Is it worth it? Save $10 when buying $200 worth of Visa or MasterCard gift cards at OfficeMax

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Offer valid 6/9/13 thru 6/15/13 only.

I visited two nearby OfficeMax stores yesterday to checkout this OfficeMax deal.  By buying $200 worth of Visa or MasterCard gift cards at OfficeMax you’ll get $10 off.  Is that a good deal?  Is it worth it?

First let’s look at the terms & conditions.  I’ve pulled out the important parts:

  • Limit 1 offer per transaction
  • Customers may purchase multiple Visa gift cards and/or MasterCard gift cards in denominations that cumulatively amount to $200 or more to meet the minimum purchase requirement
  • MaxPerks® Rewards are not redeemable for this offer.

Here is what the first and third parts of the T&C mean to me:

  • Limit 1 offer per transaction = No limit.  Since it doesn’t say limit 1 per customer, this means to me that if you want to buy more than $200 worth, you could simply ask the cashier to ring up each $200 bundle separately.
  • MaxPerks® Rewards are not redeemable for this offer = OfficeMax gift cards are redeemable for this offer.  It doesn’t say that you can’t use OfficeMax gift cards to buy these gift cards, so it appears to be OK.

My Experience

I still had a few OfficeMax gift cards laying around from previous deals, so I brought the gift cards and my Ink Plus card along on my shopping trip.  At the first stop, I reconfirmed what I had learned before: my local OfficeMax store no longer carries $200 Visa gift cards.  Rats, that would have been a good deal.  The best alternative was to buy two $100 cards, each with a $5.95 fee.  I chose Visa gift cards over MasterCards because the Visa card PINs tend to work better.  I brought four $100 cards to the register and asked to pay in two transactions.  No problem.

After the first two cards were rung up, I saw that the total came to $211.90.  That was wrong.  Where was my $10 off?  I showed the weekly ad to the cashier.  She got out her big black binder full of scan-able coupons, found this deal, and scanned it in.  Success!  The new price came to $201.90

I gave the cashier my OfficeMax gift cards which she took and processed without comment.  I then paid the small remaining balance with my Ink Plus (so as to earn 5 points per dollar).  Done.

At the next OfficeMax store, I again couldn’t find anything better than $100 cards with $5.95 fees.  I bought two.  This time the cashier had much more trouble finding the scan-able coupon (it hadn’t been put into the binder yet), but eventually everything rang up correctly.  I was out of OfficeMax gift cards so I paid for the whole thing with my Ink card.

Is it worth it?

If you buy two $100 Visa or MasterCard gift cards and get the discount applied, the total comes to $201.90.  The fee is very close to 1%.  That’s not bad, but you can do just as well by buying $500 Vanilla Visa gift cards for $504.95 at various stores (drug stores, gas stations, etc.).  And, dealing with a single $500 gift card is much easier than dealing with a bunch of $100s.

The benefit of the deal comes in if you want to liquidate OfficeMax gift cards (as I did) or if you can earn bonus points on your credit card at OfficeMax.  The best credit card options are the Chase Ink cards that earn 5 points per dollar, and the Amex SimplyCash card that earns 5% cash back at office supply stores (see Best Category Bonuses).  Either way, you will earn approximately 4% profit by buying gift cards, or more if you value Ultimate Rewards points higher than 1 cent each (and you should!).

If you decide to use OfficeMax gift cards to pay, keep in mind that some OfficeMax stores do not allow buying gift cards with gift cards.  Your mileage may vary.

So, the answer to the question is yes, under certain circumstances, this is a good deal.  I don’t plan to buy any more of these gift cards though because I find dealing with $100 cards to be a hassle.  Even loading the cards onto my Bluebird card (see Gift card PINs) is a bit more of a hassle than I want to deal with.

How about you?  Is this deal worth it to you?  More importantly, does your local OfficeMax store carry $200 Visa gift cards anymore?

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. No $200 cards in my area just lots of $100. The $100 cards are a pain but they cost a dollar less with a cost of less than .2 cent per pt..I can use them paying daughters tuition online or loading BB at WM………

  2. It costs $10 to get 10 $100 gift card and you get 5000 UR points with Chase Ink Bold. If you buy the VR reload at CVS, it costs $8 for 2 $500 VR and you get 1000 UR pts. So, it’s a deal going with OM even having to deal with a bunch of $100 Visa/MC gift card.

    • Its good to hear that some of you found $200 gift cards! Definitely a good deal with those!
      MileHunger: In my OM stores, I’ve asked in the past about the 200 gcs, but no luck. It’s not that they are out of stock but that they don’t even have display space for them anymore.
      RestlessLocationSyndrome: Yes VR costs $503.95, but I was trying to compare apples to apples by giving the price for Vanilla Visa cards: $504.95.

