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Wal-Mart, Amex take on banks with Bluebird debit card

Wal-Mart, Amex take on banks with Bluebird debit card

Old Nov 14, 12, 11:08 pm
  #2521  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LAX
Programs: AA, SPG, HHonors
Posts: 658
Originally Posted by DaveInLA View Post
In for answer. Would love to know if Great Lakes can be paid as well!
Originally Posted by particlemn View Post
I logged into my account and searched great lakes, and a list included "great lakes higher eduication" So i woiuld guess the answer is yes
Yes, Great Lakes is listed as a payee, but I can't seem to get my account to register. I was wondering if anyone has had luck. It keeps telling me I'm entering some info incorrectly, but I don't know what info that is. It is most likely their zip code. I don't get paper statements, so I had to use an online statement to get their zip code. My fear is that that zip code is different than the one I would get if they mailed statements to me, and therefore BB won't recognize it. If someone has successfully linked up Great Lakes, several of us here would love to hear about it!

Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Yeah, I also find HHonors points to be a very unattractive "currency." When I typically look for a night at one of their mid-level airport hotels (like a Hampton Inn) it's 35000 points a night. Am I really going to go through the hassle (and risk) of "laundering" 12 VR for the privilege of buying that room for $46? It's not a compelling transaction. I think you would be better off buying gift cards at an office supply story with an Ink card at 5x and then using those cards to buy the VR cards at CVS. Of course, that's getting fairly marginal too.
For most redemptions, HHonors are not that valuable on a per-point basis. On certain aspirational stays, though, you can get tremendous value per point. And you can get much better value if you do cash+points, as well. I like to keep them on hand for those rare occasions.

And let's not forget how easy they are to earn! So many CC bonuses from different cards (some churnable) can quickly boost your HHonors account. And with the 6/$ at many stores, you earn these a lot faster than other points. So yes, you burn them faster, but you also earn them faster.
sk8uno is offline  
Old Nov 14, 12, 11:21 pm
  #2522  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 1,277
Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Yeah, I also find HHonors points to be a very unattractive "currency." When I typically look for a night at one of their mid-level airport hotels (like a Hampton Inn) it's 35000 points a night. Am I really going to go through the hassle (and risk) of "laundering" 12 VR for the privilege of buying that room for $46? It's not a compelling transaction. I think you would be better off buying gift cards at an office supply story with an Ink card at 5x and then using those cards to buy the VR cards at CVS. Of course, that's getting fairly marginal too.
While it may not be great for those hotels, there are some very nice options you can get with it. For example, a four night AXON award here costs 145k points. That's a lot of VRs (48) but if it's done over time that's a cost of $190. A summer stay there runs $300+ per night.

In general, though, I do agree... it's useful for meeting minimum spends, but not great otherwise.

Edit to say: If you can find them at a gas station, Ink Bold is still a good buy. Just had my statement close and verified that my Valero purchase (shows up ULTRAMAR[t] on transaction) got me 2x. So it's still earning 1.21% paying bills with Bluebird.

Last edited by penner42; Nov 14, 12 at 11:59 pm
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Old Nov 14, 12, 11:57 pm
  #2523  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Posts: 279
I think if you want to make it valuable you have to hit the limits every month. 10 cards @ $500 is the limit for the monthly Vanilla reload and for $39.50 you get 30K Hilton points. While those might not seem much when you think about many Hampton Inns costing 35K points, but then properties like the ones below cost 50K/night and even less with AXON/GLON awards. Rooms at these properties run $300-$400. To each his own.

