Month: March 2015

Restrictions of Redbird Reloads


I experienced some difficulties with redbird reloads at my local Target stores. The closest store from my home started not accepting credit cards and prepaid cards as payment for a redbird reload yesterday. And today, I went to the other store. They don’t accept prepaid cards, but still accept credit cards.

Details at store#1

It’s the store I go the most frequently because it is the closest from my home. Until yesterday, they accepted any type of payment methods for redbird reload. A reload is available at guest service only. I visited yesterday and tried to use a Visa gift card for reload. A clerk asked me to hand my ID and the cards and started asking other clerks if VGC can be used for a reload. There were three clerks at that time, and apparently a manager was absent. They discussed for a minute and ended up with opening a file (=a manual.) And then, it came to conclusion that acceptable payment types were cash or debit only, no prepaid cards. I could glance at a page of the file. There was a big letter saying “NO CREDIT.” It seems that they just started new policy on that day. I didn’t carry any debit cards. So, I had to leave the store without loading.

Details at store#2

Today, I went to the other store. This store also used to accept any types of payment for reload, but now they don’t accept prepaid cards. I went to Guest service and asked a clerk to add $500 to the card. Then, the clerk called a manager. Probably, only a manager or some clerks allow to do a reload in this store. (it wasn’t like that before, though.) I handed to the cards (redbird and VGC) and my ID. Then, she told me that the card has to have my name on it while she was touching on a surface of VGC. At least, I could use my credit card in this store. And I’m not sure if personalized Amex GCs are accepted. Amex GCs are very convenient when it comes to redbird reloads. That’s because they never get declined. You can always add a maximum amount, $1000, without worrying about a fraud alert. So, when I get a personalized Amex GC, I will go and find out if they still accept it.

Rules vary by stores

I have reloaded at many stores. Each store has a different policy about redbird reloads. Some stores allows only one reload per day. Probably, this prevents people who has multiple (family member’s or friend’s) redbirds from loading all at once. And some store had already had “Cash or Debit” policy since last December. (I got redbird last December.) As long as I can tell, the policy is not standardized. I believe that there still are many stores still accept VGCs.

Switch back to Amex Serve

If all stores accept only cash or debit, I will close rebird and open Serve again. (even if stores accept prepaid cards.) I used to have Amex Serve. It was very comfortable to load the card at Walmart ATM, without having it done by clerks.


I believe the rules of redbird reloads are changing at more stores and getting stricter in the future. As long as any of my local stores accept credit cards, I keep a redbird.

Stop&Shop Promo 2X Gas Reward for Visa GC purchases


This week (3/20-3/26), Stop and Shop supermarkets has a promotion of gas reward. You can earn 2X gas reward point on Visa gift card purchases.

s&s gas reward promo on vgc

Basic of Stop&Shop Gas Reward Program

Save 10 cents per gallon for every 100 points. You can earn 1 point for every dollar spent at Stop&Stop. Points will expire in 30 days. It’s redeemable at Shell gas station, up to $2.20/gal discount for a single fill-up (limited to 35 gallons.)

Details of the promo

S&S occasionally has a promotion on VGCs purchases. This time, it’s only 2X gas reward point. Last year, there was 5X and then 4X and then 3X. It’s getting lower and lower, but it’s still a good deal. You should look for $25-$500 variable VGCs and load max $500. A purchase fee of variable VGCs is $5.95. If you find a store that allows to pay with your reward credit cards, it’s much better. $500 VGC purchase gives you roughly 1000 pts (=$1/gal, up to $35 saving.)


S&S gas reward is more valuable than it used to be. That’s because gas prices recently got lowered. Regular Unleaded is around $2.49 in my neighborhood. So, maximum redemption ($2.20/gal) almost covers most of gas expense. If you have Amex Bluebird/Serve/REDcard, you can easily liquidate VGCs. I plan to buy 4 VGCs during this promotion. Please remember that points will expire in 30 days. So, consider how much gas you need for the next 30 days and don’t buy more VGCs than you need.

400 TRG VGC Online

Recently, $200 VGCs are spotted in my local stores. And I have seen only one $400 VGC once. TRG VGC’s denominations are $25, 50, 100, 200, and 400. Purchase fees of $100, $200, and $400 are the same, $6. If I buy $400 VGC with my 2% cash back credit card (Citi Double Cash), I would earn a slight profit. It’s only $2.12.

However, Double cash tends to decline large purchases. I used to use the card for redbird reloads, and there used to be no problem if the amount was less than $250. But now, it declines even $200 reload. So, I came to conclusion that $2.12 profit was not worth a try. And I put back $400 VGC in a shelf and left the store. (I put it back all the behind of the other gift cards to hide just in case I change my mind or want to see it again, etc.)

Days later, I checked website and found $200 and $400 VGCs available. Surprisingly, 5% discount is applied on this purchase. I checked out three $400 VGCs with redbird. The total is $1157.10. In an hour, I received a confirmation email. I’m waiting for the next email for shipping.

TRG VGCs have the same feature as Vanilla VGCs. You can’t register your name and address. All you can do is assign ZIP code. I have used Vanilla VGC for redbird reload once. So, TRG VGCs can also be used as long as stores allow reloads with prepaid cards.

I don’t know how long this deal continues, but TRG MCGCs 5% discount is still going since November, 2014. (You can make a profit with MCGCs because the highest denomination is $100.)  I hope it continues for a long time as well.

Updated 04/06/2015

5% off deal seems to be ended. Last weekend, $400 and $200 VGC was both sold out in the website. And today, I found they were available. I tried to check out, but I noticed 5% discount wasn’t applied. I checked MCGC and found out that they were also no discount. I bought seven $400 VGC during this promo (or error?) I was a little too optimistic that this promo would continue much longer because MCGC had been continuing for months. I should have bought more.


$10 Statement Credit PayPal Extras MasterCard Offer thru 3/27


New offer from PayPal Credit Services (PayPal Extras MasterCard) is available. You can earn a $10 statement credit for making PPEMC your preferred way to pay with PayPal by March 27th, 2015.

paypal extras mastercard 10 dollar statement credit offer

Just “Preferred.”

Even after you make PPEMC your preferred way, you can still choose other payment methods. I purchase AmEx gift cards regularly. And every time I receive them, the first thing to do is register and add to my PayPal account, so I can spend down for eBay purchases, shipping for items I sold on eBay, and other PayPal transactions.

How to change a preferred way

Log in to your PayPal account and go to PPEMC summary page. Click “Update account preferences.” Then click “change” under Checkout Preference, and you can choose between PPEMC and “balance, bank, or card.” Click “save changes” and then it’s all done. However, in order to qualify for this offer, I think it’s better to click a link in the email. After clicking a link, you will see a PayPal login page. After typing a password, you will see this page (image below.)

already qualified for the offer

What if it’s already been a preferred way?

Actually, my preferred way had been PPEMC. Even so, I clicked a link in the email and then showed the same page. I clicked three times after that, and it still took me to the same page. So, it probably doesn’t matter which your preferred way was. But you need to click a link in the email to qualify for this offer.


Offers of statement credit are better than ones with extra reward points. That’s because PPEMC reward points are limited to 50000 pts per year. Just clicking a link and earning $10 is nice and easy. And remember, usually, PayPal doesn’t send a confirmation email. So, you will need to check the statement to see if the credit will be posted.

Promotions from Fuel Rewards Network thru 5/31

promotion from fuel rewards network


New promotion from Fuel Rewards Network has started. Using linked your MasterCard debit or credit cards at participating sporting goods stores or home & garden stores earn 5¢/gal for every $100 spent. The promotion ends on May 31st.

How much is the reward worth?

You can redeem the reward for a single fill-up, up to 20 gallons. Thus, 5¢/gal can save up to $1.00. So, it’s like 1% cash back.

Participating stores

You can check participating stores in your area in FRN website. I checked my area and found Home Depot is a participating home&garden store, however, Lowe’s is not. As for sporting goods stores, Sports Authority and Modell’s are participating. And, there are many local stores on the map in either home&garden or sporting goods category.

Online purchases are also eligible as long as Merchant Category Code matches. MCC of MasterCard is mostly the same as the one of Visa. You can look up in Visa Supplier Locator.

How to link MasterCard

Go to and login to your account. Then click “my card” at the top right corner. Click “ADD CARD” in CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS section. You can link up to 5 credit or debit cards. You can also link Visa and Amex cards, but purchases made with linked Visa or Amex cards are not eligible for this promotion.

