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

 

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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72 Comments on "10% off everything and 7% off everything else"

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benji
Guest

Do you know of any stores that sell GC’s to Walmart or Walgreens besides the stores themselves?

AA
Guest

And you still get the one point per dollar spent right?

Frequent Miler
Guest

Benji: not to my knowledge

AA: Yep

FliesAlot
Guest

Awesome! Cracker Barrel is in there. I may take your advice on this and try it.

Randall
Guest

So there’s no fee when buying gift cards like Home Depot or Southwest? Just the Visa gift cards have a fee?

FrequentMiler
Guest

FliesAlot: Great. Check to see if Cracker Barrel sells gift cards too 🙂

Randall: That’s correct.

rick
Guest

Doesn’t office depot have the same cards? If you can get 10x UR points through the UR mall, and 5x more through Ink Bold, that’s 15x UR points which even by conservative estimates is 20% off.

FrequentMiler
Guest

rick: Yes, but I don’t think you will get UR points when buying gift cards at office depot. I haven’t tried myself, though. I’d love to hear from anyone who has. We also don’t know if they will let you buy gift cards with gift cards.

Grant
Guest

There might be a problem with your gift card experiment. To get the 10% discount with OPEN, you will need to buy a gift card worth more than $250, but I suppose you could buy 2 $200 gift cards.

Grant
Guest

Ignore my last comment. I was confused. It sounds like you can buy $100 office max giftcards online, receive 10% off, and then redeem those giftcards in store for various retail gift cards. I didn’t see online anywhere where it says office max gift cards can’t be used to buy retail giftcards in store.

Grant
Guest

For those people without OPEN savings, cardpool is currently selling office max gift cards at 10% off in various denominations.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Grant: Thanks for the cardpool tip! Regarding buying gcs from OfficeMax: you have to spend more than $250 in order to get 10% back (otherwise you get 5%). The largest denomination gcs at officemax are $100 so I’d recommend getting 3 $100 cards.

rick
Guest

That’s right, the Office Depot UR mall page says no gift cards. You could buy something like a laptop and go to the store to exchange it for a mix of gift cards, but that seems like too much trouble.

Ryan
Guest

Any chance Office max sells vanilla reloads?

Grant
Guest

Can you explain what the OPEN program does? How do I get the money out of that program? It seems that it would be quicker to use cardpool and buy the giftcards at a discount and then redeem in store.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Grant: OPEN is an Amex program for their business cards. When you buy something that meets the criteria, they automatically apply the rebate to your account. There’s no work involved at all. I agree that Cardpool is an excellent way to go as well as long as there are reasonably large denomination cards available.

Andyandy
Guest

Just a note of caution. I’d recommend confirming that your local OD will let you use an OD giftcard to buy another gift card before jumping into this whole hog. From their gift card T&Cs: “The Office Depot Gift Card is valid on purchases at Office Depot U.S. stores, online or by phone (excluding all gift and prepaid cards).”

FrequentMiler
Guest

Andyandy: First make sure you go to OfficeMax, not Office Depot. Office Depot purchases do not qualify for OPEN Savings

THEsocalledfan
Guest
So, Miler, let’s look at this for meeting a minimum spend on a business card or to churn for points. If if value the point a 1 cent, and 4% cash back from TCB for PJ, I need to find gift cards at Office Max that resale on PJ for 85% or Cardpool for 89% With that said, do they have (admitting to using giftcardgranny which is not always right): CVS Abercrombie & Fitch Bloomingdales Nordstrom ebay (haven’t seen these in ages) Apple BP, Shell (or many other higher end cards; I have seen shell in the past) Target Ironically,… Read more »
Sam
Guest
@THEsocalledfan: Using your assumption that 1 point is worth 1 cent, you have to find gift cards that can be sold to Plastic Jungle at 89% ÷ 1.04 ≈ 85.58%, but not 89% – 4% = 85%. If GiftCardGranny is correct on their rates, they include 76 Gas, Apple, ARCO, Bestbuy, BP Amoco, Chevron, CITGO, Conoco, Costco, eBay, Exxon, Kroger, Mobil Gas, Nordstrom, Phillips 66, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Shell, Speedway, Target, Trader Joes, Walmart, Whole Foods. As seen from the photos in this blog post, only Nordstrom gift cards are available, which can be sold at 87% to Plastic Jungle.… Read more »
FrequentMiler
Guest
I think a better approach to meet minimum spend on Amex business cards is this: 1. Buy $200 Visa cards for 6.85% off (as described in my post) 2. Find the closest store to OfficeMax among these: Walmart, Target, Safeway, multiple gas stations. The key is to find ones that resell on PJ for 92%. After buying from OfficeMax, run over to this store and use $200 Visa to buy $200 worth of Walmart, Target, etc gift cards. In Ann Arbor, there is a Target in the same strip mall as one of the OfficeMax stores. 3. Sell to PJ… Read more »
Josh
Guest

