Complete guide to Staples Visa & Mastercard deals

by Shawn Coomer – Senior Editor

Last Updated: 2/3/2016
Staples gift card mastercard visa

Staples often runs deals on Visa and Mastercard gift cards. This guide provides all of the relevant information you need to know about these deals.

Best Cards to Use at Staples

There are a couple of cards which pay 5X at office supply stores like Staples. Using one of these cards helps to maximize deals.

Chase Ink Plus – The Chase Ink Plus is by far the best card to use for purchases at Staples. It earns 5X Ultimate Rewards points at office supply stores on up to $50,000 per year in purchases. These points can then be transferred to travel partners such as United, Hyatt, Southwest and more.

Amex Simply Cash – The Amex Simply Cash business card pays 5% cash back at Staples and other office supply stores on up to $25,000 per year in purchases. Since you are earning straight cash, it isn’t quite as valuable a card as the Ink Plus.

Chase Ink Cash – Like the Ink Plus, this card earns 5X points at office supply stores including Staples. Unfortunately the points earned on this card are only worth $.01 each unless you have an Ink Plus or a Sapphire Preferred card as well. The Ink Cash’s 5X benefit is also capped at $25,000 in spend across all 5X categories.

Buying Visa Gift Cards Online

Staples gift card mastercard visa

$200 Visa gift card available at Staples.com

Staples Online Visa Gift Cards

Staples sells Visa gift cards on their website in a variety of denominations.  $300 gift cards have an $8.95 fee (3%).  $200 gift cards have a $6.95 fee (3.5%).  The fees are high, but they can be well worth the fees when earning 5X rewards with a card like the Chase Ink.

While it doesn’t happen often, Staples does occasionally issue coupon codes or run instant rebate promotions on the sale of these cards.  During online Visa gift card promotions Staples generally limits the discounts to one per account. They have been known to ban people in the past who created multiple accounts and/or used guest accounts to get around the limit.

Click here to shop for Visa gift cards at Staples.com. I will earn a small commission if you use this link.

Staples Rewards & Shopping Portals

Gift cards purchased at Staples do not earn Staples Rewards. Unfortunately Staples also stopped paying out through shopping portals for the purchase of these cards.

Activating & Loading Visa Gift Cards Purchased at Staples.com

Visa gift cards purchased on Staples.com are sold through Gift Card Mall. They generally come in the mail 5-7 days after making the purchase. A separate activation code is supposed to come in the mail within a day or two of the card, however lately that hasn’t been happening.

If you do not receive the activation code, you can call Gift Card Mall at 1-877-426-2551 to manually activate the cards over the phone. Once activated, the cards can be loaded to Bluebird or Serve by using the last four digits of the card number as the pin.

Activating the cards via telephone can be a quicker way to go even if you have received the codes. Phone agents can generally activate an entire batch of cards very quickly, whereas you have to enter each code manually when activating online.

Buying Visa & Mastercard Gift Cards In-Store

Staples Easy Rebate In-Store Deals

Staples gift card mastercard visa

An example of a recent rebate promotion.

Once every couple of months (but sometimes more often) Staples runs an in-store promotion for the purchase of Visa or Mastercard gift cards. While the terms vary slightly between promotions, Staples generally offers a $20 rebate on the purchase of $300 or more of gift cards. (Here is an example of a recent deal.)

Depending on the deal, the rebate is either paid out in the form of a Visa prepaid card or a Staples gift card. There is almost always a limit of one rebate per household. Some people have had success getting additional rebates by using their work address and the addresses of family members.

Staples In-Store Rebate Sample Math:

Staples sells $100 Visa & Mastercard gift cards for a $5.95 fee and $200 cards for a $6.95 fee. Generally the best way to maximize these deals is to use a Chase Ink Plus card to purchase two of the $200 gift cards.

  • 2 x Gift cards @ $206.95 = $413.90
  • Minus $20 rebate = $393.20
  • Points earned with Ink Plus: 2,070 Ultimate Rewards (or $20.70 cashback with the other 5X cards.)

In this example, you profit $6.80 and earn 2,070 Ultimate Rewards points fee-free.

Liquidating Staples Rebate Cards

Staples generally pays back rebates in one of two ways. For Visa gift card deals, the rebate generally comes in the form of a prepaid Visa gift card. For Mastercard deals the rebate generally comes in the form of a Staples gift card. Here are the best ways to liquidate these:

Staples Rebate Visa Card: This card is pin-enabled and can be loaded to Bluebird/Serve or other prepaid cards. The PIN number is the last four digits of the card number.

