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.
Cash Is On Sale!
This week you’ll get an instant $15 rebate when you buy $300 or more in Visa gift cards.
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.
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.
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?