(EXPIRED) Easy 5x: Fee-free Visa Gift Cards at Staples

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Get your office supply bonus cards out. After a one-month transition to $5 off, Staples is once again offering fee-free Visa Gift Cards starting Sunday, May 8th and going through May14th.

The Deal

  • Staples will waive the $6.95 activation fee when you buy a $200 Visa Gift Card from 5/8/22 to 5/14/22.
  • These are Meta bank-issued Visa cards that have become increasingly difficult for some to liquidate. Make sure you know what you’re going to do with them before you buy.

Key Terms

  • Limit 5 per customer per day
  • Some stores will allow you to purchase more on multiple transactions (YMMV)
  • In-store only

Quick Thoughts

This can be an easy point-generator for Ink Cash or Ink Plus cardholders (note that the Ink Plus is no longer available to new applicants).

In my case, my wife and I have 4 Ink Cash’s between us, so if we were going to a store, we could each pick up 5 fee-free $200 gift cards per store per day, earning 10K Ultimate Rewards in the process ($2000 in gift cards x 5 = 10,000 points). At some stores, they will allow us to buy $2K each by putting $1000 on each card, for a total of 20,000 Ultimate Rewards in one shot.

If you don’t have a Chase Ink Cash, see this post about why it’s my favorite no-annual fee card.

Overall, this is an easy way to generate some points without cost on this end of the deal if you’re going to Staples, remember that it’s in-store only.

You can see the full list of current Visa and Mastercard gift card deals here.

Other times this deal has run recently at Staples:

Fee-free Visa Gift Cards

  • 2/27/22 to 3/5/22
  • 1/16/22 to 1/22/22
  • 12/12/21 to 12/18/21
  • 10/31/21 to 11/13/21
  • 10/17/21 to 10/23/21
  • 9/26/21-10/2/21
  • 9/5/21 to 9/11/21
  • 8/8/21 to 8/14/21
  • 7/11/21 to 7/17/21
  • 6/13/21 to 6/19/21
  • 5/9/21 to 5/15/21
  • 2/28/21 to 3/6/21
  • 1/17/21-1/23/21
  • 12/26/20-1/2/21
  • 12/6/20-12/12/20
  • 11/8/20-11/14/20
  • 10/18/20-10/24/20
  • 10/11/20-10/17/20
  • 8/30/20-9/5/20
  • 8/2/20-8/8/20
  • 7/5/20 – 7/11/20
  • 6/7/20 – 6/13/20
  • 2/23/20 – 2/29/20
  • 1/12/20-1/19/20
  • 12/15/19-12/21/19
  • 11/3/19 – 11/16/19
  • 9/28/19-10/5/19
  • 9/1/19 = 9/7/19
  • 8/4/19 – 8/10/19
  • 6/30/19-7/6/19
  • 5/5/19-5/11/19
  • 1/13/19 – 1/19/19
  • 11/11/18-11/17/18

Fee-free Mastercard Gift Cards

  • 11/14/21 to 11/20/21
  • 10/10/21 to 10/16/21
  • 8/22/21-8/28/21
  • 6/27/21-7/3/21
  • 4/25/21-5/1/21
  • 10/25/20-10/31/20
  • 7/19/20 – 7/25/20
  • 3/22/20 – 3/28/20
  • 1/22/20 (online-only $100 cards)
  • 12/1/19-12/7/19
  • 10/20/19-10/26/19
  • 7/21/19-7/27/19
  • 4/21/19-4/27/19
  • 3/24/19-3/30/19

H/T: GC Galore

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Hombre

I can’t seem to find a Staples that has the $200 cards in stock with promo. Few questions. Based on this, would you move to doing portal spend and get miles plus Ink 5X and pay the fees? Or would you wait for Offic Depot to have sale after Staples. If this, does it occur the week after Staples? I never seem to get an update on when Office Depot discounts for gift cards.

Hombre

Does the Giftcardmall on Office Depot code as office supply. I don’t think you can get any portal bonus based on excluding gift cards, but have not tried. Max Visa card at Office Depot is $500 and then fees of $5.95/card. Might be a better plan than going to Staples only to find they do not have gift cards needed in store…

Clara

Hi Tim, may I ask which two grocery chains in WA we can still liquidate these vgc’s pls?

Pam

Yey my CIC anniversary just ended/started!

TimR

Even better deal if targeted for the Ink Spend bonus

Kiki

Your dates are off: “ Visa Gift Cards from 1/16/22 to 1/22/22”. Also , many of the comments state it’s for MC. Feel free to delete my comment once you edit the post.

WhereTo2Next

No ones seems to answer this question on any site anymore, but I’ll ask here again.
How are people liquidating these things now?

WhereTo2Next

That is a great answer.
Thanks!

WhereTo2Next

I had stopped buying because of a lot of changes this year. Is the pin still the last four of the card number initially?

WhereTo2Next

Thanks for the response. I may give this another chance.

Buzz

I just give them to my wife and she liquidates them at the grocery store and Costco. $1000 doesn’t go far these days.

Ed k

For clarification, does your wife “liquidate” by purchasing products at those stores (instead of using a points earning cc) when shopping or via MO.

Ed k

Personally, I only refer to liquidation as a way to drain the card without purchasing products since I usually use cc when shopping due to rewards. But, there are times when a place doesn’t qualify for decent cc rewards.

Buzz

Yes. I have the Ink Business Cash so I figure I’m earning 5x at the grocery store and Costco in a roundabout way.

IslandRoofing

Local store in NY has plenty gift cards but they’re not automatically removing the fee and the manager can’t override. Some sort of IT miscommunication didn’t set this store up for the promo. Anyone else?

Ken Geiger

With my chase ink card i don’t get the 5 miles per $ for the gift cards. MOST IMPORTANTLY, I RECENTLY DISCOVERED THAT I’VE BEEN BILLED FOR 3-$300 VISA GIFT CARDS BY STAPLES AND I’VE NEVER RECEIVED THE CARDS. BUYER BEWARE

Lonnell

It is not available by mail.

Bonnie

I live in Los Angeles and I have 3 staples within 20 miles of me. Unfortunately, they seem to always be out of these GC’s on these promos and OD is even worse.

