No more CVS Vanilla Reloads with Credit Cards

April 2nd, 2014

CVS Vanilla Reload CardsYou may already know this if you have tried to use a credit card to purchase a Vanilla Reload Card lately but CVS is making big changes this year. We knew once they outlawed cigarettes in their stores they will start taking away other pleasures that can get out of hand. I read on some frequent flyer blogs that there is a rumor going around about a memo sent at CVS drug stores that said effective the last day of March there will be a override in the cash registers to stop credit cards from being used. I went to CVS and purchased $1,500 worth of Vanilla reload cards that day and it worked fine. I went today and it no longer works. So it may take some time to reach all the CVS stores but we are pretty certain it is nationwide at this point where you can no longer use anything but cash to pay for Vanilla reloads. Read the rest of this entry »

Future of all credit cards is Echo

July 18th, 2013

There are many new apps coming out that work as a credit card the only big problem is that you have to use some type of signal from the card to the register. For instance, the Wallaby app which is basically worthless because it really does not know half of the rewards cards out there nor their current promotions and does not yet have a separate card to use for physical purchases.

Echo is certainly help to an overstuffed wallet. It can work as a debit, credit, loyalty, and prepaid card. It even works as a student ID and combines all of your rewards cards into one elegant black card. Echo fits neatly into a money clip and keeps you from forgetting your rewards cards at home.

The average American owns 6 or more payment cards. 13 percent of Americans own 10 or more credit or credit cards. How many do you own? I know I have around 15 in total for rewards and 2 debit cards.

Echo has a miniaturized computer inside of it that mimics ordinary cards and syncs with your mobile phone. Their mobile app enables you to convert Echo into the card of your choice with the tap of your phone. Once you select a card for echo to mimic, you can swipe Echo as you would any other card.

This is a really exciting service that will take off once businesses are not freaked out about the potential person using it being a fraudster. It will cost from $80 to $100 but well worth it if you save that amount on rewards cards you left at home on accident. The service and card from Protean should come out sometime later this year!

Spring Credit Card Application Party

April 10th, 2013

It is that time again for a roundup of the credit cards I plan to apply for in the next few days. It has been over three months since the last credit card application party I threw for myself. It really is not a party it is more of a night that I set aside to find the best cards that give me the most benefits or rewards in the upcoming spending season.

I plan on canceling a Chase Marriott Card that renews with an annual fee and a Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express that also has an annual fee the second year once these apps go through. I have had the Chase Sapphire Card before as a Visa. I am hoping to get that card as a MasterCard this time since it has been a few years and get the bonus offering.

I have decided to apply for two Barclayscards since they seem to have some of the best offerings right now for immediate gratification of points or miles. One card which is a US Airways card I found with no annual fee gives me 35,000 AAdvantage miles basically before the merger is completed and they get rid of US Airways branded cards. American Airlines will most likely discontinue their relationship with Barclayscard then move the US Airways customers over to a new card with Citi. It could go either way though and both of the banks lose out. They have a longer relationship with Citi so it is best you act on this now. I need all the American AAdvantage miles I can get.

CitiBusiness card was straightforward when I was approved it was instant and said my card will be in the mail within two weeks. This card is a card I have previously held and churned now but I believe I had the Visa version of it. This will be the MasterCard version and will give me 30,000 AAdvantage miles after I spend $1,000 on anything. I am hoping to use this card to just book rental car travel such as Hertz, Avis, or Budget because it pays 2x on these purchases.
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Commerce Bank Rewards Visa Card Cash Back Review

February 7th, 2013

I signed up for the Commerce Bank Rewards Visa Card just one year ago this week so now that I have paid off my balance I am looking over the reward program. This card started out as a 0% Balance transfer card for 12 months with no fee if done by February 24th of last year. I took advantage of that offer as I do many 0% offers with no transfer fees. These are hard to come by so you have to move fast. There are only a few of them out right now and those are from Chase Slate and possibly this card. It is rare when they come along but they do from time to time.

