Manufactured Spending

Category Archives for Manufactured Spending.

Bye, REDbird; Hello again, Serve

Also see: 

From the I-knew-if-was-too-good-to-be-true files…

Well, consider this a data point if anything.

Oh, kwitcher cryin'

Oh, kwitcher cryin’

Tonight, I decided I was done messing with the REDbird card in New York City. It’s just too hard. The closest Target to me is the one at Atlantic Terminal, and they no longer accept credit cards for reloads – only cash and debit cards – which makes this product useless to me.

I’ve heard the one in Harlem is still accepting credit cards, but from my vantage point in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, it might as well be on the other side of the moon. I will go far for points and miles – but not that far.

At about 6 hours round-trip (yes, I am serious. New York City is huge and the MTA is a nightmare), I have to weigh my opportunity costs as well as my time. And while loading $5,000 per month is obviously more than $1,000 per month, at least I can run my Serve reloads from the app on my phone while I’m still lying in bed.

Time required: seconds. Opportunity cost: slight delay on coffee in the morning. 

My REDbird story

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Atlantic Terminal Target no longer accepts credit cards for REDbird reloads

Well that was fast.

Last night, 2/14 (V-Day), I went to load up my brand new REDbird at the Atlantic Terminal Target store.
All things REDcard... except credit card reloads

All things REDcard… except credit card reloads

The employees have definitely been trained to look out for these cards and reloads.

Here’s what happened

So I went in, went and got in line at the normal registers just like last time, and presented my REDbird (REDcard). The cashier glanced at it and instantly dismissed it. “You have to take those to Guest Services.” Ugh. Started to get a bad feeling then.

So I went over to Guest Services, as instructed, and again presented my REDbird card.

 

“Are you trying to pay with a credit card?”

“Yes.”

Cash or debit only.

“Oh, but I loaded it here just last week with a credit card.”

“It’s a new rule. Cash or debit only,” the cashier repeated.

“But I can still load it with a credit card at other Targets.”

She rapidly shook her head. “All stores are cash or debit now.


I knew that wasn’t correct, but who knows what sort of information she’d been fed. I didn’t press her any more, and left.

The upshot was that:
  • The cashiers at this location are trained to look for these cards now
  • It is indeed cash or debit only
  • I wouldn’t waste my time trying here again
  • This is a huge missed opportunity for us New Yorkers as it’s already a barren wasteland for manufactured spending
  • It’s really disappointing to lose this opportunity so early on
  • Unless you travel often to other places that have a Target store, you are better off using Serve instead of trying to play with REDbird

But why?

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Money transfer works between REDbird and Serve

Screenshot 2015-02-02 11.40.35

The funds were sent from REDbird

There’s nothing too remarkable about the image above, except that I received funds in my Serve account – and they were sent from a REDbird account.

It’s not surprising given that it’s literally the exact same interface copy and pasted (and turned red instead of blue).

To send money between Serve and REDbird, you just click “Pay & Transfer” then “Send Money.” Just be sure to use the email address associated with the account, and you should have no issue. The funds transferred right away, and I logged into my Serve account and paid a bill with the online bill pay.

Just make sure the emails or phone numbers match

Just make sure the emails or phone numbers match

This might be useful for some.

I am in the middle of loading up my Serve for the last time (day 2 of 5 right now), after which, I will cancel my account online and activate my own REDcard. The timing is great because I can max out the limits on both cards in February – even if it is a short month!

I know some of you are currently waiting on REDbird to arrive or don’t have a Target nearby – but in case you need to send from from Serve to REDbird, or vice versa, you’ll be totally fine.

Bottom line

Just wanted to throw this up, PSA-style, in case anyone else was in an in-between phase with these two cards and needed to send money to a friend or family member. I suspect it would also work with Bluebird, but I’d do a small transfer (like $5) just to test it out before I went full hog.

Having this transfer capability allowed me to pay my rent on time this month, and I was glad the two cards “talked to each other.”

In any regard, between Serve, REDbird, and PayPal My Cash cards, I am pretty well set for this month.

I *do* want to make sure US Bank cards are good with REDbird at Target because I really love Club Carlson points. I’ve heard US Bank is super weird about the REDbird reloads, so aside from that – now that I’m 100% I can load REDbird in NYC – I’m ready to get my permanent card and start this ball a-rollin’.

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Using credit cards + REDbird to pay off large debts – and earn major points

This topic came up a lot last night at the NYC Miles and Points Meetup, so I thought I’d do a post about it.

Lots of people were planning to use REDbird + points/miles credit cards to pay off large sums of debt, meet minimum spend requirements, and reach threshold bonuses offered by certain credit cards.

It’s an incredibly easy but effective idea.

Run all your bill payments through REDbird

REDbird

REDbird

REDbird lets you load up $5,000 per month – for free – using a points or miles credit card.

If you max that out for a year, that’s $60,000 run through a credit card.

