The hunt for perfect gift cards, part 1


Early this week I set out to find the perfect Visa gift cards.  Now that Visa gift cards can have PINs (see “Gift card PINs“), they are once again a great way to buy points cheaply and/or run up spend to meet minimum spend requirements or big spend thresholds.

Here are the characteristics of the “perfect” gift cards that I’m searching for:

  • Low fee as a % of total value.  The ideal gift card would have a fee equal to, or less than, 1% or its maximum value.
  • Ability to earn credit card category bonus points (see “Best Category Bonuses“).
  • The ability to earn store reward points (such as fuel points) would be a big plus.
  • Ability to set the card’s PIN quickly and easily.  I would like to be able to pickup the gift card at one store and then drive over to Walmart to load it to my Bluebird account with minimal fuss in between.
  • High denomination.  Bluebird cards can be loaded up to $1000 per day (and $5000 per month) at Walmart.  If I’m going to visit Walmart anyway, I’d like to load the full $1000 each time.  The fewer gift cards it takes to do this, the better.  In other words, a $1000 gift card would be ideal (but I’ve never seen those in stores), and $500 gift cards are really good.  Cards with lower values are much less attractive.

I visited Kroger, Speedway, OfficeMax, and Sears.  I expect to do more exploratory trips to other stores in the near future, but for now let me describe what I found…


At my local Kroger grocery store, I found a Visa card from U.S. Bank loadable up to $500 with a $5.95 fee.  Even though I could have paid with a card that earned a grocery store category bonus, I paid with a generic Amex gift card just to see if it would work (it did).  I was happy to see that I earned 500 fuel points from the purchase!  Each time I fill up my tank at a participating gas station, I can spend 100 fuel points to save 10 cents per gallon.  I tend to fill about 12 gallons at a time, so I would save $1.20 per fill-up.  With 500 fuel points, I could fill-up my tank 5 times, so the fuel points earned are worth $1.2 x 5 = $6 to me.  That’s pretty convenient since it exactly cancels out the $5.95 card fee!  If you have a larger fuel tank, you could save even more.


This was my first time setting a PIN on a gift card, so it took me quite a while.  First, I registered the card online using my iPhone’s browser.  I hoped that there would be an easy way to set the PIN online, but if it’s there, I didn’t find it.  Next, I called the number on my gift card activation receipt, but I was told to call Visa at 866-952-5653 instead.  At that number, after navigating through a few voice prompts, I was able to set my PIN over the phone.  If I had started with the correct phone number from the get-go, I could have set the PIN in two minutes altogether.

Later in the day, at Walmart, I used this gift card to load $500 to my Bluebird card without any trouble.


After Kroger, I stopped at at a Speedway gas station.  They had several reloadable prepaid cards on display, but I believe those require setting up an account in order to get the PIN.  I didn’t want to do that.  The best non-reloadable I could find was the OneVanilla Prepaid Visa Card.  This one is loadable up to $500 with a $4.95 fee.  I paid with a credit card that earns bonus points at gas stations and was asked to show both my credit card and my driver’s license.  Sadly, I did not earn Speedy Rewards for this purchase.


Again, I used my iPhone’s browser to register the card online.  This time, there was an option to manage the PIN, but when I clicked it, it simply said that the PIN would be set the first time I made a PIN based purchase.  In other words, whatever PIN I type in when I first use the card would be the PIN that could be used from then on. 

Later in the day, at Walmart, I used this gift card to load $500 to my Bluebird card without any trouble.  I wondered, though, if the card would work without registering it online at all.  So, the next day I bought two more of these cards and visited Walmart again, but this time without registering the cards.  Both cards worked perfectly!  As far as ease in setting the PIN, it doesn’t get any better than that!


I used to occasionally buy $200 Visa gift cards at OfficeMax (with $6.95 fees) using credit cards that earn category bonuses at Office Supply stores.  However, when I visited OfficeMax on Monday, the highest denomination cards they had were $100 Visa cards from MetaBank (with $5.95 fees).  Since it is sometimes possible (but not always!) to buy gift cards at OfficeMax with OfficeMax gift cards, it was worth finding out if these cards were any good.  So, I bought one.


