How Long Does it Take For Bluebird “Pay Bills” to Mail a Check?

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How Long Does it Take For Bluebird “Pay Bills” to Mail a Check?

Million Mile SecretsHow Long Does it Take For Bluebird “Pay Bills” to Mail a Check?Million Mile Secrets Team

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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.

Bluebird Pay Bills – Mailing a Check

I wrote earlier how my Bluebird “Pay Bill” payments to Emily’s Sallie Mae student loans and my Chase credit card account posted within 1 business day.  However, those were electronic payments made to a payee listed in the Bluebird system.

If the person or business whom you want to pay is NOT listed, you can add them to Bluebird and Bluebird will mail them a check for free!  The person or business does not need to have a Bluebird account to receive the money.  See this post for step-by-step screenshots on how to get American Express Bluebird to mail a check to others.

For example, you can mail a check to your apartment complex, contractor, or even pay (a small bit of) college tuition this way.

There is a monthly limit of $5,000 for payments via checks (likely included in the Pay Bill limit of $10,000 per month)

American Express Bluebird guarantees that your payment will reach on time if you schedule it at least 6 business days in advance of the due date.  However, the guarantee is for only up to $50 in late payment fees.  I recommend scheduling check payments at least 10 days in advance of the due  date, just in case of any delays.

Mailing a Check – My Experience

On October 26, 2012 I sent a $50 payment using the Bluebird Bill Pay feature from Emily’s account to me.  I entered my name and address as the payee and entered in “1” as the account #.  For example, your account number could be your apartment number if you’re paying your rent.

Entered “1” in Account # Field

I was curious to see how long it would take to receive the check and what information would be included on the check.

Bluebird indicated that I would receive the check on October 31, 2012 and I did receive the check on October 31st – so I received the check in 3 business days.

Arrival Date for October 31, 2012

The check was mailed from Hickory, North Carolina.  I don’t know if all checks are mailed from Hickory, North Carolina or if they have regional mailing centers depending on where the check is mailed.

Interestingly, my address had my full 9 digit zip code, but I never entered the full 9 digit zip code (I only entered the regular 5 digits) when submitting the payment from Emily’s account!

Check Mailed from Hickory, North Carolina

The check included Emily’s name and address.  This is very useful because it helps the payee know who sent the check and how to contact you in case of questions.

The check also had “Account: 1” printed at the top of the check.

I had entered “1” in the account field when submitting the payment from Emily’s account to see how the account number would appear on the check.  You can enter your apartment number or property tax parcel number in the “account” field to provide further information to the payee.

Next to the account information was printed “Please post this payment for our mutual customer – $50

Bluebird “Pay BIlls” Check

The check was payable to me and my address was printed below my name.

Bottom LIne

The Bluebird Pay Bill feature is a great way to earn miles and points for bills which usually don’t earn miles and points!  But schedule your payment at least 6 business days in advance of the due date. There is no option to schedule recurring or automatic payments which is very inconvenient.

But be sure to read my cautions at the end of this post before using Bluebird.

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Hi Jeff, so if you keep sending bluebird checks to your own address, is that going to cause any problem, e.g. AMEX will review your acc. or something like that? Bills I want to pay all have coupons which I need to send with a check, so I have to get the check to myself first.

You cannot pay bills from a biller’s website using your Bluebird routing and account number. Both routing and account numbers are used for direct deposits ONLY. You MUST use Bluebird’s billpay feature to pay bills.

I know this has been mentioned before on this post already, but I want to post it again so it’s picked up by search and so customer can avoid a potential headache. American Express ought to make this fact more prominent, instead, they bury it in the FAQs.


is it possible to cash a BlueBird check at Walmart or anywhere else?

Million Mile Secrets

@Lauren – That’s very helpful and thanks for sharing.

@maria prel – I haven’t tried that, but it should be possible.

P.S. In case anyone needs it…the zip that worked for USAA is 78288. I tried lots of others, both 5 digits and 9 digits. I even tried a different web browser because customer service told me “Bluebird works best with Google Chrome.”

I’m going to gripe about Bluebird for a minute. My first time using Bluebird: sent a Mortgage payment to USAA Mortgage on July 26th. Bluebird said it would arrive by August 1. Now it’s 2pm on August 2nd, and payment has not been received by USAA Mortgage. Called Bluebird, they say it will take 3 business days to “research” this issue. Meanwhile my money is gone and my payment is already a day late. Today is Friday, so, at the earliest, they MIGHT resolve this by Wednesday the 7th. That will be 6 days late. Customer service is cordial, but difficult to understand by phone, since they are Asian. When I ordered my payment to be sent on the 26th, I spent an hour on the phone with them trying to figure out what zip code they use for USAA Mortgage. USAA Mortgage is listed in Bill Pay, but they still ask for a zip code. The zip code on my mortgage bill kept showing an error. After 2 calls to their “technical department,” customer service told me they only use one certain zip code for all of USAA, and I should “look on the USAA website and try some of their other zip codes.” Multiple times I asked why they do not keep a record of the zip code they use for USAA, and I was just told “we do not keep a record of zip codes.” I had to go on the USAA website and try 3 different zip codes before I hit on one that didn’t give me an error in Bluebird bill pay. Seems rather ridiculous to me. And now my payment is late. Which probably means it didn’t get sent to the right place. Even though they only “use 1 certain zip code for USAA.” Doesn’t seem worth the hassle.

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