Rocking the Staples Amex Offer

Yesterday morning, I was eating breakfast when my iPhone started bleeping.  Shawn had just published a Frequent Miler Quick Deal: Targeted Amex Offer – $25 off $100+ at Staples.com.  Awesome!  I ran over to my laptop to see if any of my Amex cards had received this targeted offer.

I didn’t have high hopes.  With the past 4 or 5 Amex Offers that Shawn has published, I hadn’t been targeted for any of them.  Plus, Shawn wrote that he wasn’t targeted for this one either.

To my surprise, I found the offer on every single one of my cards, and every one of my wife’s cards, and my son’s one authorized user card.  We went 18 out of 18 on this deal!  To load up the offer on multiple cards, I did the “multiple tab trick”: I opened my amex account into a separate browser tab for each of the cards I had on the same account, then I made sure that the offer was showing in each tab for a different card, then I systematically pressed the “Add to Card” button for each card.  If I hadn’t done it this way, then I would have lost the ability to add the offer to more than one card.  More details about Amex Offers (and signing up for more than one) can bee found here: Complete Guide to Amex Offers.

While I was at it, I noticed that we also had the latest 1800Flowers deal on all of our cards, so I loaded those offers too.

Staples Amex Offer and 1800Flowers

What about Serve or Bluebird?

Out of the 6 Serve accounts I once managed (until they were all frozen from loading funds), four are still open but mostly useless.  Out of curiosity, I checked to see if any of the still-open cards had the Staples offer.  Nope.  But they did have the 1800Flowers offer.  I didn’t bother with that. Amex Offer via Serve 1800Flowers

What good is the 1800Flowers deal?

The Staples deal is the really exciting one, but since I mentioned the 1800Flowers deal, above, I should address 1800Flowers briefly.  The deal allows me to buy 1800Flowers gift cards for 50% off, as follows:

  1. Go through portal for 20% back (TopCashBack currently)
  2. Buy $50 gift card
  3. Get back $10 from portal + $15 from Amex (+ $2.50 from Amex if you use a business card) = 50% off gift cards

Why would I want 1800Flowers gift cards for half off?  I often write about opportunities to use 1800Flowers deals to buy miles cheaply.  I sometimes even use these deals to buy food or other gifts incredibly cheaply.  A key component of this is to first get 1800Flowers gift cards at half off (or cheaper if possible).  This is not for everyone.  Just because I buy these does not mean that I recommend it for you.  Plus, it can be risky to stock up on these gift cards.  Things that have worked in the past, might not work in the future. To get an idea of what is possible, please first read:  1800Flowers Extreme Stacking promo codes, portals, gift cards, and more.

Important: Avoid buying $30 gift cards at half off from Groupon or Living social (or from gift card resellers since these are usually Groupon or Living Social) since these have many more restrictions than regular gift cards.

Now back to the Staples deal…

Staples Deal Terms

Here are the key terms to be aware of:

  • Spend $100 or more, get a $25 statement credit.
  • Complete spend by 6/19/2016.  To be safe, place orders much earlier to ensure that Staples’ actually charges your card by then.
  • Spend a minimum of $100 in one or more transactions: This means that you can buy multiple things and as long as you end up paying $100 or more with your Amex card at Staples.com prior to 6/19/2016, you’ll get the $25 statement credit.
  • Valid online only at Staples.com
  • Not valid on purchases shipped outside of the US
  • Not valid for e-gift card purchases. I’ll explain this one, below.
  • Offer not valid on online orders that are placed in-store through sales associate.
  • Excludes Quill, Smilemaker, Staples Business Advantage, Staples 4 Government, Staples Toner Services, Staples Technology Solutions, Staples Promotional Products, Staples Print Solutions (same as Staples Easy Print), Copy and Printing Services, Staples Contract and Commercial, Staples App Center, Staples Industrial, Staples Book Rental, Staples Simplexity, Staples Share fund, and Coastwide Labs

Are e-gift cards really excluded?

Staples.com sells two distinct types of e-gift cards: 3rd party e-gift cards and Staples e-gift cards.  Even though 3rd party e-gift cards are processed by Staples.com, Staples e-gift cards are sold by Cashstar.  So, it is only the Staples e-gift cards that are excluded.

All 3rd party e-gift cards should be fine.  That includes brands such as Southwest Airlines, eBay, Whole Foods, Target, and much more:

eGiftCards from Staples that can be bought with Staples Amex Offer

All physical gift cards should work too, including Visa gift cards.

Staples Visa Gift Cards that can be bought with Staples Amex Offer

Some staples e-gift cards won’t work because they are sold by Cashstar.  If you go through the process of trying to buy a Staples e-gift card and you see that the URL has changed to staples.cashtar.com, the Amex Offer won’t work for that purchase:

Staples Cashstar. Don't buy these.

Portals won’t work with gift cards

I believe that Staples has long since shut down all options for earning portal rewards when buying gift cards.  That said, it can’t hurt to go through a portal just in case.

Best options for maximizing the deal

Here are some ways I’ve thought about making the most of this Staples Amex Offer…

$25 off $100 at Whole Foods, Target, etc.

