Credit Cards Travel News

Last Day To Buy Vanilla At CVS With Credit Card?

Vanilla CVS
Written by Charlie

There are posts flying all over the blogs and forums about the memo that has been seen at various CVS stores. This memo says that, as of March 31, all prepaid cards will only be able to purchased with cash. Seeing words like that is enough to send disappointment through anyone who has relied on the Vanilla/Bluebird combo to meet minimum spending and manufacture points.

Vanilla CVS

Could today be the last day to buy these with credit cards?

CVS has widely been the only national store for a while to allow the purchase of Vanilla reload cards (with which we load our Bluebird checking accounts and then pay bills, like the credit card used to buy the cards). Within the last year, they changed to begin allowing purchases up to $5,000 per day of those cards (and that could all be done in one transaction)! That was a very credit card friendly rule! However, with that rule came the requirement to swipe ID with transactions over $1,000. My guess is that this was to help them cover themselves in case of fraud but may have also been useful to them to begin taking closer analysis of prepaid transactions. I am sure they saw a surge of $5,000 transactions, and obviously that was for prepaid cards. After months of allowing that, they must have been able to pinpoint some numbers that did not make them feel comfortable from a cost-benefit position.

So, it appears that tomorrow will be the day of cash-only for Vanilla at CVS. Will this affect you much? Get out today to get what you need, but don’t be surprised if the shelves are already cleaned out! My big questions is – what is the transaction sheet going to look like at CVS for the month of April? How many millions of dollars less will it show then from March? 🙂

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • This is bad news, especially when I just showed a friend how to do the whole vanilla card/bluebird thing! Bummer… :(. Thanks for the heads up…I just went out and got my last few!

  • Was just introduced to manufactured spending a couple months ago, and none of the Vanilla Reload sellers in this area (central FL) have accepted credit card payment. Fortunately, CVS, Walgreen’s, and Walmart are all nearby so I can purchase Vanilla gift cards at the drug stores and load them to Bluebird at the Walmart register. An extra step and an extra buck ($4.95 instead of $3.95), but it’s worth it.

    • I haven’t heard of this method…I’m also new to manufactured spending. So you can purchase the Vanilla Reload cards at cost, take them to a Walmart register and load them there using my credit card? That would be an excellent alternative!

      • Right, except you can’t buy the Vanilla reload card. You have to buy the Vanilla gift card. (Go for the one with the $20-500 option and put $500 on it.) Take that card to the Walmart register and load $500 to your Bluebird card. (Up to $1,000 a day and $5,000 a month, I believe.) The card does not come with a PIN. The PIN you enter the first time you use the card sets the PIN.

      • The problem is that most places (and now CVS) do not allow the purchase of Vanilla cards with credit card. So, you can still buy Visa gift cards to do the same thing, but the cost per card is a little higher (depending no where you purchase them).