- 1 Www.OneVIPCard.com – American Express Serve One VIP Card
- 2 ECSI Now Accepting Visa and American Express!
- 3 Scotiabank American Express Gold rewards card – My one month experience
Www.OneVIPCard.com – American Express Serve One VIP Card
If you’ve been looking for a reloadable prepaid card that you can continuously load money onto and use for spending consider the One VIP Serve Prepaid from American Express. It is a brand name card that is free to sign up for that affords cardholders many of the same uses as a typical credit card. You are not limited in what you purchase with this card except for the amount of money you have loaded.
As a benefit for becoming a cardholder members will be able to take advantage of Radio One VIP Loyalty Access. The loyalty access gives members special privileges to artists and concert events that may be taking place in the near future. They will have an opportunity to attend meet & greet sessions with artists, have special access to VIP lounges at local clubs, and premium VIP seating at concerts. There is a Radio One VIP mailing list that members can join to have all of the concerts and events that will be taking place in your area sent to you. This is the best way for you to find out about events and use your benefits.
Some of the other benefits of the American Express Serve card are free online bill pay. You will have online access to your account which one of the features inside your account is to pay your bills online. Paying online is a great way to save money and instantly send payments where they will reflect the same day versus purchasing envelopes/stamps and mailing your bills off to have your payment reflect in about 7 days. The online service is a fast and convenient way to manage your account and manage all of your transactions.
ECSI Now Accepting Visa and American Express!
I logged on today to make a student loan payment on ECSI and went directly to “make credit card payment.” Usually when I do this, I’m redirected to Official Payments , a site that allows you to make payments on everything ranging from taxes, to court fees, citations, and student loans. Official Payments only accepts MasterCard and tacks on a 4.95% “convenience fee.”
I always found this obnoxious, since I would only earn 1 point per $1, and this fee completely devalued any points I earned for my payments.
Not only is ECSI now cutting out the the middleman by allowing you to make payments directly, they have decreased their fees to 3% and are now accepting Visa and American Express!
That 3% fee might still seem like a hindrance, but I was able to offset this and earn more than the standard 1 point per $1 I was previously restricted to. Here’s how:
- Buy an American Express Prepaid Card (Note: Amex frequently offers a $25 bonus per $200 loaded on new cards, so I’d wait for that promo if you’re not in a rush)
- Buy Vanilla Reload cards at Office Depot, using your Ink Classic , Ink Bold , or Ink Plus Business Cards . Vanilla Reload cards have a $3.95 fee, but this is offset somewhat by purchasing them in $500 increments and using one of the Ink cards, which award 5 points per $1 at office supply stores.
- Load your Vanilla Reload card onto your American Express Prepaid.
- Make your student loan payments through ECSI using your American Express Prepaid card.
- Earn 5 points per $1 on your payment!
On a $500 payment, you’ll pay $15 in transaction fees, $3.95 for the Vanilla Reload card, and earning 2500 Ultimate Rewards points. The fees are offset with the $25 bonus from American Express, and you come ahead with $6!
If you were to do this without the $25 bonus from American Express, you’d be paying $18.95 in fees to accrue 2500 points. 2500 Ultimate Rewards points are worth $25 cash or $31.25 in free travel through Chase. You can get even more value by transferring those points to participating Ultimate Rewards partners.
While it isn’t ideal to be paying any kind of transaction fees, this is a good way to meet credit card spending requirements and earn points on a payment that you have to make every month anyways.
Do you know of a cheaper way to earn points on student loan payments? Share below!
Disclosure: I do not earn a referral for any of the credit card links in this post.
Scotiabank American Express Gold rewards card – My one month experience
A few months ago, I received a pre-approved American express gold reward card from Scotiabank with more than 45 000 bonus rewards points ($450 value) and no annual fee for first year, worth $99. At the same time, I received another credit card offer, Aeroplane via infinite, from TD bank with some bonus points.
After a short comparison analyst, I accepted the offer from Scotia Amex gold and received the card on May 10, 2014. So, today (June 11, 2014), after one month of use, is a good time to see whether I should keep the card or not.
I earned 48 100 points / $481 worth of travel credit with Amex
As of June 10, 2014, I earned 2600 ($26) points and I was given 15 500 bonus points (worth $155) for travel related purchases. Also, I will be getting another 30 000 ($300) rewards points when I make a minimum of $100 in travel-related purchase using the Amex card.
All together, I will have around 48 100 ($481) points that can be used to purchase any travel-related service any where I want.
Also, Scotia Gold American express card came packed with the following travel insurances: there are some terms and conditions to use them, but I didn’t read all the documents.
- Travel emergency medical insurance
- Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance
- Flight delay insurance
- Lost luggage and delayed luggage insurance
- Hotel/motel burglary insurance
- Rental car collision/loss damage insurance
- Common carrier travel accident insurance
Please note I haven’t yet used any of the above insurances, I will update the information if I use them.
I was a little disappointed with grocery spending
The pre-approval letter states “4 rewards points for every $1 spend at gas, grocery, dining and entertainment”, and I received 4x points for gas, dining/fast food and entertainment, but not for groceries.
I do most of my grocery shopping at Warlmart, Costco or No Frills/ Lablaws stores, but for Scotia Amex card Walmart and Costco stores are not considered as grocery, thus I earned only 1x point for the money I spent there. And, Lablaws chains don’t accept American express.
I won't go for other expensive stores to collect 4x points.
Not all stores accept Amex card
Here is the list of stores accept American express card:
- Tim Hortons (4x points)
- Domino’s pizza (4x points)
- McDonalds (4x points)
- Shell gas station (4x points)
- ESSO gas station (4x points)
- Pizza Pizza (4x points)
- Metro/ food basics (4x points)
- Wal-mart supercentre (1x point)
- Costco (1x point)
- Napolis Restaurant, Ottawa (4x points)
- The bay stores (1x point)
- Canadian tire store (1x point)
- Bath & bath works (1x point)
- Winners (1x point)
- Sears (1x point)
Hers is the list of stores didn’t accept the card when I tried to use it:
- Giant tiger
- Lablaws / No frills
- Some MacDonald in rural areas
I haven’t yet used the card in many other stores in Canada. I will try it and update these two lists accordingly.
My plan with the Scotia Amex card
I will use this card for a year or two, and if I can't get enough points to cover at least the annual fees of $99 per year, then I will cancel it; however, I have estimated that I can earn more than 30 000 points per year with my regular purchases like gas, groceries and other necessary stuffs.
What to do with 48 100 travel points? May be I will use them to go for a short vacation