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REDcard Changes Force A Strategy Shift
Note: As of October 13, 2015 the Target REDcard (REDbird) can only be loaded with cash in-store at Target. This means that neither debit cards nor gift cards can be used to load REDcard any longer. For more info about the changes and where to go from here, see: REDbird Postmortem: An MS Path Forward
By now everyone has heard that the Target REDcard (aka REDbird) has stopped allowing credit card loads. I covered this development pretty extensively last week here on the blog, but now that everything has settled down, it is time to see where we go from here.
Before I start, the reason I used the words “Long Term” in the title was because I already shared my immediate short term strategy last week. There truly is nothing long term in this hobby, so I fully expect that I will have to shift strategies at some point soon.
Where REDcard Stands Right Now
Since the end of credit card loads last week, it has been confirmed that pretty much all prepaid pin-enabled gift cards work to load REDcard. This means that there are definitely many ways still left to take advantage of it, although none quite as easy as before.
My Personal Situation
Currently I manage four American Express prepaid cards. (Bluebird, Serve & REDcard). I know some of you have many more, but I have been able to make things work with just four. The split is as follows:
- 1 Serve with Softcard
- 1 Bluebird
- 2 REDcards
It has always been my goal to keep at least one of each of these cards to be able to report on them. That is honestly the only reason I keep the Bluebird. With $1k in online loads, I still think Serve is the superior product.
What Will Change for Me
I wrote about my prior REDcard strategy a few weeks ago in the post: How to Earn Up to 7.5x For REDbird Loads. Obviously that strategy isn’t as cut and dry as before, although I will be able to continue to earn pretty decently by purchasing gift cards at a 5x store and then loading them to any of the prepaid Amex cards.
At this point I think I am going to switch one of the REDcards back to Serve. One of the reasons is that I will be able to get $1k in online credit card loads from an Amex card. I will also get the ability to have subaccounts and Amex Offers. With all of the amazing offers lately, I would be dumb not to switch at least one card back.
Besides wanting to keep one of each product, there is a reason I am going to keep a REDcard. That reason is Vanilla. As we have seen over the past couple of weeks, deals on Vanilla Visas come around quite often. Since Vanilla Visas can only be loaded at Walmart in denominations below $50, the REDcard will be my Vanilla backup.
I also have an Old Amex Blue that earns 5x at drug stores. $500 One Vanilla cards are sold at drugstores, which means this could be an easy way to earn 4% cashback after fees. The nice thing about REDcard is that I can still load other pin-enabled cards to it in months where there isn’t a good reason to purchase a lot of Vanilla cards.
Walmart vs. Target
Last week in his post about his REDcard strategy, Greg the Frequent Miler mentioned one thing that stuck out to me: “REDbird was always primarily about my preference for Target over Walmart.” I think that will be the case for some people.
I never really completely broke up with Walmart, although it was nice to visit less often because of the REDcard. I’m not a fan of Walmart, but my flexible schedule means I can visit at less busy times which has been enough to keep me sane. In other words, Amex Offers & online credit card loads for Serve justify the extra Walmart visits for me.
So my strategy change involves moving one of my cards back to Serve. Big deal right? That is sort of my point. I have been around this hobby for a long time, so I saw credit card loads for what they were. A gift. Now that they are gone it is time to go back to the real world of MS. Unfortunately that will take a little more effort for all of us, but I’m alright with that.
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