If You Need Vanilla Reloads, Pick Them Up Today

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I usually don’t pay too much attention to miles and points stuff over the weekend since that is our time to be together as a family (and truthfully there really isn’t the time when all of us are home to devote to miles/points even if I wanted to).  However, I do keep tabs on the miles and points folks I follow on Twitter just enough over the weekend to hopefully not miss anything major.  If you do the same, you have likely noticed the same trend as me...lots of concern over the last 24 hours about our favorite pharmacy store not accepting credit cards for Vanilla Reloads and other similar prepaid products beginning March 31st (tomorrow).


There was a memo tweeted by @ringsthecaddy that outlines the new store policy that many prepaid/reload products will be cash only beginning 3/31.  What was/is unclear is whether this is a regional policy or a chain-wide policy.  That memo was from a Florida store and my buddy Pizza In Motion hit the same memo today in Virgina, so while it is too early to say for sure that this is a nationwide issue, it is starting to look that way.

I very rarely buy Vanilla Reloads, but I do sometimes to hit a spending threshold of some sort that I won’t be able to easily hit via my family’s own regular spending.  For example, the current Citi Executive AA Card requires 10k in spending to 3 months trigger the 100,000 mile bonus, and being able to buy $500 Vanilla Reloads at just $3.95 a pop really helps make that spending requirement much more attainable for many.  If you don’t know what I am talking about with reloads, a little Googling will clarify things…or perhaps just hold off worrying about it until we know for sure if it just got a lot harder to buy reloads with a credit card.

I don’t know if today will really be the last day to buy reloads at our neighborhood pharmacy with a credit card, but I know enough to interrupt my normal Sunday morning to pick up the few more I needed to hit the 10k spending on my new AA card.  Worst case scenario it was a good incentive to hurry up and get that done.  However, I think there is a fair chance that the new policy will impact many, if not all of us who like to visit our neighborhood pharmacy now and again.  Just to add as a data point, the very nice cashier I had today didn’t know anything about an upcoming policy change, but she also barely knew how to ring up a reload, so it could be quite possible that the info just hasn’t trickled down to the cashier level yet.

Bottom line, if you know you need a couple more reloads in the near future, I would go get them today just to be on the safe side.

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  1. Summer,
    I have one commenter on my blog who says he knows a CVS manager in Atlanta who did NOT get the memo. I also heard from a family member in New Jersey who visited CVS today and they didn’t mention the memo(could have been behind the counter for enforcement tomorrow).

    It’s certainly reasonable to think it’s not national at this point given anecdotal evidence. But, it’s definitely more than a couple states.

  2. Well, this is where I get all of my VR’s so I will definitely try to go out and get a bunch today. I guess that I will try to split it up between a few cc’s as I am not meeting any minimum spend right now. I did manage to get a $500 VR at a Murphy Express gas station the other day with my Chase Freedom. When I went back the next day, they told me cash only. When I told them that I had purchased it the day before with a ccard, they told me that the person that sold it to me shouldn’t have done it. Oh well, I guess I was lucky that one day. 5x points for me!

  3. @everyone Let’s keep stopping by and mentioning this memo to these managers so that they can reconsider and think that maybe they really need to just accept these items as cash only.

  4. Hi Kathy – may I ask what state you’re at? We have a few Murphy but most of them just carry the $100 visa gift card, not VR.

  5. I have no sympathy for those who have to resort to manufactured spending in order to get their bonuses. If you can’t spend the money without resorting to such practices, don’t get the card.

  6. Today I picked up last 7 VR at Dixon California CVS, and 3 VR at Davis California CVS. There were actually more on the rack at the Davis store, but I can’t float more than about 5K anyhow just now. Neither store knew anything about upcoming cash-only. Tomorrow we’ll know!

  7. I just went in the CVS to purchase and they said that those that buy over $1K (which I don’t at one time) are going to be asked to fill out a form with their ID info so that they can track for money laundering. They accepted my cc with no questions.

  8. Just visited my CVS and picked up $985 worth of reloads. Was told that if I purchase over $1K then I have to fill out a new form they just got in. They are using this to track those who they suspect of money laundering. They accepted my cc with no issue.

  9. Over in SE Florida the stores ain’t got the memo, but staff tells me all the nonVR reload cards are cash only. Tomorrow is gonna be interesting….

  10. “I very rarely buy Vanilla Reloads”
    Yeah, same with me; maybe once a week, no more than that. 😉
    Today, though, dragged my wife down to a couple of our local pharmacies, and picked up $12K in cards between the two of us. That finished out our current minimum spend requirements for the moment.
    But we still have two more 100K mile AA cards in transit, so really, really hoping this isn’t true. But not really hopeful.
    If true, this will make things like the HHilton devaluation almost seem like good news. ;(

  11. @HoustonRobert
    I have no sympathy for those who can’t afford to spend $20,000 per person for FC TATL tickets, and $1,000 a night to stay at Park Hyatts. If you can’t pay your own way with cash, stop reading Travel Blogs hoping to find ways to finagle your trips with cc bonuses, you cheapskate. 🙂

  12. Purchased 5k a couple hours ago in a Ft. Lauderdale CVS. Store Manager was there and said he had not heard anything about cash only starting tomorrow.

  13. bought 4k earlier this morning. just bought 2k and chatted with night guy who is a car guy like me. he had not heard anything about this. will be interesting to see if it works later or if it is subject to a hard stop at the register as the note above implies. nw chicago burbs.

  14. Like I said, I think it was a mistake that they took my card for the first one. They had some other good gift certificates though. I shop CVS for everything and they had CVS gift cards so I loaded up on those with my freedom card at 5x. Think I may go hit them today so I can make sure I hit the cap on mine and my husbands cards.

  15. I got 2K worth yesterday(1k each at 2 different CVS stores). Each one needed to swipe my Drivers’ license in order to make the transaction go through but otherwise no problems. I visited 5 Val_ro gas stations looking for VR cards and couldn’t find any. I had lucked out last week and was able to purchase 1($500) at a nearby one. It’s been hit or miss with them lately. Was in the area of a 7-11 and thought I’d give it a try but no luck; they had the cards but the cashier said cash only.

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