The 0% APR was fine I just paid it month to month the minimum payment so I would get no interest or fees then paid off the final amount owed before the last bill was due. The exciting part about this card is when I signed up I thought it might offer some rewards program worth using but you have to accrue interest to the 3x rewards points. You do get 1 point per dollar spent on purchases then 3 points per dollar on interest accrued on monthly balances. Basically this card pays you to spend money at 1 point per dollar then wants you to earn money off of the interest you owe. This can be tricky and something I really do not want to mess with since I pay off my credit cards before they accrue interest each month.

I did however get a special bonus of 1,500 points in the mail which advertised their new enhanced rewards program. It enabled me to look inside the program and see what reward I could get for 1,500 points. Keep in mind that most rewards programs 1,500 points means you get $15 worth of rewards because it means 1% of %1,500 in purchases.

However, with this rewards program at Commerce Bank you only get a $5 gift certificate for spending $1,500 which is really not 1% per dollar spent and not worth your time at all. We were also disappointed with the cash back redemption which really takes no effort for the credit card company to do a statement credit. This was 5,000 points redemption at only $25. So you are getting half a percent per dollar spent with this?
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Discover to revamp their cards in 2013 with the Discover IT Card

December 21st, 2012

The Discover it Card is a “revolutionary” CashBack Bonus rewards card that will be available to both regular consumers and college students. There will be two Discover it™ Cards available to consumers and one for Students. As you can see below the main difference in the two customer cards is the purchase APR and the length of the introductory 0% APR offer from 14 to 18 months. We see no difference in the cash back or the annual fee remaining at zero. We see lots more flexibility compared to older versions or current Discover cards but still no mention of when you can redeem your cash back which is a major problem with Discover. They make you wait until you get to $50 in Cash before you can get a credit statement so we are hoping they change this also to compete with Chase Ultimate Rewards where you can redeem with any amount of points. The 1% cash back on all other purchases with an asterisk may be the only real change we see in this new card besides the IT name and perhaps the design. We will wait to see if they bring out something more “revolutionary” than these bullet points because this so far is nothing THAT or “IT” new.

he new Discover it card is out to change the way people think about credit cards.
Fair…No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee & no pay-by-phone fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And we won’t increase your APR for paying late.*
Generous…5% cash back at restaurants and movies right now through March on up to $1,500 in purchases with free and easy sign-up. And 1% cash back on all other purchases.*
Plus a Cashback ConcerigeSM who guides a free, personalized online tour to help you get the most rewards for how you use your card.
Flexible…Choose your own due date and pay up to midnight ET online or by phone.
Human…talk to a real person any time with 100% U.S.-based service.
Safe…Because you’ll never pay for unauthorized purchases with our $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee.
0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% – 20.99%. *Click apply for Terms & Conditions.
Introductory 0% APR Offer: 14 months on purchases and balance transfers
Regular Purchase APR: 10.99 – 20.99% (V)*
Ann Read the rest of this entry »

DoubleDip Kohl’s CashBack for Holiday Spending

December 13th, 2012

Kohl’s this season has been one of my favorite places to shop thanks to some extremely hot cash back offers from Chase. We are also double dipping our rewards points with this retailer. Kohl’s is offering an extra 25% off when you spend $100 or more with code MOREGIFTS25 and free standard shipping for orders $50 or more. Make sure you pair this with 10X per dollar spending cash back via the Ultimate Rewards Mall and using your Chase Freedom Visa or MasterCard to complete the purchase gives you an additional 5X cash back. If you have a Kohl’s credit card don’t use it but instead use the Chase Freedom Card until the end of the year. Get it here if you do not have it yet.
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Free 500 AAdvantage Miles for a 1 min Facebook Survey

December 4th, 2012

American Airlines has one of my favorite miles programs out there so this is pretty exciting to get an easy 500 miles added to your account especially if you need some activity in the account. All you need to do is fill out a 1 or two minute easy survey on Facebook that awards 500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. Read the rest of this entry »

You can now use ThankYou Points to Make Purchases on Amazon.com

November 16th, 2012

This is the greatest thing since sliced bread… really. Citi’s ThankYou points has been junk for years and not worth anyone’s time if you ask me until now. Citi is following the lead from Discover Card and is now letting you make purchases with Amazon by signing in. This could not come at a better time since Black Friday is next week and Holiday Shopping is in full swing. Ordering from Amazon with the Thank You Points is simple and it seems to be closer to 1 point per $1 purchase than redeeming for statement credits or cash.

You can make eligible purchases with your points, your Citi Card or a combination of both. Eligible Citi cards include all Citi ThankYou Cards, the Citi Forward Card, CitiBusiness ThankYou Card, Citi PremierPass/Expedia Card, AT&T Cards, and Sunoco cardmembers with available ThankYou Points.

Linking your accounts is easy. Simply go to the Citi ThankYou page at Amazon.com and click the Get Started button in the blue box. From there follow the online instructions to link your ThankYou Member Account to your Amazon.com account
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Bluebird from Walmart and American Express Card

November 6th, 2012

Is this card the real deal that all these travel bloggers are going crazy about the last few weeks? I have read countless posts on how you can go up to an Office Depot and BUY a Vanilla Reload card with a credit card then go over to a Walmart to buy a Bluebird card and use that Vanilla.com site to load up the Bluebird card in increments of $500 or so. If you do this you end up making 1% to 5% on some credit cards in rewards. This is great if it proved to be true it would help me pay on my taxes without writing checks directly. This being because you can use the Bluebird card to pay bills or even get the money out at ATM’s but they may charge a fee if you go out of their network or not initiate direct deposit within 30 days.

I gave in and brought myself up to a Office Depot location before close one night. I was almost nervous just asking about it. I noticed that they had no more cards out but they did have a not that said “Vanilla Reload” as if it went there where it was supposed to hang on the display. I then asked about it and they dug them out from somewhere and I put $500 on my American Express Simply Cash Card. This is quite different than Noob Traveler and Million Miles Man and all the travel bloggers have you do which is use their INK PLUS (by Chase) Business Card to get 5% back. I figured that I will get the same 5% back either way.

I then walked over to Walmart and purchased a Bluebird starter kit. It was easy to find it was right in the middle of the aisle when I walked in the store. Talk about great placement.

I tried to pay the $5 starter kit fee with my Discover Card and it would not let me. It also indicated I had to load it with $1 or more to take the box out of the store. I then gave the cashier $6 in cash (since I was not sure what a debit card would do on this transaction).
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Picking Two 5% Cash Back Categories with the US Bank Cash Plus Card

November 2nd, 2012

My new U.S. Bank Cash Plus Card came in the mail this week and I have been uber excited. This is the card I told you about a few months ago that gives you 5% cash back in 2 categories you choose. I just activated my card then signed on to their Cash+ site to select my categories. I picked the 2% category for groceries which I may not really use. I already have a 2% back card that gives a FULL two on everything so that is not really needed but just in case it happens to be in my wallet at the grocery store.

The two 5% categories I picked were

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants

Although I was surprised that it did not combine the restaurants with fast food.  Discover and Chase and other bank credit cards let you put the category with everything under Dining which would include Fast Food and Restaurants.  Since I had to choose one or the other I decided it was best to choose the one that I would benefit more from in higher spending.  I definately spend more money at restuarants than fast food.  REstaurants hopefully still incude bars and nightclubs as well which is a big expense of mine of around $1,500 a month at least.

How to redeem these quarterly rewards from the Cash +  Visa?  It is best to wait until you reach $100 in rewards so you will get the $25 bonus!  Then do the following-
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