Vanilla Reloads at Walgreens?

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Bluebird Introduction

One of the best uses of American Express Bluebird is the ability to pay for transactions which can’t usually be made with a miles or points earning credit card.  This includes transactions such as your rent, mortgage, car payment, credit card bill, tuition, etc.

You load your Bluebird card (which you can order online) with a points earning debit card at Wal-Mart.  You can also reload Bluebird with Vanilla Reload cards which you can buy at CVS, Walgreen’s or other locations.  Alternate with other credit cards so that you’re not spending too much at buying Vanilla Reloads with any one credit card.

Here’s a post on other credit cards to use with Bluebird, so that you’re not maxing out on just 1 card.

You may also be able to pay for the Vanilla Reloads with a credit card at Walgreen’s, but this isn’t always the case and could be a bit of wild goose chase.

Here’s a post on what a Vanilla Reload looks like and how to load a Vanilla Reload card to your Bluebird account.

Walgreens Vanilla Reload

A reader tipped me off that you *may* be able to buy Vanilla Reload cards at Walgreens.  A Vanilla Reload is 1 of the key ways to use American Express Bluebird to earn miles and points.

However, this is a VERY “Your Mileage May Vary” situation and could be a bit of a wild goose chase for many because Walgreens usually require you to pay cash for prepaid cards, but sometimes you may be able to use a credit card.

Walgreens Vanilla Reload

Vanilla Reloads at Walgreens?

I went to the 2 Walgreens in my town, and was able to buy a $500 Vanilla Reload card at the 1st Walgreens with no problem with my American Express Starwood card.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my American Express Hilton card in my wallet which earns 6 Hilton points per $1 at drugstores! 

I drove as fast as I could to the 2nd Walgreens and patiently waited while the rookie teller (his 2nd day on the job) took care of the people in front of me.  But he didn’t know how to ring up the Vanilla refill card, so he called the manager.

Walgreens Vanilla Reload 2

The Best Medicine at Walgreens!

The manager rung up the card and showed me the message which said that I have to pay in cash only. I asked if I could swipe my credit card, but the transaction wouldn’t go through.  So I left without the Vanilla card.

Million Mile Secrets reader Corrdor! left a comment that he was also able to buy a Vanilla Reload card from Walgreens with a credit card.  However, he wasn’t successful at another Walgreens location which required cash only.

Bottom Line

I don’t think most folks will be able to buy a Vanilla Reload using a credit card at Walgreens, but it doesn’t hurt to try if you can’t find Vanilla Reload cards at an CVS near you.

But know that this could be a waste of your time if you’re unsuccessful.

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75 responses to “Vanilla Reloads at Walgreens?

  1. Buying them at Walgreens would be 3 points per dollar with Chase Ink, correct?

  2. Walgreens is the only place I’ve ever purchased my vanilla cards. We don’t live near an Office Depot. I pick up a 500 reload once week to help with initial spend requirements. Please people don’t ruin this for guys like me that only do this in moderation.

  3. I tried 3 differant Walgreens over the past month for the vanilla reloads and they would only take cash. The managers tried to overrride and failed.

  4. BTW, I assume there aren’t cards at Staples (7 points with Chase).

  5. Any Walgreens purchase w a CC will be accidental in nature or a rogue store that allows it. Most have it keyed into their system to not allow CC purchases. Kind of the some of the places that allow a Money Order w a credit card.

  6. I thought if we only care about minimum spend (not office for ink or bold) then many stores have the Vanilla’s not only Office Depot – like CVS, STAPLES?

    Bottom line: Where can we go to get Vanilla reloads with a Credit Card (Amex or any Visa, Mastercard) to get our minimum spends taken care of quickly??

  7. IH – Part of the problem is that at $3.95 for $500 reload – Its not the best rate to get your spend up. There are better methods out there.

    • @brian johns – It would be 1 point with the Chase Ink, since there is no category bonus at drugstores with Chase Ink.

      @Matthew @MileageUpdate – It is very YMMV with buying with a credit card, so this should last for a while.

      @Eric – Unfortunately it seems to be programmed into the cash register, but not at all stores…

      @ih – Office Depot is the best place to buy them with a credit card.

