Well the day has come.
A day that must come to all good things. The end. The end of Vanilla Reloads being sold with credit card at CVS!! RIP!!! What am I going to do without you!? Starting March 31st 2014 it is no longer possible to buy Vanilla Reloads at CVS (with credit card).
I bought my first Vanilla Reload October 2012, many months after some of the other miles and points trailblazers (mainly Greg at FrequentMiler). Once I got the hang of it, it was an amazing way to meet minimum spends and pump up my mileage balances! Once I met all my spending requirements for my cards I would then pick a card that I wanted to boost up my mileage balance and buy some every month easy peasy.
I heard the news of this new CVS policy late on Saturday night (3/29) and what did I do!? Of course stopped at a 24hour CVS (wow I spend my Saturday nights at CVS now lol)! Only to find they didn’t have any. I made it a point to get up early today (Sunday) and be at a CVS first thing 8am!!! You see I still have $9000 to spend on my 2nd Citi AAdvantage Executive card and I want the Vanilla Reloads to help me with my spend as I mentioned here. I was able to find some today (and load them) at a few local CVS to help me with my $10,000 spend so I am at least relieved with that part.
Going forward I think I am going to try and feel out some other options, mainly gift cards with pins and see where that takes me. The negative in that is the fees on gift cards are usually $5.95 per $500 which is $2 higher per card camped to Vanilla Reloads $3.95 per card! That adds up to quite a bit however it is worth it to me for hitting minimum spends however outside of that I am not very keen on racking up Starwood points at that rate even though its not horrible. So I think I will only be buying the gift cards when I need help with minimum spends. Perhaps this will lead to less miles and points earned and less trips and vacations? Remains to be seen.
A sad day in the miles and points world! How are you adjusting your points earning strategy with these new developments?!