Office Depot discontinues $500 Visa/Amex cards

Reports have been pouring in from readers saying that their local Office Depot stores have discontinued selling Visa and American Express cards that were loadable up to $500.  Mommy Points reported the same, as did The Points Guy.  This is a big deal because the sale of $500 bank gift cards at an Office Supply store was a big deal.  By buying these cards with a credit card that offers bonus points at office supply stores, it was possible to buy these bank gift cards for a small 1% fee while earning points or cash back worth 5% or more.

Since I’m currently in Bangkok, I haven’t been able to fully research this situation.  At the time of this writing, I still don’t know for sure whether all Office Depot stores have stopped selling these bank cards, but I suspect so.

The loss of this “5X everywhere” technique essentially kills two of the 5 options I wrote about in the post “Multiple paths to 5X everywhere.”  Sadly, these were the two best options of the lot, in my opinion.

Neither Staples, nor OfficeMax ever carried these cards (to my knowledge), so I suspect that their inventory is the same as always.

Have you tried buying these cards at Office Depot in the past day or two?  If so, what was your experience?

UPDATE: Pizza In Motion reports the possibility that $500 loadable cards will still be carried at Office Depot, but with higher fees.  Read the details here.

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  1. Downtown Chicago OD (State Street). No luck. No variable load cards.

    There were plenty $200 cards with $6.95 fees though.

    Game over.

  2. Just tried to buy 4 Amex Reload cards at OD in North Dallas. No go. He actually read through the corp email to confrim SKW. Game over. I had 4K left till I hit my max of 50K. There goes 20K UR points.

    I hope CVS stays a life longer.

  3. Friends from West Chicago suburbs reported that the game is over there too.

    So, now is it time to store “Ink”, “Target AmEx” and other tools for 5% everywhere in closets?

    Any alternates?

    Oh well, I just entered the game and it was over…

  4. yeah, I got in the game a little late. right after they pulled VR from OD. I made do with the AMEX/OneVanilla for a couple month and now this.

    There was someone on another board tweeting that he was just about finished maxing his 4 ink cards..

  5. I am either missing something, or am the Forrest Gump of pts & miles junkies. I just went into my local OD and bought 4 variable Visa Vanillas at $500 a pop, just like I have been doing since they dropped reloads. Will be stopping later at my local CVS to convert them into 4 $496.05 Vanilla reloads. After that, Bluebird time. Was that just dumb luck?

  6. Some Visa gift cards still available at the OD in Denver this afternoon but their inventory was running low. Still plenty of Amex gift cards though. Bought two $500 Visa gift cards just fine – manager had to do an override but no other hassles.

  7. Bought an Amex prepaid at OD tonight for $504.95. A simple manager override was needed, for the first time. There were about 30 on the rack here in Austin.

  8. Was in Vegas the past few days for vacation. First two ODs I went to said they didn’t sell gift cards for anything but cash and had for “months”. Third OD sold me three without a problem. Went back there two days later (Saturday) and all the $500 cards were gone. Went to a fourth OD and it had plenty of $500 Visas/MCs. Brought two to the counter and was told I could only buy one. Did so. Went back this morning (Monday) and they were running low on the gold and gray-boxed ones, but had tons of the birthday celebration-themed ones. Took two of them up to the counter and they called to do a credit authorization, but as they were doing it, the manager came up and said “He’s cool, he came in the other day” and had them hang up and just charge me for the two cards without a problem. As the rest of the comments make clear: YMMV.

  9. Went back to the place where I bought $6k worth on Sunday. All racks are empty. About 5-6 ODs in my area have none. The 5x game w OD is officially over. I have another 5x scheme in mind but that will need to be tested and I will likely not disclose it. But there are ways still….without having to incur the crazy fees on the $100-200 cards.

  10. @Yo…interested as to what you’re thinking as I thought of something too but not sure if it will work. Is your idea one to get you large amounts (ie on $500 purchases) or slower/smaller purchases.

  11. Checked my normal Office Depot source here in Portland, OR on Hayden Island and they had them still on the shelf but they wouldn’t sell them to me. Bummer. Hopefully another way to earn 5X all the time comes up soon!

  12. Just went to check office depot real quick in Kansas City. Same deal. All $500 cards pulled. Glad I already finished my Ink spending, and now to hunt for some AMEX cards to use at Costco.

  13. Does anyone think it’s a good value to purchase $200 AX or VS GCs at OD with $5.95 or $6.95 fee? Even with an IB, $1000 in GCs yields 5000 UR = $65.50 at FT “fair trade price.” Cost would be $29.75 or $34.75 (depending on actual fee charged), plus the cost of the 2 VRs ($7.90), plus the value of points forgone by using IB instead of another points earning card (e.g. 1000 SPG points worth $19.50 at FT “fair trade price).” So the net gain would be $8.35 per $1000 of GCs (at $5.95 fee) or $3.35 per $1000 of GCs (at $6.95 fee). Not counting the value of your time or gas to visit two stores. If we charitably value UR at 2 CPP, the value proposition is slightly better. And if we value SPG at 2.5 or 3 CPP, the value proposition is slightly worse. Alternatives?

  14. Fees for these 200$ GCs are either ~3% or ~3.5% (5.95 or 6.95), not like ~1% of the previous variable cards.

    Still this is less than the 5% you would get back in form of UR points.

    The math before was 2525 points for 4.95 fee, (if you can liquidate these cards at costco or otherwise).

    4.95/2525 = 20 cents per point.

    Now it is 1035 points for 6.95 fee:
    6.95/1035 = 67 cents per point.

    More than 3 times the cost it was before.

    If you can buy Vanilla Reloads at CVS using your Freedom card (without the Q1 bonus), it is 564 points (504 from Base purchase, 50 for 10% of each dollar spent, 10 points for the transaction) for a fee of 3.95:

    3.95/564 = 70 cents per point.

    So the Ink deal now is not even lukewarm, it is regular room temperature.. sadly.

  15. Agreed with Rob that the new deal isn’t very good and probably too much hassle to do all that often. Here are a few comparisons noting that the old point cost was 0.2 cents while the new cost is .67 cents.

    Cost of $1K in spend (~5000 points ignoring the fees) was previously $9.90 and now $34.75.

    Cost of $50K in spend (~250K points ignoring the fees) was previously $495.00 and now $1,737.50.

    Cost of a business class flight to Europe on UA (or any 100K flight) previously was $196.04 and now is $671.50.

    Cost of a 25K point domestic flight on UA was previously $49.01 and now is $167.87.

    Cost of a Hyatt Cat 6 stay (22K points) was previously $43.13 and is now $147.73.

    All went up by nearly 250%. So while in all these cases you can still get great value, there are probably far easier ways to do this with far less hassle.

  16. Now that OD has stopped carrying variable $500 GCs, what other stores are selling those? Checked Bbuy and they do not carry these type of GCs in any denomination.

  17. CVS sells them. So do grocery stores. Sadly, no 5X UR with IB but 5X with Freedom this qtr. You can get bonus HH points at CVS (at least for a while). Various cards give bonus points at grocery stores.

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