Two days ago I reported on an in-store Staples deal. Shortly after I wrote that article, it became widely reported that Staples began selling $200 Visa cards on their website. For a long time you have been able to purchase $100 Visa cards with a $6.95 fee, but those were not nearly as attractive. First off, $100 cards take time to liquidate and the fee was too high to really make it worth your while. Every once in awhile Staples would have a promotion though and I would stock up on them.
Now with the release of the $200 Visa gift cards which carry the same fee, things look quite a bit better for the everyday purchase of these cards. Let’s take a look at the math behind purchasing these cards with the Chase Ink since it earns 5x Ultimate Rewards points on purchases at Staples. I will also talk about my experience with purchasing these cards on Monday.
The first thing to do whenever shopping at Staples or any online retailer is to check portal payouts. A portal is a website you go to click through to the website you are looking to purchase. They often pay money or points when doing this.
Right now a portal called Swagbucks (affiliate link) has the highest payout among portals at 6% or 6 Swagbucks as they call it. I have never used them with Staples, but others have reported some success. With this deal, I used & recommend Upromise which is paying 5% cash back. I have used Upromise several times with Staples and feel it is the safer option.
Visa Savings Edge
Visa has a program for their small business cards called Savings Edge. The new Visa versions of Chase Ink automatically come with this. You have to register on their website and then you will earn 1% cash back on purchases at Staples along with cash back at a variety of other merchants. If you have the older Mastercard version of the Ink card, then this does not apply.
Steps To Purchase
Now that we have covered the basics, here is how to maximize your bonus on the purchase of $200 Visa gift cards at Staples.
1. Go to Upromise or another portal and search for Staples. Once on the Staples cashback page click the “Shop Now” link to begin your purchase. (I will be using Upromise in this example since it is the portal that I use.)
2. Once on Staples.com I find the easiest way to find the $200 Visa gift cards is to simply search for “Visa” in the bar at the top of the page.
3. The search results will contain the various denominations of Visa gift cards that Staples sells. Find the $200 Visa, enter the quantity that you would like to purchase and then click “Add To Cart.” From here you will check out and pay like you normally would.
Here is how the math works on the purchase of one $200 Visa gift card. This would scale up as you purchased more cards.
Card Cost: $206.95
5% Upromise Cash Back: $10.35
1% Visa Savings Edge (w/Ink Visas only): $2.07
Total Cost: $194.53
Total Profit: $5.47 ($3.40 w/out Savings Edge.)
Total Points Earned: 1035
As you can see not only do you make a profit on the purchase of these cards, but you are also earning very valuable Ultimate Rewards points. If you have an older Ink card which doesn’t get Visa Savings Edge, then the profit is reduced to $3.40 which is still very good. There are several ways to dispose of these cards including loading them onto your Bluebird or Serve card at Walmart to pay bills.
My Experience Thus Far
I ordered some of these cards on Monday and am still waiting for them to ship. A few hours after I placed my order, Staples called and said it would be delayed by 1 business day. I figure the delay was caused by the mass amounts of people trying to buy these cards. In my past experiences with the $100 cards, it has taken from 2-5 days for the cards to ship so I am not too worried at this point.
These cards actually ship from Gift Card Mall. Each card will come in a separate envelope and must be activated prior to use. You will also receive a separate activation code in the mail for each card that will come at a different time. It is a little bit of effort to complete the activation, but it seems worth it considering how the numbers work out. These cards are issued by Meta bank which means that you can use the last 4 digits of the card number as the pin.
This is a great way to earn a lot of points for no money. Of course things can always go wrong with the shopping portals and it usually takes 1-2 months for them to pay you, but this is still a great deal. Frequent Miler has a great post today about the economics of this deal and how he thinks that it won’t last very long. It is a good read and I tend to agree with him.
If you have any questions about these cards please let me know. I recommend that you don’t wait too long to place an order if you are interested. Like I said, this isn’t expected to last long considering the economics.