One of the Best & Easiest Deals Ever!
A couple of weeks ago I covered a deal that seemed almost too good to be true. And it was…sort of. Today I want to talk to you a little bit about the deal, what I went through in getting it honored and the final results. Spoiler alert: I almost made out like a bandit.
Online marketing company Constant Contact was selling $50 Staples gift cards for $30 with a limit of 50 cards per person. Seemingly the only catch of the deal was that you needed to be a Constant Contact member to purchase the cards. A free trial was available, so both my wife and I decided to register.
The day after purchasing the cards, my wife and I received separate emails informing us that “trial members” were not eligible for the special. After following up, we were eventually able to get Constant Contact to commit to selling the cards to us if we became permanent members so we paid $20 each for the first month’s dues. (We are evaluating the service to see if it makes sense going forward for our respective businesses.)
Once the dues were paid, we received emails confirming our orders and stating that the cards would be shipped within 1-2 weeks! Additionally our credit cards had been charged for the purchase, so we were feeling pretty confident. In an effort not to stretch this out any further, the cards arrived yesterday as promised. Now lets look at why this is such a good deal.
Credit Card Rewards
Shortly after learning about the deal I purchased my full portion of cards using a Sapphire Preferred card. I needed to complete the $4,000 minimum spend and the $1,500 charge put me over the top. Then later in the day a reader emailed me to say that the purchase showed on his credit card as WPY*Staples Gift Card and he asked if I thought it would earn 5x Ultimate Rewards points with Ink.
While I didn’t know, it sure looked possible and shortly after that exchange my wife purchased her cards using a Chase Ink Plus card. Eventually the charge processed and the $1,500 purchase did earn 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points. Combined with the points earned on my Sapphire Preferred, we earned 9,000 Ultimate Rewards points from this deal. Of course it could have been 15,000 points, but we still did good.
The Cards Themselves
I now have 100 $50 Staples gift cards with a total face value of $5,000 for which I paid $3,000. As I always tell my son, when someone wants to give you $5,000 for $3,000, it is probably a good idea to take it! (Although the denominations may have been different, that is actually a conversation we have had several times.)
But of course the gift cards are only good at Staples and thus are not truly worth $5,000. So the question then becomes how to convert them back into cash. There really are two good options, both of which are decent.
Gift Card Resellers
The first option is the easiest. I could simply sell the cards to one of many gift card resellers. In fact one of them has already contacted me in the past to purchase cards similar to these for 86.5%. GiftCardGranny also shows that several others will purchase them for that amount.
So if I decide to sell them outright for 86.5%, then I would
net gross $4,325 which is an increase of $1,325 over what I paid for the cards. The huge benefit of this method is that involves an incredibly small amount of work. (Staples Easy button anyone?)
Buy & Sell Staples Merchandise
I could also look for specials at Staples and buy and sell merchandise purchased with the gift cards. This method requires a lot more work, but there are some key advantages to consider.
- I could probably break even meaning that I would make more money in the end.
- My wife and I would each be able to achieve Staples Rewards Premier status for 2015 & 2016 meaning we would receive 5% back on all purchases and the ability to recycle 20 ink cartridges per month.
I wrote earlier this year how I lost my Staples Premier status and my wife currently doesn’t have status. By buying at least $2,000 in merchandise ($1k each) we would each gain Premier status and the ability to recycle 40 cartridges per month between us.
There are enough technology deals that come around that I am fairly confident I could at least break even if I decide to resell. Of course there is more work and more risk involved with this method, plus it will take longer to get my money back.
Final Analysis & Conclusion
So I could spend about an hour of time and net over $1,300 or I could spend significantly more time and perhaps make $700 more plus the ability to earn greater rewards in the future. Tough call, but either way this is one of the best non-credit card related deals I have ever scored.
Did you get in on this deal? What is one of the best deals you have ever scored? Feel free to share in the comments!