Are Vanilla Reloads Still Available at Walgreens?

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Readers have been emailing to ask if Walgreens still sells Vanilla Reloads with a credit card.

I shared earlier that I was able to buy Vanilla Reloads with a credit card at one of the two Walgreens in my town.  Many Walgreens don’t let you use a credit card to buy a Vanilla Reload, so I was lucky to be able to buy them with a credit card – even though I was limited to 1 Vanilla Reload at a time.

Walgreens Vanilla Reload

I’m Out of Luck at Walgreens

This was great news because I could buy the Vanilla Reloads using a credit card.  I’d earn miles for the purchase and the spending would count towards the minimum spending requirements on my credit cards.  I’d then use Bluebird to pay bills, such as rent and student loans, which I couldn’t otherwise pay with a credit card.

However, a few days ago, the cash register at Walgreens accepted my credit card for only the $3.95 Vanilla Reload fee and wanted me to pay cash for $500 reload value.  Oh well, all good things must end.  But I’m lucky that I can still buy Vanilla Reloads at my local CVS stores – though I expect that to end at some point as well.

I’m not sure if these are isolated examples or if Walgreens has updated their cash registers to prevent sales of a Vanilla Reload with cash.  Are readers still able to buy Vanilla Reloads using a credit card at some Walgreens?

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67 responses to “Are Vanilla Reloads Still Available at Walgreens?

  1. Yes you can still purchase vanilla reloads at Walgreens. I have 4 different Walgreens that I go to around my house that all allow me to purchase vanilla reloads with my credit cards.

  2. I wish I could. I saw a Walgreens manager hanging out near the gift cards, grabbed a Vanilla Reload, caught his attention and asked, “I hear some places let you buy these with a credit card. Can I buy them with a credit card here?” He had no idea, but went to the cash register to check, and “cash only” flashed prominently on the screen. It’s pretty clear that’s not a local policy or one allowing any discretion. No local CVS stores to try.

  3. haha , “Readers have been emailing you”?????

    FrequentMiler also uses these verbiage, “A reader told me”….

    I expect more losers to come here and post so that it ends soon for them too. haha

  4. Jacacksonville, FL registers are now ringing up VR as “cash only”

  5. I live in Iowa and have 3 Walgreens in my town. 2 stopped accepting CC’s for VR a few months ago. 1 continued to allow me to purchase 1 per day. I’d stop by this store every day, have a nice chat with (usually) the same checkout person, and pay for my VR card with rotating CC’s. Yesterday, that ended. Something seems to have been updated in the Walgreens computer system to shut down this loophole. I like your blog by the way…you do a nice job.

  6. I too am unable now to buy at walgreens…I usually buy 2 a week. Ive moved onto CVS. Mickey sounds like a DB

  7. Many CVS will not sell them with a credit card. I found one that does, but the majority of them don’t let you use a CC. None of the Wallgreens do.

  8. The Bluebird trick doesn’t work in Denver. No CVS’s here and Walgreen’s makes you pay cash only.

  9. Stores in Cincinnati at both chains of stores are prompting for cash and won’t accept MC for the 500. In the past my AMEX wouldn’t work, but VISA would.

    • @Arthur – Very nice!

      @DaveS @Scott @dan @Ricardo @John @Matt – Thanks for sharing your experience. I wonder if the registers are slowly being programmed to not accept credit cards for Vanilla Reloads.

      @nathan – That’s too bad. Thanks for reading!

  10. Thus far, all Walgreens in the Portland OR area accept cash only for vanilla reloads and we don’t have CVS pharmacies here. Darn!

  11. Why would they disallow the purchase of a vanilla visa card with a credit card?

    These prevents me from buying these cards to hand out as gifts. I pay for them with a credit card before I knew about earning points for the purchases.

    Who is going to carry around wads of cash to pay for Vanilla visa cards?

  12. The gravy train has ended in Sacramento. Was doing 4 VR at a time and went Wed night to test the rumor, and sure enough, cash only flashed up on the register. The cashier even tried to put through the transaction as cash and it was rejected.

  13. Does any of these stores accept pre-paid cards instead of CC?

  14. My local CVS started carrying them again and they allow me use my cc… far have only tried to by one at the time, thou

  15. @tyler — a lot of people buying 4 at a time probably raised the red flags that ruined this for those of us who were doing this is moderation. Thanks. My local Walgreens switched off credit card purchase of VRs this week also.

  16. I find success in purchasing them at the pharmacy, photo, or beauty counter. On two different occasions the clerk had doubts about accepting a CC for payment, they usually say “Im not sure if we can use a credit card to pay for this”, to which I reply “Oh your thinking of the Green Dot card. Those you cant pay for with a credit card, the register wont allow it. These (vanilla cards) you can use a credit card for, try scanning it, youll see the register allows it”. It helps if you go to the nicer, wealthier parts of town, where they have better customer service and dont look at you like your a drug dealer.

