Everywhere I turn, it’s “Bluebird is the greatest,” or “Bluebird is life changing,” or “Bluebird helped deliver my baby.” Every blog, forum, TV commercial, and news outlet is talking about Wal-Mart’s new American Express online checking account with Prepaid card.
American Express keeps sending me emails about it, and it’s even on the home page when I sign into my Amex account. It’s everywhere!
What is Bluebird?
Honestly, it’s starting to annoy the h@#$ out of me because it’s everywhere. But, that’s probably not the right posture. The truth is, there is some crazy value to be had with Bluebird. Like “whoa” value.
American Express has teamed with Wal-Mart (yes, Wally World) to launch a new checking and debit alternative. Here are a few perks of Bluebird:
- no surcharge fees at ATM’s in network after Nov. 4 there’s a $2 fee
- pay bills online or with your smartphone.
- deposit checks with your smartphone
- provide sub-accounts for family & others
- fraud protection
- online mobile account management
More specifically, you can pay your mortgage, rent, pay person to person, college tuitions, credit card bills, and utilities! I’ve posted in the past about several ways to use third parties for these services, but there’s often a fee to do so- not with Bluebird. Simply put, Bluebird is a game changer.
Using Bluebird for these bills and payments can help you tremendously in meeting minimum spend requirements and earning miles/points where you wouldn’t otherwise.
Alright, so there are a lot of benefits here, but how can us miles addicts capitalize on Bluebird? I’ll just get into the main way today, and where the majority of the value is (IMHO) with American Express’ & Wal-Mart’s Bluebird.
The value for us miles addicts is found in how we LOAD or FUND Bluebird. First, you can load Bluebird with debit cards, which is kinda cool, since there are some debit cards that earn you miles. But, I’m not really interested in that. Kinda like how I’m not interested in any movies starring Richard Gere.
For those of you starting to get excited, slow down. You CAN’T load Bluebird with a rewards credit card. HOWEVER, you CAN load Bluebird with Vanilla Prepaid Reload cards, which you can buy with rewards credit cards. This is the real rewards perk of Bluebird.
Warning: I wouldn’t abuse this. I’m personally sticking to no more than $2,000 a month on my Ink Bold. But I have an Ink Plus too, so I will be using it to purchase Vanilla prepaid reloads as well. Replenishing my Ultimate Rewards points feels nice. So nice.
Also, it’s important that 5x purchases aren’t the only transactions that you use your Ink cards for. Also also, I always buy some candy with the Vanilla cards, so that any red flag dollar amount is avoided. I like my relationship with Chase, and I don’t want them to close my Ink accounts.
You can load Bluebird with $5,000 worth of Vanillas a month, and the daily max is $1,000.
Setting up Bluebird
Getting started with Bluebird is easy. Just go to your nearest Wal-Mart and and find the Bluebird stand. Trust me, you can’t miss it. You can buy your $5 starter kit there, fund it with $$ or a rewards debit card, and then go home and set up your account. After you set up your account, you will be then be mailed your permanent Bluebird card.
You can also to Bluebird.com and register.
Once you receive your permanent Bluebird card in the mail, you can fund it with your Vanilla reloads by going to Vanilla.com. After your Bluebird account is loaded, then you can pay your credit card bill, pay your mortgage, pay a person (who has Bluebird), utilities, go to the ATM (in moderation), and use it for daily spending. Boom goes the dynamite.
Paying these bills and earning points (and 5x points, at that) is incredible! Who doesn’t like earning points for paying off their credit card, or paying their mortgage? All without a fee. Cray cray.
Applying for rewards credit cards is still the quickest and easiest way to accumulate miles, but Bluebird adds a whole different dimension. Bluebird also makes meeting those increasing minimum spends easier.
The biggest reason Bluebird is blowing minds is that it lets you fund it with Vanilla reloads.
Any other funding I do will be with credit cards that I’m trying to meet minimum spend requirements on.
In the end, Bluebird is a game changer, but don’t get greedy, and stay within your means.
— Geoff Whitmore