FrequentMiler has a post today titled Better than free manufactured spend, which describes a few potential opportunities that can actually earn you a profit on your manufactured spend when utilizing PIN enabled debit gift cards. As mentioned last week, select Visa gift cards recently became pin enabled which allows them to be used as debit cards to load your Amex Bluebird card. Bluebird cards can be loaded via a debit card at any Walmart with a daily limit of $1000 and a monthly limit of $5000 and no additional fees (FrequentMiler discusses his experience here). You can also use a debit card to fund your Bluebird account online, though the limits are quite low and you’ll incur a fee (max of $100 per day or per transaction and $1000 per month and a fee of $2 per transaction). To earn money back on your manufactured spend, you’ll have to make use of one of the cash back portals.
If your time is important and you don’t necessarily want to jump through all those hoops (or wait for your cash back), consider Chase’s visa prepaid gift cards which are being offered fee free for a limited time. You’ll essentially be funding your Bluebird card for free!
The cards can only be purchased using a Chase credit (or debit) card, but they do allow pins to be assigned by calling Chase at 1.866.466.0079 once you receive the card.
I purchased my card last Thursday with my Sapphire Preferred card and received it in the mail on Wednesday, though the T&Cs state that delivery typically takes 5-7 days. I assigned a pin to my card that day without any problems. However, I’ve not yet had a chance to visit a Walmart to load my Bluebird card.
Luckily, The Points Traveler (who first broke the news), has posted a follow-up entry answering several pending questions including confirmation of a successful Bluebird reload with the card at Walmart, assurance that the transaction does NOT post as a cash advance, and confirmation of points earning when purchasing the cards. He also answers reader questions on how many cards you can buy and limits to watch out for.
I’ll be attempting to reload with the card this weekend, but I’m glad we have people like FrequentMiler and The Points Traveler experimenting for us! HT to Travel-Summary who found the deal that FrequnetMiler blogged about.