FREE Miles At OfficeMax & Office Depot This Week

I tend to shop at Office Max and Office Depot quite a bit. I don’t really need many office supplies, but I do like their gift card racks! Usually I’m just buying rather boring gift cards to retailers that we tend to shop at anyway like Amazon, Home Depot, and the like.

My thinking is that by making the purchase using a credit card that earns multiple points per dollar at office supply stores, I’m earning more miles on our everyday purchases than I would otherwise.

Then because I live in one of their Everything Rewards test markets, I also get 2% back in store credit, even on gift cards. That’s pretty compelling, and if nothing more, caused me to shift my gift card purchasing away from Staples. All said and done, I’m effectively getting a 12% discount at Amazon, and for my family, that’s significant.

Well, this week OfficeMax and Office Depot are offering a potentially lucrative promotion on prepaid Visa gift cards.

giftcards

Cash Is On Sale!

This week you’ll get an instant $15 rebate when you buy $300 or more in Visa gift cards.

OMAX 15

I picked up two variable amount Visa gift cards today. These can be loaded with anything between $20 and $200. The fee for each card is $6.95.

I had the clerk put $200 on each card, and my total came to $413.90 before dropping to $398.90 after the instant rebate was applied. I just bought $400 for $398.90.

How many times do you want to do that deal?

Technically you are limited to two offers per person. I had my son and daughter along, so I picked up a few cards for them as well, and the sales associate couldn’t have cared less.

The offer runs from August 21 to August 27.

Plastiq To The Rescue

The big question with deals like this is what to actually do with the gift cards.

You could use them for everyday purchases, of course, but I find that inconvenient especially when trying to get every last cent off the card. Plus, there’s an opportunity cost since you won’t be putting spend on whatever credit card you would have otherwise used.

My solution of late has been to use Plastiq to pay our mortgage. I’ve been occasionally using them for about a year now and generally find their service to be good. A few months ago they managed to speed up their payment processing, which seemed to address one of the primary complaints folks had about them. In my case, they now say the payment will be delivered in 3-6 days, which seems reasonable enough.

As with anything that is convenient, there’s a fee, in this case 2.5%.

Calculating The Return

I purchased the gift cards with a card that earns five points per dollar spent at office supply stores. My $400 worth of Visa prepaid cards earned 2,000 points. I value those points at close to 2 cents each, so that’s $40.

Then I’ll earn 2% in the Everything Rewards program. (Note, this is still only available in limited markets, including Denver, Nashville, and maybe Dallas.)  So that’s another $8. Of course, I have to use that to buy stuff at Office Max — and it can’t be more gift cards — so maybe it’s not really worth $8 to me. But close enough.

officemax office depot rewards everything

Oh, and let’s not forget the $1.10 I made by buying $400 for $398.90! That brings my total to $40 + $8 + $1.10, or $49.10 for each set of gift cards.

I use them to pay my mortgage via Plastiq, it’ll cost me a 2.5% processing fee or $10.

Now my net return is $39.10. Still not bad.

Bottom Line

OfficeMax and Office Depot have a great deal this week on prepaid Visa gift cards. All you need to do is buy more than $300 and you’ll get a $15 instant rebate.

That’s like buying $400 for $398.90. If you have a good way to unload the cards, that can be a great deal.

Are you headed to OfficeMax or Office Depot this week?

Comments

  1. I bought 3 of the $200 cards in a single transaction and the system deducted $30 for a total of $590.85. That’s the most efficient way to take advantage of the offer.

  2. This make sense if you value your time negative and you found a car that runs on air.

    Plus as someone pointed out your house has to be a room to pay so little in mortgage.

    And finally most of the value you are getting are in points. It should be valued @ 1c/point or $20 because that is what your bank will pay you in cash (in fact not even that. I just redeemed some TYP points for 0.75c for statement credit.) Any other use like using it for flying first class etc etc is just rationalizing to the extreme.

    Like they say don’t pick up pennies in front of a steam roller.

  3. 3 x $200 cards = $600.00 – $30 = $590.85.

    Oh that’s nice……wait

    My math says 600 – 30 = 570. What’s really wrong with this pictchaa? That’s only a $9.15 discount.
    I’m sure someone will explain, but I probably won’t give a hoot to re-read this page.

  4. Using the last few cents is easy. I use them for every day spend and when they get under $5 I just make a custom payment to Verizon or Comcast where you can enter any dollar amount and zero out the cards.

  5. Do you just schedule multiple payments to the same payee? Have you had issues with your mortgage servicer not combining them for the payment?

  6. Several OD stores I went to this evening has started enforcing cash only for the $20-$200 Visa cards. A couple stores at lunch allowed credit card purchases but they seem to be cutting this off. Being forced to buy $100 fixed price Visa gift cards is only a break even deal, but not being able to buy the $20-$200 would be a loss.

  7. I find the easiest to cash out visa gift cards is to buy a Walmart moneyorder.
    If you have $200 giftcards simply ask the clerk to ring up $200 at a time. Your money order can be up to $799.30 with the 70 cents cost, your total comes to $800.
    Walmart can’t do more than 4 separate payments for any one moneyorder, so that is the max amount. The money order can be deposited to a checking account, just like a check.

  8. Too many deposits of money orders and your bank could shut down your checking account. Chase is very touchy about this due to money laundering laws, despite the fact your activity is legal.

  9. I didn’t mean to say that my mortgage was $400. We’ve decided to pay a little ahead on our principle, so that’s where these payments from Plastiq go. I just put “apply to principle” in the notes field and it usually works.

  10. You forgot to take into account the opportunity cost of not using credit card for Plastiq. At minimum, you could earn 2% with Citi double cashback. It might even possible to earn 3 TYP/$ with Citi ATT More.

  11. The 2 per customer is not enforced. Bought 5k already from different OD with Ink which got me 25K+ UR and made some money!

  12. plastiq lets you pay in $200 gift cards multiple times? you said you are also paying 2.5% fee using visa giftcard on plastiq? I thought there was no fee using plastiq with gift cards

  13. Marcos — haha, good point, I’d happily take a $400 mortgage. That said, I might be a little sad when it’s gone because then I won’t have this convenient sink to unload gift cards. (Just kidding.)

  14. I frequently buy $300 visa gift cards and staples and pay the 8.95 fee. So I get 1540 UR points for $8.95…little over a halph a cent per point…and use them to get 2…3…or more cents per point…usually with Hyatt cash plus points rates.

  15. I miss Target “RedBird”. I was doing this to the tune of $10,000/month last year on Chase Ink. My workplace was within 10 blocks of both Office Depot and Target so I got some exercise too.

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