RNP

I got treated as a third class customer when buying gift cards.

Jimm

I’ve built a good rapport with the manager and the clerks at the local store which makes it nice when these promos come up. After the change at Wmt, I haven’t done many of these though. Any ideas how to use these? I’d love to start getting x5 UR again. The last time I got 55k UR, which was pretty good for me. I’d love to do a lot more than that…

Brad Wilson

Nick,
I just picked some up and they say visa debit card on them but will only work if the store does them as a credit card. Tried Safeway, Walmart, and the post office. I want to pay a travel agent that will only accept debit cards.

rj123456

This is becoming a weekly event. How much does this cost Staples? 1%? The PE lords that control Staples must be hoping that the increased traffic to their otherwise dead stores will compensate.

Barry

I was thinking about this too. Everytime we buy $1000 worth of VGCs, they’re probably out about 2% in swipe fees or $20. Metabank makes money off of the usual activation fees and gift card breakage. Staples must get some kind of kick back from Metabank for selling these.

rj123456

I think the PE lords are hoping that the greater fool buyers they plan to dump Staples to are not point-chasing cheapskates and wont notice that 20% (I made that up, but on Sunday morning it seemed more like 100%) of their revenues come from GCs.

Sara

Do the Visa Gift Cards from Staples work toward minimum spend on Chase Ink Biz Unlimited?

Barry

Yes, but it’s better to work towards the minimum spend on the Chase Ink Cash card with these (5X URs vs. 1.5X URs).

Cavedweller

Nick
Sorry I can’t find our old posts on Ink ins so here goes.
Called Chase 1 hr on PH with a Pro on buying new Apple IP 13 on what it covers.
Zero using Chase Business Plus card to pay monthly Bill. But when u buy a Ip13 u get 4 months of Lost, Theft protection and Damage protection zero deductible.Plus Chase gives u 12 months more then Apple on repair with zero deductible but no Theft or Damage coverage.
But will they pay and when ???

Last edited 6 months ago by Cavedweller
Johnny

fyi the 5 card limit is very much YMMV, and sometimes to our benefit. Today a store Asst. Manager allowed me to run $2,000 split into two transactions. He said he recently called in to corporate to get the scoop and was told that the only limit is 2k per day. So he’s my best friend now 🙂 Will be seeing him almost daily this week.

Another Jeff

MC no go today for me? Lame

Ari l

NJ: cashier told me no visa, only MasterCard. She scanned the visa to check and no fee on visa. It looks like Staples fixed the error.

Horsess

Now only visa works when both worked two days ago

charlie

Tried VGCs at three different Staples yesterday in KY, IN, and IL none of them could waive the $6.95 fee.

Nick Reyes

Yes, that’s why we updated the post at the top.

A G

Just bought two VGCs in NY. No fee.

Nick Reyes

Well now that sure thickens the plot.

Chris

Just bought 5 in OH – tired MCs and they rang up with the fee, switched to VGC and they rang up no fee

johnny

Virginia datapoint: Tuesday purchased 5 x 200 VGC with no fee.

Gabriel

Definitely have corrected for visas now. Just got my 5

MWL

A bit off topic but is WMT still allowing SImon VGC for MO? I’m in NY and having issues at WU

Stu

Was just at staples in New Jersey. The fee did not waive on the purchase. Manager was no help. Need to reach out to corporate so they can correct.

ace91789

Same here in CA

Sherry

Same in WA, is there a email for corporate office to reach out

FMfan

Fwiw, I drove to my nearest Staples. 20 miles away, grabbed a $200 Visa but was charged the fee. Staff seemed clueless. They finally called another store and we tried a $200 Mastercard. It did NOT charge the fee!
So somewhere something is messed up. Try MC if your Visa doesn’t work.

ASR

Same for me. Works on Mastercard and NOT Visa. Either misprint in the ad (that’s a big typo!) or they programmed the system wrong.

Ted

I visited Staples this morning, purchased five Visa’s, and was charged $34.75 in fees. The manager indicated that the sales was on Mastercards. Oops! I guess I should have looked at the total amount more closely before paying.

Nick Reyes

Hmm. The ad definitely says Visa gift cards. Click through to the ad from the link under “The Deal”. I’d go back and show the ad to the manager. Weird that it wasn’t automatic though.

MasterCards are on sale at Office Max / Office Depot this week, but Staples should be Visas.

abc007

It’s Mastercard @chicagoland. Store ad say’s Mastercard.

Dee

Mastercard in Pittsburgh. The cashier suggested trying the MC when Visas showed a fee. That worked.

Ted

I returned to the store and the manager called his help desk. The help desk confirmed that the waived fee is on the Mastercards. The manager suggested that I stop by the store later in the week to see if something can be done regarding the fees I was charged on the Visa’s. I also called Staples customer service and they confirmed the same regarding the MC’s.

Alfonso Gold

Is this page updated everytime the offer becomes live again?

losingtrader

I wonder how many accounts Chase is shutting down when people do MS. That comment is based on my personal experience .

Honestly, i must be in the minority or these posts wouldn’t continue.
Perhaps Simon can figure out a way to both sell you the cards and cash them out for you, but I guess they are counting on some breakage.

I long for Citi to allow opening bank accounts with a credit card again.

BTW, it’s only recently the US Sup Court decided violating TOS could not be prosecuted as a crime.

jeffk

Nick. I always appreciate your heads up on the Visa and MC no fee specials at Office Depot and Staples. I hit them up as well as a brother who lives in another state. I use them for certain bills on line, like Electric and Life Insurance monthly. I have two dogs and large Vet bills and use them there. I pay my pest control bills with them. But I also flip as many as I can into money orders. It is a hassle and Walmart hard codes against them now…..and one grocery chain looks for them like they are hawks while another grocery chain has let up pretty much. But, it is an easy way to put tens of thousands of ultimate rewards points into your account if you have both the old style Ink Plus card and the Ink Cash card. So, again, thanks much. PS – I also buy a good number of other gift cards at the Office Supply stores at 5x. Uber, Target, Shell, Subway, Arby’s, and of course I always load my AMAZON account via Amazon gift cards bought at Staples or Office Depot on my Ink Cash or old Ink Plus cards. Thanks again.

