Boy, it’s been a crazy busy week for me. I’m just getting caught up on a bunch of reading. Part of that reading was a few posts on Visa gift cards and Vanilla reloads by fellow travel blogger Frequent Miler. Visa gift cards and Vanilla reloads were a popular way to rack up the miles using Chase Ink cards not too long ago. I got to it a bit late and was certainly disappointed when it died a quiet death. I was a bit intrigued when I heard Office Depot was bringing back the gift cards. To be honest, though, I was pretty sure if they came back it wouldn’t be in the same iteration. I had heard from more than one educated source that there were serious concerns about money laundering with the cards, since you could essentially turn cash into gift cards.
I was out and about yesterday and figured I would see what my local Office Depot was stocking. The early comments were that the cards were only for sale as a cash purchase, not credit card. A quick perusal of the new display at Office Depot ruled out any doubts (see the fine print below the category on each card).
This surprises me a bit, as I would have figured the cash purchases would still raise concerns about money laundering. I guess paying out all those extra points on credit cards was the bigger concern. 🙂
More likely, I’m guessing there was fraud associated with people lifting credit card numbers through identity theft and then buying a stack of gift cards. Oh, well.
While I don’t chase Vanilla reloads, for those who do pay special attention to another post by Frequent Miler that details his success finding a few elsewhere. And, if you don’t have those retail locations nearby, doesn’t everyone have a 7-11?