The Dining Everywhere Visa. Is 5X or 2.65X worth the headache?

A new Visa gift card has appeared in many Office Depot stores: the Dining Everywhere Visa.  On the surface this card appears to be limited to use in restaurants and bars, but Travelling Well for Less has found that it seems to work pretty much anywhere.  And, the card’s cardholder agreement does not say that the card is limited to restaurants and bars, so I think that it’s safe to assume that the card’s use at restaurants & bars is merely a suggestion.

UPDATE 8/8/2016: Since writing this post, I’ve learned that the Dining Everywhere Visa is restricted to places where people may dine and that apparently includes Walmart.  I should have more specific information soon.

The card is interesting because it can be bought with a credit card at Office Depot, and therefore qualifies for 5X office supply category bonuses from cards such as Chase Ink and Amex SimplyCash.  And, importantly, the gift card fee for this card is lower than other Visa gift cards available for credit card purchase through office supply stores.

Dining Everywhere Visa

Dining Everywhere VisaDining Everywhere Visa basic information

  • Available from many Office Depot stores
  • Maximum value: $200
  • Fee: $4.95
  • PIN for debit purchases: Last 4 digits of card number (or can be changed online)

More details can be found on the card’s website.

Using Dining Everywhere Visa for everyday spend

Other authors have focused on the option of buying and liquidating this card in order to generate points cheaply (here, here, and here) so I won’t dwell on that excellent option in this post.  Instead, let’s consider using these cards sort-of as intended: for everyday spend.

If you buy these gift cards with a card that earns 5X at office supply stores, and if you value the rewards earned at just a penny each, you will effectively earn 2.65 points per dollar, in advance of your everyday purchases.  One way of dealing with the card’s purchase fee is to use a portion of your earned rewards to pay yourself back for that fee.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy $200 Visa gift cards at Office Depot for $204.95.
  2. Pay with a credit card that earns 5X rewards for office supplies. You’ll earn 1025 points ($10.25 at a penny per point).
  3. If you use your rewards to pay yourself back for the gift card fees, you’ll keep 530 points ($5.30).  530 points divided by $200 = 2.65 points per dollar.
  4. Use gift cards everywhere you regularly shop.  You won’t earn additional rewards from the gift cards – you already pre-earned 2.65X.

Living with gift cards

The biggest problem with this approach is that dealing with gift cards can be a pain in the ass, for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s easy to forget the current value of a gift card
  • It’s easy to misplace gift cards
  • It’s easy to mix-up an empty gift card and a fully loaded one
  • You may have charges denied if your gift card has insufficient funds.  This is particularly common at restaurants, hotels, and gas stations where large holds are typically put on your card in advance.
  • Large purchases are difficult or impossible.  Some merchants are unable to split transactions across multiple cards.
  • While you can register gift cards for online use, you may not be able to use the card successfully at all online merchants.
  • Many online merchants put a $1 hold on a card the first time it is used.  This can make it difficult or impossible to make a $200 purchase.
  • Product returns or order cancellations often return money to the original form of payment.  Do you think you can find that old spent gift card?

Fortunately there are ways to deal with a number of these issues:

  1. Keep a sharpie pen handy and update the current value of each card at the time of purchase.
  2. Keep your gift cards in a gift card wallet.  Assign a slot in the wallet for fully spent gift cards to be dealt with when at home.
  3. File away spent gift cards with some organization – perhaps, a file for each month.  The goal is to have some hope of finding the gift card in the future, if needed.
  4. Use the Visa gift cards to buy merchant gift cards in $200 increments.  For merchants or restaurants that you shop at frequently, you may find it easier to deal with their own gift cards than your Visa gift cards.  Some merchants such as Target and Starbucks, for example, let you keep track of your full gift card balance within their smart phone apps, and let you pay from those apps.  Other merchants sometimes run promotions in which they’ll give you bonus gift cards for buying their store gift cards.
  5. Merchant gift cards can be a way to make large purchases possible.  Often merchants will accept many store gift cards for a purchase while only accepting one or two credit cards.
  6. To make large online purchases, you may have to go in-store (to a drug store, for example) to buy the online retailer’s gift cards.  Make sure you know the online merchant’s gift card limits before you do so.  Some do have strict limits to the number of gift cards allowed per order.

For very large transactions, I know one reader who regularly places a bunch of gift cards on a scanner and faxes the image to a biller.  Of course, that approach won’t work everywhere — he had worked out this system in advance with a particular organization that was open to it.

No credit card protections

Most credit cards offer various forms of purchase protections: extended warranties, price protection, return protection, etc.  If you buy items with gift cards, you won’t get those protections.  When buying expensive items, especially appliances or electronics, it may be worth forgoing the extra gift card points for the extra piece of mind that a good consumer credit card offers.