Frank

gc.com is giving me an error when trying to pay using a VGC from staples. is this new?

Rob P

LIKE

Andrew R.

Any DPs on if the spend $100 get $25 back Amex offer is being triggered by purchasing a $200 VGC at Staples?

Frequently Smiling

Can you share what you are doing with the Visa Gift Cards once purchased? I read the post on Manufactured Spending, but it seems that the purchase of money orders, and other ways of liquidating, are being severely limited. Is it still hit or miss depending upon where you live? Also, I am a long-time customer of Chase, and I have a Chase Ink Cash card I could use to purchase the Visa Gift Cards, but am concerned about my relationship with Chase. I don’t want to risk losing my relationship with them. Has anyone had their accounts closed specifically by Chase because of this activity? Thank you.

toomanybooks

My Staples is out of $200s. Can I buy $100s w/o fee as long as I am here? Limit 5 still, or 10? Thanks.

Jerry

Is this in store only ? Or Online as well ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jerry
Nick Reyes

Staples fee-free Visa gift card deals are always in-store only. You’ll also always find that kind of info under “Key Terms” (the second bullet point in this case).

Brad C

PSA I got ‘debit not available’ code = 01 when reloading Staples VGC at regular registers two weeks ago. First time that’s ever happened. I was able to get it to go through on second swipe luckily but I expect regular registers will become more problematic this year following changes that already happened at Money Center/Customer Service registers last year.

Be sure to have a backup liquidation avenue in mind before buying large amounts of these.

DWAYNE FRANCIS RUSSELL

does this count toward staples plus spending

[…] Staples is offering fee-free Visa gift cards this week, but this Office Depot/OfficeMax deal is a little better if you don’t mind buying Mastercard gift cards rather than Visa as it’s a profitable deal rather than break-even. […]

[…] services (on up to $25K in purchases per year), it has been a long-favored card for places like Staples and Office Max. I’ve also decided to start going after 5x on my cell phone bill rather than […]

Jules

Question about the Visa GCs purchased from Staples: can they be used internationally and if so, is there a foreign transaction fee?

Barry

They’ll only work in the US.

jeph36

At this rate, I am going to have to move to somewhere closer to a Staples. Somehow the entire Milwaukee metro has no Staples stores. I drive within 5 miles of 4 or 5 OM/OD stores each week, but the closest Staples is 70 or 80 miles. Unfortunately the return on $1000 GCs does not justify that round-trip, especially in COVID-19 times. Too bad they will never do the same deal online, but of course they are using this to try to increase in-store foot-traffic.

Barry

If you drive to the Madison (Monona) Staples, you’d better get there early on Sunday (10am-10:30am). The cards are usually gone within a few hours of going on sale. Last week they somehow lasted until Monday morning.

jeph36

Good to know, thanks for the tip. But FWIW, I am not planning to make any trip to Madison just for the Staples :-).

[…] other MetaBank Visa gift cards, such as those bought from Staples during recent deals when the purchase fee was waived. The problem also seemed to affect transactions at the Albertsons/Safeway family of stores which […]

kingrat

Why waste time on this when I have Fluz

ed k

so, how much volume per month have you been able to do on that? I understand if over 1k per month they require id verification which is understandable. In many states, as you all know, it’s so easy to vote now compared to what it takes to get a COVID vaccine which requires proof of id and so forth to be permitted to get the shot. I guess if people find something valuable enough they’ll show their id. But, I digress. Another question for anyone, what has been your cashback percentage average when using that app to get something through office supply that is also liquidate-able and at what volume per month?

ed k

And for more details on my last question above… how much cashback percentage average have you seen from using the app when buying in the office supply category, not including your category bonus on your cc (I know that is 5%). Just looking for averages month to month from those who’ve used the app.

Ed. C

Any DP on how Barclay is with MS? I got the Barclay jetBlue business card. It pays 2X points for office supply and was curious if it was safe to meet the SUB spend this way. I wouldn’t do it all at once. Since Staples / OD seem to be having these sales monthly or even more frequently now, I’d spread it out over a few months.

dan

any DP that deal is extended in TX? thx

Chuck

I don’t see it in the ad.

Mark

Sorry. I checked the ad for week 18-24 October and didn’t see it. What page? Did I overlook it. Odd they’d do it two weeks in a row.

Brandon

Agreed. I don’t see it either.

Gilbert

Can I use staple gift card to buy the VISA gift card?

Nick Reyes

No.

Ryan

What about paying credit card bills?

[…] Easy 5x: Fee-free Visa Gift Cards at Staples (Expires 10/17/20) […]

Kamal N

Easy 5x = easy shut down by Chase good luck

Barry

Data points?

frugalman

I don’t know why my local Staples store behave so over-cautiously. For similar deals, they insist to sell me one card when the ad clearly say 5 card limit. Then they may literally hide the gift cards, claiming out of stock. (again, this is based on my quite a few experience). On the other hand, I know another staples store will give me to the limit without question, but the problem is that it is far away. Not worth a special trip. I think when the higher management made the 5 limit decision, the local managers should just execute, rather than setting up one more layer barrier. If fraudulent is a concern, they could check credit card and ID more carefully.

Anyway, nowadays, i don’t have a very good outlet to use up the cards other than at Costco. Is there easy way to digest these GC? I don’t have a large amount.

To FM: I notice the oldest comment is listed first while the newer ones go to the bottom. For a short list, it is OK. But, for a long/historical comment list, it could be inconvenient. I suggest you to reverse the listing sequence by the newest coming first.

Last edited 1 year ago by frugalman
Barry

Hey frugalman. There’s a button on the top right-hand side of the comments with the ability to sort the comments by oldest, newest, or most voted.
As far as getting rid of the cards, I keep what I need for regular spending and use the remainder for Kiva loans. I’ve got a continuous cycle where I loan out about $5000 per month and receive back about $5000 per month in repayments. At the start of the pandemic, I wasn’t receiving a lot of repayments, but those are slowly catching back up to normal. At 5X, I’m able to generate about 250,000 Ultimate Rewards per year.

frugalman

Hi Berry, thank you so much. How didn’t I notice that?!