  17. I have been trying the Walgreens in Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA with not luck – 5 tries so far and all the registers are now hard-coded to accept cash only. No CVS’s in the area, no temporarily out of luck on the VR’s 🙁

  18. I am also out of luck. Register says cash only.

  19. I have struck out at 3 Walgreens. A 4th mentioned that I needed cash, but the cashier let me put it on my credit card anyway. I will be paying a visit to CVS tonight to see if I can find the beans.

  20. No luck anywhere in the Salt Lake/Bountiful area of Utah. No CVS and Walgreens (the two I’ve been to) are cash only. Anyone have any luck/experience getting the VR to work when it’s not a card just a scanner thing at Dollar Generals or Family Dollars? I’ve seen Vanilla Reloads their (not cards) but they couldn’t get them to work with the Bluebird. I’ve still not been able to even use my Bluebird card since I got it.

  21. In SF Bay Area, all Walgreens I’ve been don’t accept CC. Out of the 7 CVS stores within a 15-mile radius and only 1 carries VR. They let me purchase 1000k worth per transaction/credit card. Just bought 4 using 2 different CCs.

  22. Walgreens does not allow to purchase Vanilla reloads with credit cards in suburban Chicago. In Naperville and Wheaton, IL cashier registers have a warning that comes up on the screen when a Vanilla reload is scanned stating ‘Cash payments only’. CVS allows credit card payments as well as multiple Vanilla card purchases in one transaction.

  23. Went to CVS in Costa Mesa, CA yesterday over lunch. They had a bunch of VR. When I tried to buy with AMEX Hilton, manager said cash only. She said they got a memo shortly after X-mas to take cash only for VR. “Fraud prevention issues”

  24. Kris – which CVS was it that carried VRs?

  25. In the Philly area, Walgreens won’t accept credit cards but CVS does. More importantly, I found a CVS that still accepts gift cards, meaning I can go to Office Depot, grab some Visa gift cards, and use them to buy Vanilla Reloads at CVS and get 5x on my mortgage and student loans through Bluebird.

  26. Same thing here in Houston, looks like Walgreen stop accepting CC….

  27. In small-town America CVS still accepts credit cards for Vanilla reloads. Plus I am able to use my CVS rewards number to get store credits for future purchases. I’ve amassed $20 in CVS ExtraCare rewards in the past 3 weeks alone.

  28. I wouldn’t complain too much about not having a CVS around, or Walgreen, we having bigger issues in VT. 🙂 We have both in Vermont but for some reason Bluebird itself it not available in this state! Any good reason to use Vanilla Reload cards if I am not allowed to open up a Bluebird account? I wonder how many other states (if any) it’s not available in…

  29. @Mark — you can still use VRs to load a regular AMX Prepaid card. Not as handy as the BlueBird, but you can still use it for everyday purchases and even an occassional ATM withdraw.

  30. I live in the Baltimore-Washington area and the Walgreens by me did the exact same thing! Like you, I’m sticking to the CVS.

  31. CVS stores all over San Diego carry VR and, in my experience, allow you to use credit cards to purchase them.

  32. My reliable local WAGstore is cash only after two repeated attempts. Cashiers showed me the screen, “Cash Only”. I may try once again just for the principle of it all before I waste my time going there. All is not lost, CVstore across the street still works just fine!

  33. As many others, my attempt today to buy VR at WG store (where I successfully purchased several K of VRs during last 4 months) was unsuccessful. “My cashier” showed me a message “Cash only for this item”. I purchased VRs in this store 3 days ago without any problems. So, my advice for those folks who still can buy VRs in their WG stores – purchase it immediately, otherwise in few days all WGs will be “cash only”.

  34. Both the Walgreens in the Boulder area that were accepting credit cards for VR no longer do so. One manager got all pissy at me and claimed they never had.

    Oh well… So much for my Bluebird account. It was fun while it lasted.

  35. I hear people say they’re getting 5x points on mortgage, student loans, etc.
    But it sounds like one of those “feel good” lies.

    What they are really saying is that they buy VRs with CCs, fund BB with those and then use BB to pay the CCs that were used to buy the VRs to start with.

    why lie? 🙂

  36. I have been to over 10 different Walgreens and CVSes in the Las Vegas area, and all of them insisted on cash only when trying to purchase VRs. Bites.

  37. No luck in the western slope areas of Colorado. I’ve tried every single Walgreens out here!

  38. @Bella, Theresa – Which walgreens have VRs still in stock in Portland area? My walgreens doesn’t even stock any vanilla reloads. thanks!

  39. @Frank

    I’ve found that these Portland Walgreens seem to always have VR – but as of a few days ago will only accept cash:

    5420 Northeast 33rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97211
    1620 Northeast Grand Avenue, Portland, OR 97232
    2829 North Lombard Street, Portland, OR 97217

    I’ve never found them at this one:

    6116 Northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard, Portland, OR 97211

  40. @ Do No
    To keep it politically correct. Just like mentioning “I read on FT …..” repeatedly for everything is not good from a business perspective for this site either. Hence the “Readers have been emailing me to ask” spiel. LOL

    Why would “readers” email MMS to find this out? Is he a WAG employee? When the whole discussion is on the last few pages of FT thread, which is where everyone started to report this and that is where the main discussions about this whole BB thing started anyways. Yah the thread is long but is the bible (yah even for the lazy retards who claim this is readers digest and that’s why they come to blogs).


