$500 One Vanilla Gift Cards from CVS or $200 Visa Gift Cards from Staples?

200 Visa

$500 One Vanilla Gift Cards from CVS or $200 Visa Gift Cards from Staples?

Earlier today, I posted this question on Twitter (why aren’t you following me, I share some good stuff on there) and here is my answer…

Since Vanilla Reload Cards have gone cash-only at CVS, I have been getting a lot of interest in my post, No VRC? Try One Vanilla.  People have been asking if One Vanilla gift cards are the best way to manufacture spend.  Well, the answer is yes and no, depending on which credit cards you currently have.

Some credit cards, like the old American Express Blue Cash Credit Card earn 5% cash back at CVS, with no annual spending cap. If you have that credit card, you should stop reading this post right now, because that is the best credit card for manufactured spending (FlyerTalk thread).

If you do not have that credit card, here are your other choices:

First option: purchase $500 One Vanilla Gift Cards at CVS with a miles/points credit card.  The gift card comes with a $4.95 activation fee, so your total will be $504.95.  You will earn 505 miles/points for $4.95, or 0.98 cents per point.  That isn’t quite as good as 0.78 cents per point ($3.95 / 504) that the Vanilla Reload Cards used to generate, but it is a decent option.

HH Cert007

Second option: purchase $200 Visa/MasterCard Gift Cards at Staples with your Chase Ink Bold/Plus Visa Credit Card.  Emphasis on the Visa business credit card.   The gift card comes with a $6.95 activation fee, so your total will be $206.95.  You will earn 1,035 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for $6.95, or 0.67 cents per point. It get’s better too.  If you have a Visa business credit card, you need to enroll in Visa Savings Edge so you can start earning 1% cash back on Staples purchases of $200 or more.  A $206.95 purchase will earn $2.07 cash back.  If we subtract that from the $6.95 activation fee, our new “activation fee” is $4.88, divide that by 1,035 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, and we get 0.47 cents per point.  This is less than half the cost of buying One Vanilla Gift Cards.

MC and Visa

Secret third option: if you have an Office Depot store closer than a Staples store, you can purchase $200 gift cards in store and earn Shopkick Kicks worth $2.32 cents, which leads to a new “activation fee” of $4.63, divide that by 1,035 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, and we get 0.45 cents per point.  This is slightly better, but not all Office Depot stores currently participate in Shopkick and it takes a few weeks for the Shopkick Kicks to show up in your account.  Read all about this method How to use Shopkick with Office Depot.

Office Depot Shopkick Payout

Pros/Cons: if your ultimate goal is to load the gift cards to your Bluebird Card, you will need to make more trips to Walmart if you decide to go with the $200 gift cards from Staples.  You can also liquidate the gift cards via Amazon Payments for free too.  If you do not have a Walmart store nearby, you really should looking into get a Serve Card.  I am working on a bunch of tutorials about that card.

Here is a simplified explanation of what this post says:

Do you plan on loading these gift cards to your Bluebird Card at Walmart?

  • Yes – continue reading…
  • No – convert your Bluebird Card to a Serve Card.

Do you have a Chase Ink Bold/Plus Credit Card?

  • Yes – continue reading…
  • No – go to CVS and buy One Vanilla Gift Cards.

Do you typically buy Visa/MasterCard gift cards at Staples?

  • Yes – continue reading…
  • No – enroll in Shopkick for your Office Depot purchases.

Do you have a Chase Ink Bold/Plus Visa Credit Card?

  • Yes – enroll in Visa Savings Edge for your Staples purchases.
  • No – enroll in Shopkick for your Office Depot purchases.

Hopefully that was easy to follow.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

P.S. – there is currently a Staples Easy Rebate for a $20 Visa Gift Card after you purchase $300+ in Visa Gift Cards.

Update: just bought a $500 One Vanilla gift card from CVS with a credit card.

GC Deal at Staples

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78 thoughts on “$500 One Vanilla Gift Cards from CVS or $200 Visa Gift Cards from Staples?

  1. KDY

    if i’m reading this post correctly, you’re saying that you can purchase the OneVanilla VISA reload card in CVS with a credit card?? I thought they all gone cash only?

    Reply
      1. KDY

        that is certainly a good news which i didn’t know about. Is anyone else have success in anywhere of the 5 borough of NYC?

        Reply
  2. William Charles

    You can also find $500 visa gift cards at a lot of grocery stores for those who have good cash back/points earning there. There are also a few locations you can get them for $2 a pop as well.

    Reply
  3. Jerry Mandel

    You can also buy money orders with debit cards in USPS but they cost a bit more than MOs in Walmart. With the MOs deposited in my bank, I have recycled the funds at cheap cost in fees and can pay off the credit card bills. I just got 80,000 bonus clubcarlson.com points by using two $500 One Vanilla debit cards from CVS. Not all CVS have them.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I tried once a long time ago but they were cash only. It doesn’t hurt to try to buy them if you see them. The worst that can happen is they say cash only.

