Staples often runs deals on Visa and Mastercard gift cards. This guide provides all of the relevant information you need to know about these deals.
Best Cards to Use at Staples
There are a couple of cards which pay 5X at office supply stores like Staples. Using one of these cards helps to maximize deals.
Chase Ink Plus – The Chase Ink Plus is by far the best card to use for purchases at Staples. It earns 5X Ultimate Rewards points at office supply stores on up to $50,000 per year in purchases. These points can then be transferred to travel partners such as United, Hyatt, Southwest and more.
Amex Simply Cash – The Amex Simply Cash business card pays 5% cash back at Staples and other office supply stores on up to $25,000 per year in purchases. Since you are earning straight cash, it isn’t quite as valuable a card as the Ink Plus.
Chase Ink Cash – Like the Ink Plus, this card earns 5X points at office supply stores including Staples. Unfortunately the points earned on this card are only worth $.01 each unless you have an Ink Plus or a Sapphire Preferred card as well. The Ink Cash’s 5X benefit is also capped at $25,000 in spend across all 5X categories.
Buying Visa Gift Cards Online
Staples sells Visa gift cards on their website in a variety of denominations. $300 gift cards have an $8.95 fee (3%). $200 gift cards have a $6.95 fee (3.5%). The fees are high, but they can be well worth the fees when earning 5X rewards with a card like the Chase Ink.
While it doesn’t happen often, Staples does occasionally issue coupon codes or run instant rebate promotions on the sale of these cards. During online Visa gift card promotions Staples generally limits the discounts to one per account. They have been known to ban people in the past who created multiple accounts and/or used guest accounts to get around the limit.
Click here to shop for Visa gift cards at Staples.com. I will earn a small commission if you use this link.
Staples Rewards & Shopping Portals
Gift cards purchased at Staples do not earn Staples Rewards. Unfortunately Staples also stopped paying out through shopping portals for the purchase of these cards.
Activating & Loading Visa Gift Cards Purchased at Staples.com
Visa gift cards purchased on Staples.com are sold through Gift Card Mall. They generally come in the mail 5-7 days after making the purchase. A separate activation code is supposed to come in the mail within a day or two of the card, however lately that hasn’t been happening.
If you do not receive the activation code, you can call Gift Card Mall at 1-877-426-2551 to manually activate the cards over the phone. Once activated, the cards can be loaded to Bluebird or Serve by using the last four digits of the card number as the pin.
Activating the cards via telephone can be a quicker way to go even if you have received the codes. Phone agents can generally activate an entire batch of cards very quickly, whereas you have to enter each code manually when activating online.
Buying Visa & Mastercard Gift Cards In-Store
Staples Easy Rebate In-Store Deals
Once every couple of months (but sometimes more often) Staples runs an in-store promotion for the purchase of Visa or Mastercard gift cards. While the terms vary slightly between promotions, Staples generally offers a $20 rebate on the purchase of $300 or more of gift cards. (Here is an example of a recent deal.)
Depending on the deal, the rebate is either paid out in the form of a Visa prepaid card or a Staples gift card. There is almost always a limit of one rebate per household. Some people have had success getting additional rebates by using their work address and the addresses of family members.
Staples In-Store Rebate Sample Math:
Staples sells $100 Visa & Mastercard gift cards for a $5.95 fee and $200 cards for a $6.95 fee. Generally the best way to maximize these deals is to use a Chase Ink Plus card to purchase two of the $200 gift cards.
- 2 x Gift cards @ $206.95 = $413.90
- Minus $20 rebate = $393.20
- Points earned with Ink Plus: 2,070 Ultimate Rewards (or $20.70 cashback with the other 5X cards.)
In this example, you profit $6.80 and earn 2,070 Ultimate Rewards points fee-free.
Liquidating Staples Rebate Cards
Staples generally pays back rebates in one of two ways. For Visa gift card deals, the rebate generally comes in the form of a prepaid Visa gift card. For Mastercard deals the rebate generally comes in the form of a Staples gift card. Here are the best ways to liquidate these:
Staples Rebate Visa Card: This card is pin-enabled and can be loaded to Bluebird/Serve or other prepaid cards. The PIN number is the last four digits of the card number.
Staples Rebate Gift Card: If your rebate comes in the form of a Staples gift card, then you really only have two options. The first is to use the card at Staples to purchase merchandise. Secondly, you may be able to sell it to a gift card exchange for 80% or more of its value. Keep in mind though that many exchanges require a minimum card value, so smaller rebate cards may be more difficult to sell. You can find the latest rates here.
Gift Cards Sold at Staples In-Store & Pins
Staples sells both Visa & Mastercard gift cards in-store. Both types of cards are pin enabled and can be loaded to Bluebird/Serve at Walmart.
Visa Gift Cards Issuer & Pin
The Visa gift cards sold by Staples are issued by Metabank Bank. These cards be loaded normally to Bluebird & Serve by using the last four digits of the card number as the pin. For more info, see: Beginner’s guide to buying & liquidating Visa & Mastercard gift cards.
Mastercard Gift Cards Issuer & Pin
The Mastercard gift cards sold by Staples are issued by U.S. Bank. The pin is sometimes included in the packaging, but not always. If you don’t have a pin, simply call 1-866-952-5653 to set it via the telephone. For more info, see: Beginner’s guide to buying & liquidating Visa & Mastercard gift cards.
These cards can be loaded to Bluebird or Serve without issue at a Money Center kiosk, however there is a problem when using them at a normal Walmart register. Unfortunately they code as being a credit card and the load fails. Luckily there is a workaround.
Buying Gift Cards at Staples Without a Deal
Many people opt to manufacture spend at Staples even when there isn’t a discount on Visa or Mastercard gift cards. By purchasing a $200 Visa gift card with a Chase Ink Plus card, points can be generated for a marginal cost.
Here is the math:
- Gift Card Fee: $6.95
- Points Earned with Ink Plus: 1035
If you choose this route, you are basically buying 1,035 Ultimate Rewards points for $6.95. This equates to a cost per point of $.0067. Alternatively you could use 695 points to pay yourself back the $6.95 fee and earn 340 points without a cost. (Not generally recommended.)
Learning the ins and outs of Staples gift card deals can be daunting. Fortunately, through their in-store and online promotions, Staples provides a number of lucrative opportunities for points earning.
If you have any questions about this topic feel free to leave a comment below.
Last updated on February 3rd, 2016