Also thanks for the Kiva tip. I know FM introduced it years ago but I have never given a serious look. I don’t imagine I will do as much as you say, particularly considering my local staples manager stupidly only allows one $200 VGC per visit.

In the old MS days that I participated a little bit, I could get 5k VGC from CVS in one transaction, load them in Bluebird, and then withdraw them to banks. Oh, old days.

Last edited 1 year ago by frugalman
Matt

While u can manually change it, it does always seem to default back to oldest for me. Would be nice if it would stay newest first

Ed. C

If Staples and OD keep this up, I’m going to max out my CIC 5X bonus long before my year ends! What a dilemma….

Byron

Picked up about 9K in cards. What a pain to flush $200 cards, but then I remember how many UR points I am getting for nearly free.

Justin

I went to the store about 1 hour after the opening on the 1st day of promotion and found out $200 VGCs were all sold out.

Justin

Does anyone know how often they re-stock the VGC?

[…] has taken on the Visa gift card sale challenge this week, but Office Depot and OfficeMax stores have an offer which might make it worth stopping […]

Lu Lu

What do I do with these giftcards if I buy 5 or 10? Can I use them to refill my Amazon account?

Justmeha

If you want to refill your Amazon account you can do that any day of the week with Amazon gift cards ( bought from Staples) for no fee

Jeffrey

I also want to mention flipping these cards to money orders as well as spending them. I register them on line and use them to pay my State Farm life insurance each month, my electric bill each month, my water bill each month. I have a couple of pets so I will dump and extra card here and there at the vet’s office and keep a running balance.

Jeffrey

Thanks for the heads up…………AGAIN! The deal at Office Depot/Max for $10 off per Visa card is still on today and tomorrow, August 29th. The limit is 1 per day per store, but, I have been buying 2 all week long each trip. BUT – They MUST be rung up separately. The clerks have had no problem doing that for me. I am pleased to see the Staples deal back to no cost per card as a week or so ago it was $2 per card. And at Staples you can get 5 per trip.

[…] just recently seen fee-free Visa Gift Cards. It’s a bummer that Staples appears to be testing a deal that’s a couple bucks worse: […]

ORDGuy773

I went the morning of the first day of the promo and they were all out of cards already. Of course, they are always out of $200 Visa cards any time I go in. Manager said they keep them behind the counter. They are a real pain in the a** Office Depot/Max are so much easier to deal with.

Ed k

So agree! OM gets my business for other things because of this. I shop where I can MS without the stingy managers. They make $ because they get me in the door. Marketing done the right way.

Kawa

Just got $1000 worth from Staples. Went to Walmart to convert to money order and the lady told me they no longer take VISA debit gift card. Where do you guys liquidate them?

Justin

Thanks for the correct information.
I asked the clerk at the Staples how many $200 Visa gift cards I could purchase. He said it used to be 1 but 5 now.

DavidD

What about office max/depot?
Do you have the stats for them?
Many more locations here is why I ask.
TIA!

Todd Oshima

Is staples now the best way to earn pts from gift cards now that other online retailers have new limits? (regular fee’s included) Maybe time to do another comparison post? 🙂 Unfortunately Staples doesn’t ship to my home in Hawaii 🙁 But Quill does! Thanks

Barry

Office Depot – Officemax has physical stores in Hawaii. Not sure if they’ll let you use a credit card to buy VGCs in store, but that would be your best bet.

Thomas Zook

The two Staples near me both ran out on Wednesday during the week. I checked back, but they had no more. Go early in the weeek.

Justin

Yeah. I went to the Staples on Monday morning (2nd day) to purchase MasterCard CC a couple weeks ago, it already ran out.

Randy

Care to discuss your liquidation routines?

Nick Reyes

Mostly just buying money orders, but you can’t buy them at the grocery store in my town and I haven’t been traveling out of my town on liquidation runs. If I happen to be going to a grocery store in a town where I can liquidate, I will. But I am not currently making any special trips just to liquidate. In non-pandemic times, we might have plans to go to a mall on a Saturday that happens to have some liquidation spots nearby and I’d drop my wife off and spend an hour or two running around to liquidate, but that type of thing isn’t happening right now.

James

Do these autodrain at Costco?

Vlad

They did for me as of two weeks ago.

ithrowpoop

The VISA cards Yes absolutely. Been using these Meta Visas at Costco ever since Costco changed over to visa.

Dave

I have Staples near house and go twice daily and buy one at a time – so usually get about 14 cards during the week

I now pay my yard guy and electric, and water and gas and cleaning lady with these 5x points GC

Adam Jones

The reason that staples only allows the purchase of one card is because they will only get reimbursed from VISA for 1 card per transaction. If the rules are followed by most, this deal should continue for some time. Glad to see that it is back to once a month.

Ed. C

Yes! Just in time for my annual 5X Ink Cash to reset. With wife working from home, at least we’ll be able to get $400 per day.

[…] cards. There are several different offers you may see and these would stack quite nicely with fee-free Visa Gift Cards from […]

Melvin

Where does ad say fee is waived? Store says no. Hmmm.

Phil

Have a Chase Offer on my Ink Biz Unlimited for $30 off a $100 purchase. That’s amazing.

ffi

Even this offer is NOT free miles.
One loses 4$ cash back on the card when used = 1000 miles for 4$ = 0.4cpm (still not free) and only in small quantities. Even if I want to, I can’t do it more than 3-4 times a week. No free time and a bit out of my way too. 
So really free miles are few and far between .
The real amount is an integral of all costs and amounts doable
To me it comes to 1.5c and if I am really serious, including annual fees it is 1.8c

So I now have a BofA premium rewardsw Plat honors card that gives me 2.62c for each $ spent
There is a 100k deposit requirement, but since I can keep my IRA there it costs nothing extra

The best cards for miles are the Amex business Plus at 2 miles /$ spend = 1.31c cost in lost cash for 50k (no annual fee)
The other is the Chase Freedom or ink unlimited  (no fee) 1.5 miles for $ spend = 2.62/1.5 = 1.74 c per miles 
As the value of awards goes down neither is worth it really 
I think the best US cards are the Citi doubleCash or Fidelity visa = 2% cash back with no hassle – no fee, no limit

Nick Reyes

I don’t understand how you’re determining that you lose $4 cash back. You earn 1,000 URs for each $200 card. Assuming you’re splitting tender when liquidating, your liquidation cost is somewhere between $0.22 to $0.40 per $200 card. Your 1,000 URs can be cashed out for $10 (and you’re more than $9.50 ahead), used for travel through the travel portal for $15 if you have the CSR, or transferred to partners when more valuable.

