Staples Rewards Changes Announced: No Online Earning & More!

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Staples Rewards Changes 2017

Staples Rewards Changes 2017

I have long been a fan of Staples Rewards. Not only do I earn 5% back on all of my Staples purchases, but I am also able to recycle empty ink cartridges and get up to $40 in credit each month to spend on household goods. It has been quite lucrative for me. 

On the heels of Office Depot’s launch of their revamped rewards program, Staples is making some changes of their own. Some of the changes are seemingly positive, but overall I think it is a negative.

Staples Rewards Changes

Loss of Middle Tier – Previously there were three tiers of Staples Rewards. Base level members (those who spend from $0-$999 per year) will continue to earn 2% in rewards. Premier members (who spend $1,000+ per year) will continue to earn 5% in rewards. The middle tier has been eliminated.

Rewards are for IN-STORE purchases only – This is the big negative from the news. Previously Staples Rewards were earned all both online and in-store purchases. Now it seems that rewards will only be earned for purchases made in-store. (Gift cards & postage are still excluded.) The in-store only rule baffles me considering Office Depot is paying out on all purchases.

Free Overnight Shipping – All members will now be eligible for free overnight shipping, but they have implemented a new minimum order amount of $49.99.

What Isn’t Changing

Thankfully Staples will continue to pay out $2 per recycled ink cartridge if you have spent at least $30 on ink in the past 6 months. With base level membership you can recycle up to 10 cartridges per month, while Premier members can continue to recycle 20 cartridges. 

Email Text

Here is the text of the email sent to customers:

We’ve made several changes to the Staples Rewards® program to deliver greater value to our customers.

Starting July 1, 2017, all Staples Rewards members will enjoy free next-day delivery, up to 5% back in rewards on in-store purchases and $2 back in rewards on recycled ink and toner cartridges.*

For members who want greater savings, we now offer business membership programs. Perks include business exclusive pricing on thousands of items and custom products with even deeper discounts, to name a few. Learn more

Plus if you sign up for a Staples More Account™, you’ll earn 5% back in store and online, have access to online tools to manage your spend and more. Apply now

For more information on these program changes, visit


I see the loss of Staples Rewards for online purchases as a big hit for Staples shoppers. I guess Staples is trying to lure customers into their stores, but I don’t see why they would want to discourage online shopping in an age when it is growing tremendously. Perhaps the elimination of awards means they will get more aggressive with online pricing, but I won’t be holding my breath.

What are your thoughts? Are these changes a big deal?

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. I have not recieved a coupon or payment for the last cartidges I turned in at staples. It has been a few months but I have not received compensation for the cartridges I turned in. What is the process for recyling cartridges. I used my teacher reward card .

  2. This may answer the question as to why online shoppers don’t get credit on the “rewards club”: I have discovered and have been told by Staples management that the Staples stores and are run as completely different entities! They are not the same company–at least not in prices and often lower prices available for “discounts” in the store can not be matched by, not even to business accounts with higher volumes.

  3. Staples Rewards has been broken for awhile. Even though I have been a Premier member for a decade or more they tried to say that I hadn’t spent the required $1000 to maintain it. I started doing print screens of the year end statements on line. It proved that I had spent the $1000 required but then they tried to say that the year had changed, no longer January 1st thru Dec 31st (even though that is how it showed up on screen). Now it is early Fall 2018 and the last two batches of recycled cartridges never showed on my account. But I made the cashier give me the tape register receipt each time so then I call and after 1-2 months I get the credit for these. I don’t have an Office max/ Office depot close by. I guess Staples really doesn’t want customers bothering by shopping at their stores.

  4. I think if you apply and are approved for the staples credit card you are automatically upgraded to premier status and can recycle 20 per month .I was mad also that they took away plus member ship , not right.

  5. Don’t have time to drive to the store. Deliver cost on less than $50 order also will encourage me to shop elsewhere. Too many other choices out there competing for my business. Plus, when I shop companies not in my state, I also don’t pay tax. This will drastically reduce my Staples shopping.

  6. My wife and I bought 30 a piece on ink in June. Then in July we each turned in 10 cartridges. Now here it is august 12th and neither 1 of us have received our $20 coupons. Would there be any reason my ink rewards did not post? They usually do post by the 10th. Any suggestions?

  7. Even overnight shipping is misleading. I ordered a laptop and it was shipped UPS ground and reached my relative after 6 days, just the day before he was scheduled to leave overseas.

  8. I earned the PLUS status in June, and now they’ve just taken that status tier away. I told the Cust Serv Mgr by phone that I will take my $500 spend over to Amazon. It is horrible to change a program AFTER a tier has been obtained and not honor the terms of the tier (ie., 12 months of recycling 20 inks per month). Sure, I’ll purchase my $30 in ink 2x a year and then drop off 10 inks a month as I had been doing. But for all my other spend… Amazon can ship directly to my house via Prime. See ya Staples, your buildings will all be for sale soon.

  9. I am a Premier Rewards teacher who orders online 90% of the time because of my work hours, because it’s easier to have shipments for my classroom delivered to school rather than my having to take them on the bus and sub, and because there is a greater selection online than in stores. If I can’t order online, they’re not going to get my $1000 each year.

    Did anyone notice that you can’t find the breakdown of purchases by category or did I just not find it yet? Staples has changed the information available in the Rewards section several times in the last few years and less and less information is available with each revision.

  10. Amazing, for the past 3 years Staples seems to be doing everything they can to drive my business away. Last year I spent over $60000 and Staples rewarded me by eliminating my multiple accounts (I order for 11 locations) because they did not want me to be able to recycle more than 20 cartridges monthly. Now they restrict my purchases to in store only (to receive rewards) when my ship to’s are up and down the east coast.
    All the while Office Depot is making their program better (5% on everything including online) with just one downside (rewards only paid out quarterly). This change is a no brainer in my book.
    Goodbye Staples here I come OD.

  11. Just a FYI, here are the details regarding gift cards at OD under the new program:

    Members will receive 2% back in rewards on up to $200 dollars spent per quarter on 3rd party gift cards, on up to $50 spent per quarter on Office Depot® OfficeMax® gift cards and up to $75 dollars spent on U.S. postage stamps per quarter

  12. This will be a real bummer for me, as I do not have a Staples store close by, and their service and supplies are otherwise wonderful.
    I, for one, will be probably switching the bulk of my office supply purchases to Office Depot, Ebay and Amazon.
    And, I DO buy a significant amount of office supplies, little MS in my particular case.

  13. We just found out about it today. We are currently shopping around for new suppliers. We’ll see how pricing goes, but just that their action got us to shop around is not good for them.

  14. It might be possible to get the 5% back on online purchases by using the in – store kiosk, someone will have to try it out and see if that counts as in store purchase. While that will lose out on the portal cash, you can sometimes save money by going to a store that has a lower tax rate. (In New Jersey, some stores are in enterprise zones where the tax rate is 3.5% instead of 7%)

    • I asked a rewards specialist and they told me the kiosk is considered an internet purchase and thus will not be rewarded

  15. “Some of the changes are seemingly positive?” Which ones?

    I guess the same ones that Staples claims are delivering greater value to our customers. Its bad enough they are making these changes. It just adds insult to injury by claiming they are doing this for anyone’s benenfit.

  16. The staples more account is a credit account requiring credit approval, I discussed it with them, it gets you 5% back in rewards, not worth it, would rather have an ink card and get 5% Ultimate rewards


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