PREPAID CARDS AS A MILE AND POINT EARNING TOOL

Well, the mile and points world was just buzzing last year about using prepaid cards as a huge tool for earning miles and points.  This is not a new concept but just one that is now being heavily covered throughout many mile and point blogs.  I know many of you are aware of how to use prepaid cards as a earning tool but many of you are new to this hobby and I’m speaking Greek.  This article is aimed at those newbies as an overview on the basic concept of the benefits of using prepaid cards to earn miles/points.

WHAT IS A PREPAID CARD?
Prepaid cards come in three versions:  

  • Visa
  • Mastercard 
  • American Express

A prepaid card is a card that can be used anywhere where Visa, Mastercard or AMEX debit cards are accepted.  A prepaid card is a Visa/Mastercard/Amex debit card you can load with your money again and again to pay bills, shop online, get direct deposit and use everywhere Visa/Mastercard/Amex is accepted.  It’s a checking alternative basically.  Prepaid cards require no credit check or credit history.  They therefore do not affect or build your credit in any way.  They are a tool to enable people who don’t have good credit to be able to use a Visa, Mastercard or Amex for everyday payments in life.

Prepaid cards are used by collectors for different purposes.  The main concept is to use them as a tool to funnel money through to earn miles or points.  Many collectors also use prepaid cards to meet minimum spend requirements to receive a bonus on a new credit card.  Prepaid cards are additionally used to meet bonus category spend requirements to receive extra miles/points for category spends on various cards.

The concept is simple, you buy prepaid cards with a mile/point earning credit card.  You also load up prepaid cards with a credit card buy purchasing various loading cards.  Reloadable prepaid cards purchased in a store are usually a temporary card until you get your permanent card.  On the back of each prepaid card will list the information on what ways the prepaid card can be loaded.  You want a method that can be loaded with a credit card purchase.  Each prepaid card has different features and benefits.  There are literally hundreds of prepaid card products.  The supply of prepaid cards is enormous.  

The best prepaid cards have features like:  

  • Bill Pay
  • ATM access
  • Bank Transfers (out)
  • Point-of-Sale cashback

When you are trying to decide upon which prepaid card to use, these are the features you want to look for as they give you many ways to access the money you have loaded them with through your credit card.

Once the prepaid card is loaded, you then withdraw money via ATM, Bank Transfer, Point-of-Sale cashback or pay bills.  Some prepaid cards, like the American Express Bluebird allow you to pay anyone through their Bill Pay feature.  For example, with the American Express Bluebird, you can buy Vanilla Reload cards at participating locations with your mile/point earning credit card.  You then go online to www.vanillareload.com and load the money onto your AMEX Bluebird card.  Your funds are immediately loaded into your AMEX Bluebird account.  You can then do a number of transactions; pay bills (pay your credit card immediately back), go to an ATM and withdraw funds (ATM fees apply), transfer money to your linked bank account or send a check to any company or individual.

Using a prepaid card is not complicated but there are so many prepaid cards available to use which can complicate the decision on which prepaid card is the best tool.  I personally have several and find them all useful in different ways and situations.  Choosing the best prepaid card is really a personal decision based upon a variety of factors.

  • What stores locally sell products to load the prepaid card
  • What stores allow you to use a credit card to purchase or load the prepaid card
  • What features do you want to use to funnel the funds through your prepaid card (i.e. bill pay, atm access, bank transfers, etc.)
  • Which prepaid card has the lowest fees for the features you want.

I am going to recommend some of the top used prepaid card in a table below but you must look at all the features and do you the research for yourself to see if they will be useful for you.  No one prepaid card is the best for every person.  For example, I was using the American Express Bluebird for awhile until all my sources of purchasing Vanilla Reload cards disappears.  None of my local CVS Pharmancy stores were carrying them on the shelf.  I had scoured for a month all the CVS and 7 Elevens that were convenient enough for me.  Even though I believe the American Express Bluebird is one of the most superior prepaid products available it wasn’t working for me.  So I started using my AMEX Target Prepaid card and my Wells Fargo Prepaid card to meet my minimum spends on three new credit cards.  

So, like I said, you will need to do your research and find which tool works for you in your home area.  Then even when you’ve found a great tool, it could dry up and you’ll need to find another tool.  It’s all part of the fun of this great hobby!  If  you are like me, you consider this fun (in a crazy kind of way).  If it’s too much work than you’ll just have to really spend the money to meet those minimum spends or not get those bonuses.  I think the work is well worth it because the bottom line is my family travels the world because of the creative tools I use to make it affordable for us.  So I’ll keep thinking outside the box and helping you do the same!  If you have any questions at any time or need guidance, please leave a comment or email me directly.  I’ll be happy to try and help you.

 

Vanilla Gift CardOneVanilla PrepaidMyVanilla Debit
Load once in-store. No fees after purchase.Load once in-store. No fees after purchase. Acts like gift card, but looks like a debit card.Buy in-store and register with your name and address. May be reloaded repeatedly.

 

 

11 thoughts on “PREPAID CARDS AS A MILE AND POINT EARNING TOOL”

  1. This is just what I needed to read. I am trying to make the min. spend on a new AMEX Platinum card and was going to check my local CVS store today to see if they still take CC payments for the VanillaReload. If they don’t, then I’ll look into the Wells Fargo or Target prepaids, but are they also loadable through a CC? Thanks for the information!

    1. @Irene – So glad it helped you. Wells Fargo is loadable online with a Visa or Mastercard but not AMEX. Real bummer but this the easiest load possible. For future needs, you simply sign into you Wells Fargo Prepaid account and add your Visa or Mastercard and fund your prepaid card. You can fund up to $2,500 at one time for only a $5 fee. I do believe that you can fund your Target Prepaid Amex at any Target store with your AMEX. Buy the Target Prepaid AMEX at participating (not all Targets carry these cards) Target. You do the initial load when you buy the temporary card. If you don’t want to much money tied up that you can’t access buy ATM then wait till you receive your permanent card to really load it up. You can load up to $1,000 a day for a $3 fee.

      1. For the Wells Fargo card, you’d probably be best sticking to only Chase CCs when loading it. It will initially post as a Cash Advance, but will revert to a Purchase in a few days. You are also limited by the Cash Advance limit on your card i.e. if your CA limit is 1,000 on a $5,000 credit limit, then you can only load $1,000 at a time (until your CA limit goes back to $1,000) on the Wells Fargo prepaid. Also, FT is mostly saying that non-Chase cards do not work, meaning they may (Citi) or may not (BoA) charge as CA but the Purchase/CA will not count as spend. This means it won’t count towards minimum spending.

  2. Hi Miles Momma – I have been loading my Wells Fargo prepaid card with my Chase cards but am starting to get a bit worried that I am using them to much. Have you had success with any other banks credit cards to load your Wells Fargo prepaid card? By success I mean where you get the points or miles and the bank does not flag it as a cash advance where you then have to pay fees and interest. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    1. @Randy. I am currently testing with US Bank myself. I put through a $500 charge on 1/11. I will leave feedback on whether I get cash advance charges. As of now I see nothing. I have read that US Bank works with the Wells Fargo Prepaid card. I will report on whether I earn points too. I’m working on the US Bank Club Carlson min. spends right now.
      @Ben – Thanks for your input! I was just going to say to stay away from Citibank too! They are notorious for charging cash advance fees on all kinds of things. Never fund a checking account either.

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