10% off everything and 7% off everything else


As I reported yesterday, it is now possible to get 10% cash back when buying OfficeMax gift cards.  The trick is to use an American Express business credit card with OPEN Savings.  The OPEN Savings program automatically gives 10% back for online OfficeMax purchases of more than $250.

I also reported yesterday that it is possible to upgrade OfficeMax gift cards in-store by using them to buy other gift cards.  For example, I had no problem at all using a $25 OfficeMax gift card to buy a $25 Amazon gift card.  Whether this works at your local OfficeMax may depend upon store policies and individual teller assumptions. 

So, to get 10% off almost anything, the trick is to buy more than $250 worth of OfficeMax gift cards online, pay with your business Amex, and then use the OfficeMax gift cards to get what you really want.

What can I get for 10% off?

At my local OfficeMax, here are a few of the gift cards I found:

  • Travel: Southwest Airlines
  • Booksellers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
  • Hardware: Home Depot, Lowes
  • Department stores: Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Macy’s, JC Penney, …
  • Food: Starbucks, PF Changs, Red Lobster, …
  • Movies: AMC, Regal
  • Miscellaneous: iTunes, ToysRUs, PetSmart, Various phone reload cards (unlike merchant gift cards, these will likely incur sales tax), …

To see the full selection, take a look at the photos below.

7% off everything else

My next OfficeMax experiment will be to try to buy a $200 Visa gift card with OfficeMax gift cards.  The $200 Visa gift cards sell at OfficeMax for $206.96.  If the gift card trick works, my final cost will be almost 7% less:

  • Purchase price: $206.95
  • 10% of $206.95 = $20.70
  • Final cost: $206.95 – $20.70 = $186.25
  • Discount: 6.875%

The discount when buying Visa gift cards this way is just shy of 7%.  That’s a fantastic savings for a card that can be used almost anywhere!  Let’s hope this experiment works!

2012-07-09 12.57.292012-07-09 12.57.14

2012-07-09 12.57.48


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Lee: I’ve never had a problem with that, but I know many people have. One thing I’ve noticed is that OfficeMax employees have been particularly taught that OfficeMax rewards can’t be used to buy gift cards. I think that some of them assume that’s true for OfficeMax gift cards as well.


Hi Miler, any recent updates on upgrading OM GCs in store?

My first experiment today: tried to purchase Amazon GCs in store with a OM GC, and was turned down. Politely asked the cashier to give it try, but she refused to and said I could not buy GCs with GCs…


FM: If i went through topcashback then choose officemax, do i still get the 10% from OPEN?


CHRIS: Yes, but TCB probably won’t give you cash back if you buy gift cards from OfficeMax.

[…] buy these MasterCard gift cards.  They suggested buying an OfficeMax gift card at 10% off (via this trick) and then using it to buy the MasterCard gift cards.  Unfortunately, not all OfficeMax stores […]


Yeah my previous comment was with merchandise credit, not OM GCs. Didn’t realize they would treat them differently. Great news if OM GCs still work for Visa GCs.


I am fortunate to have a store (or at least an employee at a store) who was willing to try to ring up VISA and amazon GCs and pay with an OM gift card (ordered for 10% + 5% off with an amex simply cash card), which of course works. He was certain that a merchandise credit would not work, but tried it anyway, and sure enough it didn’t.

So now, I have a good source for 11.5% cash back on VISA GCs and 15% back on Amazon GCs.

Are Serve and amazon payments still the best (or only) method for effectively draining the VISA GCs for free? I can’t do it with a bluebird account, right?

I guess if I want to push it, I could always use a 3% service. Can one load to paypal and withdraw, or would I need someone to send the money to? Or would you recommend getting a paypal or square card reader?


Adam: Yes, Amazon and Serve are the best options for cashing out bank gift cards for free. A good, low cost option is the Target Amex. Load up for $3 per $1000 using bank gift cards and then cash out at ATMs. See this post: https://frequentmiler.com/2012/10/30/using-the-target-amex-card-to-run-up-spend/


rob: Thanks for the heads-up. That’s a shame!


Been to the 3 closest OM’s in my area, and it seems they no longer will let you buy Visa GC’s using OM GC’s. Cashier doesn’t stop me, but register blocks the transaction. Used to work at these locations until a few weeks ago.


Chris F: Thanks. That explains why I didn’t get any cash back with my Delta business Amex

Chris F.

It looks like this update alerting cardholders of the OPEN savings changes is specific to certain cards. I went back and looked at the past 4 months of my SPG Amex statements and there was no indication of an Office Max retail change for OPEN Savings. In November, interestingly, I did see the same notice about Hyatt’s terms changing on January 15 — just nothing about Office Max.

I wish I had looked into this before jumping on 5 $200 cards over the past week…


in light of today’s (12/11/12) blog post. I’ve been hearing rumors that some OfficeMax stores have been denying purchases of any GC with a GC citing unpublished store policy.
Anyone else experiencing that?


Chris: I had the same problem – bought items(!) for more than $1K, got only 5% back. I sent SM to AMEX and they confirmed 10% credit and manually credited the rest.


I’ve been making purchases in Office Max stores the past few weeks and for purchases over $250 I’ve been getting only 5% back from OPEN Savings. If you secure message them after that posts and tell them that it should be 10% referencing the OPEN Savings website and the note in the statement which says in bold (as already shown by Sergey)
“As January 15, 2013, the OPEN Savings OfficeMax discount will no longer apply at retail locations.”
they’ll manually give you a credit for the other 5% after a message or 2 back and forth. So you’ll get the full 10% off $250+ purchases at retail stores but it won’t be automatic. It’s annoying but 10% is pretty darn good.


Chris: Even 5% is really good for in-store purchases! I really didn’t think they were giving even that anymore.


Sergey: I don’t think there is a cap.


FM: Do you know if there is a cap for OfficeMax credits from OPEN Savings program? I see that there is a limit for Hyatt and Marriott rebates, but don’t see such limit for OfficeMax.