And that’s not figuring in the fact that many of us got offers for an extra $17-$34 back at Staples yesterday. That really sweetens the deal.

ffi

I do not go to Walmart – too far out of the way.
Paypal is too risky. So MY liquidation is to use them like credit cards.

So in effect buying giftcards is a 5X everywhere card for me.
Factoring in lost cash at 2c-2.62c it costs me 0.4-0.5 cpm for 1000 UR

Yes I get UR points worth 10$ but I lose 4-5$ cash back – overall I come out ahead ,
but the 1000 UR costs me 4-5$ (and I can cash them at 10$ later or use them for travel)

How do you split cards? – I need to look up Walmart MO options

Rich

$20 off $100 on 1 of my Chase Cards, and 10% off (max $17) on another Chase Card. Check your Chase Offers…

losingtrader

My standard PARENTAL ADVISORY applies. Good luck. BTW I reached an agreement with Chase where they will give reopen all my credit card accounts if I rat out 5 people. Please post your name and city, and I’ll hope you aren’t mobbed up.

Odell Beckham

It’s very YMMV even at the same store. Went in the first day and bought 8 then came back Monday to a different guy saying I could only buy 1. Then I went back on Tuesday to the same guy from the first day and he let me buy 10 like a true bro.

Gary Miller

Nick,
Thank you for all your great information!
I’m going to try to take advantage of this offer with my brand new Chase Business Ink Cash card. However, I will assume that the gift card/s I purchase will be used to pay for future business expenses and not, let’s say, my daughter’s bridal shower or some other non business expense..
Correct?
Gary

Mike

You can use them wherever you want. Absolutely no reason you would have to use them on business.

Gary

No need to use them on business…… so long as you do not write off the expense of buying the GC on your business taxes, right? Am I missing something? (apologies from the rookie)

Nick Reyes

There is likely something in the cardmember agreement that says you agree to use the card for business purchases. That said, I think every small business owner I know also uses their business cards for personal purchases. I’ve never been asked.

In terms of writing something off, I’m not an accountant. There is no fee on these cards though this week, so I don’t think you have anything to write off anyway even if it were legitimate to do. I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing anything that runs afoul of the law. In terms of using a business card for personal purchases, I’m not aware of any law prohibiting that. I definitely wouldn’t recommend lying on your taxes though.

Gary

Thank you Nick….. agreed! Beginner me did not think of using business card for anything other than business expenses. But I’m LEARNING!

Ann Stokman

Excellent Tip! I will be there to get one!

Zain

Any word on when this deal is coming back?

Nick Reyes

No. We never know before the ad comes out on Thursdays.

Thnok

Any tips to liquidate this?

Zain

Walmart money order

Ken

Through Sat November 9th? (Not 16th)

Nick Reyes

See the ad. It clearly says November 16th. Whether or not it’s a typo I don’t know, but if you click on the Visa Gift Card deal in the add and read the fine print, it says 11/3 to 11/16.

Daniel M.

I asked a manager at a local Staples and she said it was going thru the 16th of November…..

Nick Reyes

It is. I literally just walked out of Staples now (Sunday 11/10) after buying them.

Money

Where do you prefer to liquidate them Nick?

Nick Reyes

Sorry I missed your question last month. The answer is wherever I can. Wallmart, grocery stores, etc. It varies based on where I am and what’s convenient.

Ted

Nick, I just looked at the Staples sales flyer, and yes, they are Visa’s. I’m heading back to the store in a bit. As always, thank you.

Jeff

I have old style in card and kill with it. However, when I want to top out an American Airlines account or meet an aviator business card minimum spend, get 2 times earnings at office store, these deals are great.

Beechy

Nick,
I love when Staples has these fee free cards 🙂 Question is I have a couple of Ink Cash cards as well as Ink Bold. Any reason to keep Bold with annual fee if I don’t max out the 5x ?
Appreciate the help,
Beechy

Rob

Bold will let you transfer points to airlines/hotels, Cash won’t. I’m hanging onto my Ink Plus on the off chance that the 5x on Ink Cash goes away.

Barry

In the past there had been rumors that Chase might cutoff the ability to transfer points from the no annual fee cards to the premium cards. If that ever does happen, the Ink Cash card would simply be a cash back card. If you’re willing to take that risk, it would be ok to cancel. If you value the ability to transfer your rewards to travel partners, I’d keep the card. I have an Ink Plus card with a $95 annual fee that I’m willing to pay just for the ability of earning 5X transferable rewards if Chase ever does decide to limit points transfers between cards.

Beechy

Thanks for the tip, Rob and Barry. I will probably hang on to it for now. I was hoping to reduce some of my annual fees, but like you said if they ever take away the 5X on Ink Cash I would regret it. Chalking it up to a travel expense 😉

[…] Staples is also running a Visa gift card deal this week, except that’s only for fee-free cards so this Office Depot deal is a little better. […]

Tim

How do you earn say 50,000 points per year between all the sales throughout the year?

TJ Park

just keep buying cards. 50k means $10000 worth of cards. $200 per card, that’s 50 trips or 25 trip per couple per year. or if you have a store that doesn’t enforce 1 per house hold limit, all bets are off. hit the daily limit and you can do 50k points in a week easy.