Even though I didn’t think it would work, I tried to register this card’s PIN with the same number I had called earlier to register the card from Kroger (866-952-5653).  Not surprisingly, it didn’t work.  The automated system did not recognize the card number.  So, instead, I dialed a number that I found on the paper insert inside the gift card package (888-524-1283).  As with the Kroger experience, the system was fully automated, and after navigating several prompts I was able to set the PIN.  At Walmart, the card and PIN worked perfectly.


At Sears, I visited the secret gift card rack and picked up a $100 Visa card with a $5.95 fee.  This card looked almost exactly like the one from OfficeMax, except for two differences.  One difference was that this card was issued by University National Bank (as opposed to MetaBank).  Another difference was that the packaging on this card advertised the ability to manage the card with GoWallet (see my post “ simplifies your gift card life“).

I took the card to the register and tried to pay with my ShopYourWay Rewards points.  The cashier was happy to try it, but the system didn’t allow it.  I know from past experience that Sears’ gift cards do work, but I didn’t have any with me so I paid with a credit card that is offering me bonus points this quarter at department stores (hopefully this will qualify).


I started up the GoWallet app on my iPhone and I registered my new card.  I tried to use the QR code scanner to register automatically, but it didn’t work.  I had to type in the numbers.  I had hoped that the app would let me set the PIN, but I couldn’t find that option anywhere.  Instead, I tried calling the number I used with the OfficeMax gift card (888-524-1283).  It worked!  I successfully set the PIN.


At Walmart, I used their ATM to swipe reload my and my wife’s Bluebird cards (see “Bluebird swipe reloads via ATM“).  I tried to use more than one gift card in a single transaction, but that attempt failed.  Instead, I successfully loaded each gift card to my Bluebird cards one at a time (with a completely separate transaction each time).


Each of the options I tried have their pros and cons, but overall I’d say that the cards from Kroger and Speedway were the best.  Let’s look at each characteristic:

Low Fee

The OneVanilla card from Speedway had the lowest fee (1%).  The Visa gift card from Kroger was very close behind with a 1.2% fee.  The cards from OfficeMax and Sears trailed way behind with their 6% fees.

Category bonus

5X category bonuses are available at all of the locations I visited except for Sears, but it is possible to buy Sears’ gift cards at other locations in order to get 5X bonuses, and then use those gift cards at Sears to buy Visa cards.  So, I’d say that all options are roughly equal here, with the caveat that the best category bonus depends on which types of points you prefer and which credit cards you have.  For example, I’m a huge fan of Ultimate Rewards points, so, all else being equal, I would always opt to earn those over Citi ThankYou points.

Store Rewards

In all of my purchases I presented my store loyalty card, but only Kroger rewarded me with points (fuel points, in this case).  Since the points earned are worth at least the amount of the card fee (to me, anyway), the rewards make a big possitive difference in the value of shopping for gift cards at Kroger.

Easy PIN setup

The easiest PIN setup by far was with the OneVanilla card from Speedway since it required no setup at all!  I was able to use the cards at Walmart literally right out of the box.  Awesome.  With the other 3 cards, setting the PIN required the following: dialing the correct phone number; following voice prompts to enter the card number, expiration date, and security number; wading through menus for the option to set a PIN; and then entering the PIN twice.  It sounds worse than it is.  My phone records show that I spent only 2 minutes on each call.  So, none of the options were terrible, but the OneVanilla card was the best.

High Denomination

Kroger and Speedway sell gift cards with denominations as high as $500.  This is a convenient amount since it only requires two transactions to load a Bluebird card to $1000 at the Walmart ATM.  Dan’s Deals says that at the checkout lane you can use up to 3 cards per transaction, so it’s possible to fill up a Bluebird card with one transaction and two swipes by going to a live cashier.  With the $100 cards from OfficeMax and Sears you would need to do four separate transactions in the checkout lane, or ten transactions at the ATM.  Either way, that would be painful.


