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The Card That Earns up to 7.5x For Loading REDbird
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
Yesterday I wrote in detail about why I love the new portal payouts for Visa gift cards purchased from GiftCardMall. In that article I mentioned that I want to purchase those cards, because I don’t want to shift my spending away from REDbird.
You see, my wife and I have a magical card that earns 5x at grocery stores. It just so happens that my local Target is coded as a grocery store by Visa. Each point earned by this card is worth $.01 for cash or $.015 for the purchase of airfare. This means I effectively get up to a 7.5% return on loads.
After seeing my statement about 5x (7.5x) earning at Target with REDbird, several people asked me about it. Since it seems to be a popular question, I thought I would provide a few more details.
Which Card Is It?
Wells Fargo has a number of credit cards that earn 5x or 5% on purchases at gas, grocery and drug stores for the first six months. In my opinion the best one is the Wells Fargo Visa Signature because it is the only one that has that 1.5x bonus for airfare. (Frequent Miler reports it may be up to 1.75x.)
This Is Going to Be Easy Right?
Wells Fargo is notoriously difficult to get approved with. If you don’t have a banking relationship with them, then it is most likely that you will be denied when trying to get this card. The best practices based on the experiences of others are:
- Open a checking account at least 30 days before applying for the card.
- Show some deposit activity in that account during this time.
Some people who have had other rewards credit cards in the past with Wells Fargo have been told they are not eligible for the 5x promotion. If you have had previous cards with them, I would make sure to clarify this before applying.
My wife and I followed the exact plan as detailed above. She opened a checking account a month before applying for the card and we used it to pay some bills as well. This past December during our latest application spree, we applied for the card. It was just over a month since opening the checking account and the card was instantly approved with a $5,000 credit line.
Wells Fargo is also notoriously stingy with credit lines. Some people have reported being approved for less than $5,000 which drops them from being a Visa Signature and means they lose the 1.5x benefit. Thankfully this didn’t happen to us.
Having a low credit line with Wells Fargo is tricky for one main reason. When you pay off the bill, the credit line doesn’t return for up to two weeks. So say you load your REDbird and then pay the balance of the card off from your REDbird account. The payment will reach Wells Fargo within a couple of days, your balance will be $0, but your available credit won’t return for up to 2 weeks.
Luckily there is a way around this, but it involves a little trickery. The only way to get your credit limit returned immediately is to pay off your card from your Wells Fargo checking account by transferring money over. If you want to cycle your limit more than once each month, this is how you have to do it.
Some people have reported being shutdown for using their credit limit multiple times in each month. Based on what I have heard, cycling the limit 2-3x per month seems to be ok, but you always risk being shutdown when doing something like this.
Finding a Target Codes as Grocery
Luckily it is very easy to find a Target that is coded as a grocery store. Since this is a Visa card, all you need to do is search via the Visa Supplier Locator tool.
On this tool simply enter the zip code you are looking in and type Target. You will probably see a few other businesses with Target in their name, but you will also see all of your local Target stores. Find one that is coded as “grocery”.
As you can see, not all Targets will be coded as grocery stores and some Targets even show up as both a grocery and a warehouse store depending on the register. I only go to stores that have a grocery code just to be safe.
So now you know how I earn 5x (7.5x) on my REDbird loads and why I don’t want to use my precious REDbirds to meet minimum spend requirements on other cards.
Is this a permanent solution? Of course not. It only lasts 6 months and REDbird may not be around, but we are four months in and it has been nice. When my wife’s time is up, I may just have to get one of these for myself!
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Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.