Last week I sadly posted about my Vanilla Reload D-Day experience at a local chain that seemingly stopped accepting any non cash payment types for Vanilla Reload purchases. I had visited three of their locations and received the same error messages at both the self-checkouts and normal counter checkouts. Well, today I have some good news to report. All three locations are once again accepting credit card payments for Vanilla Reload transactions at the self-checkouts. One change I did notice was that the transaction limit had been lowered to $500 from $1000 at two of the locations, requiring me to purchase my two $496 cards separately. As expected, the self-checkout did turn red for assistance as a staff member was required to check my ID and credit card. Once he was satisfied, he swiped his card and I was able to proceed with my transaction and select credit as my payment type. Now, the problem remains that the city has little to no Vanilla Reload cards!

However, I can also happily report that the locations outside of the city (Brooklyn/Queens, Connecticut, Long Island, and New Jersey) are all still processing credit cards for Vanilla Reload purchases at their normal checkout counters as per reader reports. I gave one location a try and everything went smooth besides my Barclay’s denying the charge for possible fraud. A quick call from Barclays while still at the store cleared that up, though I’m positive that the people waiting in line behind me were not at all happy about the additional wait while the transaction was cleared. The CVS clerk apologized and said it was corporate policy due to kids stealing their parent’s credit cards and purchasing Vanilla Reload cards…if only he knew about all those crazy frequent fliers!

Happy Vanilla Hunting!

NYC meet-up April 11th – Vanilla and all things points, miles, and travel to be discussed…

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22 comments

Joe March 28, 2013 - 8:30 pm

That $3.95 fee you paid is a bargain: here in California you see $4.95 and a LOT of $5.95.

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Curtis March 28, 2013 - 8:36 pm

Ha, kids using parents credit card.

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Ryan March 28, 2013 - 8:39 pm

I couldn’t find it anywhere in Bergen county, NJ. Anyone ?

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LarryInNYC March 28, 2013 - 8:40 pm

As a purely technical matter, I think you’ll find that Brooklyn and Queens are in the city (and I say that as a Manhattanite).

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adam March 28, 2013 - 8:52 pm

@LarryInNYC – Hah, was waiting for someone to comment with that…

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Kalboz March 28, 2013 - 9:40 pm

D-Day would imply winning the battle, no?

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adam March 29, 2013 - 3:58 pm

@Kalboz – Yea, i guess i was trying to imply that the retailer did not win the cash only battle…didn’t come out that way though hah!

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Morgan Freedmen March 28, 2013 - 9:49 pm

I’m in CA and I pay $3.95. I buy 2 x 500 each work day.

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Morgan Freedmen March 28, 2013 - 9:49 pm

So it’s always $1,000 + on each time.

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JJ March 28, 2013 - 10:04 pm

Did you get these VR cards in NYC? Where? .. Thks…

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adam March 29, 2013 - 3:57 pm

@JJ – 2 midtown locations, feel free to email me.

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lauren October 31, 2013 - 8:40 am

where are locations in the city?

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RJ Brown March 28, 2013 - 10:25 pm

I busted my cherry tonight as I finally woke from my slumber and got a Chase ink and then babbling like a junior high school girl to my wife all the way to Office Depot…….we were oggling over all the specialty cards and finally settled on the Shell and the Starbucks card. As I went to the counter and confirmed there were no “extra hidden fees” or that I would not be tubed like the Vanilla card or the Bluebird…….no no sir these are legal legitimate buys……but then the manager walked up and whined about how they were soon to get out of this business because of all the shady customers (frequent bloggers) who were coming in and buying “thousands” of dollars in VISA cards and then creating a vicious circle of payments……I explained to the manager that the legal term for the guy the store saw take the customer off in handcuffs was an obscure banking term called “kiting”…..long ago over check writing scemes but still valid in these cash card deals……….”KITING’………boys you should look this term up and do some learnin on this as this is serious stuff that the federates will eventually catch up to……..and you get your 1,000,000 miles in a month…………but alas you could get your own Seinfeld or Larry David segment from this………..

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Ken Y. March 28, 2013 - 10:55 pm

I work in retail–and no, not at the store–listen, bloggers and people who do it for the miles are NOT EVEN on the radar at corporate; it was credit card fraud that took down the Visa gift cards.

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adam March 29, 2013 - 3:57 pm

@Ken Y. – I know one of the financial auditors at another office supply store who mentioned the same reason.

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Tom // Sit in first March 29, 2013 - 3:18 am

Why not buy $500 cards?

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adam March 29, 2013 - 3:56 pm

@Tom // Sit in first – My local stores have system controls that lock the registers when the transaction is over $1000. I intended to buy 2 at the same time so the $500 amount wouldn’t have worked. They system ended up freezing anyway and we were forced to do two separate transactions…for the original amounts.

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Jon March 29, 2013 - 6:38 am

“As expected, the self-checkout did turn red for assistance as a staff member was required to check my ID and credit card.”

Why was he required to check your ID? Visa/MasterCard merchant agreements stipulate that retailers cannot require IDs to use a credit card when IDs are not required when using cash. If they don’t like that policy, they should bark up Visa/MasterCard’s tree….not the customer’s.

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adam March 29, 2013 - 3:54 pm

@Jon – I believe they are only checking for amounts greater than $100 though I guess to your point that wouldn’t matter. I understand the rationale for checking though and don’t mind it.

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ben April 2, 2013 - 9:26 pm

Adam, in which part of NYC did you buy the VR cards using credit cards? Thanks.

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