    Yah I am a DB. But you sound like one of the fictional retards who emailed to find out if WAG is now cash only.

  41. @Mickey – you do sound like DB. Your superior condescending attitude is tiresome. Facts are most like being spoonfed…and MMS obliges…and makes a ton of cash giving what the people want…an idiots guide to churning

  42. @Do No: Re: “feel good lies”.. I don’t know about anyone else, but I used funded BB via my CC and used it to pay things that couldn’t be paid with CC. Indeed, sometimes that was CC bills, and on other occasions it was insurance or other bills that wouldn’t take credit cards…

  43. The same thing happened to me last weekend. I checked out with a Vanilla reload and the computer prompted the cashier that “this can only be purchased with cash”

    I asked if one could use a debit card, since technically that’s the same as cash, and her supervisor said no. Seems like this is indeed dead with Walgreens, at least at my home store.

  44. my god, could you please stop blogging about this. your prediction certainly will be correct if you continue. i think you have sufficiently gotten the idea out there, which is fine, but now you’re just being very annoying. as a reader, i don’t want to incessantly hear about the same deal over and over, esp. one that, with continued repeated blogging, will ruin the deal. please move on.

  45. +1. time to move on.

  46. All of the Walgreens in my area (dutches county NY) say cash only.

  47. @ Rob….what Walgreens in the Boulder area were even taking them??? Both in Boulder proper and Longmont never took them…however they were always out of stock in the Louisville walgreens. Perhaps it was *you* you kept them empty there??? :\

    I can confirm that the Walgreens in Silverthorne, CO no longer accepts CC. Tried yesterday after my day trip to Breck. Would always buy some when I hit the slopes.

  48. @Gabriel: The Walgreens at Main & 11th in Longmont sold me lots of them with credit card, as did the one in Louisville on McCaslin Blvd.

    About 6-8 weeks ago the one on McCaslin started limiting purchases to one a day, but not the one in Longmont.

    I’ll be in AZ in a couple of weeks and will try CVS there. But I’m not too optimistic…

  49. NO… the walgreens that did take Credit cards updated their computers. The same thing happened to me. They charged 3.95 on card and wanted the rest in cash. She even showed me how the register locked out all other forms of payment for the V. Card.

  50. Same happened to me in Cincinnati…no VR with Visa debit as well 🙁
    Darius, what do you suggest to do with 500$ visa debit I have? Can I pay credit card bill with them or get cash out of them somehow?

  51. @European…. which cvs in naperville allowed VR cc purchases? Anyone in or around Chicago find a cvs/Walgreens to purchase VR’s on cc?

  52. We are not the only ones that read these blogs which is the reason why these deals are being closed. There are people out there who don’t abuse it and have a legitimate purpose but get shut down because others do abuse it and ruin it for everyone else. Don’t be selfish.

  53. No luck with Walgreens in NW and Western suburbs of Chicago…the register now prompts to only pay with cash for the cash portion of the card, with the reload fee paid by credit card. They also say that they will only allow one purchase at a time.

  54. Just came back from a CVS in Orlando, tried using my Chase Business Southwest card to pay for the first load ($500) register denied and requested a different form of payment. Tried with Personal card and transaction was fine. Tried a 2nd load ($500) with Personal, and was denied by the register asking for another form of payment. Has anyone else had problems using a business card to purchase VR? I pass 3-4 CVS’s on my way home from work so I will try again tomorrow at different ones to see what happens.

  55. Getting denied in Oklahoma. On to the next one!

  56. Just noted this more recent blog, however I just posted earlier:

    I visited a Walgreens where I normally purchased VR cards, and today was denied with the “CASH ONLY” prompt. So I then had some time to kill, visited 7 other different stores all a no-go. Same results.

    The CVS locally where I purchased additonal VR cards was out of stock. Once again on my same route, visited 3 other CVS locations all were out of stock. One manager even mentioned to me that they are being removed from the local stores (Southwest TN) due to “fraud issues.” Hmmmmmmmmmmm…. I think its over unfortunately.

  57. TRAVIS….which CVS is it that lets you load VR with giftcards?

  58. I too have been having the same issue in Oregon. Is there anywhere you can buy them with a credit card now? Most of the locations from the website say they don’t even sell the cards.

  59. all Walgreens in my area have gone to cash only for VR, but they will accept CC for some debit cards.. this is in KC MSA (MO/KS) and Topeka area.

  60. This are no CVS stores in the state. I can’t find one close by in Washington either. Any other suggestions to where they would have them in Oregon?

  61. @MelissaJ – you could move to another state.. check the vr website and see if any merchants they list are in ur state, then go search

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  63. CVS Glendale Hts, IL they have many of them but they have on the register a list of all the cards that are cash only! I will try on 2 more today