I’ve reported in the past that those with Chase Ink cards (the ones that give 5 points per dollar for office supplies) can profit from buying Visa gift cards at office supply stores. There are two general approaches to doing this, one is online and the other in-store. Which is better?
Option 1: Buy Visa gift cards at Staples via Ultimate Rewards Mall
As I reported in the post “Inking Money” you can buy $100 Visa gift cards (with a $5.95 service fee) at Staples via the Ultimate Rewards Mall in order to get a total of 9 points per dollar. The extra points earned when doing this (above the 1 point normally earned for credit card spend) are worth $11.18 according to the Fair Trading Price of Ultimate Rewards points. After subtracting out the $5.95 service fee, you gain $5.23 (in the form of points). In other words, this is like a 5.23% rebate!
Option 2: Buy Visa gift cards in person
Another option with the Ink card is to buy $200 Visa gift cards with a $6.95 service fee at any office superstore such as Staples, OfficeMax, or Office Depot. Since the Ink Bold gives 5 points per dollar for office supplies, this approach returns 1035 points, or 935 more than would be earned for non-bonus purchases. The Fair Trading Price of those 935 points is $12.24. After subtracting out the $6.95 service fee, you gain $5.29 (in points). This amounts to a 2.6% rebate.
So, which approach is better? Option 1 gives you a much better rate of return. On the other hand, the maximum size Visa card you can get with this approach is $100. With the in-store approach you can get cards worth $200. Either way, if you can use Visa gift cards effectively, this is a great way to maximize your points earnings!
If you do not have a Chase Ink card, you can read more about those and other cards on the Preparing for Miles page which can be found as a menu item at the top of every page on the Frequent Miler blog.