This deal is good until November 24 2012 (Saturday).
Staples is back with a new FAR (Free after Rebate) software download. Usually, these are a great way to make progress toward meeting credit card minimum spend thresholds or to earn points for buying software you may or may not want. This week’s deal is small, but I predict that it is a harbinger of much more to come in the next few months.
The idea here is to go through an online portal to Staples.com. Once there, buy only one copy of this “Free After Rebate” downloadable software product for $59.99. If you use your Chase Ink card via the Ultimate Rewards Mall, you will get 2 points per dollar from the Ultimate Rewards Mall and another 5 points per dollar if you pay with your Chase Ink card (since this is an office supply purchase). If you use a Freedom or Sapphire card, you will earn 2 points per dollar from the Ultimate Rewards Mall and another 1 point per dollar from your Chase card. This means that you can earn between 180 and 420 free points. See Preparing for Miles for more info about the Ink and other cards.
Staples has an amazingly easy “Easy Rebate” system. Once you purchase the software, they send you a rebate link via email. You click the link, fill out a little bit of info and you’re done. Note that you will have to wait a while, though. It takes 4 to 6 weeks to receive your check.
If you have questions, please see the Q&A section at the bottom of this post.
Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Choose a shopping portal:
According to HikerT’s website, the Ultimate Rewards Mall currently offers 2X for Staples purchases. Alternatively, you can go to TopCashBack for 5.5% cash back, or uPromise or ShopDiscover for 5% cash back.
Step 2: Add one copy of “Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 for Windows (1-User) [Download]” to your cart:
TIP: Search for item 982927
Step 3: Check out
TIP 1: If you have Staples’ rewards money, use it! If you have a Chase Ink card that gives 5X for office supplies, use it! Alternatively, if you have a Discover card registered for the quarterly 5% bonuses, you will earn another 5% cash back for this online purchase.
TIP 2: Your state may charge sales tax. If you know someone in a state that doesn’t charge sales tax for downloadable internet orders (CA, NH, etc.), then set their address as the delivery address and no tax will be charged. This is a download only purchase anyway, so nothing will really be delivered. I picked “deliver to store” and picked a store in New Hampshire. Of course, there won’t really be anything to pick up.
Step 4: Submit Easy Rebates
You will receive an email from Staples with a link in it for submitting the rebate form. It’s easy!
TIP: The software rebate can be changed from a Visa gift card to a check! About 4 screens into the rebate process, you’ll see this:
Click on “or see other options for my reward” and you’ll see this:
Q: In the past I’ve bought the exact same item for the rebate. Can I do this again?
A: Yes. As long as the rebate number is different from your past purchases, you should qualify for a new rebate. This rebate is different from any I’ve posted about in the past.
Per Household Limit
Q: Can I buy a copy for every friend I know?
A: I don’t recommend it. I know at least one person who tried to do something similar, but Staples did not approve the second set of rebates. I don’t know how they figured it out.
Status = Researching
Q: The status of my order says “researching”. What’s up with that?
A: Staples needs to verify your order. Sometimes this happens if you have the wrong email address or phone number on file. Simply give them a call or do an online chat with them to verify the information they need. Once that is done, they’ll confirm the order.
Ultimate Rewards Mall T&C
Q: The Staples’ Terms and Conditions in the Ultimate Rewards Mall says “Not eligible on promotional items, technology, software, and electronics”. Shouldn’t this deal be ineligible since this is software? And, aren’t these free after rebate items “promotional”?
A: In all past FAR deals, points have posted despite these terms & conditions.
Do I have to use a Chase credit card?
Q: If I go through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Staples, do I have to pay with a Chase credit card in order to get bonus points from the mall?
A: No, you can use any credit card, but you may have better luck with a Chase card. For details and information about risks involved please see Ultimate Question.
Q: How long will it take for my rebate to arrive?
A: The Staples web site says to expect 4 to 6 weeks. My first rebates arrived after about 5 weeks so it looks like Staples’ estimate is fairly accurate.
Q: Do I have to download this software so that I can qualify for the rebate?
A: No! I didn’t download any of the software I’ve bought in the past, but all rebates processed successfully.
