Weekend News

I have a few little things to report…

Staples $15 gift card

In Staples’ upcoming ad, which is valid from Nov 11 to Nov 17, they are showing a deal where you can buy $100 in MasterCard or Visa gift cards and get back a $15 Staples gift card as an easy rebate.  Each $100 Visa or MasterCard comes with a $5.95 activation fee.  This can be a lucrative deal if you make the purchase with a Chase Ink card or other card that earns extra points at Office Supply stores (see “Best Category Bonuses“).  This offer is in-store only.  No word yet on how many rebates each person can earn (when Staples ran a similar promotion recently, each person was limited to 10 rebates).  I’ll write up more about this, and how best to leverage it, when the full offer is released.


Staples Free After Rebate deals

DealsWeLike reports that Staples will have several Free After Rebate deals on Black Friday.  Unfortunately, most of the deals are mail-in rebates rather than the much easier “Easy Rebates”.  See “Free 5x Points at Staples on Black Friday” for details.

BlueBird MoneyPass ATM withdrawals

I recently used PayPal and TopCashBack to “direct deposit” some money to my BlueBird account (see “Bluebird Updates“).  In order to get free use of MoneyPass ATMs with a Bluebird card, you have to have made a direct deposit to your Bluebird account within 30 days prior.  This seems to have worked!  I used the MoneyPass ATM locator to find one in my town and I went to take out some money.  The machine didn’t say anything about it being a MoneyPass ATM so I was a bit nervous, but I went ahead and requested some cash from the machine anyway.  I was even more nervous when the machine said that I would be charged $2 for the transaction (but, hey, $2 isn’t really much for the sake of a Frequent Miler Laboratory experiment).  I pressed OK and got my money.  When I got home, I checked my Bluebird account.  ATM Fee = $0.  Sweet!

Photo Nov 07, 2 17 21 PM

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    • Target Amex cards and Amex Prepaid cards (not Bluebird) are always subject to ATM surcharges, if any. So, the best bet is to find a free or low cost ATM. The best I’ve found near me is the ATM in Costco that charges only $1.25. Amex will also charge you $2 after the first free withdrawal each month.

      Bluebird cards are completely free at MoneyPass ATMs. At least that was my experience. I withdrew $60 and that is all that was subtracted from my account. So, even though the machine said it would charge $2, it didn’t.

  1. Yes. I am about to ask the same for Amex Prepaid Card. Alot of credit union atm over free surcharge ATM. Is this consider “free”??

    Is this moneypass ATM valid for AMex prepaid as well as Target Amex prepaid?

  2. Same question as above for the AMEX PP purchased at Office Depot (which might be same as the ones purchased at other retailers as it does not have any co-branding but just AMEX on it).

  3. jinga: surcharge free means the atm machine doesnt charge you?
    most of credit unions atm are surcharge free…so I assume we can withdraw “free” using credit unions ATM. Can you confirm FM?

  4. Just some info on the Staples GC deals:

    It’s one Staples GC per transaction, if you buy multiples you get a combined Staples GC (e.g. buy 10, get $150 Staples GC).

    Staples GC may not be used online…. 1990’s called Staples and asked for their website back.

    It’s for each $100 COMBINED…. so if your store runs out of $100’s, you can buy 2 50’s. But you do eat the activation fees twice. There are also mix and match possibilities, Staples sells a 4 X $30 pack too with one activation fee.

    Lastly, if you don’t mind holding up the line, and you sure as hell don’t want to have $1K in gift cards, you can use the gift card to buy another gift card:

    Buy 1 $100 Mastercard, pay $105.99. Next transaction, use $100 Mastercard to buy another $100 Mastercard, pay $5.99 oop. Rinse and repeat, hope you find a good CSR + don’t cause a line :)

  5. Oops, note the example above is predicated on 10 per address. Staple’s rewards site can be mined for limits starting Sunday early a.m. so we’ll know then.

    • Sam_Goh: Thanks for the additional info

      Preacher7: I don’t think you can use a Staples GC to buy another GC in store unless you have a very nice cashier. It’s worth a try! I haven’t done the easy rebates in-store, so I don’t know what the process is like

  6. And then the Staples’ GC you get from the rebate can be used to buy another Visa/MC GC in store, right? Sounds like a PPM…until Nov. 17! And until you hit your 10 transactions/address limit.

  7. So do you still pay the ATM “machine” fee but not the BB ATM fee after DD? i.e. still had to pay the $2 fee? e.g. $200 w/d = $202.00 with “no BB ATM fee”?

  8. I saw $200 Visa gift cards with a $6.95 fee at my local Staples tonight, which looked like the lowest fee method to take advantage of this deal.

