Introduced earlier this month, the AmEx Bluebird prepaid debit card is creating quite a stir in the Frequent Flyer/miles junkie blogosphere.  The Boarding Area’s New Girl in the Air blog recently summarized how energetic cardholders are maximizing miles; an excerpt:

There are two main ways to earn miles by adding money to your Bluebird so that you can use those funds for payments or cash withdrawals:

  1. Buying “Vanilla Reload” cards (typically found at Office Depot stores) using a miles-earning credit card
  2. Adding funds in-store at Wal-Mart using a miles-earning debit card on a PIN-based transaction

As other bloggers have discussed, there is a large value proposition by using an Ink Bold or Ink Plus to buy vanilla reloads at Office Depot and then use those to fund a Bluebird prepaid card: you’ll pay $3.95 in fees for a $500 card, but will earn over 2500 Ultimate Rewards points from the purchase (easily worth $25-50 in rewards).  You can then use your Bluebird to make purchases anywhere American Express is accepted, to pay your utilities or any other type of bills, or to simply withdraw that $500 from an ATM.  However, to get this type of value, you’ll need to first have a card that earns 5x points at office supply stores (i.e. Ink Bold or Ink Plus) and then find an Office Depot that has vanilla reloads in stock and will let you pay for them using a credit card.

You can read her full post here:  Is Bluebird Worth It Without Vanilla Reloads?

Also worth a read is The Points Guy’s New American Express Bluebird Card – Huge Potential Points Earning  (Post includes a video explanation.)

I haven’t checked out Bluebird yet, but it sounds promising IF you have the time and motivation.

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