A little FAR

This deal is good until September 8 2012.  Hat tip to Peter S.   

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 really small, though, so you won’t be spending much or racking up tons of points.  In fact, I’m not really sure it’s worth bothering with unless you have Staples’ rewards money that you need to spend.

The idea here is to go through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Staples.com. Once there, buy only one copy of this “Free After Rebate” downloadable software product for $15 after discounts. If you use your Chase Ink card, you will get 4 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 4 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 75 and 135 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: Go to Staples via a shopping portal:

According to HikerT’s website, the Ultimate Rewards Mall currently offers 4X for Staples purchases.  If you don’t have any Ultimate Rewards cards, you can go to TopCashBack or uPromise instead to get cash back.

Step 2: Add one copy of “Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2012 (3-User) [Download]” to your cart:

TIP: Search for item 368663

image

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!

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! See screen shots taken from a previous FAR deal:

image_thumb20_thumb

Q&A:

Same Item

  • 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.

Rebate Time

  • 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.

Download

  • 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.

Do Good

  • 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.

To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. An even easier option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.
Chase 5/24 semantics ("Subject to" vs. "Count towards"): Most 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.

Example: 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? 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.
Manufacturing Spend Caution: Many, many things can go wrong when manufacturing spend. If you suddenly increase credit card spend, your accounts may get shut down. If you cycle your balance often (e.g. spend to your limit, pay the bill, repeat) within a billing cycle, your accounts may get shut down. If you repeatedly pay your credit card bill from an anonymous bill payment source, your accounts may get shut down. If you buy lots of gift cards you may lose money due to gift card fraud, theft, loss, or simply mishandling those gift cards (e.g. maybe you thought you already used a gift card and tossed it into your “used” bin). If you rely on only one method to liquidate gift cards, you may be stuck unable to pay your credit card bill when that method gets shut down. In other words, don’t try this at home unless you know what you’re doing, and you understand and accept the risks..
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. Another exception is with the Business Gold Card where you'll get a 25% point rebate when using points to book certain flights. This gives you approximately 1.33 cents per point value. If you don't have either 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 Membership Rewards Complete Guide.
Marriott 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.

Everything you need to know about Marriott's rewards program, Bonvoy, can be found here: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide
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



  • Safe to Apply: Amex is the safest bank for trying your luck at a new welcome bonus. They don’t usually issue a hard pull when denying your application. Plus, they’ll now warn you during the application process if you’re not eligible for the bonus.

  • Lifetime Rule: If you've ever had the same card before, you are most likely prohibited from getting a welcome bonus for the card if you apply now. Fortunately you'll be warned during the application process if this is the case. Amex is known to "forget" that you've had a card after about 7 years.

  • 5/90 Rule: In general, you can get at most one credit card within 5 days and 2 within 90 days. The 5 day limit is not enforced when your applications are automatically approved. Neither rule is enforced for charge cards.

  • 5 credit card max:Amex usually won't approve applications for new credit cards if you already have 5 or more Amex credit cards open. This limit does not apply to charge cards.

  • Better Offers: You may be able to get a better offer than the best available public offer. Details here.

  • Hard inquiries combine into 1 when approved same day


Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration: 877-399-3083 (new accountholders); 866-314-0237 (current accountholders)


Chase Application Tips

  • Shut-Down Caution: Signing up for new Chase cards can lead to Chase reviewing your accounts. This may lead to Chase shutting down all of your accounts if you appear to be a credit risk. See this post for details and recommendations: Why Chase shutdowns have increased and how to avoid them.
  • 5/24 Rule: With most Chase cards, you won't get approved if your credit report shows 5 or more cards opened in the past 24 months. Details here.
  • 24/48 Month Rule: With most Chase cards, you can get the same card and bonus again 24 months after having received the bonus as long as you no longer have the card open. With Sapphire cards, you must wait 48 months. No wait is required for Chase Ink cards.
  • 30 Day Rule: It is tough to get approved for more than 2 Chase cards within 30 days
  • Get Same Card Again: You can get the same exact card and again if you first cancel the older card and follow the 24/48 month rule. Ink cards are OK to get again without cancelling previous card if you apply with a new business.
  • Better Offers: You may be able to get a better offer than the best available public offer. Details here.
  • Hard inquiries combine into 1 when approved same day (not always true when mixing business and personal)

Call (888) 338-2586 to check your application status
If denied, call reconsideration here:1-888-270-2127 for both personal and business cards


Citi Application Tips




  • 24 Month Rule: To apply for a card within the same brand, must wait 24 months after receiving a new cardmember bonus or closing account.

