How about a free $25 gift card? That is just the beginning. When you load a new Amex Prepaid Card from your checking account with $200 or more, they will send you a free $25 gift card 4-6 weeks after. While this by itself won’t get you around the world, this card can easily be the thing that does get you there with strategic use.
For those of you not familiar with prepaid credit cards, they are one time or reloadable cards that can be processed as a credit card. Since it is a prepaid card, there is no interest, no payments due, and no late payment or overlimit fees. You can spend the amount on the card and not more. This type of thing is great for people such as students who have *ahem* spending or budgeting problems and need a little more structure around their financial life. But this particular prepaid card has some unique funding methods and benefits that earns it a place in my wallet even though I have great credit.
First off, right now until August 31 they are offering a $25 gift card free for signing up for a card and funding it with $200 from your checking account. Lets use the example of groceries. You are probably going to spend $200 in groceries over the next month. So click on this link, and sign up for the prepaid card and load $200 onto it. They will mail you the card in about a week for that looks just like the one above and can be used wherever they take Amex, including your grocery store. There isn’t any tax since it is a giftcard and they mail it to you for free too! So then you spend the $200 that you were going to spend anyways using the new card. Then in 4-6 weeks from signup, you will get an extra $25 gift card in the mail. Boom! $25 that you didn’t have before you read this blog.
There are other reasons you might want to use this prepaid card instead of your debit card that you regularly use. Especially if you are currently rebuilding your credit and don’t have a good credit card that provides benefits. While this doesn’t have all the benefits that a full fledged benefits that a regular Amex such as the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex does, it does have two that definitely make it worth having, especially if you can’t qualify for the credit card version The first is purchase protection: Consider this scenario. You just bought a snazzy new digital camera for your trip you have planned by following my Easy Quarter Million. You forget the bags in your car and your car gets broken into and the camera is stolen! This prepaid Amex will reimburse you for accidentally damaged or stolen goods that you purchased using the card during the first 90 days after purchase. Awesome, right? The other great benefit is Roadside Assistance. For people who don’t want to pay for AAA or additional premium with their car insurance (which reminds me, I am currently paying for this and I don’t need to now!), this will cover towing for a broken down vehicle, changing tires, lockout service, gas if you run out, and jumpstarting for a dead battery. These are really rare and great to have on a prepaid card. That can save you hundreds of dollars per year if your car has problems often.
Now since this blog is about miles and travel, let me tell you the secret value in this prepaid card and how to get 5 points per dollar on all of your purchases! The Chase Ink Bold that I have reviewed in the past gives an amazing 5 points per dollar at Office Supply stores such as Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples. And at Office Depot, they sell the reload cards for this Amex Prepaid that are called Vanilla Reload cards and can be bought for up to $500 in value with a fixed low $3.95 fee.
Office Depot allows you to pay for these cards using your Ink Bold card! What this means is you can basically get 5X points on ALL of your spending by this method. For example, if you normally spend $1000 a month, now you can buy 2 $500 reload cards at Office Depot, load them onto your Amex Prepaid card then use that card for your day to day spending. Since you get 5X points, you will get 5000 Ultimate Reward points for the purchases at Office Depot. Over 12 months, you will end up with 60,000 Ultimate Reward points that you could transfer to United for a round trip ticket to Europe! If you spend more than $1000 a month then the amounts go up even more! If you use your Ink Bold in this way make sure you also put some other spending on that card so 100% of your spending isn’t at Office Depot and you don’t get unwanted attention from Chase. I personally have been doing this for several months in varying amounts from $1000 to $2500 and haven’t had any problems. There are limits on loading the Amex Prepaid card of $1000 per day and no more than $2500 in any 30 day period. The last really great thing about this card is you can take funds from it at an ATM! Amex gives you one free withdrawal per month and it is $2 for each one after that (although the ATM you use may charge their own fee). When you combine this with reloading using your Ink Bold at Office Depot, it really becomes a point generating machine!
So what are you waiting for, sign up for your Amex Prepaid and a Free $25 Giftcard now! Feel free to post any questions or comments in the comments section and I will try to answer them for you.