The Kroger and Speedway stores near me offer $500 Visa gift cards, and I consider each to be good deals.  The OneVanilla option at Speedway (and also at many other stores) is better if your main goal is convenience.  Being able to skip the step of registering a PIN is great.  If overall cost is your main concern, then the Kroger option is better as long as you can make good use of the awarded fuel points.

There are many other gift card options out there, including $1000 Visa gift cards from, $200 gift cards at Staples and Office Depot, and more.  I’ll continue to investigate and report on other options, but I welcome reader contributions as well!  What have you found that works well or that doesn’t work at all?  Please comment below.

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Mitt R.

So I use Perk TV to get giftcards. From the list that they have avaiable, what do you think would be my best option to go with?


I bought an AE gift card at Albertsons, after I paid for it I was able to use it the at the supermarket.
Then I called a merchant in Canada, wanted to buy an item for $10, I had already used this merchant and he had my info, he just asked for the card number and exp date, and over the phone he told me it was declined.
Why do you think the card was declined?



Some gift cards and prepaid cards can only be used in the US, that’s my guess of what happened here.


Hi All,
I had been to Kroger and wanted to buy Visa gift card of 1000$ with my Amex blue cash preffered card. When asked if it earns fuel points, they said no.
any gift card which is pre-loaded would qualify.
My plan was to buy this visa gift card and buy 1000$ worth of furniture @ BIG LOTS store. Unfortunately they dont carry bit lots gift cards at kroger to avail 6%.
In this scenario what could you recommend to earn 6% cash back on card + fuel points.


Can you give any specifics of how you got these cards to load to BB at walmart? I got a vanilla visa debit gift card (loaded with $500) at CVS and can’t seem to get it to load to BB. I don’t know where I’m going wrong. I’ve tried using the kiosk and the customer service people.

[…] gift cards and my Ink Plus card along on my shopping trip.  At the first stop, I reconfirmed what I had learned before: my local OfficeMax store no longer carries $200 Visa gift cards.  Rats, that would have been […]


Thanks, FM. I will try the one where I earned points last time to see whether it will work.


Rob & Jesson: That’s interesting. It looks like some Kroger stores have stopped awarding fuel points. My store still does, and I’ve received emails from many readers who still get fuel points.


Hey, Rob. The same thing happened to me as well recently. No fuel points are earned by buying visa gift card in Kroger. I once succeeded for one time, but I guess kroger has updated their system.


Bought several 500 US Bank Visa’s at Kroger over the last couple of days and no fuel points at all for them (not even 1X). I wonder if this is my Kroger or if they all are doing it now.

[…] actu­ally has a super use­ful post on buy­ing gift cards and what you can do with them in the hunt for the per­fect gift card.  Vanilla Reload […]


Royce: No, I haven’t tried the 1..2..3 card.
Sharon: Thanks!


Safeway is currently running a $15 discount thru May 21, 2013 on purchase of $100 or more Mastercard debit card issued by US Bank. All you need to do is enter the Safeway Club Card number. And you can obtain a pin by calling the toll free number on the back of the card. I use my SPG card and paid $85 for the $100 debit card. There are other dominations up to $500, the cashier may or may not allow though.


Our Smith’s (Kroger) says that you can’t get fuel points on the Visa Gift card purchases. I haven’t tried yet, but may do so to try to fulfill spend on the next card I get and to see if points post anyway. Although I doubt they do. Has anyone tried to purchase (With Credit Card) the 1…2…3…Prepaid Visa that Kroger sells that says you can get fuel point? @FM? If so where you able to use it to reload the Bluebird successfully? Just curious about this card/whether it’s a viable option to use my credit card to earn regular points/fulfill spend/earn Smith’s (Kroger) fuel rewards & reload the bluebird card.


frequent churner: I have received the fuel points each time, but each time only 1X. So, the website is actually correct when they say “Gift Card purchases count 2X […] with the exception of […] Visa Variable Load Gift Cards” since those do not get 2X.

frequent churner

Please let us know when they do post, because on their website at here’s what it says:

Gift Card purchases count 2X toward your fuel points monthly balance, with the exception of Kroger and Kroger Family of Stores Gift Cards, Green Dot prepaid reloadable products, MoneyPaks, American Express Variable Load Gift Cards, Visa Variable Load Gift Cards, and MasterCard Variable Load Gift Cards.

