Here is an excerpt from a blog post I did back in May, right after Redbird stopped allowing credit card loads. I think it is apropos today, as it looks like Redbird is not allowing loads by debit card either. Viva La Bluebird!
Both the Tortoise and the Hare had been using Bluebird for several years to help them meet their minimum spends on their credit cards. As time went by, they got several Bluebirds (one for Mom, one for spouse, etc.) so that they could put more spend on their credit cards and earn even more miles and points via manufactured spending. They spent many tiring but fruitful hours at WalMart feeding Bluebird.
One day the Hare learned about Redbird. Redbird was great because you could skip a step in the process and load it directly with a credit card for no fee. And you could load it at Target. The Hare liked this because he didn’t like mixing with the salt of the earth at WalMart.
The Hare had to overcome two problems with the fancy new Redbird. The first was that the card was not available in his area. So he bought one on EBay. The second problem was that he couldn’t have both Bluebird and Redbird because they are both run by American Express. So he cancelled his Bluebird and ran money through his Redbird at the fashionable Target.
The Tortoise also couldn’t get Redbird in his area so he decided to stick with Bluebird even though he had “the extra step.” He was slow moving and resistant to change by temperament, and he had also gotten burned by recent shutdowns, such as the First Tennessee Fast Funds prepaid card. He figured that he would wait awhile before switching over to Redbird to make sure it stuck around. Even though the wonderful Amazon Payments was eventually shut down, he used it reliably for years to generate many miles and points.
Well, we know how the story ends. After six months of glamorous manufactured spend on his credit cards with Redbird, the Hare was stopped in his tracks. As of yesterday no more credit card loads to Redbird. Now he must find out if he can use the card like he used his old Bluebird, or convert the Redbird back to a Bluebird and continue on the same path as the Tortoise. Is it back to Square One for the Hare?
Of course, you may have guessed that I am the Tortoise in this story. The ability to load funds to Bluebird and cash out with billpay, checks, or money orders is critical to my modus operandi. When Redbird came out I was envious of those using it out of the gate to load directly from a credit card, but I resisted changing because I didn’t want to mess with the one sure thing in my system. I hope that my Hare colleagues will still be able to use Redbird for their needs within the new constraints.
Update Oct. 13, 2015. Now even debit card loads are not working. Hopefully we can still depend on Bluebird for our debit card loads for awhile yet!