Quick Tip: Variable Load Visa/MC Gift Cards are now Cash Only at Officemax

officemax variable gift cards cash only

A few weeks ago Officemax once again began carrying variable load Visa & Mastercard gift cards. Better yet, they were allowing these cards to be purchased with credit cards. Since cards like the Chase Ink and Amex SimplyCash earn 5X at office supply stores, buying these cards was an easy way to generate a lot of rewards.

A System Update & Numerous Data Points

I had heard rumblings the past couple of days of Officemax implementing a new cash only policy, but it seemed to vary from store to store. Unfortunately, it now seems that Officemax is rolling out a system update to restrict variable load cards to cash only across all stores. Here are a couple of reader reports from the past few days:

  • Just went to an OM in Kirkland, they told me that there s a new policy starting today (Nov 1) that over $200 in gift card purchases needs to be cash only… (((
  • No luck at two different OM stores in Michigan today. Register gives message that these are cash only. Both managers were surprised and said that they have not heard anything about a change in policy with Visa/MC gift cards. Looks like this was pretty short lived.
  • I was able to purchase 4 $500 gift cards with CC Tuesday night. But this morning, the cashsier showed me the “Cash Only for variable load GCs” message on screen while helping to check out. The Cash Only policy is effective 11/1/15 and the system is hardcoded either yesterday or early this morning. Another dream deal is gone.

Hardcoded System Message

When these cards are scanned, a message now pops up on the screen informing the cashier that they are cash only. The system will not allow credit cards to be used to purchase them even if the cashier will allow you to try. It remains to be seen if this rollout has happened at all Officemax locations, but my guess is that it will be nationwide soon if it isn’t already.

Last updated on December 20th, 2018

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

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Scott
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Scott
Larry
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Larry

Join the NRA and take on Hillary.

MFK
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MFK

I bought one with a credit card at an OM in SoCal on Tuesday 11/3.

Chris
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Chris

Well that was quick…. 🙁

Jeff
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Jeff

I bought a $500 MC at OM yesterday in Kansas City.

I wondered how long this would last. Might try a few more this evening in case it hasn’t made its way here yet. Thanks for the update

Aamir
Guest
Aamir

I bought several from multiple Office Max last weekend, no issue. I did have trouble liquidating at one Walmart while it worked at another location. Either way, bit bummed this is ending 🙁

escot
Guest
escot

I purchased two v/l mastercards at an OfficeMax location in Richmond, VA area Tuesday evening (11/3), and had no trouble using Chase Ink for the purchase. (later deposited them later w/ no trouble to bb w/ Kate)

Are you sure this is system wide?

Albert
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Albert

Unfortunately, it’s nation-wide. System has been hard coded against CC as the payment form since this morning.

Ruth
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Ruth

The dream has definitely died in Columbus. Ohio. Found the cards for the first time in weeks today, only to be told they are now cash only chain-wide.

Mike
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Mike

Cash only in northern Colorado 11/5/2015.

Papas
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Papas

Sub

john
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john

Been getting $500 visa and mastercards for the past 2 weeks. Today in Dallas they are cash only……..

Jake
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Jake

So you’re the one cleaning out the stores in the Dallas Area 😐

Albert
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Albert

I saw the “Cash Only” message on the terminal this morning. It was still good till two days ago. Location: San Francisco, CA.

Russ
Guest
Russ

Bought 3 last week with Ink Bold, no problem. Today, register is hard coded, no go. Manager was surprised; said he did not know and could not override…apologized. Got $3000 before it died.

AlohaDaveKennedy
Guest
AlohaDaveKennedy

The bad news is that they are cash only over here in South Florida locations visited. The good news is that we can all request bags of presidential dollars from our banks to buy cards at Office Max and reload Redbird at Target. From memory, buying $1k of gift cards at Office Max will add 16 pounds to the cash register till and reloading $5k on Redbird will give Target brass 80 pounds of manganese brass to work with. Pitch in, do the right thing and give the customer what they ask for!

Chris
Guest

Cash only at OM in Brooklyn 11/5/15.

Denise
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Denise

Hubby got $2000 worth yesterday at 2 different locations. Today cash only. Tried loading only one and same message popped up. Sad day.

iahphx
Guest
iahphx

Well, I guess I didn’t miss anything. I was travelling today in a location where there is an OfficeMax (I have none in my home town). I went in to try to buy these famous gift cards. There were tons of MC and Visa GCs on the shelf, but the spot for the variables was empty. I first tried opening the case (most stores don’t like you to do this), but I didn’t see any inside. So I asked a cashier. He told me the following. “You’ve got to move fast to get these. There’s this one guy who comes in everytime we restock them and buys them all. He says he makes money doing this with the points.”

The cashier said nothing about the fact that it wouldn’t have worked anyway. 🙂

Net Netty
Guest
Net Netty

The best thing to do is keep publicizing the deals. That way they last longer. Dont worry guys the next deal is just around the corner. Now shut up and click those CC links! Woot!

Mark
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Mark

Does this change apply to non VISA/MC cards? I like to buy Amazon Gift Cards with my Chase Ink Plus (5x) and they’re variable load cards. Sure hope all of the other gift cards are still good for a credit card purchase.

Tracey
Guest
Tracey

Personally, I’d be more disappointed if GC purchases over $200 are cash only as some reports have said. I only have 1 OM particularly close to me and didn’t have any luck over a couple visits finding the $500 ones. This deal was never meant to be for me….

Gabriel
Guest
Gabriel

Ouch, this hurts. What most people don’t realize is that this wasn’t a 2-3 week “deal”. This has been going on since JAN. Visas and Mastercards? No. But I was buying AMEX Serve cards with a $2.95 fee for the past 10 months. And I verified today that it’s included in the mix of variables. Crap. Oh well, onto the next deal. I’m willing to bet most of you didn’t realize you were able to do that either. Kudos to those of you who did and kept it shut.

Eric
Guest
Eric

What is the point of buying temp Serve cards? I understand the $2.95 fee but you can’t use those funds to load to a real Serve card so wouldn’t you have to go buy a VGC/MCGC anyway?

Gabriel
Guest
Gabriel

What does it matter now that it’s been killed? You should be able to figure it out if you put some thought into it. Thank god that one wasn’t spoon-fed to the masses.

Dan
Guest
Dan

I’m curious about this myself, even if it doesn’t work anymore. Can you share even though it’s dead?