Plinking Staples

UPDATE: Plink now limits rewards at Staples to 10 transactions per month.

As I reported last week, Plink has recently added Staples to the list of merchants available for Plink rewards.  Plink is a rewards program that awards points for shopping at certain merchants.  Plink lets you link a single credit card to your account and automatically awards you when qualifying transactions appear on your credit account.  Plink points are worth a penny each towards gift cards such as Walmart, Amazon, and the Tango card (which gives you access to many more gift card options).

Plink_Staples_FrequentMiler

With Staples, Plink awards points for in-store or online purchases at the following rates:

  • $15 purchase: 50 Plink Points = 50 cents = (3.33%)
  • $30 purchase: 125 Plink Points = $1.25 (4.17%)
  • $60 purchase: 300 Plink Points = $3 (5%)

$60 purchases are the sweet spot for Plink rewards since you’ll get 5% back in the form of Plink points.

Double dip with Staples Rewards

For almost all purchases (except for gift cards), Staples offers 5% back via their Staples Rewards program.  Simply enroll in Staples Rewards and show your card when shopping in-store, or enter your rewards number when shopping online.

Triple dip with credit card rewards

Several credit cards offer 5 points per dollar or 5% cash back at office supply stores.  By paying with one of these cards, you can earn yet another 5% back (or more if you value the points more than a penny each).   Please see “Best Category Bonuses.”

Quadruple dip with shopping portals

Search for Staples on a site like cashbackmonitor to find the online portal offering the most rewards.  Currently you can earn 5% cash back by shopping at Staples via the uPromise portal.

Free after Rebate

Staples frequently offers Free after Rebate items.  Buying these can be a good way to increase credit card spend and earn rewards, but usually you’ll lose some money due to sales tax.  Between Plink Points, Staples Rewards, credit card rewards, and shopping portal bonuses it’s possible to profit from free after rebate purchases despite the taxes.  Some Free after Rebate items are available only in-store, but for those available online the following quadruple dip is possible:

  • 5% cash back via uPromise portal
  • 5% back in Staples’ Rewards
  • Up to 5% back in Plink points
  • 5X via credit card rewards

 

Gift cards

Using a credit card to buy gift cards in-store at Staples with a card that offers 5X at office supply stores has always been a great way to earn rewards.  Now, Plink makes these purchases even more appealing.  Merchant gift cards have no fee, so one could buy $75 worth of gift cards, earn 5X with their credit card, and $3 extra from Plink. 

You can also sometimes find $200 MasterCard gift cards with a $6.95 fee (in-store only).  You can think of the $3 in Plink Points as a partial rebate for this fee.  It may even be possible to ask the cashier to split the transaction into three payments so as to earn up to $9 in Plink rewards.

Staples_MasterCard_FrequentMiler

Staples also sells gift cards online.  You can buy e-gift cards with no fee, or physical gift cards, usually with a $1.99 fee.  Here, you can triple dip by earning Plink Points, earning portal points, and earning up to 5X in credit card rewards.  For example, if you were to buy $75 worth of e-gift cards (usually in the form of a $50 gift card and a $25 gift card), you could earn the following rewards:

  • 5% cash back via uPromise
  • $3 back in the form of Plink Points (4% rebate)
  • 5X via your credit card.

If you value credit card points at only 1 cent each, this adds up to a 14% rebate on all e-gift card purchases.  Note that you will not earn Staples Rewards for gift card purchases.

Wrap up

I don’t think that the new Plink/Staples combination is a game changer, but it is an excellent new option for enhancing the already lucrative options when shopping at Staples.  If you are interested in signing up for Plink, you’ll find a link here.

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. I wonder how long Staples last on the Plink. Hope this is not going to force Staples to go Cash Only for VISA/MC GCs or force Staples doing some other unintended consequences.

  2. I got the following error message when registering AMEX credit card with Plink:

    There was a problem with your submission:
    There was an issue communicating with your bank. Please try again. If this issue persists contact our customer support.

    Has anyone experienced this before? Do you know how I can solve this problem?

    PS: Under the error message it says:

    Need help? Let us assist you.

    Having problems with your American Express Credit Card account login credentials? Maybe these will help:

    Homepage URL (to AMEX website)
    Contact URL (to AMEX website)
    Phone: 1-800-528-4800 (AMEX customer service)

  3. Hey Greg. Any idea if I can I buy Staples eGC’s online, then walk into a store to buy MasterCard gc’s?
    Was great to meet u finally at Chicago Seminars. Keep up the great work!

  4. Ken: Buying MC GCs with Staples GC is not allowed, but their registers don’t prevent it so you may have success if you find a cashier who doesn’t know the rules.

  5. Just purchased 2 – 200 dollar mastercard gift cards with 75 on the AMEX and the remaining on the Ink Plus. Worked perfectly and staples offered me the 20 dollar gift card info in my receipt. Awesome!

  6. Anyone else work for a large coporation that has the images on plink blocked (this is important since all of their deals only have images and no text for saying what they are) because they are hosted on amazon aws?

    Site is pretty useless if you cannot see the offers

  7. Greg, do you think it would be possible to purchase several $200 gift cards at staples and tell the cashier to split payments into $60 increments onto my single Ink Bold card?

    For example, if I bought 1 $200 card, the total would be $206.95, split into 3 payments of $60 and 1 payment of $26.95? I bet if I asked them they would do it. Am I crazy for thinking this?

  8. Any risk of doing 10x $206.95 purchases on the same card for 10×300 plink points? Would chase frown on this?

    Staples -> Target -> Costco ATM for 10k URs 🙂

  9. How long has it taken for your Plink points from Staples to post? I ordered some gift cards on the Staples website (through UPromise) on 10/12 and nothing posted by 10/21 even though the Plink website said I should see points within 3-7 days. I contacted Plink who manually added the points, and maybe I’m just impatient, but it would be nice to have an estimate for future purchases.

  10. Up until yesterday they were awarding me for every transaction, and just today informed me of the limit of 10 transactions per month.

    That sucks. This was a good money maker.

    • You can use Sears/Kmart/LandsEnd e-gift cards at Sears (I recommend printing them first) to buy $100 Visa gift cards with a $5.95 fee. Not all Sears’ stores keep them in stock though, and not all cashiers will allow it.

  11. Now that OD is in until mid-April, it’s still the 10 transaction/month rule, but is it calendar month or rolling 30 day period?

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