  3. Miler-Ask the manager if there are more in the back or locked up. I’ve been reading that people have asked the managers and BAM found 40 in a glass case somewhere in the back. I actually have experience with this. I went and bought 1 $200 gift cards because there was only 2 left and I wanted to be nice and leave one for a fellow miler. When I walked to the cash register the manager was ringing people out and I asked if there were more $200’s somewhere. He ran to the storage room and said yes we have plenty. I didn’t partake, but I’ll be back. Just a heads up.

  4. Definitely a deal for those with an Ink Bold or Plus (0.2 cpm)… even with the hassle of multiple smaller denomination cards.

    However, not really useful on a large scale which I suspect is how most would want to take advantage of this deal and even so, you can’t churn it the way you can with the VR.

    BTW, it should be $503.95 for the VR cost.

  5. No 200 cards at my store either. Asked twice if they had any in the back but no luck. I’m going to pass on the 100 cards.

  6. Went to my OM on Sunday and bought 5 x $200 Visa gift cards. After the second or third transaction, the cashier said something to the effect that, the register will eventually decline my card because of the multiple purchases. Then she mentioned something about this being “criminal activity”. When I scoffed that criminals don’t purchase GCs with credit cards, she said, okay, well, then it’s against company policy. She still sold me all 5 and then I went back later in the day to buy the 4 remaining on the rack. I doubt there are any $200 ones left now. The fact that they have to ring up each $200 sale separately does create a backlog at the register.

  7. I live in the Bay Area (Northern California) and they do not sell 200 dollar Visa GC anywhere in my area – called all around – a real shame – I wonder why? Are we in the Bay Area more of a bunch of fraud-sters?

  8. @David Dang, I’m in the Bay Area too and I was going to check my local OfficeMax later today. I remembered last time I was there I didn’t see any but I was hoping it was just because I wasn’t looking too hard.

  9. Has anyone in Northern California found 200 dollar Visa GC at OfficeMax – please tell me where – I hate these 100 dollar Visa GC!!

  10. got a couple of 200$ cards yesterday and then again went today to buy some more..thanks FM..this sure is a great deal for 5X bonus..yeah one card per transaction is the hassle.. officemax near me is so empty all the time that the employees will happily do all this for us.

  11. I’d be all over this deal if there was an OfficeMax store anywhere near DC. According to their website here are only four stores located within 75 miles of DC and all are at least 65 miles (1:20 away driving). Not sure if its worth it to drive all that way killing nearly three hours in the process, especially on the chance that they are sold out or reject my buying more than at least $2000 worth. 🙁

    Where is everyone else located where there are so many locations nearby?

  12. Has anyone with an Ink card gotten shut down by Chase for perk abuse? I own a business and spend a lot at office stores, but I’m afraid they’ll start swinging the ax for too much $196.95 transactions.

  13. Even for those of us who don’t have a biz card this would still help by spreading out spending across vendors. I know I limit myself on the number of $503.95 purchases at CVS.

  14. Hit 2 OfficeMaxes on the way home from work. First only had 2 on the hanger. I asked one of the employees and he opened up the display case they were hanging on reached in a pulled out a fresh package of them and asked “How many do you want”. I picked up 5 at each store. Second store the cashier asked to see license and credit card, double checked with the manager and than rang them up. Both stores were empty of customers.

    I will probably hit them again tomorrow.

  15. I guess I will figure this out when I go to BB tomorrow, but does the MetaBank Visa GC (from OfficeMax) require you to set a PIN ahead of time? Or do they act like Vanilla Visa Crads and the PIN is whatever four digits you decide to use the first time?

  16. @MileHunger: Incorrect. With MetaBank you call the number on the back. 5 to set the PIN. DO NOT login to the web and think that will be easier. It isn’t and can screw things up. Just call the phone number.

  17. Great news on the last 4 digit deal; I found $200 cards yesterday and scored $2400 worth. Thinking about going back with my Ink Plus (used bold first time) and picking up another $2600. Think about it; this is literally a free coach ticket for less than free. Killer deal.

  18. I was able to buy a $200 gift card. At one point, I was asked if I want to get more. I should have said yes, but I do not want to get shut down by Chase for buying too many at once. We should spread it out on different cards.

    • I wonder what the threshold is for Chase to shut us down. I’m sure seeing a zillion $196.95 transactions form OM raises some red flags.

  19. Just found a stack of 10 in PIT. Got a little nervous putting the 5th on my Bold so I used a couple other cards for the remainder. Still free points!

  20. With the MetaBank Visa Gift card at OM, may I ask if I can load three of them at the same time at the Walmart kios machine or one at a time? This would be my very first time at Walmart. Thanks for the info on using the pin as the last 4 digit of the card. Thank you.

