hey I’ll still miss them.

  2. I opened Bluebird at exactly the same time as the VRs became unpurchasable w/ credit. Bad timing. Never attempted to generate spend, just want my mandatory monthly expenses to earn miles. Unfortunately, criminals and generating-spenders have caused almost all worthwhile legitimate-spend avenues to disappear.

    I wonder if the VR’s are being discontinued due to lack of interest these days, or due to financial regulations implemented because of fraud.

  3. I got a similar email about Serve, and it also mentioned MoneyPak not being available for purchase anymore. But they said u CAN still do swipe reloads with VRs, so it it really being discontinued? Or r they just cracking down and stopping u from loading the ones with PINs? And I do agree, this is probably 99% because of scammers. Maybe 1% MSers.

  4. Just the ones with scratch off are being discontinued. Incomm put out a press release on it a month or so ago. Drop-dead date is March.

  5. @Linda – LOL at “criminals and generating-spenders”, like they are even related! This had very little to do with generating-spenders and everything to do with criminals. The only reason generating-spenders comes into the equation is because of the popularity of the product, it became more attractive to criminals!

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