Better rewards possible

It is often possible to earn 5X rewards, or more, when buying merchant gift cards.  Some of the strategies for dealing with Visa gift cards, shown above, involve buying merchant gift cards.  If you’re considering that approach, you should look first to see if you can do better buying the merchant gift cards another way.  Please see: Best options for buying merchant gift cards.

Also, many credit cards offer great rewards directly without having to buy gift cards at all.  Consider loading up your wallet with a few cards that offer great category bonuses and at least one that offers great rewards for everyday spend.  Please see:

My Take

I don’t like dealing with gift cards if I can help it.  I prefer to keep a few credit cards in my wallet that offer great category bonuses and/or great rewards for everyday spend.  For example, I use my Citi Premier card to earn 3X for all travel and gas purchases, my Ink card for 5X office supply and telecom purchases, and my first year Discover It Miles card for 3% cash back everywhere else.  Of course, I’m simplifying things here quite a bit.  In real life, I actually juggle a fairly large number of cards, and the actual contents of my wallet change regularly depending upon changing factors such as quarterly category bonuses, retention offers, etc.  Still, I find that much easier to manage than dealing with piles of gift cards.

There are plenty of people, though, who don’t mind dealing with gift cards in order to earn excellent rewards.  I framed this as a way to get 2.65X everywhere, but that’s if you value points at only 1 cent each.  If you use an Ink card and value Ultimate Rewards points much higher than 1 cent each, then the effective earnings after fees is much higher than 2.65X.

How about you?  Is it worth dealing with gift cards to increase rewards for everyday spend?

Last updated on August 8th, 2016

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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Sam
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Sam

This card is not working for MO’s. I am stuck with $800 now. bad move….

Raul
Guest
Raul

Dumb move. Y would u buy $800 worth of GC u were not sure u could liquidate.

David R
Guest
David R

Bought a total of five $200 cards today, at Office Depot. No problem using them to buy MO’s at Walmart and Winn-Dixie. Bought one first, to test it. After a successful same-day liquidation, went back and purchased four more.

Josh
Guest
Josh

I’ve never had a problem using Visa gift cards for everyday lunch purchases at many restaurants and fast joints. When I get close to the end, I let the cashier know there’s not much left on the one card and they apply whatever amount I ask. Never noticed any holds.

brian
Guest
brian

@Josh
the holds seem to be on a case-by-case basis. the smaller mom/pop shops who don’t have an issue w/ people coming in with fake/stolen/inactive cards or who don’t send their txns until the end of the day. I travel for work and it’s really hit-or-miss as to which stores/restaurants use a hold.

JB
Guest

An angle that’s not being talked about is the using this card for international travel. So I’m in Portugal right now and it’s the most ‘cash only’ country that I’ve been to in over 30 countries traveled in Europe. Public transport and many stores and eateries are ‘cash only’ or at best allow local debit cards with PIN. So I’m guessing this would have been perfect. I’ve cringed at making ATM withdrawls but it has been a must. Unfortunately, most of my purchases have been with cash in Portugal.

Chipotle
Guest
Chipotle

This will die in a few days – all thanks to you. You just can’t resist destroying everything, can you?

Anyone who runs out and buys a fistful of these, be prepared to be stuck with them once the liquidation options get shut in a matter of hours or days.

Raul
Guest
Raul

Shut up and go cry somewhere else.

Edward
Guest
Edward

Don’t worry, people are having a lot of problems with these and many report they are now stuck with them. They don’t even work at some restaurants. Most can’t get MO with them, so these will not be in great demand. Also, those who think they had success once at WM will be disappointed when they try again and next time it doesn’t work. These cards are strange. They almost seem flawed, but the issuers states they don’t work everywhere visa is accepted. They also have that disclaimer right on the package, but they’re still getting complaints. People don’t read.

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[…] The Dining Everywhere Visa. Is 5X or 2.65X worth the headache? by Frequent Miler. I hate the idea of using a gift card for every day spend, way to much headache for little return in my opinion. […]

TravelBear
Guest
TravelBear

There is a “Style Everywhere” version for “Fashion Retailers” as well. Same price.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Any luck in using it outside of fashion retailers? I bought one and tried it at the dry cleaners. Unsuccessful.

Edward
Guest
Edward

Also unsuccessful with those at a grocery store. Not looking promising.

Edward
Guest
Edward

Also, wouldn’t work on Amazon!

FLL
Guest
FLL

Note the MO picture shown by the blogger is a tiny amount below $50 – it is MEANINGLESS to test a purchase of MO with such tiny amount. With that amount, it does not require a PIN – ditto why Vanilla cards still work at WMT at $49.99 and below. The blogger does not have a clue on this. Also does she even know the fiasco of the HIGC 2 years ago>

takke
Guest
takke

If you’re concerned about refunds going back on to the card, why not just buy a gift card from your chosen retailer first and then spend that – that way, when you get a refund, you’ll get say an Amazon gift card back, which you can spend easily.