      Reply
  4. Ajay

    Man its a pain to try and load BB with 5 $200 swipes in a day though…. especially if there is only one WM nearby….

    Reply
      1. Smitty

        Do you load your bluebird at Walmart using the Money Center kiosk, or do you load with a cashier? If you use $200 gift cards from Staples don’t you have to do 5 separate transactions of loading $200 each?

        Reply
        1. Grant

          I go to the customer service center and they do it for me. I only load 2-3 gift cards per day, I don’t want to bother them with more than that.

          Reply
  5. KDY

    ok, I just tried 3 CVS to buy the One Vanilla VISA Reload Card and the cashier say looking at a list that this is also the card requires cash only. Now I do recall that the memo has a list of all the reload card that’s going to be hard coded cash only and this is one of them. Someone here claim that they do buy these with cc in CVS currently i’m just wondering where you find that CVS. I’m in Queens County of NYC. As for all the Gift Cards, any GC greater than $100 required cash only which i know that since before i discover MS and VR.

    Anyone care to share?? thank you

    Reply
    1. Grant

      The hardest part is convincing the cashiers to give it a try. I think it helps if you buy other items along with the One Vanilla Gift Card. Then they will more than likely let you pay with a credit card. You just got to convince them that credit cards will work.

      Reply
    2. Jerry Mandel

      One Vanilla is not on the memo list and I buy them all the time with credit cards here in Dallas, Texas CVS. Not all CVS stock them.

      Reply
      1. KDY

        well, i just visited different 2 CVS today in Queens NY. I try to buy few stuff along with the One Vanilla VISA. The manager say told me that they are adapting GC policy to One Vanilla VISA since it works like a GC even though it’s not. I think this is a regional policy because I’v been to so many CVS in NYC including Nassau County that GC can be purchase with cc if its < $100. Seems like NYC is "CASH" only, places. Well I guess i have to find another area or stores.

        To those who live outside of NYC, you got a good thing going.

        Reply
          1. KDY

            i think CVS thinks that everyone in NYC carries cash or we make too much money. Everything in NYC is expensive as hell. I should’ve leave NYC when i had a chance (family…why i stayed). I remember walk into Walmart outside of NYC is so different. The one Super Walmart here near the boarder of Queens is so ghetto, i feel like going get mugged when i walk in there. CS treat everyone like we’re from the hood or something. Sorry for bashing..

          2. Ajay

            Just tried the walgreens here since it “couldn’t hurt” and got denied. Apparently, I’m not very good at convincing the cashiers to try it with a CC. oh well

    3. Jerry Mandel

      KDY-No such thing as a One Vanilla VISA Reload card. One Vanilla is a debit card-not reloadable-and I “unload” it totally at WM for money orders.. One Vanilla is NOT on the list of cash only. I hope you can find a literate clerk. Call for a literate store manager if you run into that again. Here in Dallas, Texas, I use credit cards in the CVS which stocks them.

      Reply
      1. KDY

        Hey jerry, thanks for the feedback. I just came back from a regular CVS i visit frequent. The lady say that they are now all “cash-only”. I even told them i was just here last week and she knowledge that was true but they changed the policy. Now I visited another frequent CVS just few hours prior which they accept my cc without any hassel (yes they have to check your ID). Looks like it’s either new policy starting to roll out again or just store-to-store.

        Reply
        1. Jerry Mandel

          KDY-You wrote, “Looks like it’s either new policy starting to roll out again or just store-to-store.” It is neither one. You should have asked for a manager because the clerk told you wrong. As I wrote, it is NOT on the cash only list.

          Reply
          1. Dimi

            Just to refresh the topic, lately I tried to use CC’s in 6 different CVS locations in Greater Philly area and one in Poconos, and got denial with the same explanation, “cash only”. Interesting that the cash registers worked perfectly and took CC but in every case by some reason the clerks checked with their managers if one can pay for One Vanilla with CC and got firm “no”. I tried to convince them that the card was not on the “cash only” list but to no avail. Is this yet another restriction or misreading of the April policy?

          2. Grant

            I think you have had bad luck with mis-informed cashiers. I was able to purchase 2 One Vanilla Gift Cards on Friday with my credit card without any problems.

          3. KDY

            if i posted this comment i apologize. i live in NYC in Queens County, i have been to over dozen CVS trying to buy VISA One Vanailla pre-paid cards. All of them has rejected the CC and said cash only and most of them (manager have said) they know that One Vanilla is not on the reload cash only list but the store has implemented gift card purchase policy which is any purchase of GC under $100 can be use cc, any greater than $100 is cash only. I was lucky to find a CVS at the border of nassau county and Queens where the cashier accepted my cc purchase (after asking manager). I think this cash only in some CVS are regional policy. If you live in the area has many CVS, keep trying. Some Rite Aid does accepted cc, but not all. Good luck to you all.

          4. Grant

            It seems like the NYC area has very strict policies at CVS. No problem at CVS stores in SoCal. Keep trying. Build a relationship with the cashiers and managers at the stores you visit frequently. Good luck!