You risk Amex shutting you down but that is the risk you even take with buying those cards repeatedly at OD with Chase Ink (when they were available). I have bought 10 $500 cards at CVS this month - nothing from Amex yet.

http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/fre...LHI/index.html

http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/mau...IHI/index.html

Originally Posted by DaveInLA View Post
I bought a VR at CVS as well, using my AMEX Hilton. That's $3.95 for 3000 HH pts. However, IMO this deal is nowhere as good as the OD one, for a couple reasons. First, 3000 HH pts is worth maybe $20. I plan on using them for high-end redemption, so 3K could be valued at $30. The major issue I have with buying VR at CVS is that I think historically AMEX has a sharper eye for suspicious activity and it's not common to spend $2K+ at a drug store, whereas it was very possible to do so at an office supply store. I can't see myself buying more than 2 VR at CVS per month.
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Old Nov 15, 12, 12:07 am
  #2524  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,406
Originally Posted by filelover View Post
I think if you want to make it valuable you have to hit the limits every month. 10 cards @ $500 is the limit for the monthly Vanilla reload and for $39.50 you get 30K Hilton points...I have bought 10 $500 cards at CVS this month - nothing from Amex yet.
Did you buy 1 VR card each transaction 10 times, or did you buy multiple cards each transaction? I would think AMEX would be suspicious if someone spends >$1K at CVS more than once/month.
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Old Nov 15, 12, 12:35 am
  #2525  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,406
One more thing-- what do you think about using Target AMEX to buy VR at CVS? A couple reasons I would like to do this.

First, it'll allow me to mix up the credit cards so I don't put too high spend on the Hilton AMEX. I know others are putting thousands on that card at CVS, but it makes me nervous.

Second, my local Target is classified by Visa as a grocery store. Assuming AMEX classifies it the same, I could then use my AMEX Blue Cash Pref to get 6% cash back, then use the Target AMEX to buy beans at CVS. If I load $1000 from Target, that would be $3, then $3.95 for 2 VR at CVS. Total cost is $10.90, total return $60; net is $49.10. Do most folks think 6K HH pts are worth more than $50?
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Old Nov 15, 12, 12:54 am
  #2526  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by DaveInLA View Post
One more thing-- what do you think about using Target AMEX to buy VR at CVS? A couple reasons I would like to do this.

First, it'll allow me to mix up the credit cards so I don't put too high spend on the Hilton AMEX. I know others are putting thousands on that card at CVS, but it makes me nervous.

Second, my local Target is classified by Visa as a grocery store. Assuming AMEX classifies it the same, I could then use my AMEX Blue Cash Pref to get 6% cash back, then use the Target AMEX to buy beans at CVS. If I load $1000 from Target, that would be $3, then $3.95 for 2 VR at CVS. Total cost is $10.90, total return $60; net is $49.10. Do most folks think 6K HH pts are worth more than $50?
Don't go all in yet with Amex card at target to reload unless you are sure that it will be classified as grocery. I was trying to meet minimum spend on multiple cards by doing reload at Target. Visa classified it as grocery but Citi Amex classified it as Discount Store.
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Old Nov 15, 12, 1:12 am
  #2527  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
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Originally Posted by stormy16 View Post
Don't go all in yet with Amex card at target to reload unless you are sure that it will be classified as grocery. I was trying to meet minimum spend on multiple cards by doing reload at Target. Visa classified it as grocery but Citi Amex classified it as Discount Store.
That's definitely interesting, but stinks for me. Thanks for the heads up, though.

Anyway, have there been any good data points with regards to paying off credit card balances (whether it be Chase, Citi, or AMEX) with the BB? I don't want to pay my Chase balances with VR, but I do want to pay my AMEX cards. I made a single VR purchase at OD with my SPG Amex the last day they were offered ($503.95, almost a week ago), but I've also made other purchases with that card as well. I have $520 from last month's spend (which was NOT on VR) to pay in a few days. Would you feel comfortable using BB to pay this statement balance?
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Old Nov 15, 12, 5:40 am
  #2528  
Formerly known as cagalindo
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: MCO TPA
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Posts: 1,334
Why don't people just withdraw from BB to bank account and then pay the CCs?? My card still hasn't arrived but I thought there is no fee for that..
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Old Nov 15, 12, 5:59 am
  #2529  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
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Originally Posted by caGALINDO View Post
Why don't people just withdraw from BB to bank account and then pay the CCs?? My card still hasn't arrived but I thought there is no fee for that..
People are worried (and rightly so, probably) that just loading BB and draining to bank account will get BB shutdown. There's no evidence of that yet, but since BB is so new there's no way to know. So they're playing it safe.
penner42 is offline  
Old Nov 15, 12, 6:26 am
  #2530  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Land of the parrots and parrotheads
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What part of craftily manufacture spend do you not understand? If you are going to be a heretic at least make it challenging for the cardinals to find you. Painting a target on your back and wearing a "Kick me!" sign is simply in bad taste and hardly good sportmanship. So I guess we are just gonna let the office intern find and burn you.

Originally Posted by ned View Post
I understand this. However if I have to use this card for unproductive activities what is the purpose? Granted you will be able to Bill Pay some things that would otherwise be paid with a check, but you will give up other opportunities. I do not find this so compelling that I will completely alter my activities to protect the use of this card. I may be shut down, but they will not be getting a virgin.
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Old Nov 15, 12, 6:36 am
  #2531  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Land of the parrots and parrotheads
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No way - AMEX loves the way heretics use their products. Keep dropping the breadcrumbs so the nice little redbirds can follow your trail...

Ellie Sattler: I can see the shed from here. We can make it if we run.
Robert Muldoon: No, we can't.
Ellie Sattler: Why not?!
Robert Muldoon: Because we're being hunted...

Originally Posted by penner42 View Post
People are worried (and rightly so, probably) that just loading BB and draining to bank account will get BB shutdown.
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Old Nov 15, 12, 6:44 am
  #2532  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,406
Originally Posted by penner42 View Post
People are worried (and rightly so, probably) that just loading BB and draining to bank account will get BB shutdown. There's no evidence of that yet, but since BB is so new there's no way to know. So they're playing it safe.
How would we transfer BB funds to bank account, anyway? Does BB have an option to transfer funds? Or maybe do ACH pull from the other account's website?
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Old Nov 15, 12, 8:04 am
  #2533  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: WAS
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Originally Posted by StephenW View Post
The concern is that this isn't how AE intended for customers to use this card. The rinse and repeat of loading beans and paying bills doesn't help AE make any money.

Granted we're all speculating, but the thought is that limiting the use to solely this type of activity will get the account shut down. Ideally, you'd want to use this card by mixing in other activity that generate transaction fees for AE, like the "underbanked" would use it.
It's still giving them a bunch of money they don't have to pay interest on. The cost of you having an account amounts to IT capacity, the physical card, and your taking up a spot in line at Walmart (if you ever go) that other customers would otherwise use... not that high. I think it's outweighed by loading thousands of dollars into BB that they don't have to pay interest on.
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Old Nov 15, 12, 8:13 am
  #2534  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 314
Originally Posted by sk8uno View Post
Yes, Great Lakes is listed as a payee, but I can't seem to get my account to register. I was wondering if anyone has had luck. It keeps telling me I'm entering some info incorrectly, but I don't know what info that is. It is most likely their zip code. I don't get paper statements, so I had to use an online statement to get their zip code. My fear is that that zip code is different than the one I would get if they mailed statements to me, and therefore BB won't recognize it. If someone has successfully linked up Great Lakes, several of us here would love to hear about it!
I have been successful in getting my Great Lakes loans paid through BB. Put in the request 11/9, it was said it would be delivered by 11/13. I checked a couple of times on 11/13 but it didnt show up. Then I checked again on the morning of 11/14 and it was there. I get paper statements, but I looked up the zip code on the great lakes website. In your account information there should be a link called "ways to pay." If you click on that it should give you an address for sending in payments by mail. I used the zip code for that address.
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Old Nov 15, 12, 9:01 am
  #2535  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by stormy16 View Post
Don't go all in yet with Amex card at target to reload unless you are sure that it will be classified as grocery. I was trying to meet minimum spend on multiple cards by doing reload at Target. Visa classified it as grocery but Citi Amex classified it as Discount Store.
Both of my Amex cards (Hhonors and DL Plat) show Target as "Merchandise & Supplies - Discount Wholesale Store" as opposed to a Grocery store which would show up as "Merchandise & Supplies - Grocery" (as Kroger does). YMMV though. Have purchases in my history from several different ones and all show the same.
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