Staples sells e-gift cards to a number of merchants that I shop at semi-regularly.  These include Whole Foods, Target, Sears.  An easy way to use this offer is to simply buy $100 e-gift cards for those retailers and use them when shopping.

$25 off $100 at eBay can lead to even bigger savings elsewhere

This requires an extra step, but it can be well worth the effort.  If I use this deal to get $25 off $100 eBay e-gift cards, I can then use those e-gift cards to buy other merchant gift cards, often at a discount.  Plus, I could earn portal rewards when shopping at eBay, plus eBay Bucks!  Full details about stacking eBay gift card deals can be found here: eBay extreme stacking.

$25 off $100 Visa gift cards for use anywhere

Staples.com sells $100 Visa gift cards for $106.95.  After the $25 rebate, your total cost would be $81.95.  That’s like getting an 18% discount off pretty much anything.  A simple way to liquidate these would be to prepay your utility bills (assuming your utility company accepts credit card payments).  Or, just use for day to day shopping.  Or, pay 2.5% to Plastiq and use these gift cards to pay down your mortgage, for example (you’ll still clear a 15% discount).

$50 off $200 Visa gift cards?  $75 off $300?  Nope

If you have the offer on two or more cards, you could theoretically save a bit on Visa gift card fees by buying $200 or $300 denomination gift cards and splitting the payment across Amex credit cards.  The trick is that Staples.com doesn’t offer a way to do this, but one reader suggested that you can call in your order to do this and that it will still process as a staples.com order.

I gave it a shot.  I called in and learned that I could only use two gift cards, so I ordered a $200 Visa gift card and split the payment across two Amex cards.  Unfortunately, the charge showed up as “Staples Direct” not as “Staples.com”.  I never received a congratulations email from Amex either.  I later called to cancel the order.

Discounted stuff from Staples

Obviously you can use this deal to buy stuff from Staples at a discount.  In this case you can stack deals:

  1. Go through a portal (find good options here) to earn cash back or miles
  2. Apply coupon codes
  3. Log into your Staples account to earn Staples Rewards
  4. Apply Staples coupons to get additional discounts
  5. Pay with your Amex card that is linked to this offer

If you happen to need exactly $100 worth of stuff, you’ll maximize the deal.

Buy and liquidate Visa gift cards

If you want to simply earn a few bucks rather than save money on shopping, one option is to buy a $100 Visa gift card for $106.95 and then turn it into cash (the last 4 digits of the gift card is its PIN).  Depending upon what method you use to liquidate the gift card, the liquidation step may cost anywhere from 0 to 3%.  Assuming, worst case, that you pay 3% then you’ll still do well:

  • Pay $106.95 to buy gift card
  • Pay $3 to liquidate gift card
  • Get $25 from Amex
  • Get $100 from liquidating gift card
  • Total profit: $125 – $109.95 = $15.05

What I’ll do

We have almost two months to decide how to use the offer once it is loaded to our accounts.  So, my plan is mostly just to wait.

Occasionally, Staples offers some merchant gift cards at a discount.  I want to be ready to pounce on those deals when they come.

I will buy several eBay gift cards, though, in advance because I want to be ready when great eBay deals come along.  In my experience, merchant e-gift cards purchased from Staples can take as much as a full day to be delivered, so I don’t want to risk missing out on a great eBay deal while I wait.

How about you?  How many of your Amex cards were targeted?   How do you plan to use them?

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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HeavenlyJane
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HeavenlyJane

It’s important for your readers to know that these offers are capacity controlled. They may have a Staples offer sitting on their account now. However if the demand is high, it may disappear off of their list of offers, if they do not accept the offer before the limit is reached.

SteveX
Guest
SteveX

FYI.. It stacks nicely with old navy, banana republic, gap discounted e-gift cards..

Get $125 for $75 after 20% off and $25 amex credit..

HBR
Guest
HBR

Hi — thanks for this info. How were you able to determine that “not valid on e-gift card purchases” only applies to Staples e-gift cards? Thanks!

dan
Guest
dan

as FM previously noted, the staples GC is processed by cashstar, not staples

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Sorry to be a little off topic. But you mentioned that Staples Direct (phone order) didn’t work for Amex offers. I just realized that I used a phone order for my Ink purchase and it showed up as Staples Direct. Will that still have 5X earning? Thanks!

DC
Guest
DC

Wow, this is a great resource – thanks for putting the time into this write up.

Serious question: why do you only have 18 Amex cards? Knowing what you must know about adding AUs, are you purposely playing it conservative?

DT
Guest
DT

I think this is a better way to get an offer on multiple cards:

Right click the tab

Choose Duplicate tab

Change the card on that newly appeared tab to the next one from your (right hand) list

Right click the last tab

Rinse and repeat until all cards displayed on the different tabs (ie. 3 cards=3 tabs, 8 cards=8 tabs)

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Thanks for the write-up. FYI, I’m also seeing 5% off at Home Depot as targeted on a few cards as well (minimum $100 spend, up to $2k in purchases). Nice to have a 5% option outside of Discover and Chase quarterly promos. In store only though. Did you notice discover dropped home depot from their cash back portal? I didnt think the discover portal was seasonal?

