Up to 18% off gift cards at OfficeMax (23% off w/ Simply Cash card)

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Deal ends tomorrow (Tuesday, 4/16)

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OfficeMax is currently offering a free $25 OfficeMax gift card with any online purchase of $200 or more.  Enter promo code GIFTCARD at checkout.  Limit 1 per customer.

With most promotions like these, OfficeMax excludes technology and gift cards, but they have no such exclusions this time.  I was able to order OfficeMax and Lands’ End gift cards, and I successfully used the promo code:

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If you spend $250 or less, pay with any credit card that offers bonus points at Office Supply stores (see “Best Category Bonuses“).  If you spend more than $250, your best option is to pay with an American Express business card that offers OPEN Savings.  With orders over $250, you’ll get a 10% refund as a statement credit from American Express (but only a 5% refund if you spend $250 or less).  The best deal of all is if you use the American Express Simply Cash card which offers both an office supply category bonus (5%) and OPEN Savings!  Keep in mind that OfficeMax OPEN Savings apply only to online orders.

What’s the best deal?

For this analysis, I’ll assume you have an American Express business card, but not the Simply Cash card.  Let’s look at some scenarios:

Scenario 1: Buy $200 in OfficeMax gift cards

OfficeMax does not charge any fees with their own gift cards, so the total would come to $200 exactly.  If you pay with an Amex business card, you’ll get 5% back, and if you use the promo code, GIFTCARD, you’ll get $25 additional value:

  • Total Cost: $200 – 5% (OPEN Savings) = $190
  • Value: $200 + $25 = $225
  • Cost as % of Value = $190 / $225 = 84.4%
  • Savings = 15.6%
 
Scenario 2: Buy $200 in OfficeMax gift cards & $50 in merchant gift cards

OfficeMax charges a 99 cent fee for each merchant gift card they sell.  If you pay with an Amex business card and spend more than $250, you’ll get 10% back.  So, a good way to get just over $250 is to buy $200 worth of OfficeMax gift cards and $50 worth of merchant gift cards (Home Depot, Nordstrom, Lands End, etc.):

  • Total Cost: $250.99 – 10% (OPEN Savings) = $225.89
  • Value: $250 + $25 = $275
  • Cost as % of Value = $225.89 / $275 = 82.1%
  • Savings = 17.9%
 
Scenario 3: Buy $275 in OfficeMax gift cards

If you pay with an Amex business card and spend more than $250, you’ll get 10% back. So, let’s look at the numbers if you buy only OfficeMax gift cards:

  • Total Cost: $275 – 10% (OPEN Savings) = $247.50
  • Value: $275 + $25 = $300
  • Cost as % of Value = $247.50 / $300 = 82.5%
  • Savings = 17.5%
 
Scenario 4: Buy $200 OfficeMax gift cards without Amex OPEN Savings

I realize that not all readers have American Express business cards, so let’s look at the optimal savings that can be achieved without OPEN Savings.  Buy $200 worth of OfficeMax gift cards:

  • Total Cost: $200
  • Value: $200 + $25 = $225
  • Cost as % of Value = $200 / $225 = 88.9%
  • Savings = 11.1%

Still pretty good, especially if you earn 5 points per dollar from your credit card at office supply stores! 

Merchant Gift Cards

Here is a list of merchant gift cards sold online by OfficeMax (quoted from this SlickDeals post):

Applebee’s, Bass Pro, Bed Bath & Beyond, BJ’s Restaurants, Black Angus, Brinker / Multi-Brand Design Gift Card, Buca Di Beppo, Build A Bear, Cabela’s, Catherines Gift Card, Chili’s Gift Card, Claire’s, Cold Stone, Cracker Barrel, Express, Fandango, IHOP, iTunes, JCPenney Gift Card, Jiffy Lube, Justice / Limited Too Gift Card, Kohls, Lands’ End, Lane Bryant Gift Card, Macaroni Grill Gift Card, Maggiano’s Gift Card, Michaels, Nike, Nordstrom, OfficeMax, Omaha Steaks, On the Border Gift Card, Outback Steakhouse, PF Chang’s, Pizza Hut, Red Robin, Regal Entertainment, REI Gift Card, Ruby Tuesday, Sephora, SpaFinder, Starbucks, TGI Fridays, The Home Depot, TJ Maxx

From a resale perspective, the best options are probably Nordstrom and Home Depot.  For gift card churning I like Lands’ End since their gift cards can be used at Sears and Kmart (see “the mysterious gift card rack“).

OfficeMax gift cards

Yes, OfficeMax gift cards can be used in-store to buy other gift cards, but only if the cashier / store manager allows it.  I’ve never had any trouble, but many readers have said they have been turned away.  One good option may be to go to an OfficeMax store to buy $200 Visa gift cards and pay $200 of each gift card with a credit card and pay the $6.95 fee with OfficeMax gift cards.  I haven’t tried this, but it might work.

I do not think that OfficeMax.com would allow you to use OfficeMax gift cards online to buy other gift cards, but if you try it please let me know.

Portal Shopping

Don’t bother trying to go through an online portal to OfficeMax to get additional points or cash back when buying gift cards.  Numerous experiments have shown that OfficeMax doesn’t pay out for these.

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