How to find participating stores near you


Go to a page of a map by clicking “All Locations” in drop-down under shop & earn. Opt out Dining, Shell Fuel Rewards, and Fuel Stations. Participating stores are pinned on the map. Hover a cursor to see a name of a store. Click a pin to see the details of the store.

finding participating stores for frn promo

Compared to the previous promotions

A big disappointment is that a reward is only 5¢/gal for every $100 spent. The previous promo was 20¢/gal for every $100 spent at Toys R Us, Olive Garden, and JCPenny. Thanks to this promo, I got to know that Toys R Us are selling eBay gift cards. I bought many eBay GCs during this promotion and earned the reward.

There was another promotion at the same time. That was 5¢/gal for every $100 spent at electronics stores. I bought VisaGCs at Best Buy. VisaGCs charge $5.95 as a purchase fee, but it’s covered by credit card’s reward and Best Buy’s reward. These previous promotions worked great for me.

How to earn the reward efficiently

However, I can’t come up with ways to earn the rewards efficiently with the current promotion. I will check a selection of GCs at Home Depot. I might find a useful GC for me, as I found eBay GCs at Toys R Us with the previous promotion. That’s it. I won’t go crazy about this promotion.

Besides, gas prices dropped recently. In my area, regular is around $2.40. The price is good for Stop & Shop gas reward. S&S gas reward is much easier for me to earn than FRN reward. One of demerit of S&S gas reward is that redemption is limited to $2.20. However, now that the gas price is as close as $2.20, just earn an easy S&S reward. There is no reason to make an effort to earn FRN reward.


5¢/gal for every $100 spent at home&garden or sporting goods stores. 5¢/gal is equivalent to $1.00. It’s like 1% cash back. If you regularly purchase at participating stores, this promotions works positively for you. Otherwise, this promo is not worth very much.

PayPal Extras MasterCard Statement Credit Offer thru Mar 16th

In March, PayPal Extras MasterCard has another special offer. It’s $20 back in statement credit when you spend $50 or more with PayPal Extras MasterCard by March 16th, 2015. Limit one statement credit per card.

20 back on 50 paypal extras

It doesn’t say that transactions through PayPal are excluded. So, eBay purchase must be eligible.

But first, you will need to activate the offer by clicking a link in the email.

paypal extras offer activation

PP Extras offers these types of special offers at random. Unlike Amex Offers, a period for offers is short. And, you don’t know if you redeemed the offer correctly until you actually receive the credit or extra reward points, which takes one statement cycle or two. (They don’t send a confirmation email when you use the card.)

Last year, I had many special offers and redeemed them. However, because I didn’t keep a record of them, I am not sure if I received all the credit or reward. So, this year, I decided to keep it here, on this blog.

Several days ago, I received two statement credits for other offers. One is for this offer, and the other is for the offer from last year. I checked my emails, but they didn’t send any emails to notify me of having posted the statement credit. So, it’s important to keep a record in case you don’t receive the reward.

paypal extras mastercard statement credit

What’s better than Amex Offer

Rate – On average, the rate of reward of PayPal’s offers are better than Amex Offers. For example, the offer I just received is $20 back for $50 spent. It’s 40% back!

Easy to redeem – PayPal’s offers don’t specify stores to purchase. It has only minimum spend requirement. Please note that some offers exclude purchases through PayPal. But either way, it’s easier to redeem than Amex Offers.

What’s worse than Amex Offer

Numbers of offers – PayPal’s offers are much, much less than Amex Offers.

A period for offers – On average, it’s much shorter than Amex Offers. And, the only way to know new offers is to read emails. If you missed them, it’s more likely to lose opportunities to redeem the offers (because of a shorter periods of time.)

No confirmation emails – Both PayPal’s and Amex Offers need to active by clicking a link before you use the cards. After that, you don’t receive any emails from PayPal about that offer. Amex sends you a confirmation email right after you use the card. (If a reward of PayPal’s offer is an e-gift card, they send you email a few months later.)


Since PP Extras‘ offers don’t specify stores to make a purchase, anyone can redeem for sure. It’s important to check emails periodically in order not to miss the opportunity.