Of course the liquidation is an issue… I’ve been killing this during the hay days of Amex Serve…before it got shutdown… I meant, forget these sales. I would just order whole bunch of $300 gift cards from staples.com… every other day and before I know it I was ordering $20k worth of card every month (I had 5 different ink cards) and few weekday nights at walmart ATM machine, I can liquidate all in couple of hours. Without talking to anyone. I ended up timing my self and during final days, I was liquidating each card under 13 seconds flat. I refuse to do the money order route now. Too much hassle and time compared what I could do with Amex Serve back in the days.

Ed. C

TJ Park – what did/do you do at a WMT ATM with VGC’s? Not heard about that strategy before. Does it have to do with Amex Serve?

Nick Reyes

Just scrolling back through and catching up with old unanswered questions. TJ was referring to the past — you used to be able to use a kiosk that was like an ATM to load money to bluebird at WMT. It’s long gone.

Henrietta

I hate that my card closes on the 9th

AlexL

You mean 9/29/19? Because this Sunday is 9/29/19, not 9/30/19.

Nick Reyes

Sure did. Thanks!

Jacinto

Is Amex still crediting 5% cash back for their everyday business card on these vgcs at staples?

Nick Reyes

If you’re talking about the old SimplyCash Plus, to my knowledge they are if you have that old card (no longer available new).

Ed. C

Last time around between my wife and me each. going every day, we managed to rack up 68,000 UR points during the promotion. Can’t wait to see how it goes next week.

Barry

I would recommend to use a little bit of caution. I have seen reports of people having all of their Chase cards shutdown because of abuse of the 5X spending categories. Staples provides level 3 credit card data and Chase does have the ability to see what you’re buying at the office supply stores.

Ed. C

Where have you seen these reports and how old are they? I have been doing the Staples (and Office Depot when they do it) buy for about a year and a half and have never had any problems with Chase. I have read reports by other bloggers that Chase stopped shutting down cards for this reason a couple of years ago.

Nick Reyes

The generally-accepted rule of thumb is to split up your cap over the course of a year and try to stay closer to the average cap-per-month than to hitting the whole cap in month 1. That said, I think the benefit of having a cap is knowing where the speed limit is. I’ve not heard of many shut downs for 5x spending but rather a lot of 5x spending combined with a lot of recent applications, etc. That said, the winds can change at any moment.

Ed. C

Nick – What do you mean by “cap” and splitting it up? Are you talking about not charging more than your credit limit and not cycling your credit? I have a pretty high (for me) limit on my Ink Cash card, so I never come close to hitting it even with buying 10 cards a day for the whole week.

Nick Reyes

I mean the annual spending cap on the bonus category. If you have the Ink Cash card, you can earn 5x on up to $25K in purchases per year at office supply stores (and the other things in that category: Internet, wireless phone, etc).

The conventional wisdom is that translates to about $2K per month, so don’t go wildly above that — the idea being that Chase has set the speed limit at $25K per year and presumably makes that guess based on expecting you to incur $2K in those types of expenses per month. I’d assume that doing $2K to maybe as much as $4K in a single month should probably be fine. If you go crazy over that, you may be fine, but you’re increasing risk.

Ed. C

Thanks Nick! I’ll need to do some checking on that. I’m probably pretty close to the cap now given they’ve already run this 3 times this year. I completely forgot about that restriction.

Ed. C

I did some digging, and I’m at $24,773 just in office supply stores purchases. Guess I won’t be making any Staples runs next week with my Ink Cash card….

I found it amusing / interesting that Chase says that your account could be closed or you could lose your points “by repeatedly opening or otherwise maintaining credit card accounts for the purpose of generating rewards”. I don’t maintain ANY credit card accounts for any reason other than generating rewards…….

Edit: I see it’s per account ANNIVERSARY year, not calendar year, so I’m good! My anniversary was in June. I think I will limit my Staples / Office Depot runs this next year, though.

[…] in your area, you’ll do better buying Visa gift cards at Staples seeing as they’re fee-free this week. If taking advantage of this Office Depot deal, you’d have to pay $3.90 in net activation […]

Dave

Hello! I’m new to all of this points game and was lucky enough to find this article while the promo is still good. Was able to get 3 cards in 1 transaction (cash register simply took the activation fee off each one!). Easy.

However, this is where I bumped into the issue. I took them to Walmart and tried to buy a $600 MO. The cashier put in the amount. I slid the first card and it asked if I wanted cash back. I clicked no. Then it asked for my pin, I entered the default numbers (last 4 digits). And it said cannot process as debit. Can someone help me figure out what I did wrong? Should I instead do 3 MOs at $200 each? Not sure.

Any help would be most appreciated. Novice trying to learn the ropes.

Thank you in advance.

Nguyen

Hi Dave, after you mention about buying $599.12 ($0.88 is for the fee) MO and the cashier put in the amount, next you want to tell her that you want to use the first debit card for $200, she puts in the amount, you enter your pin, etc., and then you tell her the next debit card is again for $200, the same steps, and the last amount is for $200. This should work. Hope this helps. Thanks. Nguyen

Dave

Thank you for the help, Nguyen! I will definitely try this out and report back with an update.

Thank you again!!

Dave

Well no luck. Cashier saw the card and said that I could not use it because they only accept bank debit cards. Looks like I am out of luck. Thanks for the help though!

Nguyen

Sorry to hear about that. At WM, it is usually a hit or miss. You can try to come back at different time to see different cashier. Perhaps, go to another WM location. Whenever I encounter your exact situation, I just politely say sorry and leave quietly. Good luck! Nguyen

Dave

Thanks for the encouragement, Nguyen. I will definitely try at another time. Hopefully a better outcome will come of it.

Thank you again!

On another note, have you tried the Gobank method (mentioned earlier in comments)? Is it the same method at WM? By that, I mean having to try and hide the card and attempt to add to account (w/ the possibility of a hit and miss b/c of cashier)?

Nguyen

Hi Dave, the GoBank method is a reloadable prepaid card which you can buy at Walmart, and you can go to any WM cashier to load it. It just like the American Express Blue Bird (I used this in the past). I personally have not tried the GoBank yet since I am a pretty light “user.” Please see Ariana’s post listed below. Thanks. Nguyen

https://www.pointchaser.com/gobank-card-manufactured-spending/

Dave

Thank you once again, Nguyen. I appreciate the assistance through all of this. I will definitely check this out!