Q: I don’t need this software. Is there someone I can send the license keys to that could make good use of this stuff?
A: Check with your local schools or libraries. If someone can make good use of this software, then great!
|Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months. Some exceptions that are NOT subject to the 5/24 rule include: British Airways, Hyatt, IHG, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Marriott Business, and Ritz Carlton.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status.
|Chase 5/24 semantics ("Subject to" vs. "Count towards"): Most (but not all) Chase cards are subject to the 5/24 rule. That means the rule is enforced in making approval decisions. In other words, you probably won't get approved if your credit report shows that you opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months. Meanwhile, most business cards (such as those from Chase, Amex, Barclaycard, BOA, Citi, US Bank, and Wells Fargo) are not reported on your personal credit report. These cards do not count towards 5/24.
Chase IHG Card is not subject to 5/24 so it's easy to get. But after approval it will count towards your 5/24 total.
Chase Ink Business Preferred is subject to 5/24, so you likely won't get approved if over 5/24. If you do get approved, it won't count towards 5/24 since it won't appear as an account on your credit report.
|Amex 5 credit card limit: If you apply for a new Amex credit card, you may get turned down if you already have 5 or more Amex credit cards. Both personal and business cards are counted towards this limit. Charge cards, though, are not counted. You can apparently get as many charge cards as you’d like, and the number of charge cards you have does not affect your ability to get up to 5 credit cards. Authorized user cards are also not counted towards the 5 credit card limit. See also: Which Amex Cards are Charge Cards vs. Credit Cards?|
|Applying for Business Credit Cards
Yes, you have a business: In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale, or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Legally, it's fine. And, anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.
|Chase Ultimate Rewards points are super valuable and super flexible. At the most basic level, points can be redeemed for cash or merchandise, but you'll only get one cent per point value that way. A better option is to use points for travel. When points are used to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, points are worth 1.25 cents each with premium cards (Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, for example) or 1.5 cents each with the ultra-premium Sapphire Reserve card. Another great option is to transfer points from a premium or ultra-premium card to an airline or hotel program when high value awards are available (see this post for details). If your points are tied to a no-fee "cash back" Ultimate Rewards card, then first move those points to a premium or ultra-premium card before redeeming them in order to get better value.|
|Amex Membership Rewards points can be incredibly valuable if you know how to use them. In general, if you use Membership Rewards points to pay for merchandise or travel, you won't get good value from your points. One exception is with the Business Platinum card where you'll get a 35% point rebate when using points to book certain flights. This gives you approximately 1.5 cents per point value, which is pretty good. If you don't have the Business Platinum card, then your best bet is to transfer points to airline miles in order to book high value awards. More details can be found here: Amex Transfer Partners.|
|Marriott Rewards points can be redeemed for free night awards, travel packages, airline miles, or experiences. 5th Night Free Awards: When redeeming points for free nights, the 5th night within a single reservation is free. Airline miles: Points can be converted to airline miles at a rate of 3 points to 1 mile. A bonus is added on when you transfer 60,000 points at a time, such that 60,000 points transfers to 25,000 miles. Also, you'll get a 10% bonus when transferring points to United Airlines.|
|Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by the same guy who showed you how to fly round trip to Africa (DC to Senegal) for 50,000 points, how to book business class to Europe for 80,000 miles roundtrip, and more. You can find John’s website and award booking service here: theflyingmustache.com/awardbooking.
-Greg The Frequent Miler
Amex Application Tips
Check application status here.
Chase Application Tips
Call (888) 338-2586 to check your application status
|Caution: Plastiq has announced a temporary change to the way Visa credit cards are handled:
|In order to meet minimum spend requirements, many readers look for options to increase spend in ways that result in getting the money back. These techniques are often referred to as "manufacturing spend". American Express has terms in their signup offers that exclude some manufactured spend techniques from counting towards the minimum spend requirements for the welcome bonus. For example, most signup bonuses have terms like this:
Eligible purchases to meet the Threshold Amount of this offer do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchase of travelers checks, purchase or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments, or other cash equivalents.
That said, many techniques for meeting minimum spend are perfectly fine. Here are some techniques that are safe for meeting Amex minimum spend requirements: