Up to 18% off gift cards at OfficeMax (23% off w/ Simply Cash card)

Deal ends tomorrow (Tuesday, 4/16)

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OfficeMax is currently offering a free $25 OfficeMax gift card with any online purchase of $200 or more.  Enter promo code GIFTCARD at checkout.  Limit 1 per customer.

With most promotions like these, OfficeMax excludes technology and gift cards, but they have no such exclusions this time.  I was able to order OfficeMax and Lands’ End gift cards, and I successfully used the promo code:

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If you spend $250 or less, pay with any credit card that offers bonus points at Office Supply stores (see “Best Category Bonuses“).  If you spend more than $250, your best option is to pay with an American Express business card that offers OPEN Savings.  With orders over $250, you’ll get a 10% refund as a statement credit from American Express (but only a 5% refund if you spend $250 or less).  The best deal of all is if you use the American Express Simply Cash card which offers both an office supply category bonus (5%) and OPEN Savings!  Keep in mind that OfficeMax OPEN Savings apply only to online orders.

What’s the best deal?

For this analysis, I’ll assume you have an American Express business card, but not the Simply Cash card.  Let’s look at some scenarios:

Scenario 1: Buy $200 in OfficeMax gift cards

OfficeMax does not charge any fees with their own gift cards, so the total would come to $200 exactly.  If you pay with an Amex business card, you’ll get 5% back, and if you use the promo code, GIFTCARD, you’ll get $25 additional value:

  • Total Cost: $200 – 5% (OPEN Savings) = $190
  • Value: $200 + $25 = $225
  • Cost as % of Value = $190 / $225 = 84.4%
  • Savings = 15.6%
 
Scenario 2: Buy $200 in OfficeMax gift cards & $50 in merchant gift cards

OfficeMax charges a 99 cent fee for each merchant gift card they sell.  If you pay with an Amex business card and spend more than $250, you’ll get 10% back.  So, a good way to get just over $250 is to buy $200 worth of OfficeMax gift cards and $50 worth of merchant gift cards (Home Depot, Nordstrom, Lands End, etc.):

  • Total Cost: $250.99 – 10% (OPEN Savings) = $225.89
  • Value: $250 + $25 = $275
  • Cost as % of Value = $225.89 / $275 = 82.1%
  • Savings = 17.9%
 
Scenario 3: Buy $275 in OfficeMax gift cards

If you pay with an Amex business card and spend more than $250, you’ll get 10% back. So, let’s look at the numbers if you buy only OfficeMax gift cards:

  • Total Cost: $275 – 10% (OPEN Savings) = $247.50
  • Value: $275 + $25 = $300
  • Cost as % of Value = $247.50 / $300 = 82.5%
  • Savings = 17.5%
 
Scenario 4: Buy $200 OfficeMax gift cards without Amex OPEN Savings

I realize that not all readers have American Express business cards, so let’s look at the optimal savings that can be achieved without OPEN Savings.  Buy $200 worth of OfficeMax gift cards:

  • Total Cost: $200
  • Value: $200 + $25 = $225
  • Cost as % of Value = $200 / $225 = 88.9%
  • Savings = 11.1%

Still pretty good, especially if you earn 5 points per dollar from your credit card at office supply stores! 

Merchant Gift Cards

Here is a list of merchant gift cards sold online by OfficeMax (quoted from this SlickDeals post):

Applebee’s, Bass Pro, Bed Bath & Beyond, BJ’s Restaurants, Black Angus, Brinker / Multi-Brand Design Gift Card, Buca Di Beppo, Build A Bear, Cabela’s, Catherines Gift Card, Chili’s Gift Card, Claire’s, Cold Stone, Cracker Barrel, Express, Fandango, IHOP, iTunes, JCPenney Gift Card, Jiffy Lube, Justice / Limited Too Gift Card, Kohls, Lands’ End, Lane Bryant Gift Card, Macaroni Grill Gift Card, Maggiano’s Gift Card, Michaels, Nike, Nordstrom, OfficeMax, Omaha Steaks, On the Border Gift Card, Outback Steakhouse, PF Chang’s, Pizza Hut, Red Robin, Regal Entertainment, REI Gift Card, Ruby Tuesday, Sephora, SpaFinder, Starbucks, TGI Fridays, The Home Depot, TJ Maxx

From a resale perspective, the best options are probably Nordstrom and Home Depot.  For gift card churning I like Lands’ End since their gift cards can be used at Sears and Kmart (see “the mysterious gift card rack“).

OfficeMax gift cards

Yes, OfficeMax gift cards can be used in-store to buy other gift cards, but only if the cashier / store manager allows it.  I’ve never had any trouble, but many readers have said they have been turned away.  One good option may be to go to an OfficeMax store to buy $200 Visa gift cards and pay $200 of each gift card with a credit card and pay the $6.95 fee with OfficeMax gift cards.  I haven’t tried this, but it might work.

I do not think that OfficeMax.com would allow you to use OfficeMax gift cards online to buy other gift cards, but if you try it please let me know.

Portal Shopping

Don’t bother trying to go through an online portal to OfficeMax to get additional points or cash back when buying gift cards.  Numerous experiments have shown that OfficeMax doesn’t pay out for these.