My own personal example is my student loan. I’m so tired of it hanging over my head and I’m about ready to turn around and kick that sucker in the face – but I’m gonna get a free vacation out of it!

For roundness or whatever, let’s say you owe $50,000 to:

  • Student loans
  • Your car payment
  • A mortgage
  • Medical bills
  • Credit cards
  • Or any or company or even person

You can add any company as a payee on the REDbird website.

At the top of the site, hover over “Pay & Transfer” and a dropdown menu will appear.

Where to add payees

Where to add payees

From there, click “Add Payee” and get rockin’ and rollin’.

What you get out of it

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Confirmed: You can load REDbird at Target stores in New York

REDbird

Here at Out and Out, I had this idea to make February “Manufactured Spend Month.”

With the impending blizzard, and then frigid single digit temps on the horizon, I used this nearly 50-degree day to manufacture some spend ahead of schedule.

First, I went to CVS with my Chase British Airways Visa Signature and got $1,000 worth of PayPal My Cash cards. The transaction went through flawlessly. And later this evening, I will pay my first round of rent utilizing RadPad.

After CVS, I dared to face the Target at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, New York.

My heart was pounding as I went in. It’s perhaps the busiest Target store in the entire United States and some say one of the busiest in the Northern Hemisphere (Target does not officially publish their busiest locations), so I wasn’t sure what their stance would be on ol’ REDbird. Would it be par for the course or the one store where credit cards were NOT accepted for reloads?

My experience

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Confirmed: CVS accepts credit cards for PayPal My Cash reloads in NYC

I couldn’t wait until February to kick off Manufactured Spend Month: I just got back from CVS, where I successfully purchased two $500 PayPal My Cash reloads with my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard.

New York can be kind of a barren wasteland for manufactured spending, but today it was a gold mine. It was like the Vanilla Reload days all over again.

I walked into a CVS in East Midtown in Manhattan. The gift cards were on an endcap, prominently displayed, near the registers. I immediately saw the bounty.

cvs paypal my cash credit cards

PayPal My Cash cards at CVS

I grabbed two of them and walked to the register – there was no line (the joy of shopping mid-day on a week day). I pulled out my license and credit card. The cashier looked at them and asked to see both. She didn’t say anything like, “Cash only,” or “We don’t accept credit cards,” which I was kinda bracing for. Whew.

She scanned the reload cards, then my license (because with activation fees, the transaction was over $1,000). I was a little worried that Barclays would flag the transaction like they did when I got my temporary REDbird card last month, but the little signature screen popped up, I signed, and all was good to go.

It was SO EASY and took all of a minute. I walked in, checked out, and was done. It was JUST LIKE Vanilla Reloads in every regard, including the loading up (which I will get to in a sec).

Then, in Brooklyn…

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How to pay bills with PayPal My Cash + Business Debit Card + RadPad + Evolve Money

UPDATE 1/26/15: A few readers have reported that their PayPal Business Debit Cards no longer work with Evolve Money. Indeed, when I deleted the card and went to re-add it, I got this error message:

Evolve Money error message

Evolve Money error message

Apparently other users that added the card previous have been grandfathered in, but new users are not able to add the PayPal card as a new payment method. Major bummer. I have updated posted to reflect this. RadPad is still working great though!

UPDATE 2: Just got this email from Evolve Money:

Screenshot 2015-01-26 10.30.17

#deadinthewater

I’m going to dub February “Manufactured Spend Month” for Out and Out.

I still have the intention to make that data point about the REDbird (see link above), and I’ve been eyeballs deep in FT/Milepoint convos about it the past few days. All signs point to: it should work. I’ve been nervous about killing my Serve card only to find that it can’t be loaded in NYC – which is already kind of a barren wasteland for MS to begin with. If the Target in Brooklyn doesn’t let me load REDbird, the next closest Target is in Harlem, which is a bit far for me. But, positive vibes.

With the Serve card, I can reload $1,000 per month from my computer or phone without leaving home. With REDbird, I’d have to make at least two in-store visits per month. But I can reload 5 times more per month. And I won’t have to worry about cash advance fees, which means I am free to use any card I want (although I’ve heard US Bank is beasting about the reloads and flagging them all as fraud.)

With all of this in mind, and with all the other work I have going on, I have decided to make my data point in February and get one more round of loading out of the Serve card before I kill it. Hence February being declared MS Month.

Anyway, aside from REDbird, I started adding up the ingredients for an addendum to the madness. It could be another way to run an additional $4,000 of MS through credit cards and a great way to pay rent, student loans, and everyday bills, or to load Serve or REDbird.

Stop! HT time.

Before I get any further, I have to stop and do some HTs:

Finally, I thought I had coined the term “Perpetual Points Machine” (PPM). No. That would be Frequent Miler, who began using the term as early as 2011. It’s one of those terms that you read once or twice and it just gets stuck in your head. FM has lots and lot of great stuff about manufacturing spend, and I’m not surprised he is original user of this phrase.

PayPal My Cash Cards

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