Jim F
Guest
Jim F

Happy to report that I was able to get a MO from Walmart in Fair Lakes, Northern VA. for $199.30, as Walmart charges .70c for processing. Estimated total cost:
$4.95 for the card
.70 MO processing fee
2.00 Gas back and forth

Received: 1025 UR points (bought with INK)

Going to go back to OD to get a few more!

Sosa
Guest

I m so happy to let you guys know it work in Stockton I was so frustrated and piss off buying the card and at one I was gonna sell it for half price after I loaded $200 cash ..Thank you so much it made Xmas.

David Lakein
Guest
David Lakein

Ditto : I was able to get a MO from Walmart in Chicago IL !

Edward
Guest
Edward

Many other reports of not being able to get MO with these at WM. Can’t use online and even trouble using these at many retailers. Seems very sporadic and some working and then others not working in the very places you just had success. Company has been telling people who call to complain, yep some actually called to say they can’t buy MO, and company said these don’t work everywhere and not set up the same as some of their other regular vgc. Be very careful with these. I know they don’t work at my go to grocery store for MO. Don’t get stuck.

Barry
Guest
Barry

I was wondering if anybody has any experience with using these cards for normal spending at Costco or Sam’s Club. Thanks for any info you can give.

Barry
Guest
Barry

I’d like to report back that this card works in the Costco food court. I’m guessing that it works for any Costco spending.

Barry
Guest
Barry

This card is kind of funny. It didn’t work in the cafeteria at my work for buying lunch, but it does work at Sam’s Club at the regular checkouts.

Leo
Guest
Leo

I was able to buy Costco cash card from costco.com with a Style Everywhere card.

Richard
Guest
Richard

$15 instant rebate at Office Depot for $300 Visa debit card spend; but the end result is $400 in the Dining Everywhere cards. I have yet to find a vendor that accepts the Dining Everywhere cards. Costco and Sams are soon to be visited, though. I do not recommend a debit card with restrictions associated with the type of vendor.

Barry
Guest
Barry

If you purchase 3 of the $200 Dining Everywhere cards you can get 2 $15 rebates on the cards. I just did that this morning. I can verify that the Dining Everywhere cards work at Costco.

Damien KRUMINS
Guest
Damien KRUMINS

What a horrible company I couldn’t register the card then I couldn’t use everywhere visa was accepted. The operator told me to Shut Up and then put me on endless hold and no list to be found on accepted merchants… Never again!!!

jd
Guest
jd

Ugh…I just bought 4 -$200 GROCERY Everywhere Visa gift cards today at OD (2-$400 transactions) to take advantage of the current promo of buy $300+ in Visa cards and get $15 back. I made a couple bucks on each transaction and 5* points on my Chase Ink. However I was not expecting to have a problem liquidating these. Does anyone have any experience liquidating these?

PDP
Guest
PDP

Do not purchase this card!! It is a rip off. My smart husband purchased it for me as a Christmas gift. Luckily I researched it prior to visiting a restaurant. The card automatically deducts 18% gratuity, which decreases the face value. What if I received bad service or simply opted not to leave a tip? That’s my choice. Or I didn’t bring another payment method. I would’ve been S.O.L. THIS IS A BULLSHIT CARD. PURCHASE AT YOUR OWN RISK…

Barry
Guest
Barry

When you visit a restaurant, most credit cards and gift cards are authorized for somewhere around 20% above the price of the meal to account for the tip. When the transaction posts, the amount is corrected to the actual amount of the meal and tip that you left. If there are any differences, you were overcharged by the restaurant not by the gift card. Always keep your receipts in case you need to dispute the charges.
Just as a side note, I’ve successfully used the cards at Sam’s Club and Costco for purchases. My guess is that these cards are probably valid anywhere that sells food like warehouse clubs, grocery stores, and Walmart Supercenters.

David R
Guest
David R

What Barry said…

Just wait a couple of days until the restaurant sale posts, and that extra hold will go away. Been there, done that with many types of VGC’s. Can’t blame your husband.

mark
Guest
mark

agree with what PDP said, same thing happened to us. A 50$ gift card was only “worth” $41.67 and the 18% that wasn’t available would be “available” to use on the card in three days!?! Plus the receipt we got back said GC balance $0.00
Huge scam. Think of the millions of people that toss the card thinking the zero balance was due to fees, etc. and Visa benefits greatly. Greedy pigs.
Oh they tell you to read the T&C, it’s explained there. Right. I dropped out of lawyer school so I guess I’m out of luck.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Does anyone know if the Dining Everywhere cards work at Meijer or Kroger?

jcc
Guest
jcc

The *everwhere cards are the worst. e.g. I can’t use the dining everywhere card at 7-eleven to buy food. I got fooled into buying these and will never ever buy any of this restricted crap cards again. Just got with the generic VIsa cards that actually work “everywhere.” This is the biggest false advertising and scam ever.

Tr3ndsetr
Guest
Tr3ndsetr

.