  8. how about staples

  9. why pay bills just buy the cards reload them and then then take out the cash at atm and keep doing it overe and over sgain on the side on a monthly basis

  10. As mentioned on another string related to Bluebird, I was able to buy Vanilla at Walgreens in Norfolk using my 6X HHonors Amex. As far as buying one and withdrawing the cash and doing it over and over again; thats silly. You’d have to then redeposit the money into your checking account, pay your credit card bill, then wait for it to clear, only to do it all over again? My bank is online only, so I’d have to get a money order or give the money to my friend, write a check…redeposit, yeah, no. Also, for those asking about where Vanilla can be bought, Go to Vanilla and lookup other stores on their locator.

  11. @Daniel – very interesting. I didn’t know there was a card that gave bonus points for drugstores. I’m not too familiar with HHonors program. Are you able to transfer points out to airlines? Are there any other cards out there that would be advantageous to use for WalGreens?

  12. @Matthew – AMEX Blue Cash gives 5% cash back at drugstores. And I was able to buy Vanilla reloads with a CC at my Walgreens! So it is worth a try.

  13. Bought a $500 “One Vanilla Prepaid Visa” card at Walgreens no problem for $500 for $4.95 – probably not the same thing being able to fund the Blue Bird? Just apply for the B so I can’t tell yet….

  14. can’t i just use a wallmart (they go up to $1k ) gift card to load blue bird?

  15. @lisa: I don’t think you can do that.

  16. I bought the plain vanilla at CVS last month on my AMEX Hilton HHonors card and it only earned 3 points per dollar, same deal at the local independent pharmacy too. I am still not sure why it didn’t earn the 6x bonus as the bonus earned box listed the signup bonus as well as Drug Store Purchases bonus–unfortunately it was only 3x the dollar amount I put on the card.

  17. No go!! I tried 6 Walgreens and all only accept cash, do not waste your time, i wasted mine.

  18. So, even if you buy 20 other things along with the vanilla card, I would have to make two purchases if I requested it all to be put on a card: 20 things on the card + the vanilla card by cash?

  19. I just tried to purchase 2 $500 Vanilla Cards at 7-11. Only would allow a total of $500/pay and required cash (no credit or debit). Will try another 7-11 on the way home. Obviously the 7-11 option (if it works) would only be good for minimum spend requirements and not category bonuses (unless 7-11 falls into a category I am unaware of).

  20. Thanks for the tip it worked for me with my Amex SPG card. I went down to the first Walgreens and checked the gift card rack and couldn’t find them so I headed to another Walgreens and also couldn’t find them on the gift card rack. That’s because they don’t keep them there, at least at the store I was at. Found them up by the register with other prepaid cards. My local OD has been out so I finally have something to fund my BlueBird with.

    • @mi – I wouldn’t do that, unless you wanted to attract attention to yourself.

      – I don’t’ see the drugstore category bonus in the terms.

      @joshua – If it didn’t look like the cards in the 2nd picture, you won’t be able to use them to load Bluebird.

      @lisa – Unfortunately, you can’t. I just tried.

      @Corey – It depends on how the store register is designed to process transactions.

      @Tim – Please let us know how it goes at the other 7-11.

      @Mike – Glad it worked!

  21. Success! 7-11 worked. The clerk said the register was set up to only accept cash, but he offered to try and it worked. Again, not that it will gain you a ton of bonus point but it will help you meet minimum spend.

  22. I have two Walgreen’s in my area. I went to the first one and they had four of them. I was excited till I was told they only take cash. I went to the second Walgreen’s and they had nine of them. I purchased one and it went through. I came back later to purchase the remaining 8. I was able to purchase the first one with out any issues. When she went to load the second one, it gave her a message on the screen. She called a manager and the manager said they are only supposed to sell $500 of merchandise to a person in a day. He did say the system would let him do it but it was their policy. I asked if anything could be done? He went and spoke with his boss and told me that he needed to call his loss prevention guy, see my id, and possibly need to call my cc company. He came back after his call and said he needed to see my id and verify it to my cc. (No call to the cc company) I mentioned I would be using a few different cards and we was fine with that. He did have to ring them all up separately but was well worth it in the end.