  • 48 Month Rule: Some cards (AA cards, for example) have a 48 month rule instead of a 24 month rule. In these cases, you have to wait 48 months after signing up for the same exact card.

  • Velocity Rules: Max 1 personal card per 8 days. Max 2 personal cards per 65 days. Max 1 business card per 95 days.

  • Get Same Card Again: Citi allows getting same card again (even if card is still open) as long as you follow the 24 month rule (or 48 month rule if applicable) and velocity rules (above).

  • Hard inquiries DO NOT combine into 1 when approved same day


Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration here:800-695-5171 (personal); 800-763-9795 (business)
If reconsideration # doesn’t work, try the Citi Credit Card Executive Office: 423-477-6858


Bank of America Application Tips

  • 2/3/4 Rule: Max 2 consumer cards per rolling 2 months, 3 per rolling 12 months, and 4 per rolling 24 months.
  • 5 card limit: You will not get approved for a new consumer card if you already have 5 consumer BOA cards open

  • Get Same Card Again: With some BOA cards, must wait 24 months after either opening or cancelling, depending upon the card.

  • Hard inquiries are usually combined into 1 when initiated within 30 days but there have been reports of TransUnion not combining.


Click here to check your application status
If denied, call reconsideration here: 800-354-0401 (8am-7pm ET Mon-Fri); 866-695-6598 (business cards);

Barclays Application Tips


  • 6/24 Rule Arrival+ Only: Difficult (but not impossible) to get approved for Arrival+ if you've opened 6 or more cards with any bank in past 24 months.

  • Get Same Card Again: Must wait at least 6 months after cancelling previous card (with some accounts Barclays requires waiting 24 months).

  • Hard inquiries are combined into 1 when approved same day. Most inquiries issued through TransUnion.


Consumer: Click here to check your application status
Business cards: Click here
If denied, call reconsideration here: 866-408-4064

Capital One Application Tips


  • 6 month rule: Must wait 6 months after applying for a Capital One card before applying for another one.

  • 2 card limit: You can have at most 2 Capital One consumer cards

  • Get Same Card Again: There is no known rule against getting the same card and bonus again even if you still have the card open.

  • Hard inquiries usually get issued through all 3 credit bureaus


To check application status, call (800) 903-9177 or (877) 277-5901
If denied, call reconsideration here: (800) 625-7866

Discover Application Tips


  • 2 card limit: You can have a maximum of 2 Discover cards.

  • 12 month rule: Must wait just over 12 months after previous card was opened before applying for another Discover card.

  • Get Same Card Again: No known rules against getting same card & bonus again.


Click here to check your application status
If denied, call reconsideration here: 888-676-3695

TD Bank Application Tips


Call (888) 561-8861 to check your application status

US Bank Application Tips


  • Get Same Card Again: No known rules against getting same card & bonus again.

  • Hard inquiries may be combined into 1 when approved same day.


Call (800) 947-1444 to check your application status.
If denied, call reconsideration here: 800-947-1444 or 800-685-7680

Wells Fargo Application Tips


  • Bank first: Wells Fargo usually requires having a bank account open before you can apply for a credit card.

  • 16 month rule: Limit of one signup bonus per 16 months

  • Get Same Card Again: No known rules against getting same card & bonus again.

  • Hard inquiries are combined into 1 when approved same day.


Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration here: 1-866-412-5956

Under certain circumstances consumer Visa cards don't work with Plastiq. The following payments are fine:

  • Rent (residential rent, HOA fees, and commercial rent)
  • Taxes & government fees
  • Utilities (electricity, cable, internet, and telecom)
  • Tuition (including daycare and camp)
Payments outside of the above list are subject to the following limitations:

  1. Payments using personal Visa cards issued by Chase are subject to a limit of 20% of your credit limit.
  2. Payments using personal Visa cards from other issuers (other than Capital One or Wells Fargo) will code as a cash advance. That means you’d incur cash advance fees and wouldn’t earn any credit card rewards.
  3. The following types of Visa cards are not affected by these changes: Capital One personal Visa cards, Wells Fargo personal Visa cards, Visa business credit cards, Visa corporate, debit and prepaid gift cards.
In order to meet minimum spend requirements, people often 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 welcome offers that exclude some manufactured spend techniques from counting towards the minimum spend requirements for the welcome bonus. For example, most new cardmember 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 (click each link for more information):
Marriott Bonvoy credit cards are issued by both Chase and American Express.  If you're interested in signing up for more than one Chase and/or Amex Marriott card, it's important to consider the complex rules they have put in place:

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.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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marZ
Guest

I may have missed something, but why only one copy now? I recently (one or two months ago) bought 10 copies of some FAR software and got the rebate from all of them. It was a deal posted here.

Gary S
Guest
Gary S

@marZ its in the terms and conditions of the rebate. may i suggest you start developing a love of reading all the fine print on a deal before you jump on it. even deals listed here on this fine fine blog.

marZ
Guest

Got it…that was just me being temporarily blind. It wasn’t even in the fine print. It’s listed right there at the top…

Zach
Guest

So “software” purchases are still earning UR points even though T&C’s say otherwise?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Zach: Yes, I (and many others) have continued to receive points for software purchases.

harvson3
Guest
harvson3

FM-

Just like your Sears posts recommend that people sign up for Shop Your Way rewards for 1%, I think these posts on Staples FAR deals should encourage people to sign up for Staples Rewards and be sure to log in at checkout. Staples Rewards earns 5% back throughout the store, including on these software purchases. I’ve received $60 bucks (or toward future Staples purchases) for FAR deals in 2012 so far. Applied toward current FAR deals, that money goes back to my checking account.

And I have free shipping of any order from spending >$1K at Staples.

FrequentMiler
Guest

harvson3: It sounds like you’re one of the lucky ones who was targeted for 5% rewards at Staples. I’m jealous! Most people (including me) only get rewards when buying Ink, Toner, Paper, etc.. But your point is correct that people should always signup for rewards programs like these. For me the advantage has been that I’ve become a premier member for spending so much (all FAR spend) and so I get some benefits that way.

The Weekly Flyer
Guest

HikerT has a website ??? 🙂

Sam_Goh
Guest
Sam_Goh

Some people posted on FW that they haven’t been getting bonus points. I did the most recent one that had limit 10 and I did not receive as well. Small sample size though.

Either way it gets put to good use. I advise a small student group and we raffle these off as door prizes for our meetings and stuff.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Sam_Goh: Good idea to offer these as prizes. I have continued to get points from the UR mall despite the T&C…

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Thanks. Every little bit helps when trying to meet the minimum spend on a card. I don’t even care whether I get the bonus UR pts, but I think I got them last month.

Kenny
Guest
Kenny

great post! I think staples updates the opportunities at the beginning of the week? Where can we find new FAR opportunities on the beginning of each week?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Kenny: Staples puts out its weekly ad for preview each Thursday. Often the FAR deals are shown in those weekly ads, but not always. I try to always publish when the good FAR deals are available so a simple approach is simply to subscribe to this blog.

TSO
Guest
TSO

This one might not be worth the effort. Can only get 1 copy and the $50 is discounted immediately so you only get to charge 15 bucks.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Here’s a good reason to go for this: to (for free) extend the life of points in a program.

My daughter’s 3000 Hilton points were about to expire. Since they’re worth almost nothing, I didn’t really want to spend much to keep them going. iTunes isn’t an option with Hilton. But Staples is! Done.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Michael: Great idea!

harvson3
Guest
harvson3

I got in on this at the last minute.
I think I erred slightly. Now that the portals are all 4x for points, one should always use the Sapphire portal because the 7% year-end bonus is on points earned in the UR mall too, correct?

FrequentMiler
Guest

harvson3: Yes, when all else is equal, use the Sapphire Preferred log-in for the 7% annual dividend.

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

Received email today – “Information about your Easy Rebate inside.”
Staples states “Trouble is, there aren’t any rebate offers associated with the Easy Rebate ID number/Order number you provided.”
So I checked orignal order & it was Canceled?? Also no Ink Bold charge.
Has this happened to anybody?
Thanks, Tom