That took a lot of the luster off the card, but at least you are still able to load gift cards to it.
Promotions like the current Office Max and Office Depot deal make this very lucrative. While Visa gift cards normally carry fees, they are actually sold below face value when they have promotions like this.
Loading $10,000 on gift cards onto 2 REDcards in 2 days is a quick 50,000 miles when you buy those gift cards on an Ink card earning 5 points per dollar. Of course if you and your spouse did that spending on 2 new Chase Ink Plus cards that would mean 170,000 points with the current limited time offer for the cards that runs until 05/25.
Loading the gift cards onto REDcard isn’t a major pain because you can load them all in one transaction.
If you have 5 of the $200 Visa gift cards from Office Max just give your REDcard to the Target cashier and ask to load $1,000 from your debit card. Then swipe one of the gift cards (which function just like a debit card) and enter the last 4 digits of the card number as the PIN code. The machine will then ask you if you want to load the full amount from that card. Just select no and tell the cashier that you want to load $200 from the card. Do the same thing with the rest of your gift cards until you get to $1,000.
The funding limits are the same as with a credit card, $1,000 per transaction, $2,500 per day, $5,000 per month per REDcard.
Even without a gift card promotion it’s still worth paying for gift cards. You can buy $200 Visa gift cards online from Staples for $206.95. Buying 1,035 miles for a $6.95 is still a ridiculously good deal. That like paying $200 for a lie-flat business class seat nonstop from Newark to Hawaii (30K Singapore miles to fly on United at a cost of 0.67 cents per mile), $200 for a night at normally $1,500/night Park Hyatt hotels from Sydney to the Maldives, or $384 for a Singapore suite from JFK to Frankfurt.
So REDcard still works fine for my purposes. However Serve does has advantages over REDcard.
The biggest one is that Serve comes with 4 additional users and each qualify for AMEX Offers and Small Business Saturday.
Serve can also be loaded via gift cards at WalMart ATM machines, but those machines are often permanently down in many Walmart stores.
You can also load $1,000 from AMEX cards onto Serve online. You don’t earn miles for AMEX issued cards, but the spending does count towards meeting the threshold for signup bonuses. There are also non AMEX-issued AMEX cards, like the Citibank American Airlines AMEX that would earn miles for online loads to Serve.
The major advantage of REDcard over Serve for me is that Target employees are happy to load my giftcards onto REDcard. At Walmart they make it seem like I’m a criminal for doing so.
REDcard can also accept loads from Mastercard and Vanilla Visa gift cards that are difficult to load to Serve.
So for now I’ll stick with REDcard. But when my local Target stores decide to disallow gift card funding I’ll make the switch without a doubt.