  23. OVERKILL, Corridor! Getting loss prevention involved is a wonderful way to get the Walgreens option killed for all.

  24. Come on guys (@Corridor!) …as I wrote in my first comment, please, please don’t kill this for those of us who don’t abuse Walgreens. Moderation!

  25. I dont know if it is the same for all accounts, but my chase united mileage explorer business card gets 2X the miles spent at all office supply stores. Good for the vanilla cards!

  26. Lol, been doing this for 7 weeks at my local walgreen. Thanks for killing yet another deal!!!!!!!!!

  27. @Joediver

    I really believe that each Walgreen’s sells the reloads as they want to. My two Walgreen’s are 10 minutes apart. One was happy to sell me as many as I wanted with a cc and one would only sell them to me with cash. Obviously the manager, the manager’s boss, and the loss prevention person were happy to sell them to me. Had I wanted to purchase two of them, it would have involved the same process.

    That being said, I appreciate your comments.

    *Side note: My Dollar General sells them as well but you have to load at the cashier. I went there today and the tellers kept telling me the card was not valid. It may not load for merchants that require a load at a register. Maybe in time?


  28. I tried Family Dollar today and no luck: the cashier said they only allow cash for prevention of fraud. Still haven’t found anything locally that sells the Vanilla. You guys are lucky!

  29. *sells the Vanilla by CC

  30. The Walgreens thing will die quickly …. Watch and you will see….

  31. 7-11 has them…some allow CC

    • @Tim @Corridor! – Thanks for the update and tips!

      @Anah – Great tip, which makes this a great deal with the United Business card – $25K in spending gets you 25K base miles, 25K bonus miles for 2x and 10K extra miles for hitting $25K in spending so, 60K United miles for spending $25K at Office Depot on Vanilla Reloads!

      @Kelly – You had a 7 week headstart!

      @Sherman – I wasn’t able to load at Family Dollar or Dollar General either.

  32. I spoke with Amex/ BlueBird and they said that the only place you can reload in store is Walmart.

  33. Although they wouldn’t let me buy them, this New Yorker was very excited to find Vanilla reloads at Walgreens. I was beginning to think these mythical creatures did not exist outside of blogworld. I’m getting closer. Will. Get. This. Deal.

  34. Just tried to buy one at Walgreens. The first store I has no issues with my Amex Hilton. The next store it charged my card the $3.95 but then said balance due $500. It just wouldn’t take a credit card so the manager canceled it.

  35. Darius, the vanilla reload that our office depot sells is the visa version. Will they work with the Bluebird or do they need to be American Express?

  36. @juli, FYI there is a major difference between Vanilla Visa cards and Vanilla Reload Network cards. Only the VRN cards can be used to reload the BB card.

    • @juli – You can’t use OneVanilla prepaid cards or gift cards. I’ll have a post on which card to use soon. You want the cards which look like those in the 2nd picture in this post –>

      @hoglard1 – Thanks for helping out!

  37. Its really getting hard to get these card, I tried several Walgreen no luck, offfice depot cash or debit. 🙁

  38. Pingback: Vanilla Reload Cards | Million Mile Secrets

  39. Bought 2 more last night at Walgreens in Norfolk with my HHonors Amex=6X rewards. They let me pick payment method (credit) and swipe my own card. The manager rambled some nonsense about only being able to buy [any] gift cards with $500 cash maximum as it against the law… uh, no its not.

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  41. I could buy the Vanilla Reload card at one Walmart with a credit card, but at a different one, they would only take cash. It came up right on computer screen, cash only. One of the problems with these cards is that $500 is a huge amount for a gift card. The manager had to come, look at my ID and check my credit card. I’m sure it’s because of fraud problems. I told him I was probably going to buy one every week for awhile, and he said “no problem, just bring your ID”. So that’s it; you just have to realize everyone’s afraid of being of being ripped off and that’s just the way it is. I mentioned I just wanted to get points on my credit card (the Hilton Amex), and showed him the Bluebird, and he laughed and said something about limits, so obviously he knew about them.