  9. Might not be worth the time and hassle for a mail in rebate. I’d rather just buy a $500 VR or prepaid Amex from OD. When are all the “good” easy rebate FARs coming???

  10. Thanks fm for all of this!

    First, let it be known that one may wish to just buying the exact gold and maroon $100 mc gc pack fm shows in this blog post. Others may not count. I made that mistake last time in the $10 deal but had only bought one non-right one.
    Last time i did 4 sets over a few days buying all gcs at one store and most from the rack at another. I bought all on my ink (and later got the ur) but was able to submit rebates for max 10 per person for self and 3 other fam members.
    So be sure you dont have like 11 on one receipt slip or something, or any combo of slips that dont come out to an even 10 because you will not get credit for overages. I was fine but saw how this could happen to anyone not able to buy say, clean separate sets of exactly 10 all on one receipt
    Now in my experience most staples wont let you use a staples gc (say, the $10 ones i now have in hand from last time) to buy a mc gc. But it is worth a try. But of course in doing this you are earning no ur. But you are burning store gcs 1:1 or better.
    Im admittedly still not sure what to do with all the store gcs ill have if i do this again. I use and can use a fee hundred worth there but not several hundred more lol
    For bluebird, great test! Thanks for the $2 risk hehe. Most moneypas atms are built ins and not the kiosk kind yours looked like. They charge $0 but an atm owner can slap on a fee and sadly, many kiosk ones are ones where store owners do that so be careful. To me its a big sham that atm entities like allpoint and moneypass need to further disclose but dont. Anyway im glad paypal and tcb worked for dd and im curious if ing works. And do you have to do a paypal or tcb dd transfer manually every month?

  11. Does everyone know how long it will take to get Amex for target permanent card? I got my temp one on Monday, but I have not gotten the permanent one yet.

  12. @Cam, are you sure you get 2x $15 for a $200 MC GC? I don’t think it works that way.
    @Anybody– I just got my permanent Target AMEX card, but haven’t used my temporary one yet. Does the $500 on that card automatically transfer over to the permanent card or do I have to do it manually by taking it to Target? Or is that money not transferrable?

  13. I’m wondering if anyone has tried paying a credit card bill with Bluebird.

    That’s seems a much easier way to get 5x for everyday purchases and beneficial in that you get the benefits of the points from the other credit card.

    For example, paying off my Delta AMEX with Bluebird would net me the points from the reload card plus the Delta points. That’s better than just using Bluebird as an everyday card.

  14. I’ll be going to staples anyway to purchase Visa GCs.

    If I buy $200 visa gift cards, its eligible for the $15 staples gift card as well right?

    so if the cap is 10 per person, i can buy 10 of those $200 gcs and get 15×10 rewards

  15. Dave, I am not sure on the $200 gift card, but that is how I interpreted Sam_Goh’s post above – that gift cards can be in varying amounts and you are given a rebate based on total (multiples of $100).

  16. I just come back from my regular office depot trip. The manager told me they are pulling back all the vanilla reload card. They got a corporate memo this morning and will discontinue all vanilla reload. They dont even let me buy 1 reload even when there are 20 on the rack. The gravy train in office depot is gone :-(

  17. Regarding Target AMEX, I read somewhere or heard it on the activation phone line that the temporary card will be deactivated within 30 days of activating the permanent Target Amex card. I haven’t tested it, but I believe both cards will have the same balance for the first 30 days until you spend money on one of them. I could try a $1 square charge on my temporary card and report back.

  18. I read that many frequent flier programs do not give points for the purchase of prepaid visa or mastercards. Does anyone know if Southwest Rapid Rewrds excludes prepaid cards? I have not been able to find it on the website.

  19. Lori: I’ve never encountered any cards that can somehow differentiate regular purchases at a store from prepaid card purchases. As far as I know, those purchases do always earn points.
    Shannon: No. Not unless you get a very nice cashier that will allow it.

  20. BTW Staples system seems to be rewarding more than it should for rebates. Maybe it will get fixed later, but some on SD are reporting that 4 X $200 on 1 receipt are giving the full $150. And that 2 X $200 and 3 X $200 are giving the best outcome ($75 + $135).

    Staples system is just odd.

  21. I bought 10 gift cards as one purchase so one receipt. I* just read the receipt and it says ONE rebate on purchase of $100. or more on visa or MC gift cards. Did I just mess up and will only get one rebate because I did not buy each one as a separate transaction? I am depressed.

    • Barry: you should get one $150 rebate. A few hours after you fill out the rebate online you should get an email saying that the rebate is being processed. At that point you can click through to see how much the rebate is for.

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