Quick Hitters: 30% (Up To) Bonus For Buying Hyatt Points, *New* US Dividend Miles Promo, and Bluebird Gets Media
Noobtraveler here with a couple of rewards quick hits. Enjoy.
Up to 30% bonus when you buy Hyatt Points
This promotion has just been released. You will receive a different bonus percentage based on the amount of Hyatt Gold Passport points you buy.
Here are the details:
Purchase points from January 31 through February 6, 2013, and receive the following bonus:
- Purchase 1,000 to 9,000 points and get a 10% bonus
- Purchase 10,000 to 29,000 points and get a 20% bonus
- Purchase 30,000 to 40,000 points and get a 30% bonus
For example: If you wanted to max out this promo and buy 40,000 points + 12,000 bonus = 52,000 points, it would cost you $960. I could find over a $1,000 in value easily at Park Hyatt or Andaz properties, but it would be cutting it close in some situations. Standard rooms start at 22,000 points for category 6 properties, so that’s almost 2.33 nights.
Purchasing Gold Passport points can be better than paying cash for a room in some cases, but in general I would only buy them if I needed to top off my account for a booking. However, this is assuming I didn’t have any Ultimate Rewards points, which transfer over to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. I would be crying myself to sleep at night if my Ultimate Rewards balance was ZERO.
US Airways 100% Bonus
A couple of weeks ago, and many months before, I blogged about the 100% US Airways promo. But, the last promo was only extending to members who have bought miles in the past.
This time around, the 100% bonus is being extended to people who hold the US Airways Mastercard and use it for purchasing miles. Makes sense that they would reward you for using their branded credit card. Here’s my post comparing the two US Airways cards.
I’ll keep my same position as usual concerning buying US Airways Dividend miles. It’s great if you’re topping off an account or buying premium cabin tickets on a normal basis, especially to take advantage of their off-peak award chart and Envoy class.
Bluebird hits the mainstream media
If you surf the web or watch TV, then you’ve definitely come across American Express and Wal-Mart marketing their new online checking account Bluebird. And if you are a rewards travel fiend, then you have d e f i n i t e l y come across a blog post or two about the magical wonders of Bluebird, Vanilla Reloads, Office Depot gift cards, and the stores to purchase prepaid cards that can fund Bluebird.
Well, now the major media is on to Bluebird and how it can be maximized to earn cherished miles and points. We be lusting after some miles!
What does this mean?
Maybe nothing. Maybe more.
I’ve been using Bluebird with great success for a few months now to pay bills that I wouldn’t earn miles and points on otherwise. I do pay some credit card bills with Bluebird, and use the ATM sparingly. I also use my Bluebird debit card for daily purchases here and there.
And of course I’m loading my Bluebird account with Vanilla Reload cards. I’m still using Visa gift cards from Office Depot (Ink cards give you 5x points for office supplies) to purchase my VRs. If you’re doing this as well, make sure 1) you swipe it as a credit card, and 2) you load $496.05 or less to cover the activation fee.
If I’m trying to meet a spending requirement threshold on a card, I will purchase VRs to help. Simple.
It varies from store to store if they let me use a prepaid (Visa gift card) or credit card, so don’t stop trying if one CVS or local store won’t allow you to make a purchase. In some cases, it also seems to matter which cashier helps you.
Last night, I was told by a CVS clerk that there’s a new $1,000 a day limit on purchasing Vanilla Reloads, but I have no other data points to confirm this. Just like the rest, it’s probably a ymmv situation.
I haven’t seen any significant changes in the last couple of months at my local stores, but I will let you know if I do.
I know this way of earning miles and points can end anytime (like the Mint deal did after it received national media), but for now – it’s business as normal.
Please leave any comments below if you have any experiences you would like to share.
— Noob MasterRead More
Edit: Walgreens is no longer allowing Vanilla Reloads to be bought with rewards credit cards, or pre paid debit cards.
As you all know by now – Office Depot has stopped selling Vanilla reloads. Boo.
However, don’t cry too much because when one opportunity dies, another rises. That sounded like something out of a Batman movie. One with Christian Bale.
The new opportunity that’s in front of us is finding new stores, or creative ways to still earn miles/points with Vanilla Reloads. But, why? Well, if you don’t know why, then you probably don’t own a computer, and if you do, you’re still using AOL dial up.
The reason we want Vanilla reloads is to load Bluebird, so we can pay our mortgage, credit card bills, etc. and earn miles while doing so.
Where to find Vanilla Reloads?
Here’s a list from Vanillareload.com where Vanilla reloads are sold.
- 7-11 Handee Mart
- 7-11 SW
- 7-11 Garbko
- Cogo’s Co.
- CoMac, Inc.
- TEVIS OIL, INC.
