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UPDATE: This is no longer available.
Loading your credit card at Target to your REDCard has been a very hot topic in the points and miles world. This is because you can load up to $5,000 per month ($2,500 per day and $1,000 per load) to your REDCard. And the best thing is that you can use your credit card to do this thus earning points and miles! You can then use your Target REDCard as a regular debit card, to shop at Target (and get a 5% discount), or most importantly pay bills! For paying bills, this means you can pay any bill or person – even your credit card bill that you used to load the card!
This is one of the best cards as the only fee is the initial cost to purchase the card which is $5. It is a one time fee and that is it! The main downside of this card is that purchasing the temporary card is not available everywhere. Only select stores cary it unfortunately (you can check here). Although, if you have a friend that lives near another store, they are able to purchase one for you by entering your Social Security number when purchasing the card (or a fake SS #) and you can change it when you register the card online. There is no hard pull like applying for a credit card when purchasing this card. Even if a store does not sell the card, you can still load the card at that store. Some stores, however, you can only load the card at customer service and not a check out register.
I promise I will dedicate an entire post to an overview of the Target REDCard later this week.
So now the question, and the real purpose of this blog post is, “What credit card to use to loading your Target REDCard?” For the purpose of this post, I’ll assume the max load of $5,000 a month. Remember, you can pay your rent, mortgage, credit card bills, a friend, car payments, etc.
So which card is best?
This really depends on the person and what they are looking for. Are you trying to meet minimum spend? Do you fly one airline or stay at one hotel over another? Do you prefer the flexibility of using a fixed redemption program, etc.I personally find the load process at Target to sometimes be quite annoying. Typically it gets flagged as fraud so a phone call to the bank is required. However, I find American Express to be much better to deal with than Chase. With American Express you can immediately accept the charges on the American Express app and no call to the bank is required. This is one reason I use an American Express card (specifically my Starwood American Express) over Chase. There are times you might need to use a card to meet minimum spend requirements.
You then need to consider if you are more interested in maximize your miles or the perks of spending $X in a year. For example, using your Southwest credit card clearly will not get you the most value, however, if you are looking to earn that companion pass, this additional spend could be a great way to get there and outweigh the points earned on a different card where you might get a better value. Another example is getting a free Hilton weekend night just by spending $10,000 on your Hilton Reserve card. While Hilton has really devalued their points recently and I’d prefer earning a third of the points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, a free night certificate could be well worth it. If you are slightly shy of your desired airline status, you can spend the required amount to earn those miles towards status.
If the perks are not part of your decision making factor and you are interested in earning airline miles, hotel points, or points in a flexible program where you can redeem at hotels/airlines, I’d personally suggest using the Starwood American Express, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or British Airways. As I mentioned above, I personally use my Starwood American Express for a few reasons: 1) It is an Amex so much easy to avoid calling the fraud department after every purchase (at least based on my experience), 2) The points are deposited to your Starwood account on a monthly basis so if the bank looks into these purchases and for whatever reason decides to close your account your points are not with the bank directly (i.e., Chase Ultimate Rewards), 3) Starwood points are awesome! 4) Starwood has an extremely flexible program where you can transfer to many airlines at a 1:1 ratio and get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred (i.e., American and Delta, NOT United though!).
The chart above can also be used in any application, not just loading their Target REDCard, but for anyone who has high credit card spend for whatever reason and wondering what card to use. Although keep in mind that they do not take into consideration bonus spend, for example, many cards give double points at hotels, travel, dining, etc.
If you want to learn more about this specifics of many of the cards listed above, along with the sign up bonus and other perks, take a look at the Promotions and Credit Card page. Let me know if you have any questions!
Which card do you use to load your Target REDCard?