Mark W

Worth mentioning – if combined with Dosh, this is a negative cost gift card offer. Officially, gift cards are excluded from the 3% in-store Staples cashback with Dosh, but it’s been posting for me no issue. 1000 UR and $5 back per $200 VGC isn’t a bad deal!

Gary

How do I receive 5 points for each dollar spent using Chase Unlimited card for buying a Visa Gift Card at Staples?

J.J.

You don’t. Neither the Freedom Unlimited nor the Ink Unlimited have a 5x point category bonus for office supply stores.

[…] Office Depot in your area, you’ll do better buying Visa gift cards at Staples seeing as they’re fee-free this week. If taking advantage of this Office Depot deal, you’d have to pay $3.90 in net activation fees if […]

MDM

Will you also get 3% back on Dosh for buying these?

Susan

My county says on their website I can pay property taxes in-person with PIN-enabled debit cards without incurring any processing fees. It sounds like this is another way to liquidate gift cards, right?

Iistrell

Wow. I wish my county allowed that with no fees. I just had to buy $21K in VGCs and then convert those into MOs to pay my taxes. Would have saved a lot of time.

TomT

The correct date for the latest Staples fee-free VGC deal is 6/30 through 7/6. 5/5 – 5/11 is in the past. Please make the correction

Nick Reyes

Thanks, Tom. For tracking purposes, we’re re-posting the old quick deal when this same deal comes around again. We had the correct dates both in the first sentence of the post and in the weekly ad to which we linked, but you’re right that there was a spot in the post that had the old dates. Thanks for catching it — fixed.

Jon

Hopefully not a stupid question, but what am I supposed to do with these after I buy them? I know that some people try to buy money orders (at grocery stores? walmart? I can’t even remember…) but I’m not interested in jumping through all those hoops.

I mean, I can buy Amazon or Whole Foods gift cards (as well as those for a ton of other stores) whenever I want at Staples and get 5x, and for many other stores I can get 10% or more off from the gift card sites. What’s the big deal about fee-free Visa GC?

Are they only for people who liquidate via money orders? If so, is it easier than I think to do so? If not, what do I do with them that I can’t do with normal gift cards?

Matt

You could use them to buy gift cards at those gift sites… so get 5x UR points and 10% off

Jon

Man, that’s such a stupidly easy thing I never thought of. Thanks!

Barry

If you don’t want to use the gift cards to buy money orders, you can still use them for normal spend. My goal is to try to get 5X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar that I spend. I often use the Visa Gift Cards just to make normal purchases at Costco. That way every $200 I spend at Costco = 1000 Ultimate Rewards. Another option is to make Kiva loans with the gift cards, but you’ll have a portion of your money tied up for at least 6 months before you’re fully paid back.

Jon

Good point, I guess I could just use them at my local grocery store (which is probably the only place I spend a significant amount of money that’s not already at 5x), except for restaurants, but I don’t know if it’s worth the trouble to get an extra 2x over my sapphire reserve.

Gary70

Barry, I also use vgc at Costco. But I don’t count them as 5 points, more like 3.5 points, if you take into account an opportunity cost loss of 1.5 points if purchased using Chase Freedom Ultimate Card.

Pam

Nick, are there any recent reports of these gc purchases working on Staples Chase Offers?

Gary70

Hi Nick. I am long time follower. I love heads up on promotions and bonus opportunities. Thank you.

You may want to update deal date in your post.

Ed. C

I managed to rack up 40,000 UR points last time around (between my wife and myself) before the store manager unexpectedly pulled all the $200 VGC’s from the rack. My wife went in on the last day after I had gone in earlier and bought 5. The cashier told her the manager came out and pulled them all off the rack without explanation. Weird.

I’ll see what happens next week. There’s really only one cashier at my local store that doesn’t care how many I buy. He says there’s several of us “regulars”.

Jon

Mind me asking what you then do with $8000 worth of VGC? I’m new to this…

Ed. C

You buy money orders with them (88¢ at Walmart or 78¢ at the local grocery store where I buy mine), deposit the money orders into your bank account and then pay off the credit card. 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points and your only cost is the money order fees.

Ed. C

Also, if you are uncomfortable going the money order route (which for some reason a lot of people are) you can open a GoBank account (Google it) and can use the VGC’s to fund it and pay your credit card bill that way. It still requires a trip to WMT to do that, though.

It’s all about racking up UR points for “free”. By this time next year I plan on having 1,000,000+ Ultimate Rewards points (I currently have over 500,000) and have only been doing this type of thing for a little over a year.

Jon

Thanks! Yeah, after reading about the money order thing (I got dizzy just reading the list of everything that can go wrong at walmart), don’t think I want to go that route. Also I don’t have a Walmart (or any grocery store that will take GC for MO, it seems) very close by.

Have you considered paypal? I’d be worried about them blocking my account, but seems like a simple way to liquidate at whatever they char (2.9%)? So it’s not free, but could be a way to buy UR at under .6 cents a piece without leaving the house (for the liquidation part, at least).

Ed. C

One mistake people make is telling the cashier you’re using gift cards. NEVER, do that! Just tell them you need to put it through X number of DEBIT cards (which VGC’s are). They’ll probably ask if it is pin enabled, and of course they are. I always take a few minutes and change the pins to the same number that is easy to remember for all the cards.

Jon

Got it. I’m assuming this isn’t possible, but may as well ask: since they are debit cards, can you get cash back at grocery stores? I never do that but I know that people do something like pay for their groceries with a debit card and also get $40-60 cash when they check out.

Also, there’s no way to combine balances on these, is there? I can pay my rent with a credit card, but there’s a huge (flat) fee for each charge. If I pay in full using my freedom unlimited I can buy UR for just under a penny which is worth it but not amazing. If I could buy VGC, combine them on one card, then make one charge, then it would go down to under .3 cents, which would be amazing.

Nick Reyes

No, you can’t get cash back or go to an ATM and take out money with gift cards.

