Staples Updates

Staples still sells gift cards online

Last week I posted a Quick Deal stating that all gift cards were out of stock at Staples.com (including e-gift cards).  This was extremely disappointing because Staples is one of the few merchants where you can buy gift cards to other merchants online and earn points or cash back from portals for doing so.  Plus, of course, you can earn bonus points by paying with cards like the Chase Ink cards or the Amex SimplyCash card.  And, you can earn Plink points too (more about that further down this post).

Fortunately, over the weekend, the gift cards reappeared.  Even better, people found that when browsing gift cards they were offered special limited time discounts on those gift cards.  Again, I published a Quick Deal about this here.  Unfortunately, Staples seems to have stopped offering those discounts (at least for now).  Maybe they’ll reintroduce those offers periodically?  We’ll see.

Staples gift cards now work online

Until recently, Staples’ own gift cards only worked in-store.  As of mid-November, though, Staples finally updated their system to allow online payment by gift card.  They now allow up to 5 gift cards per order.  The system does currently allow you to buy gift cards with gift cards online, but if you do too much of that you’re likely to have your orders cancelled.  In a recent test I found that purchasing a gift card online with a gift card did result in portal cash back (via uPromise). They do sell their own gift cards online, but not in e-gift card form so you do have to pay $1.99 extra for each one.  The largest value Staples gift card they sell online is $100.

Plink now limiting rewards for Staples purchases to 10 transactions per month

I’ve reported this in passing a few times, but I think it deserves its own callout.  I’ve previously written up ways to benefit from the Plink / Staples combination (see “Plinking Staples” and “5X everywhere rises“).  Since writing those posts, Plink secretly changed the terms to say:

Offer can only be redeemed 10 times within a 30 day period.

To be fair, some people (but not me) received an email on November 21 from Plink as follows:

Subject: New offer details for Staples

The Staples offer is changing. Starting today, you can earn Plink points for up to 10 qualified purchases each month. Be sure to shop at Staples 10 times in 30 days* to get the most points for your Staples purchases.

I find it very strange that Plink sent this to only a select group of customers instead of everyone.  With the recent loss of Sears and Kmart from Plink, there’s not much at Plink to get excited about 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. Have you read reports of cancelled orders for using gc for gc? Around how much is too much? Also do you know any any other merchants that allow gc for gc online in addittion to staples and walmart?

    • I’m really just guessing that this will happen. It is common for Staples to cancel gift card orders under certain situations so I’d be surprised if that doesn’t happen to some people who buy gift cards with gift cards. I don’t know of any magic number that would be too much. Mainly I want to stress that you shouldn’t count on it as a perpetual point machine.

  2. I used 2 Staples $75 GC (from the AMEX/Amazon deal) to order 2 $100 VGC, paying the diff with the Ink. Order went thru with no problems.

    Also, agree with you on Plink. Beyond Staples, there is nothing of interest.

  3. Do you know if Staples sells Amazon gift cards online? I couldn’t find it available on the Staples website, but perhaps they’re just temporarily unavailable?

    I know that they are sold in the store.

  4. I ordered 3 of the $150 Kmart cards all in one order ($450 worth of cards for $337.50) the other day when the offer was up. I received them this morning in my inbox. Also, I know some people on SD were concerned that they were only usable in store, but when I go to activate it, it shows you can use them both in store and online at kmart.com, sears.com, or landsend.com.

    So, either I got in early enough or didn’t go too overboard on the Kmart ones.

  5. Greg
    10 Plink orders max/ month is news to me, and I just recently placed a slew of single $100 gc orders.
    If possible, please can you clarify the quote

    “The Staples offer is changing. Starting today, you can earn Plink points for up to 10 qualified purchases each month. Be sure to shop at Staples 10 times in 30 days* to get the most points for your Staples purchases.”

    Any idea how the 30 days works, as I assume it’s not per calendar month. What does the asterisk mean?

    Thanks – keep up the gerat blog!

    • ken, I don’t know anymore than what is written here. Sorry for leaving out the asterisk. It’s not very helpful:
      .
      * More than 10 purchases at Staples within a 30 day period will not be eligible for Plink points. See site for details.

  6. My idea to earn 5X points for about a tenth of a cent per point, after maxing out the 10 Plink purchases per month: Buy two $100 Staples gift cards on Staples.com through a cash back portal (Shop Discover or Upromise). After you either pick them up in-store or the Staples gift cards arrive in the mail, use those two Staples gift cards in-store to buy a $200 Visa gift card. There is a total of $11 in fees: $4 for the two Staples gift cards, and $7 for the Visa gift card. You would get 5% cash back for buying the Staples gift cards through a cash back portal, which would be about $10. Does this idea work in practice?

  7. So what’s the long term outlook for Plink? Is it supposed to be really dynamic, changing the participating retailers on a regular basis, or is the loss of Sears/Kmart simply the result of disinterest on the part of said company? Plink was just gravy to me since Sears and Kmart already have the best loyalty program in the B&M retail industry (even if their stores are run-down and outdated). Can we expect future additions to Plink, or should we just be happy with the few dollars we were able to save?

    • Michael B, I really don’t know. I think that when a merchant goes away (which has happened recently with Kmart, Sears, and Lands End), it means that Plink has lost a revenue stream. My guess is that their business is struggling, but that’s really just a guess at this point.

      • And thus the reason why I cash out at $5 increments every time. No sense saving up plink points, it doesn’t get you any more rewards.

    • Yes, but Office Depot (the only one that carried $500 cards) stopped allowing credit cards for “variable load” visa/mc/amex gift cards. This means that the best you can do is buy a $200 card with a $6.95 fee.

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