I agree with the last approach mentioned by Miler, but has anyone confirmed that you can buy Visa GCs with the OfficeMax GCs?

Also, I believe the PJ rate for OfficeMax GCs is only 80% cash. It is 84% if you redeem for Amazon GCs.

bf
Guest

In response to folks who asked about using OD (not Ofc Max) GCs to buy other GCs in-store at OD, my experience was that the answer is a firm “NO.” I purchased $500 of OD GCs online based on an online chat with an OD rep who said (in writing) the answer was “yes.” After elevating the matter to corporate and waiting a few days, OD gave me a refund. Caveat emptor.

guest
Guest

Same for me at off max. Cannot use off max GCs to buy any other GCs, not even other store GCs at all. Firm no- register is even programmed to block it. Just like CVS. so just realize if u squeak thru now on this, probably not for long & can be blocked quickly. Don’t get stuck with a stack. Off max sucks.

Grant Thomas
Guest

I purchased a digital eCODE from plastic jungle for office max and get the following message at checkout: “We’re sorry. You cannot use a gift card to purchase a gift card. To continue, please enter a valid credit card for payment.” I imagine the same thing would happen if you tried to use the card in store as well 🙁

THEsocalledfan
Guest

Nordstrom is out. PJ is about 70%. (does anyone even update gift card granny?) Cardpool is at 87%, and can’t see how that math pays for the hassle.

Only hope is buying Visa gift cards which I am skeptical will work. My Office depot did not have any of the high value cards like any gas cards, etc. Nordstrom was my only hope. I will not try the Visa gift card idea until further report from Miler.

trackback

[…] off:  You need an American Express business card with OPEN Savings for this part.  See “10% off everything and 7% off everything else” for details.  If you buy $2000 worth of gift cards, you will get $200 back in OPEN […]

Bman
Guest

What about going through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to buy thevOfficeMax gift cards using your OPEN Amex. On a $500 gift card purchase (the max they allow online + free shipping), that would net you $1500 UR points, 500 Amex MR points, and the total cost would be $450, with the 10% OPEN credit. Thoughts?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Bman: I tried, but they don’t award points for gift card purchases at OfficeMax. That would be really awesome if they did!

Phil
Guest

Ok so UltimateRewards may not work but how about other rebate sites? ebates seems to offer 3% but cannot find explicit terms and conditions. others exclude gift cards but wonder if any might slip through. will definitely have to test as would not want to get stuck with crappy officemax gift cards

Phil
Guest

indeed ebates may be the one, no exception listed here: http://www.ebates.com/help/storeexceptions.htm. i will give it a try with a small gc purchase.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Phil: Let us know how it goes. I tried MrRebates, but the transaction shows $0 pending payment 🙁

trackback

[…] spend requirements, earn points, and even earn some money.  I’ve hinted about this in previous posts, but I’ll bring it all together […]

trackback

[…] I’ve reported before (see “10% off everything and 7% off everything else”), you can use an American Express business card to get 10% back from all OfficeMax orders […]

trackback

[…] sometimes up to 30%!) using this card in combination with an American Express reloadable card (details). It should be noted that this is a business card which usually means that anyone can still […]

chris
Guest

FM: is this 10x only for online purchase?

chris
Guest

I take back, It is from officemax.com.