Dave
Guest
Dave

I really want Amazon gift cards, but they’re not sold on staples.com. I’m thinking of buying Safeway GC and then using those to buy Amazon GC in store, while earning gas points. Anybody have experience using Safeway GC to buy merchant GC? One of the things that makes me hesitate is that the e-GC are printed on paper, which is much more conspicuous than a plastic GC.

Jeena
Guest
Jeena

Doesn’t show up on mine. But, we just got started, so either they are gone now or we are too new?

DC
Guest
DC

Still available – I just added 8 more in the last 10 minutes.

Vikas
Guest
Vikas

i have 4 cards in my online amex account and I see this in terms – can you please suggest solution?
‘Limit 1 statement credit(s) per American Express® online account’

should i create 4 accounts and move each card there?

Ben
Guest
Ben

Hi, can someone confirm that the Staples Amex offer can be used multiple times as long as each transaction is at least $100? Thanks.

Scott
Guest
Scott

For the 1800 Flowers deal you said you would get back $10 from portal + $15 from Amex (+ $2.50 from Amex if you use a business card) = 50% off gift cards

Why are you getting the $2.50 for using your Amex Business card?

dan
Guest
dan

5% credit / cb of $50

Scott
Guest
Scott

Can you elaborate further please?

dan
Guest
dan

not on my recently approved (been 2 wks) SPG biz CC. anyone received on the new SPG CC?

Annabel
Guest
Annabel

The offer appears on my other Amex but not my SPG. Second data point. Anyone else finding no Staples offer on SPG?

DC
Guest
DC

All my old SPG cards (i.e. open several years) had the offer (my wife’s didn’t). I don’t have any newly opened ones to test dan’s hunch.

dan
Guest
dan

agreed that the old SPG (wife’s acct) has the offer, but no on the recently received biz SPG. Previously had the personal SPG, but Amex asked to close 1 CC before approving another; so i opted for the personal’s

Chris
Guest
Chris

Interesting data point, maybe. I have the offer on 3 of my 7 cards. The 4 that do not have the offer, including 1 AU, are cards for which I have not yet met the min spend for their respective bonuses. Hmm?

Jeena
Guest
Jeena

Dang, maybe that’s why mine aren’t showing up! Although I have met the spend on one and paid it off yesterday.

Jody
Guest
Jody

Are the gift cards that ebay sells to other stores brand new gift cards, or are they gift cards that someone is reselling?

Doug
Guest
Doug

5 Amex cards….0-5….no bueno. Amex doesn’t love me apparently.

Joe A
Guest
Joe A

Yes. Thank you for the write up. It just worked as advertised for 13 of 14 cards (the last one had the offer but I was not quick enough to get it). Tabbed strategy worked like a charm. My current stack will be Staples – Target – Disney gift cards online with my Target card (5%off). 1300 Disney cards for $910. However, I think I will wait to see what you come up with down the road..:) Thanks again. Joe

Joe
Guest
Joe

Just processed all the Target cards.. Worked like a charm for all the cards.

craig
Guest
craig

How do you add the deal to an authorized users card the same time as the primary card?

SPC
Guest
SPC

Greg – FYI, some people on Lucky’s blog are now reporting a lack of success with $100 Whole Foods e-gift cards.

dan
Guest
dan

that’s why bought only 1 of $100 e-gc and wait for the stmt credit issued first…before going all in

dan
Guest
dan

made a purchase at 800-flowers & staples on the same day; a $15 stmt credit is already posted for a $50 for flowers, but a $25 credit for $100 e-GC @ staples isn’t (or not yet) posted. chatted with amex asking for review, but a reply as expected that need to wait for the system to post…

dan
Guest
dan

has anyone got a $25 credit posted for buying an e-GC? or a standard GC @ staples?

P
Guest
P

i was going to order the discounted gap brands gift card but they don’t ship to hawaii even though that’s email delivery, there’s no way to enter a hawaii billing/shipping info in the staples check out. Blech.

Sharp as they come
Guest
Sharp as they come

You do realize that its better to buy the $200 VGC than the $100 version

craig
Guest
craig

Data point- 2 25$ credits posted for $100 Ebay GC’s. Amex biz didn’t send an email stating I made an eligible purchase either.

dan
Guest
dan

nice, wonder if it’s a glitch; as so, amex may claw back 1

CC
Guest
CC

Made a $50 Gift Card purchase at 800-flowers. Amex $15 stmt credit was posted. When I checked the top cashback, it only shows $3 cash back in pending (with $43 purchase…weird???).
Anyone has the same problem?

Mel
Guest

I made four $50 Gift Card purchase at 800-flowers and my top cashback account shows $3 cash back in pending with a $43 purchase TOO on all four purchases.

dan
Guest
dan

Hope u folks won’t have to go thru frustration or jump thru hoops to get TCB to fix or post the correct CB $. I joined earlier this yr., but had my share of frustration & time consumption to make follow up including DM on Twitter & FB for them to correct the referral bonuses