As for PayPal, your account will get shut down if you do any sort of volume that way and your cost is exorbitantly high comparatively — $2.90 in liquidation per $200 card versus $0.22 (1/4 of a money order). That might not sound like a lot of money, but when you scale that, it makes a huge difference in the cost of your points. Ed’s 40K points cost him $8.80 in total MO fees at WM (or maybe it cost him even less with some grocery stores). Liquidating them via PayPal would be $116 (and would be fairly likely to get your PayPal account shut down).

If you’re not looking to do it in any kind of big volume, you’re probably better off using the gift cards for regular purchases and/or checking out some of the other suggestions people here have made.

Larry

Why would the GoBank route require a trip to WMT?

Ed. C

WMT is where you have to “load” GoBank for free with your VGCs, assuming you bought the version sold at WMT.

Byron

I see the 78 cents and that makes me think Kroger. Kroger would not let me do these plain gift cards. They wanted my name on it like I get from GCM. WM took them though.

Ed. C

Nope. Not Kroger. Just a local grocery chain. At one store in particular, the CSM knows exactly what I am doing and using gift cards.

02nz

Leaving aside money orders – there are probably more ways to spend these than many realize. For example many utilities (gas, power, water) take credit cards without extra charge, or sometimes for just a small charge. Many also allow you to specify how much you want to pay, even if that results in overpayment (e.g., power bill is $50, I pay $200 with the VGC, credit balance carries forward). Many car dealers even take credit cards for purchases/leases – up to $3K is typical. I’ve also paid ACA health care premiums, university tuition, and more with VGCs.

Byron

Yes, you can pay those with gift cards, but I use my Citi Dbl or Amex BB+ to pay those vendors. Those are free points (no fees). Always ask to see if you can pay by credit card. But if this is the only way you have to flush the debit cards, then keep doing it.

Blaine

Trying to make my spend on my AMEX Bonvoy card. My staples will let us buy 10 each day. Will I have any problems using my AMEX? Today is the last day for me to do this, would love a quick reply if anyone knows anything about AMEX cards.

Nick Reyes

Conventional wisdom is not to buy GCs at Simon or Staples for Amex minimum spend. Hard to know for sure whether or not it’ll be OK. Honestly, I think the vast majority of clawback reports on new cardmember bonuses were from Simon purchases, but I imagine Amex gets Level 3 data from Staples, so I wouldn’t recommend buying VGCs there to meet minimum spend. YMMV.

Nick Reyes

To add to that, here’s the thing: While it might be fine, I wouldn’t want to risk 100K points on “might be”. If the 100K Marriott points are something you can live with losing, it might be worth the gamble. But personally, I wouldn’t want to be looking over my shoulder on that one if I could avoid it. In other words, I’d feel more comfortable staking my welcome bonus on purchases that I know will count than ones I just think might.

Blaine

Thanks Nick for the advice. I’m in just the first couple of weeks of my spend on this card. I already have about half of the spend done and am considering finishing the spend before the first statement ends with the Staples deal and see if it will count or not. If not, I will just finish my spend on other things before the second statement comes out. I hope AMEX will post the points after the end of the first statement. AMEX does that don’t they? What do you think of doing this?

Marriott Marty

My wife got clawed back on Ralph’s variable GC but it was that offer that was open for 19 hours and was supposed to be limited and they checked each application- I simply forgot to make the conventional spend and rushed it with MS the last month to qualify- a rare costly mistake

Ed. C

Got shut down at my local Staples today. Managed to get $2,000 of VGC’s every day this week until today. Hard limit of 1 per HOUSEHOLD is now being enforced. Have to see what happens when my wife tries after she gets off work if she manages to get more than one.

Frank Doyle

How on earth would they know you and her live together?!

Ed. C

I was saying that she was going to see if she could get 5 cards – she couldn’t. Only allowed one. The “per HOUSEHOLD” was on the signage at the display.

However, I went back to the same store this morning and and had no problems buying 5. Different cashier and different manager on duty.

Amy X N

I have the Chase Ink Business preferred…Does the 5x not work for this card? 🙁

Nick Reyes

No, that card does not offer any bonus on office supply stores, nor does it have any 5x categories (it offers several 3x categories, but office supply stores only earn 1x on that card).

See the best cards for office supply store spend here:

https://frequentmiler.com/best-category-bonuses/#Office

And for more information on the Ink Business Preferred card you have, including its bonus category information, see our Ink Business Preferred card page:

https://frequentmiler.com/cibp/

Bob

So if cashier let’s me buy 2 in 1 transaction, will the system waive the activation fee on both?

Nick Reyes

Yes.

Marriott Marty

If the clerk allows it you can buy 10+ and get the fee waived for each

Nick Reyes

Staples corporate policy is $2K per day in GCs (not considering limits on specific sales like this). I’ve got stores that will let me buy $2K at a time, but I didn’t think you could do 10+ in a single transaction.

Marriott Marty

Nick, it may have been 8 GC x2 on two trips I don’t recall the exact number I bought but as my local Walmart permitted 4 cards per money order and I remember getting at least 3 $800 money orders (and normally use $500 GC I am pretty confident I got 10 gc twice 90%+

Iistrell

So Walmart allows these for MOs? I’ve tried there a couple times and always declined and turned away.

jeff

Walmart computer are NOW coded to not allow these cards to be used for money orders. A real bummer.

Chris

My Staples has allowed me to do single transaction for 2k every time I’ve tried.

Justmeha

Over done 2k in one transaction multiple times. But I think Nick is dating that you can’t do more then that

Lab Rat

The cashier was clueless and let me buy 5. Woo hoo!

I think. I’ve never used my Ink Business Cash card to buy gift cards before. Are we absolutely sure it’ll get coded as a purchase worth 5x, and not a cash advance?

Nick Reyes

Yes, we are. It’s not uncommon to be able to buy more than one, it’s just YMMV.

Nate

Passed by two stores today. First one kept the $200 cards at the counter and didn’t allow more than one. The second one told me I could buy up to 10 ($2000 limit per customer)

jeff

the company policy now is 5 per day……or you can make a couple of trips per day or go to a second Staples.

[…] Fee-free Visa Gift Cards at Staples next week […]