If you’re getting the points, they’re violating their own rules.


Paul: Yes PINs work on the $1K gift cards
FliesALot: Great idea, but I haven’t tried it.
frequent churner: yes, I’m sure.

frequent churner

@FM: are you sure you actually got Kroger fuel points buying prepaid cards? Their fuel points website states they don’t give the points for purchases of any prepaid card products, so effectively you’d only be able to get them for merchant gift cards.


I wonder if you can buy a Fuel and Merchandise Speedway card for $500, and then use that to buy the OneVanilla Card. The reason for that is that you’d get 10000 Speedy Reward points ON top of what you are doing with the Bluebird.

Not sure if they allow you to use the Fuel and Merchandise card to buy a OneVanilla card, but it would be sweet if they do.


Do we know yet if a PIN is possible on the 1K gift cards?

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[…] Early this week I set out to find the perfect Visa gift cards Now that Visa gift cards can have PINsseeGift card PINs they are once again a great way to buy ……/the-hunt-for-perfect-gift-cards-part-1/ […]

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Great work Ryan!


Just got back from a semi-successful load run @ Wally World. Have a card for me and Mrs. Ford. Loaded 1,500 and swiped to load the last card $500 for an even 2k for the day and the Machine said a supervisor would be needed to help me complete the transaction. MOD of money center came over and told me I’d need to complete the transaction at the money center counter which I did. Dunno what that was about…

Also was under the apparently mistaken impression that the Bluebird day resets at 12 a.m. EST, so I tried to load again after that and was denied. After a call to BB, they told me it was just a 24 period limit, not a calendar day. Bummer, cuts the run utility in half.


chris: All Visa gift cards should work, but you can’t really know for sure. Best bet is to try to get exactly the same type that I’ve shown here or that others have shown to work.


how can i be certain when I purchase a gift card that it will be “loadable” onto my Bluebird account. Or will they all work? thanks


Jason: Citi sees these purchases as gas and grocery purchases. You would run into trouble if you buy gift cards from a financial institution (e.g. Amex or Chase)


Rachel, “The PIN is just the last four digits on the gift/debit card!”. You mean the last 4 digits of the serial number or the card number? thanks.


Citibank treats gift card purchases as cash advances. How did you get away with it???


Man I wish I could get the US Bank $500 giftcards to work at my Walmarts, system keeps coming back with debit not available.

Shannon Titterington

I’m no longer sure where you’re getting your information, however great topic. I needs to spend some time finding out more or figuring out more. Thank you for wonderful info I was looking for this info for my mission.

[…] really vary with some being more user-friendly than others. I like Frequent Miler’s post on his experience with some different types of gift cards, but I chose to do my own experiment a little blind (as in I didn’t read his before venturing […]

[…] Early this week I set out to find the perfect Visa gift cards. Now that Visa gift cards can have PINs (see “Gift card PINs“), they are once again a great way to buy ……/the-hunt-for-perfect-gift-cards-part-1/ […]


if everything else fails look for T&C:
Speedy Cash Prepaid cards
Vanilla Visa Gift Cards
NetSpend and Green Dot Reloadable products
Restricted Items may vary by location.


In Idaho, Safeway would not take a credit card for the 500 GC. Tried a Yokes grocery store with success. Called for a pin from the parking lot and drove down the road to Walmart. No problem loading Bluebird. Its nice to finally find a source for spend requirements besides AP.

Captain What's His Name

FM, my experience with Speedway is that they give sppedy rewards points for gift cards, Gamestop for example, they also have a point reward for purchasing a certain quantity of these cards. Did they explain why no speedy rewards points for the Vanilla reload card?

Captain What’s His Name: I didn’t ask why they didn’t give me points at Speedway, but I know that I bought the cards at two different Speedways with the same result each time. Maybe they only give points for fixed value gift cards?


Here in Arizona at Fry’s (Kroger), I purchased two $500 Visa GC’s and tried to use the self checkout. I was able to scan the cards, however the associate needed to know the amount to load and also needed to verify my ID with credit card. It also looked like they typed in my driver licence number. Thus, while it’s possible to use self checkout it probably just slowed the process down.