  21. @Ken,

    This is just a different version of the Office Depot/reload trick that was so lucrative. (ironically, you could argue this is better if not one week) I never heard of folks getting shut down if they kept it under 5K, but perhaps Miler can weigh in.

  22. There’s no way to know for sure, but I don’t think Chase is going to worry about a one week special deal like this. If I had ready access to $200 cards, I’d personally feel safe buying a few thousand dollars worth.

  23. If you don’t see $200 cards out, ask. I revisited a store that I purchased them at yesterday and didn’t see any out. I asked, they checked inside the display and asked how many I wanted.

  24. Thought about buying 3 X $100 cards each transaction to change up the amount if the transaction. Not bad if you’re worried about chase being picky. Still a profitable deal with an Ink card

    • @Christopher K – I tried asking the lady to look in there and she told me she looked earlier. No one in the store so she was either telling the truth of being lazy. Though there were plenty the night before so who knows. I’ll just cross that store off my list or check this weekend.

  25. Realistically, how many can I buy before Chase gets mad? I bought 20 $200 cards and 10 $100 cards today. Since I made $3.05 per $200 card I’m considering going back to get more $100 cards. Too greedy?

  26. I bought 7 cards on 6/10 and 10 more today (6/12). Chase called me to confirm after the 10th card. I was using Ink card and It was fraud department’s call.They were ok when I confirmed the transactions. Do you think Chase will shutdown my account if I but 10 more tomorrow. OM near to my office has plenty of cards available.Hopefully they will be available tomorrow too..

  27. i just a couple $200 cards from OM. I tried to load to BB but it wants an address and says mine doesn’t match. How do you load the cards on?Thanks

  28. RK: I’d guess that you’re safe but there’s no way to know.

    Jack: you have to take the cards to Walmart to use then to load Bluebird. Use the last 4 digits on each card as the pin

  29. Ok, I’ll share my secret for any Denver metro readers. The Office Max in Boulder off of 30th is STOCKED TO THE GILLS with $200 visa GC’s. They don’t care about multiple transactions either. I’ve been stopping there nearly every day this week since I work in Boulder. Now that I’m done for the week, the rest of you can GET AT IT! 😀

    • @Gabriel – Thanks. The Stapleton OM is out of $200 cards, someone cleared them out a few days ago. I live by DIA so Boulder would be a trek for me.

  30. Is it true that the deal has been extended for one week? Anyone? I thought today is the last day, so I bought two.

  31. I stopped by today and they had just put the sign with $10 off for next week as well. The salespeople also confirmed it.

  32. Has anyone bought the Mastercard versions? I bought a whole bunch of them, called and set a pin for each, but when I go to Walmart to try to use them to buy money orders or reload my BB it always rings up as a credit card. ALWAYS. I don’t even have the option to use them as a debit, and hence, can’t unload them at all. HELP!!!

  33. Everest – you have to be quick on the pin pad and change it to debit before the cashier automatically rings it through as credit. I have been able to load the MC gcs to BB that way.

  34. @Groobie Could you explain more? She rings up the amount, it prompts me to swipe, I swipe and then it instantly says credit. At what point do I hit a button to change to debit, and what button? The yellow back button? or the red cancel? or green approve?

  35. @Everett – From DansDeals site, the user CtownBin stated the following:
    There are 2 solutions:
    1) Use a MoneyCenter ATM- in my experience, for whatever reason, the ATMs read it as a regular Debit right away and you can unload them just like the Visas.
    2) If you must use a register- after you swipe, wait 2 seconds and then hit the red cancel button. Then, a screen should come up asking you if you want to use “credit” or “ATM Debit” (along with a couple other options). Select “ATM Debit”, it asks for your PIN, and that’s it! The only small caveat is, you can’t use them this way if you’re using more than one card per transaction; you’ll have to do separate transactions for each card. IME the cashiers won’t be happy doing more than 2 in a row… that’s why the MoneyCenter ATM is by far your best option, if possible where you are.

  36. Tried to buy 5 $200 cards today. After the cashier rung up the first two, she called the manager over because she said if you buy $1000 or more you have to fill out some form with all your info. When the manager came over with the form, he then claimed that the deal was only for one transaction a day. The first two were already rung up and he wouldn’t let me buy any more. I didn’t fill out the paper and left.

    • @jack – I hate it when managers make up rules as they see fit. The only limit is one per transaction. I’ve had some stores say they need to call my credit card company OVER $200 per transaction. Even though the total was $196.xx they still insisted. I asked them if they knew $196 was less than $200, or that $200 is not OVER $200 and they said they still had to call. Idiots.

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