    Our Office Depot didn’t have any reloadable cards, just the vanilla gift cards. They told me I could use a credit card for those, but only for 1 card. Of course, who knows when they get any?

  42. Did I type Walmart? I meant Walgreens. Sorry.

  43. can I purchase and use more than one bluebird card at a time

    • @Lynda B – Office Depot asks for ID as well, but I’ve been able to buy more than 1 at a time from there. You just have to ask or try it out.

      @mrshids – I believe it is only 1 Bluebird card per person, but you may purchase more than 1 Vanilla Reload card.

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  45. Michael Belisle

    I purchased a vanilla reload card today at walgreens and there were no problems. want to try cvs

  46. Purchased a [email protected] local Walgreens photo counter today because the regular line was a little long and it went thru fine on my AmexSPG.

  47. Pingback: Alternatives Vanilla Reloads | Million Mile Secrets

  48. Tried buying cards today at 2 Walgreens in Columbus, Ohio. First store said no to credit card, spoke with a manager, he said no. Went to another store 2 miles away, no issues. She rang them right up. I usually take 6-8 blank cards out the store for future when there none to be found. They do ask for a zip code of the card being purchased with.

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  51. I was beginning to think Vanilla Reloads were mythical creatures too (and I’m in suburban NJ). I’ve stalked 5 local stores- different CVSs, Walmarts, and Walgreens. I was elated when I found the VRs at Walgreens. I took it to the counter and asked for $500. The cashier told me there’s a screen that says cash only and wouldn’t help me any further. I’m waiting for these to pop up at CVS. They had One Vanillas this week, but no reloads yet.

  52. I tried to buy Vanilla Reloads at two Walgreens in the Nashville area and both of them said I had to pay cash so didn’t get them. I’ve tried one CVS but they didn’t have them and, unfortunately, Walgreens are everywhere and only a few CVS stores. Hope to try a different CVS today.

  53. I was able to get the $500 Vanilla Reload card at walgreens today by paying them by Credit Card for $503.95

  54. My last 2 purchases of VR at Walgreens with a credit have been successful and I got a green dot coupon for $4.95 each time. Looks like I’ll be buying 2 green dots and withdrawing the cash for free at one of their 22,000 ATMs partners. Winner winner chicken dinner.

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  56. I just purchased a $500 vanilla reload at a Walgreen’s in New Orleans intending to use the chase freedom 5x points to score $1500 worth of them but when I tried to load the bluebird card, it gave me an error message and told me to go back to the store. I have a feeling walgreens has discovered a way to make the vanilla reload cards not process if bought with credit cards..

    Anyone else have this experience?

  57. Pingback: Vanilla Reloads Walgreens | Million Mile Secrets

  58. Found a stack of new and wrapped Vanilla Reloads on top of the prepaid stand at my local CVS. I didn’t have a bluebird account, so kind of hesitated to buy one. I went back to my “truck” and logged on to my local Starbuck’s wifi which is located at approximately every two blocks in NYC. opened up the account with bluebird and went back to CVS and purchased one reload with $100.00 to see if it would work with my SPG AMEX card, the self serve pay stand asked for the last 4 of my SPG card and prompted for approval from the staff. The staff guarding the pay stands, did not hesitate to approve it and on i went.
    1. There was no problem purchasing the vanilla reload with the credit card.
    possibly due to the amount purchased. Approval was easy also possibly do to the amount of money purchased.

    The stack came with 10 vanilla reloads, so there are 9 left on the stand. I was tempted to take some more but i might have looked suspicious walking in back and buying more at a higher amount.
    This is the first encounter with vanilla reloads since reading up on it a month a go. I have been occasionally looking for these for that long and its today that finally came up.
    I wonder if people are just taking these home and stashing it once they find it?
    Till next time, i wonder if these will last.

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  65. Finally found a Vanilla Reload card in Des Moines, Iowa. Was at a Walgreens. Tried earlier this week to use a credit card, but no deal. The Walgreens only accepted cash. I have a few CVS’s in the area, but still on the lookout for them to stock Vanilla Reloads.

  66. Wen using vanilla reload network card
    Can I used chase debit card