Fry’s does rewards fuel points on variable GC’s and at their own gas station you can use up to 1000 points ($1 gal/up to 35 gal) in one fill up. I also received a $5 coupon to use for my next Fry’s visit. This was likely because it was my first GC purchase there. Now I have to wait till May for the BB load as I’ve already maxed out for April.


Any idea which of these cards will buy a money order at Walmart? I use VR to load my BB.

[…] Frequent Miler has a great post on different gift cards at bonus-earning […]

gussomer (aka Steve Jones)

Here in Utah, our Smith’s grocery store (a Kroger subsidiary) does not award gas points for Visa (etc.) gift cards. They do have a Kroger Prepaid Debit card with $3 reloads. FM, do you know anything about the merits of these particular cards?

Linda K. T..

@Tang: My success yesterday was with buying a fixed Visa GC with a Walmart GC. Today I went back to the Walmart Neighborhood store and tried buying a variable Visa GC. It initially failed at the register. The cashier called over a supervisor who somehow made it work with hand keying in the numbers and pin on my Walmart GC. I am not sure I would try it again, but it was a success with management intervention. Another curious thing was that the register would not let the visa gift card be rung up in the same transaction as my other items. This happened for both variable and fixed card purchases.

S Brown

Could you buy the non-reloadable Vanilla cards at Office Depot and get 5x the points instead of only 2X at Speedway? Pls advise


Mo double fuel points at Kroger as with other gift cards?


@Tang- Thanks, only one in my area shows up on an MP search.


@Linda K: variable load visa @ WM with GC or fixed denomination? One could always buy fixed, but personally SOL w/var load variety – register denied.


I would like to add that you do NOT have to add a pin to the “Kroger” gift card. Just go to CS at Walmart give them your BB card and then swipe the card as debit, enter any pin and load. It sets up with the first pin too. It even ask if you want cash back!!


Chris: That would be awesome if we don’t have to register the PIN for the Kroger bought gift cards! I’ll definitely try that out!

Linda K. T..

At my Dallas area Kroger, I purchased a Kroger GC to meet minimum spend. No fuel points awarded for purchase of Kroger GC or use of Kroger GC to purchase groceries or other GC.
I did the same thing for Tom Thumb (Safeway): No fuel points given for purchase of Tom Thumb GC, but did get fuel points for purchase of groceries and merchant GC with the Tom Thumb GC. I have not tried purchasing Visa GC with the Tom Thumb GC.
To follow up on Rachel’s post: I was able to purchase a Visa Gift card at Walmart using a Walmart GC.


I just want to tip my hat to Miler. Once again proving this the best travel hacking blog.


Impressive research as always FM. Since this is fairly new stuff, any reports of Amex frowning on loading bluebird with gift cards? Any risks to doing this?


lovetofly: I haven’t heard any credible reports of problems yet. As far as I know, the process should be safe.


I got my annual bonus (around $5K) at work but instead of giving us cash this year they gave us exclusively yours points. It’s a prepaid debit that is only good at a few merchants. Kmart, Sears, Lowes, and TJ Maxx are on the list. Full list here:

Any of the veterans have any ideas for turning this into cash equivalent?


This is a great post!
Sadly, in the Pacific Northwest, the variable Visa/MC does not earn Fuel Points at QFC and Fred Meyer (they’re both part of Kroger’s). The fixed value ones do earn fuel points, but not the variable ones


Search for MoneyPass ATMs to find WMs with whatcha need.

[comment truncated by FM]


I went to Office Depot yesterday. Unfortunately, they had redone their gift card rack and the home improvement card was nowhere to be found. I hope that isn’t common across all office depots.


scott: I stopped by my local Office Depot today and they still had a big stack of HI cards.

The Miles Professor

@FM: I take that back. It says $5, but when you click on it, you can select the amount. Now to find a Sears with a gift card rack…


I have a Vanilla Gift Card issued by Bancorp. When I go to Walmart, I don’t even get an option for debit. The register thinks it’s a credit card. Any ideas?