          5. KDY

            i guess its just how CVS wanted to operate. I don’t want to say CVS will implement another corporate wide policy like they did with VR in early April, but I frequent 2 CVS store and i know the clerk and the manager in both store. Now both them rejected me for using cc purchase because they both said they adapted the gift card policy.

          6. Jerry Mandel

            Have you tried Metabank and US Bank gift cards in grocery stores? I liked One Vanilla in CVS because it is already a debit card. With the other two, you have to follow the instructions to create a PIN to convert them from gift cards into debit cards.

          7. Grant

            That’s a bummer, can you find One Vanilla gift cards at any other local stores? Maybe purchase Visa gift cards at grocery stores.

          8. KDY

            The grocery store is hit or miss here in NYC, mostly miss. I stop going there and look.

  6. Bill U

    For a short-term transitional solution try using the new Amex Everyday Preferred at your local supermarket. Most sell Visa gift cards ($200 – $500) for $4.95 or $5.95. You get triple points and 50% bonus when you make 30 in store purchases per month. There is a cap of $6000/year for the points etc. This can still yield 27,000 pts on $6000 spend. It’s short term, but might be helpful until the dust settles.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I have my Blue Cash Preferred which gets 6% cash back at supermarkets that I haven’t fully maxed out on this year. But the AMEX Everyday Preferred card sounds like a good alternative too.

      Reply
  7. Andy

    Can you use the $200 gift cards from Staples for online reloading for Bluebird maxing out the $100 a day limit?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      No, you cannot use a gift card for online Bluebird reloads. Bluebird will freeze your account after a few attempts and you will have to call them to unfreeze your account.

      Reply
  8. choco

    Dear, sir.

    do you have a post for the Cash advance for the purchase of gift card from CVS and Walmart?… Right now, I have a Chase bank credit card, and AMEX gold, Barclays, do they charge me a cash advance for the one valina gift card purchase? please answer.

    thank you

    Sincerely.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      No cash advance fees to buy One Vanilla Gift Cards. If you plan on using these at Walmart, you should buy different Visa Gift Cards.

      Reply
        1. Jerry Mandel

          I was told at money center that WM now accepts ALL prepaid debit cards but I don’t know if that includes AMEX cards. Be safe, stick with VISA and MC cards. At my nearest Simon mall, the cards cost me $2 each and I phoned to set PINs.

          Reply
      1. Steph

        I tried Vanilla on Monday and it didn’t work. I just got a One Vanilla so I will try. I also have MC but was under the impression they don’t work either. Now I will have to try that too.

        Reply
  9. Grant

    Maybe. I’m going to try today to see if it works. I will report back later.

    Update: yes, I was able to buy a OVGC from CVS this morning and load it to my Serve Card at Walmart. It is not as easy as before, you have to go through 5 extra steps to get to the PIN screen, but any 4 digit pin worked.

    Start small and see if your Walmart accepts the OVGCs before you ramp up your MS.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Just swipe the card fast and click the yellow change payment button, then green debit button, then blue no cash back button, then enter the 4 digit pin.

      Reply
  10. Jerry Mandel

    I have answered that multiple times.1. Max MO at Walmart is $1,000. 2. Max MOs in my Walamart in one transaction is 3. 3. More than 2 or 3 MOs requires another transaction.(It varies among Walmarts.) 4. Max MO at Krogers is $1,000.

    Reply
  11. Jerry Mandel

    No_No_No! Two $500 gift-to-debit cards with PIN. I pay the fee of 68c in cash to have a perfect $1,000 money order. Maximum MOs in one transaction would be 3 MOS. If you want more, you would have to do it in a second transaction.Let the clerk coach you.

    Reply
  12. Mark Freeman

    What are the load limits for serve/bluebird using OVGC at walmart? Is there an advantage to either serve/bluebird?this a a game changer, so a refresher is helpful.

    Reply
      1. Danielle

        I don’t have experience with SERVE. Can you load at Kate or only at a register? Also, how do you load with cc from home for $1500?

        Reply
        1. Grant

          You can load your Serve Card at the Money Center or the Kiosk. You need to have Serve with ISIS wallet to be able to do $1,500 in reloads at home, versus the normal $1,000 without ISIS. I don’t have ISIS, but I know some people do.

          Reply
          1. Danielle

            How do you know if it’s ISIS? Also, can you load with prepaid debit just like how you load BB? Finally, at the Kiosk, what option do you pick? With BB, it has it’s own button. Thanks for the help!

          2. Grant

            Your phone needs to have NFC and the ISIS wallet app. If you have an iPhone, you need to buy a special ISIS case (not worth it in my opinion). Yes you can load it exactly the same as Serve. The steps are identical. The only drawback is Serve doesn’t issue checks (yet) like Bluebird does.

  13. Richard

    I have a one vanilla prepared card and they told my wife that it can be reloadable and it has to online access. why?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I think only the prepaid reloadable One Vanilla card can be reloaded. It would have your name on it. If it is just a Visa Gift Card, then you cannot reload that gift card.

      Reply

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