Bluebird has again become very popular in points and miles circles for unloading debit based gift cards. To some that might come as a surprise, as Bluebird was supposed to be dead? Well not all shutdowns are permanent, and after a year or so, many programs seem to welcome customers back with open arms. Obviously that depends on the bank (and perhaps why the shutdown occurred in the first place), but with Bluebird, that appears to have been the case. Shutdown notices seemed to have started yesterday (5/21/19) and continue.
I used Bluebird and Serve in the past but it’s been years since I’ve last used the service. Recently I had some friends using it with success, so I opened a couple of accounts. It took less than 2 weeks to have my initial account to get shutdown, and reports of similar demise are on plentiful Reddit and other message boards. Besides the $500 VGC loads, I had a single bill pay to a credit card account. Optimism got hold of me and I was hoping that a bill pay, instead of directly transferring money out of Bluebird, would keep me under the shutdown radar. Negative ghostrider, pattern is full; optimism was not warranted, and I did not stay out of the shutdown sight line.
Load limits for Bluebird are the same as in the past, a maximum load of $2,500 per day and $10,000 per month. Having a Bluebird account has been nice to have an easy and expense free way to unload some debit based gift cards. I’m not sure how or why Amex decided to let previous banned individuals reopen new accounts, at any point. It seems kind of odd really. Social Security number is needed to open accounts, so it’s not like they don’t know who is opening accounts.
Bluebird and Serve are hourglass MS methods, as soon as you open an account the hourglass turns over and you have a certain amount of time before a shutdown. Are there people who have avoided Bluebird shutdown for years? Yes. However, those accounts are small percentage of the overall amount of accounts that have been shutdown. Could they be doing something to avoid shutdown? Did they find the secret sauce that somehow avoids the shutdown parameters? Possibly, but I’m not sure I have the patience or time to figure out what that might be. Anyway, even though it was basically inevitable, not great news.