Staples Rebate Gift Card: If your rebate comes in the form of a Staples gift card, then you really only have two options. The first is to use the card at Staples to purchase merchandise. Secondly, you may be able to sell it to a gift card exchange for 80% or more of its value. Keep in mind though that many exchanges require a minimum card value, so smaller rebate cards may be more difficult to sell. You can find the latest rates here.

Gift Cards Sold at Staples In-Store & Pins

Staples sells both Visa & Mastercard gift cards in-store. Both types of cards are pin enabled and can be loaded to Bluebird/Serve at Walmart.

Visa Gift Cards Issuer & Pin

Staples gift card mastercard visa

$200 Visa gift cards sold at Staples in-store.

The Visa gift cards sold by Staples are issued by Metabank Bank. These cards be loaded normally to Bluebird & Serve by using the last four digits of the card number as the pin. For more info, see: Beginner’s guide to buying & liquidating Visa & Mastercard gift cards.

Mastercard Gift Cards Issuer & Pin

Staples gift card mastercard visa

$200 Mastercard gift cards sold at Staples in-store.

The Mastercard gift cards sold by Staples are issued by U.S. Bank. The pin is sometimes included in the packaging, but not always. If you don’t have a pin, simply call 1-866-952-5653 to set it via the telephone. For more info, see: Beginner’s guide to buying & liquidating Visa & Mastercard gift cards.

These cards can be loaded to Bluebird or Serve without issue at a Money Center kiosk, however there is a problem when using them at a normal Walmart register. Unfortunately they code as being a credit card and the load fails. Luckily there is a workaround.

Buying Gift Cards at Staples Without a Deal

Many people opt to manufacture spend at Staples even when there isn’t a discount on Visa or Mastercard gift cards. By purchasing a $200 Visa gift card with a Chase Ink Plus card, points can be generated for a marginal cost.

Here is the math:

  • Gift Card Fee: $6.95
  • Points Earned with Ink Plus: 1035

If you choose this route, you are basically buying 1,035 Ultimate Rewards points for $6.95. This equates to a cost per point of $.0067. Alternatively you could use 695 points to pay yourself back the $6.95 fee and earn 340 points without a cost. (Not generally recommended.)

Conclusion

Learning the ins and outs of Staples gift card deals can be daunting. Fortunately, through their in-store and online promotions, Staples provides a number of lucrative opportunities for points earning.

If you have any questions about this topic feel free to leave a comment below.

Comments

  1. We just got back from our local Staples. The clerk at the register told us we could only use cash or a debit card to buy the Visa Gift Cards. They no longer accept credit cards. She said they changed their policy because people were buying cards with their credit cards and not paying for the cards. My wife knows the manager of the store and he authorized us to buy the cards. He is the only one who can override their POS computer. We were lucky. They might not do it again.

    Looks like we lost another way to manufacture points.

  2. I noticed buying online that they count the fee toward the $2k limit. It won’t allow 10 cards per order online, instead limiting to 9 cards at $1862.55 per order. I’ve had some issues at Office Max similar to this where they count the fee as part of the $2k limit, but hadn’t noticed until today Staples online system blocks the purchase if it goes over $2k with fees.

  3. The Visa cards sold in store at Staples are through Metabank. The Visa cards sold online are through Gift Card Mall. My local Staples allow purchase via credit card but the manager must ring you up.

    • They are both metabank. I have both in my hands now. Haven’t had any issue buying large quantities in store or online with my INK+.

  4. Please update this article with information on how to liquidate the rebate cards you get in the mail from in store purchases of visa or MasterCard gc. The visa gift card I got from buying gift cards couldn’t be loaded onto red bird (at least not that I could figure out), and the currently active deal with MasterCard gc send you a staples gift card… What are my options with that?

    • Hi Raleigh. I have added a section about liquidating the rebate cards. Hope it helps!

  5. $200 visa GC’s pulled from Staples website?!? They are not displaying and link to them is deleted from Staples website :O

  6. Hello. I am currently having a lot of technical difficulties with buying Gift Cards and getting them liquidated or on a serve account. At my local wal-mart, they told me they do not load on to blue/serve nor do they liquidate any type of gift cards anymore. And of course their kiosk is not currently working-big surprise. I currently have a few 500$ MasterCard gift cards I got from my local grocery store that are pin-enabled. Are their any options for me to load these onto my serve account?? I can’t seem to find an updated blog. Is there any other money center kiosk’s at other stores?
    Thank You

  7. I just successfully loaded VISA and MASTERCARD gift cards on REDbird account. Went very smoothly at the Guest Services Desk. The cashiers do not seem to know what they are doing.