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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Comments

  1. Very useful and good catch on the promotion. I notice all your base scenarios have you buying $200 in OM gift cards. Can you clarify whether merchant gift cards are excluded from the $200 promotion? It seems they are not, but it’s not 100% clear.

    OM sells online many merchant gift cards (example: Sephora $100 gift cards for $100.99) and one can actually buy $250 in merchant gift cards right away for open savings. I understand this costs $1.80 more than the $200 OM GC + $50 Merchant GC Base Scenario, but if one wanted Merchant gift cards anyway, the extra $1.80 may be worth the fuel costs savings of going to the OM store to get them without the shipping fee 🙂

  2. It’s ok, I got the clarification. 🙂 Ordered $250 in Sephora gift cards and got the $25 OM gift card. Will be perfect with my 15% off Sephora coupon I just got + 8 points/$ through the Ultimate Rewards Mall 😉

    My total extra rewards for $250 spending:
    $25 OM gift card
    $25 in OPEN Savings
    15% off promotion code at Sephora = extra $44 in merchandise
    8 points/$ at UR Mall = 2000 UR points (worth about $35)

    Total extra value on $250 I would spend anyway: $129

    Good stuff. Thanks for the heads up!

    • The Miles Professor: It looks like you answered your own question, but for others: Yes, you can buy only merchant gift cards (not OfficeMax gift cards) and still get the $25 bonus OfficeMax gift card. The cost is slightly higher due to the 99 cent fee for each card, but still a very good deal.

  3. I can’t quite infer the answer to this:

    So could we purchase OfficeMax gift cards with this promotion to get the bonus, and use those to purchase Visa gift cards in store?

  4. Thanks for this post! Just bought some $225 worth of Bed Bath and Beyond cards and $25 to Starbucks. Moving in with my girlfriend in the summer so those BBB cards will come in handy. Savings = $25 from AMEX Open, the $25 OM card. AND I knock out $250 towards min spend on Amex Gold.

  5. It says “limit 1 per customer”, but I was able to put 3 orders using the coupon and it was accepted all 3 times. Will I get 3 gift cards?

  6. Just got this promo in my email this morning as well, thanks for breaking it down for me, another good Coffee read.

  7. On a mostly unrelated note I very recently got miles through the MileagePlus mall for buying WN e-gift cards from staples.com. I paid with an InkPlus card so I got a hefty 9 miles per dollar for WN airfare.
    It took about four days for the codes to be emailed so this is not a good idea if you are in a rush.

  8. Party is over, guys. Just received a call from OfficeMax saying that this coupon is not supposed to work for gift cards, and there are 2 ways – cancel an order or proceed with the order but you will not receive $25 GC.

  9. Oh, I can’t find even a single type of gift card that I want to buy even after seeing your numbers and I do have a AMEX simple cash card. What a pity.

  10. Sergey, did you buy OfficeMax gift cards, or other gift cards? I bought only HD gift cards, and have not received an email at this point.

    _kirk

  11. I applied the coupon to a purchase of $225 and it still says $225 as the total even though the coupon says its been applied.

  12. Kirk: I bought other merchants gift cards. Now the thing: I made 3 orders and my wife (without officemax account) made one. She got a call 15 minutes after her order and rep told her that this coupon should not work for gift cards. I didn’t receive (yet) any e-mails/phone calls from OfficeMax.

  13. Would this work if I just bought something like ink & toner? Got the gift card and then returned the ink later? Would they make me give back the gift card?

  14. @ajshin: I routinely receive Ultimate Rewards points by going through the portal to Sephora and paying with a gift card I bought at Staples. I even wrote a whole post about this strategy 🙂 I also can use any promotional codes they have, any coupons they send me, get the complimentary samples, etc 🙂 15 points per dollar at Sephora all month this way!

  15. hell, the numbers still add up buying office max cards if gift card granny can be trusted and i finagle the 4% from cardpool…..

  16. @Diane – you could try buying something such as toner, getting the gift card, and then returning the toner. But that would make you a pathetic scumbag. Do you think FrequentMiler would appreciate it if you bought one of his items he resells online, broke it, and then returned it to him saying it never worked?

  17. @miles professor: Thanks for the response. But more specifically, have you tried buying the gift card directly from Sephora and getting UR pts?

  18. @ajshin: Apologies for the misunderstanding. I have not. I get 7 points per dollar from Staples (2 for UR Mall + 5 for Ink Bold) and have found that to be a safer better offer than most months at UR Mall Sephora. I may try that, though, on a $25 gift card and see what happens. I’ll try to use one of the Visa gift cards I bought at OM and the Chase Card.

  19. @miles professor: Thanks, and please let me know if it works. I agree that most times it makes sense to buy the gift card from an office store, but UR is giving 8X pts for Sephora this month. That’s a nice little bonus, especially if you can double dip.

    ps. I read your blog post on Sephora. It was helpful, and good to know you still get points even after using promo codes.

  20. Credit card was charged. However, when I track the order online it says I should call the number to find out more info and information on the order is not available. Anyone have this? What’s going on with these orders?

  21. Wikipedia:
    SKU refers to a stock-keeping unit, a unique identifier for each distinct product and service that can be purchased in business.

  22. Can you buy Visa GC with Officemax GC in store? If so, it may be great deal to buy Office max GC online with a simply cash card and earn 15% cash back and then buy the $200 Visa GC in store with Office max GC.

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