Jason
Guest
I went to 2 local OfficeMax stores yesterday. The first had $10 off with purchase of two $50 Visa gift cards ($100 limit per customer per day) and the second had $10 off two $50 Master Card gift cards. Or possibly the system wide sale was for both and those were the brands each store chose to display under the brand. Both times the cashier didn’t know about the sale but was able to find the scan code on the first page of their notebook. Normally it’s a $4.95 fee for these cards so ends up costing $99.90, but since… Read more »
FrequentMiler
Guest

Jason: Awesome!

Chris
Guest

FrequentMiler – were you able to buy the Visa Prepaid cards at your local OfficeMax store with the OfficeMax gift cards you purchased online. I have an AMEX Open card and this would be fantastic! Thanks!

FrequentMiler
Guest

Chris: Yes, no problem. Other people have reported issues though so apparently it varies by location. Try your location first with a small gift card and go from there.

Marty
Guest

Is this still working? Was told by several office max stores that I won’t be allowed to use gift cards to buy a gift card in their store. Called a few in the neighboring state as well?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Marty: If you ask, they’ll all say no. And, it’s true that many OfficeMax stores don’t allow it. The trick is to go up to a nice cashier and just do it and hope they’re OK with it. I strongly recommend that anyone wanting to try this does a small test first before spending lots of money.

trackback

[…] Must Read PostsOne card to rule them all10% off everything and 7% off everything elseHow I earned over 1 million points and miles in 6 monthsMileage running, from homeWhy Chase cancels […]

PJ
Guest

a side topic: I am in Milpitas and or/ Irvine CA . is there a nearby Kmart that let me buy BP or Shell gas cards with e sears gift cards?

FrequentMiler
Guest

PJ: I don’t know

Sergey
Guest

I read today my statement from AMEX Business Platinum and there are 2 changes in OpenSaving program – from January 15, 2013 savings at Hyatt will be 5% and citing “As January 15, 2013, the OPEN Savings OfficeMax discount will no longer apply at retail locations”. But I was under impression that this savings applies only online all the time, not in store. Is it card specific?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Sergey: Very interesting. Yeah, it was my understanding that the retail location savings disappeared months ago. And, the OPEN Savings web site also specifically said “online only” since then.

Sergey
Guest

FrequenMiler: “And, the OPEN Savings web site also specifically said “online only” AND phone orders (according to the officemax.com/opensavings). I’m wondering if I order by phone Visa’s GC for $300, will I get a 10% bonus?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Sergey: Yes, I expect that would work if they would let you buy $300 visa gift cards over the phone. Have you ever seen such a thing? The best I’ve seen at OfficeMax are the $200 Visa cards

Sergey
Guest

FrequentMiler: Sorry, I meant to buy VISA GCs for more than $250 to get 10% off. So, I can buy 2 $200 VISA’s, pay $10 in fee and get $41 back. In my opinion, phone order = buy in store. Anyway, I sent SM to AMEX to clarify if in-store purchases are eligible until Jan. 15, 2013

FrequentMiler
Guest

Sergey: great idea. Let me know what Amex says

Sergey
Guest

FM: I got a (positive) response from AMEX:

—————
Yes, I assure you that you are still saving 10% when you spend more than $250 on a single transaction with OfficeMax (retail store) until January 15, 2013

As per the Open Saving Discount program, purchases with OfficeMax will be 5% off all purchases of $250.00 or less and 10% off all purchases of more than $250.00. Please note that Effective January 15, 2013, these discounts will apply only to online purchase with OfficemAx and not retail stores.
—————

FrequentMiler
Guest

Sergey: That’s amazing! Thanks for letting us know about that!

Sergey
Guest

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.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Sergey: I don’t think there is a cap.

Chris
Guest
MY EXPERIENCE: 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… Read more »
FrequentMiler
Guest

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

Sergey
Guest

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.

Steve
Guest

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 F.
Guest

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…

FrequentMiler
Guest

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

Rob
Guest

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.

FrequentMiler
Guest

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

Adam
Guest
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… Read more »
FrequentMiler
Guest

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: http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2012/10/30/using-the-target-amex-card-to-run-up-spend/

Rob
Guest

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.

trackback

[…] 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 […]

CHRIS
Guest

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

FrequentMiler
Guest

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

Lee
Guest

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…

FrequentMiler
Guest

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.