  8. Anyone know if Staples tracks the Visa rebate cards back to the original rebate applicant? Would using someone else’s rebate card raise any red flags?

  9. I just received a card from staples several weeks after my submission saying they would not honor the rebate as I had exceeded my limit……

    Ever heard of that?

  10. Does anyone know when staples and office max will run these deals? When ever they announce a promotion even if I manage to get to the store the very next day they are almost always sold out of the cards. It is like people know ahead of time these specials are going to hit.

  11. Recent rebates from Staples allow the choice between gift card and prepaid VISA card. Beside the non-expiry of the gift card, can anyone think of an reason to choose the gift card over the prepaid card?

  12. @SDO. I’d pick the VISA over the Staples GIft Card. The Staples Gift Card cannot be used to purchase any other gift card, including retail ones like Starbucks. Also you cannot purchase postage. So unless you’re already going to buy something at Staples, go Visa.

  13. @onni. Do you subscribe to Staples and OfficeMax/Office Depot emails? Also, many people get their Sunday newspapers with the circulars the day before on Saturday which gives them a heads up.

  14. Two questions … 1. Can I buy a Visa gift card at Staples with a Staples gift card? 2. Can that Visa card purchased from the Staples be used on anything?

  15. Staples rebate Visa gift cards are now pin-enabled and can be loaded to prepaid cards. The PIN number is the last four digits of the card number. I have updated this guide to reflect that.

    • Is that different than the Reward Card? I just received one from the McAffee deal and I don’t see anywhere that mentions a PIN. It even states to choose Credit. So, stating that it can be used anywhere debit is accepted, which it does, is false, (Aldi, Costco, etc. won’t accept Visa credit).

    • Hi Shawn,

      Do you know if that’s still the case? I just tried loading a recently-earned Staples Visa GC today and it says that the PIN was invalid.

  16. I just bought a Home Depot gift card with my INK card, then called Chase rewards. They told me they don’t give 5X points on gift cards because it shows up as a CASH ADVANCE on their end. So, are they telling me this to throw me off????? Would like to know if I am getting 5X or 1X points before I make any large purchases to meet min. spend requirements.

    • It depends on where you purchase the gift card, but most merchants don’t transmit the transaction details to Chase so they don’t know what you purchased.

      If you purchased the Home Depot gift card at an office supply store such as Staples then you should earn 5X. I have earned 5X on all gift cards purchased at office supply stores for years.

      • I just checked my AmEx SimplyCash statement and all 7 gift cards that I bought at Staples (4 different stores / 4 different days) showed up as a cash equivalent not qualified for 5% cash back per AmEx terms: “Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of other cash equivalents” I assume same is true for Chase Ink

        • I bought mine at staples.com with the AMEX simplycash and it is showing as “Category: Merchandise & Supplies – Internet Purchase”.
          Also lists the purchase as a Visa Gift Card.
          Doubting I get the 5% on these.

          Beforehand I chatted with AMEX to make sure my cash advance limit was set to $0. They said you can’t use the cash advance feature at all unless you enroll in some program.

  17. Could really use some newbie advice as to how to liquidate the VISA cards to meet minimum spend. Only thing left money orders ? Walmart ?

  18. Anyone have issues with loading staples visa gift card at walmart or rite aid? I tried today and had issues with the load. I have One VIP Serve.

  19. Just tried to buy a couple of Visa gift cards in local store. Told there is a new policy that no longer allows buying them with a credit card…..any one else hearing that?

    Will try another local store in a few days. Bummer if true. That’s where I but them when they have their $20 Staples Card rebate. Otherwise, I always buy online using Ink cards.

    • I had the same issue. Was trying to buy Amazon gift cards at Staples in Maryland and was told they no longer accept credit transactions for them. Called and canceled my Ink Bold right before the annual fee hit.

  20. Went to a different Staples just 10 miles from one that denied my using cc and had no problem using my cc???? Very strange. Must be just the cashier or that particular Staples.
    Try again with a different store or cashier.
    Good luck!

  21. For the most recent staples vgc offer, I am having difficulty liquidating them. I have been to a total of 4 post offices and asked for split payment. I was not able to liquidate in any of the post offices. The design has changed. They now have big Gift Card words on them.

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