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FrequentMiler has done an awesome job covering American Express’ new REDcard, aka REDbird, these past few weeks. He’s basically been the guinea pig for this new card, which has turned him into an expert on REDbird. If you want to check out his posts on this subject, you can do that here. The purpose of this post is to supplement his posts and hopefully provide you with new insight into REDcard.
REDcard is a prepaid product offered by American Express, that works on the same system as Serve and Bluebird. It offers a lot of great features for the “bankless” and the manufactured spending junkies likely reading this blog.
It’s not the holy grail of the MS world and it’s not the best way to manufacture spend. It’s simply a new tool that can be used to enhance your points and miles toolkit. The only problem is that you can only have one out of the
There are virtually no fees associated with REDcard, which is a beautiful thing. There are, however, certain limits that keep the MS community in check, which is not surprising considering that this card is just like Bluebird and Serve. Here are the notable limits of this card:
There are other limits to this card, but none that really make a difference to your MS schedule. You can view the full list here.
What makes this prepaid card so intriguing is the amount of options you have. You can load it with a credit card, a debit card, a gift card (Visa, Mastercard, Amex), or a prepaid card, the only limitation you have is that you cannot load it with a Target gift card. The other Amex cards can only be loaded with certain debit cards, gift cards, and prepaid cards, because those stores (e.g. Walmart, Family Dollar) do not allow credit cards loads.
Why do credit card loads matter? Because, it gives you the ability to finish a minimum spending requirement without any fees. If a card only earns 1X, it’s best to finish the requirement with no fees. Loading REDcard isn’t the only option for fee-free manufactured spending, but it’s one of the easiest. Not to mention that you can load $1,000 at a time, where as at other stores it has to be in $500 intervals.
Unloading with REDcard is the same as with it’s siblings. You can bill pay yourself a check, bill pay your credit cards, transfer money to your bank, and/or withdraw cash at an ATM. The possibilities are endless. I, personally, prefer to bill pay my credit cards, since it completes the circle (i.e. CC > REDcard > CC).
There are four main options when choosing what Amex prepaid product to sign-up for: Serve, Serve with Softcard, Bluebird, and REDcard. Here’s how they compare:
|Loadable Stores||Walmart, CVS (cash), Family Dollar, 7-11 (cash)||Walmart, CVS (cash), Family Dollar, 7-11 (cash)||Walmart||Target|
|Loadable With CC In-Store?||No||No||No||Yes|
|Online Debit Load Limits||$1,000||$1,500||$1,000||$1,000|
|Online Credit Load Limits||$1,000||$1,500||N/A||N/A|
|Amex Offers Eligible||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Max Amount Per Load||$500||$500||$500||$1,000|
|Monthly Fee||$1 (Waived if $500 is loaded per month)||$0||$0||$0|
|Other Perks||None||Misc Deals (e.g. $1 back per trans until 12/31)||Walmart Deals||5% Off at Target|
That entirely depends on you. Do you want the ease of loading your card with a credit card (REDcard) or would you prefer to go to Walmart to load your card (Serve/Bluebird)? Do you want to use checks with your card (Bluebird) or do you want the extra $1,500 worth of free MS (Serve with Softcard)? It’s completely up to you and your preferences.
I would prefer to use Serve with Softcard because of the extra $1.5k of MS, but my phone does not support it. So, I went with my second choice of REDcard, because I live very close to 3 Targets.
If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment below.