- DANDY MINI MARTS
- Nouria Energy 12
- E and C Enterprises
- Office Depot
- Nittany Oil Co., Inc.
- Family Dollar
- Dollar General
- Save Mart
- United Dairy Farmers
- Everyday Shop
- Li’l Cricket
- Next Door Store
- Village Pantry
- Cigarette City
- Flash Foods
- Dash In
There you go. Talk about options! Ok, I haven’t heard of half of those stores, but I’m sure they exist somewhere. IMHO, the most common stores would have to be Walgreens, CVS, and Valero.
Now, I haven’t had any issues finding a CVS or Walgreens that carry Vanilla reloads. BUT the trick is finding a CVS or Walgreens that will allow you to pay with a credit card. In Austin, I haven’t been able to locate a Walgreens that will allow you to, but I’ve heard from many readers that they have been able to at Walgreens.
I’ve had great success at CVS, though. Like, I’m batting 1000% (sports reference). From the emails I’m receiving from readers, they have had great luck with CVS too.
You can still earn points at Office Depot.
The reason the world was ablaze with Bluebird, Vanilla, and Office Depot was… you would earn (5x) mega points if you bought Vanilla reloads with Ink cards at Office Depot. Awesome sauce.
Obviously, losing this mega opportunity to earn mega points was a huge kick to the groin.
Which credit card to use?
Ok, for those of you who don’t have a Ink Plus or Bold business card, then buying Vanillas can still be very lucrative.
First of all, buying Vanilla reloads is a great way to meet minimum spending requirements on cards you just applied for. So if you’re trying to meet a spend on a card, then use that card to buy Vanillas at a CVS, Walgreens, etc. Then load up your Bluebird account and pay your bills, earning those miles, yo.
After meeting minimum spends, and earning 5x Ultimate Rewards with an Ink Card, I would go with the Amex Hilton HHonors card. You will earn 6x points per $1 at CVS and Walgreen locations. Just know that Hilton HHonors points aren’t the most valuable, but 6x points is a great bounty.
After those cards, it all depends on what kind of miles/points you’re trying to earn. Plus, you need to take into consideration any category bonuses or calendar year spending bonuses. I will do another post later with all of these options.
It’s not all doom and gloom, after all. You can now find Vanilla reloads at many different stores, and CVS & Walgreens are allowing you to buy them with rewards credit cards (for now). No one knows how long this will last, but I can’t imagine it going on forever, especially with all the publicity.
Remember to stay within your own means when buying Vanilla reloads and gift cards. I always suggest doing no more that $2,000 a month, but that’s just the number I’m comfortable with. Like one reader told me, it’s purely subjective based on your income, spending habits, and responsibility. It’s possible to do more, if you’re running more expenses through your credit card. But be wise!
Thank you to all the readers who emailed me with their experiences. I truly appreciate it!
— Noob MasterRead More
A week ago, I wrote “Has Bluebird killed Vanilla Prepaid Reloads?”
And as of a couple days ago, you can’t buy Vanillas prepaid reloads at Office Depot. However, you can still buy Vanilla prepaid cards at CVS, Walgreens, some gas stations, and some grocery stores. The trick is finding the right store to allow you to buy Vanilla with a rewards credit card.
I guess my title for my previous post should’ve been, “Has Bluebird killed Vanilla Prepaid Reloads at Office Depot?” It looks like that’s the case. However, during my last Vanilla scoop at Office Depot, I was told that there had been many attempts (some successful) of people using stolen credit cards to buy Vanilla Reloads. From there, they would reload their prepaid card, and the money couldn’t be traced. I don’t think the manager was supposed to tell me this, but it seems like there was more to Vanilla than just earning points, and this activity had something to do with Vanillas being killed at Office Depot.
What am I going to do?
I had a feeling that earning points with Vanilla and Office Depot was too good to last forever. However- don’t get me wrong, I still cried a little when I heard the news- it’s not all doom & gloom.
I’m going to go back to what I was doing before Vanilla & Bluebird….buying Amex or Visa gift cards in $500 increments, and using those gift cards for my daily spending. Boom.
I’ve talked numerous times about this perk in the last year, and it’s a huge reason why I applied for the some cards in the first place. And if I can honest with you, it’s a helleva a lot easier to manage.
I just go to Office Depot and buy a basic Visa gift card with my business card and then use it. Yeah, it’s a bummer that I can’t load into my Bluebird and pay my mortgage, cc bills, or go to the ATM.
But I still love earning 5x points!
If you’ve recently applied for rewards cards with hopes of earning miles you’ve still got it! It just looks a little bit different now.
p.s. Bluebird isn’t dead yet.
p.p.s. Bluebird will fly again.
— Noob MasterRead More