Credit Cards The Basics

I LOVE Bluebird!

I Love Bluebird
Written by Charlie

I wrote last month about the new American Express debit/checking alternative – Bluebird. Since it launched while I was out of the country, I wasn’t really able to start doing much with it until recently. Well, I have been using it quite a bit lately and I really, really like it!

Bluebird from American Express

Here is what I like about it:

  • It is EASY to use ( – login, and you can pay friends, pay bills, transfer money to your bank account, etc)
  • It is perfect for helping to meet minimum spending (you can load up your Bluebird account with money from reload cards you purchase with your new credit card and pay bills from it)
  • It is good for category bonuses (like CVS, which is a pharmacy – I get 6 points per dollar at pharmacies when I use my Hilton American Express card)
  • I am finally getting points for spending that I never could get points for

Vanilla Reload Website

See, I write very few checks, but the ones that I write are ones that make up a good deal of my outgoing funds. Primarily, these are for rent, utilities, and church offerings. So now, I am able to have checks sent to these places and actually earn substantial points for it! I love it!

It is always fun to see a new cashier’s face when I drop the Vanilla Reload card on the counter (along with jelly beans, M&Ms or something else of little value to help vary the total put on the credit card) and respond that I would like $500 on it. They usually start with they don’t know how to do it, you can’t use credit card for this, I don’t know what you will do with this, etc. In the end, they end up learning something about a product they didn’t know about and I end feeling like I just got free money! 🙂 Now, a particular cashier will see me and just say, “$500?” Nice customer service!

Now, there are a few things to be careful of.

  • Vary the amount that you actually purchase in total at the store. You don’t want 6 transactions each month on a particular card and they are all $503.95.
  • You can only put $5,000 on your card in a single month (and $1,000 per day) – good time to get one for someone else in your family so they can contribute!
  • You can put quite a bit of money on this and then pay off all your bills, like, say your credit card bill (think about that for a second and what that means!). BE CAREFUL that you are not making a repeating loop out of your accounts!
  • Be careful about transferring all of the money right into your bank account or withdrawing it from the ATM. Go ahead and actually use the account a bit for what it was created for – a checking account alternative. So, pay some bills and then maybe transfer the remainder to your bank account. I have done that with no problems.
  • BE MODERATE! You do not want to be maxing out your credit cards each month or going way above your usual spending as that could trigger a financial review which could be an annoyance at best or a monster inconvenience at worst (like if they decide to close your account). Just treat this program moderately.

Anyway, I just had to let you know how much I love Bluebird and all of the good stuff that it can do. Thanks to them, I am very nicely padding my Hilton HHonors hotel point balance right now. After that, I have two cards with minimum spending to reach. Try it – you will love it too!

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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.