The Miles Professor

@FM: Yes, I understand that step 2 could be replaced by buying Sears gift cards online… obviously, that’s the more reasonable thing to do. But only has gift card denominations of $5.


On my own experimental Bluebird loading trip to Walmart this week, I discovered variable load (up to $500) Visa gift cards at the Walmart checkouts, with a $4.94 fee. There were two available–one with a picture of tulips, and the other with a birthday cake. I loaded $500 on each of them at the register with a credit card, then immediately took them to customer service and loaded my Bluebird. The PIN is just the last four digits on the gift/debit card! The Customer Service rep told me she wasn’t supposed to load Bluebird with gift cards, but the transaction went through just fine. Next time I’ll just use the Walmart ATM. This is a great option for meeting minimum spend, as Walmart doesn’t generally earn category bonus points.


Rachel: Thanks! That’s a great way to avoid making multiple stops at different stores.


Hey FM, if we don’t have a WalMart available to us, which is the next best prepaid card to try? I’ve been looking at the Target card, as well as regular old AmEx Prepaid, but I’m just not sure which to go with.


Paul: Do you have stores near you where you can buy Vanilla Reload cards (reload cards are different from Visa cards)? If so, get the Bluebird card and use Vanilla Reloads to load it from home online.


@Food Eater, thank you. Yes, I used the visa card and I know from some reports that MC doesn’t work. I earned fuel points by buying gift cards.


Have you tried to purchase the gift cards with Amex GC’s? Can you use the self-checkout at all at Kroger?

Food Eater

@Chris or anyone else: Do you know if the Chase cards work for loading BB at WM? If so, this is the cheapest way to load while the cards are free.

Food Eater

@Lacy Did you buy a Visa or MC gift card? I have had success w/ Visa only, but not MC.

Here in Oregon, Kroger stores are called Fred Meyer. Fred Meyer has the same fuel points program, but it DOES NOT award points for gift card purchases. I have bought $3k worth of Visa cards this week and did not earn points on any of the purchases.


Food Eater: Bummer!
Ryan: See above under “Kroger”: “I paid with a generic Amex gift card just to see if it would work (it did)”


LOL@the miles professor

Daniel G

I too would like to know what are you used at speedway cause you mentioned 5x. Are you using the citi card with the first 12 months promo?


Dear FM,

I would like to share with you some unsuccessful experiences this week. I bought a $500 U.S. Bank loadable gift card in Kroger, set the PIN and went to Walmart Money Center. I typed the PIN, and it said “approved”, but the cashier said it doesn’t work because it shows that this is a credit card. So I use the other method that I learned from some comments, and I didn’t type the PIN, but click the button “other payment” in the right corner, and choose “debit card”, then it asked me about cash back, I chose “no cash back”, then it said “approved”, but it failed again in the cashier’s computer. The same thing also happened when I tried to load the $200 vanilla gift card. Do some people know why? I wish there is a Money Center express machine like what you mentioned in the previous post, do you where to locate one?

Thank you very much.


I don’t know how to find a Walmart with a Money Center machine. There are two Walmarts in my area: one is quite old and the other is pretty new and both have machines.

The Miles Professor

@ZJ. The strategy scales to 22,000 points for $119 or 44,000 points for $238 for a few trips to Sears. And I just asked whether it works, not whether it’s ethical. We can all have our own books 🙂


@The Miles Professor. Too much work for too few points. Plus, purchasing with intent to return is unethical in my book. If you wouldn’t do it to a mom & pop shop, it shouldn’t be done to anyone.


Fantastic post. Does anyone know whether the US Bank Club Carlson card classifies purchases as a cash advance? Trying to build up some Radisson points. Thanks.


The site has a tab at the top that says. Set pin. Do this rather than that silly go wallet thing. Just did it and am going to try to load at wm. Btw, how can one search online to see if a WM has an ATM that you can use with debit cards to reload your BB card ??


MrWho: $200/day/load, 5 loads/months = $1K/max (online only). Swipe reloads do not count. I did twice $500 per day – no problems.


This is really great! I just did the Kroger technique last night. Works like a charm! I first bought a $20 gift card to see if I got the PIN and sure enough I did! I then went back to the rack and bought another Visa GC of $500, called the number, set the PIN and went to Walmart and loaded Bluebird at the register with no problem! I also earned 500 Kroger Fuel Points. I actually wait until I reach 1,000 fuel points to take advantage of the fuel points since you hit a ceiling at $1 off per gallon up to 35 gallons. I also bought four 5-gallon gas containers and wait until I’m as close to empty as possible and then fill up the gas bins! This nets $35 in gas savings! FWIW, if you aren’t trying to meet the minimum spending requirements, I think the best cards to use for this ongoing Kroger/Speedway technique would be AMEX Blue Cash Preferred (6% at groceries up to $5k per year, 3% at gas) followed by AMEX Premier Rewards Gold (2x at gas / groceries). I’d also put in an honorable mention for US Bank FlexPerks travel except I would only commit to the Kroger technique and not Speedway. The reason is that you only earn 2x in the higher category of gas OR groceries … plus in my experiments, US Bank treats loading of the AMEX for Target Prepaid card as groceries!


FM, You can use up to 1000 fuel points for each fill-up for savings of up to $1.00 per gallon. I buy 2 $500 cards before I need gas and try to fill both my wife’s car and mine together for total savings of $35. I used to buy VRs with the gift cards but now I can skip that step. I get 2 MR points with the Amex PRG and expect another point once I hit the $30K spend. Kroger is our closest grocery store and gas station. This works out to 3000MR+$35 for spending $11.90.


TravelSplash & JR: Thanks for the fuel point tips. I’m too lazy to take it that far so i prefer to be conservative about how much the fuel points are worth to me. I understand that they can be worth much more to those who are willing to put in some effort!


@Sergey $200/load. Not sure if $200/day as well.

@FM “if the card would work without registering it online at all” Yes, it does, at least from the K*(^#! VISA GC.

The Miles Professor

That should have said 2200 points for $11.90. Since only $100 gift cards available.

The Miles Professor


Ok, let me ask whether the following will work:
1. Buy $200 Sears gift card at (or physically at Staples) to earn 5-7 points (about 1400 points)
2. Use Sears gift card to buy something at through UR Portal for 4 UR points (about 800 points); I know other portals are higher, but UR one is the most reliable and has the most “loopholes” 🙂
3. Return to Sears and exchange for Visa gift cards (cost – $5.95 per $200)
4. Cash out through Amazon or some other method like Kiva (we have no Walmarts around here).

Total gain: 2200 points for $5.95

Thanks for continually doing research on this!


The Miles Professor: That might work, but I don’t know what would happen when you return an item at Sears. I don’t like schemes that involve returning stuff. You can do pretty well without that step as follows:
1. Buy $500 HI card at OD with Ink Bold (2500 points)
2. Go through portal to Sears to buy $499 Sears gift card (at 4X, 1996 points. Even better ShopDiscover is 10% back for a while)
3. Go to sears to buy Visa gift cards with Sears gift cards. Cost $5.95 per $100


Which card did you use at Speedway?
You can also purchase these (one vanilla and vanila visas) at CVS and most grocery stores.


Great post. Do I dare mention that Chase is waiving fees on gift cards purchased on its website? No bonus points but no fees.


super useful post- thank you FM!


FM, thanks for write up.

I would like to share some news (if you are not aware about it) that GoBank really goes in competition with BlueBird. You can deposit $1k per months using debit (or non-Citi) Visa/MC cards (no fee), plus you can do now swipe reloads (no fee) at Walmart using debit (read: gift cards with PIN). Limit is unknown yet.

one guy wrote nice write up about this:

I’m using GoBank for 3 months and I’m happy.


Sergey: Thanks! GoBank is high on my list of things to research.
Chris: I think you can do even better with GiftCardMall. Start at TopCashBack for 1.5% back.
Yo: I used the special Citi ThankYou Preferred card that gives 5X at gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores for 12 months. You can find it on my Best Credit Card offers page. Yes, I’ve seen these cards at drug stores too. The trick will be finding them at a store that gives fuel points (or other rewards)