Posted by Chuck on November 19, 2017
Manufactured Spending

Published on November 19th, 2017 | by Chuck


[Expired] Office Depot/Max: $15 Instant Discount with $300 in Visa Gift Cards [11/19-11/25]

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[11/19/17: Reposting since it’s now live.]

The Offer

Direct Link (weekly ad)

  • Get a $15 instant discount on the purchase of $300 in Visa gift cards at Office Depot/Max

The Fine Print

  • Limit one (1) offer per customer.
  • Discount applied at register.
  • Offer Valid 11/19/17 to 11/25/17.
  • Purchase fees apply.
  • Offer valid in store on Visa® Gift Cards only.
  • Subject to availability.
  • One offer per transaction.
  • The Visa Gift Card is issued by Metabank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Valid only in the U.S. and No Cash Access or Recurring payments.

Our Verdict

The fee for a $200 Visa gift card is $6.95. Buy two of them for a negative cost of $398.90 and rack up 2,000 Ultimate Rewards points on your Chase INK Cash/Plus. You also get 2% back in Office Depot/Max rewards if you’re enrolled, though rewards are capped at $200 in spend per quarter on gift cards ($4).

Recently, these ‘limit 1’ deals have actually been limited to one per transaction. Here’s wishing you a nice cashier and a lot of INK points! There’s also a rebate deal at Staples this week.

Hat tip to SD

102 Responses to [Expired] Office Depot/Max: $15 Instant Discount with $300 in Visa Gift Cards [11/19-11/25]

  1. Ken says:

    Vanilla, so no good at WM at least >$50?

  2. Treesha says:

    These are my fav deals. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Peter says:

    The picture shows a Vanilla gift card, but OfficeMax is usually a source of reliable Visa Gift Cards that come with a default PIN. If this promotion is for *any* Visa cards, then there shouldn’t be a problem, and this will be superior to the Visa Five Back card promo from a couple of weeks ago.

  4. T says:

    Now that OF gives 2% back on all purchase, do you guys typically type in your phone number each time if you get a nice clerk? Or is that just asking for a future shut down…

    • daxihe says:

      It’s useless to add phone# each transaction as one transaction is enough to hit the 2% cap.

    • CtownBin says:

      I’m pretty sure the 2% only works on gift cards for some really small limit- $750 per year or something? So I don’t bother. Maybe someone else can chime in with the exact limit but it’s something ridiculously small.

    • Steve says:

      Rewards payouts on gift card purchases are effectively limited to $4 total per quarter.

      “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.”

  5. scott says:

    Thanks for the advance heads-up on this Doc.

    My nearest OD/OM for us is over an hour away, Richmond area, where there’s a bunch…. Spouse and I waited til week’s end…. and managed to snare eight of them. (different stores & Inks cards)

    This time, we can plan in advance. 🙂

    • Tyler says:

      You could always make a mini vacation weekend out of it and get a hotel the Saturday and hit it hard the Sunday the offer comes out!

  6. Blue says:

    I really do need to get around to PCing my CIP to CIC.

  7. Paul says:

    I got really nice cashiers at mine. Was able to do about 24 all in all a few weeks ago

  8. scott says:

    Very nice. Now hopefully the OM by me has a nice supply!

  9. Erich says:

    “rack up 2,000 Ultimate Rewards points on your INK” – Is this with the Ink Business Preferred? I don’t understand where the 2,000 UR points come in. Can anyone fill me in?

  10. NBG says:

    When you say rack up 2K UR, you mean the old Ink Card which is no longer available?. I have the new CIP and obviously this doesn’t apply.

    • Chris says:

      Chas Ink Cash, or CIC. It is still around. You can product change to it from the CIP.

      • NBG says:

        Those are straight 5% CB and not UR , correct?.

        • CtownBin says:

          Yes, but as long as you OR YOUR SPOUSE have another Chase card with an Annual Fee, personal or business- so, the Saphirre Reserve, Saphirre Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Preferred- then you can transfer the UR earned on the Ink Cash over to that card, and they function like regular UR in every way- can be transferred to partners, and can be used to book travel at a discount (1.5 cpp on the CSR, 1.25 cpp on the rest).

  11. NinjaX says:

    the one thing i have yet to figure out is the YMMV nature of chase shutdowns when it comes to INK abuse. I just dont get it. its general knowledge that chase hates perk abuse and every damn n00b after the CSR event abuses the INK with 100% obvious OD/DM purchases in the same denom on the same day but no global shutdowns. im surprised. in wonder what chase is waiting for. hm.

    • B says:

      I got shut down 2 weeks ago. First CSR + Freedom in April. I speculate because of 5% category spend at Sam’s Club. My CSR spend was 100% organic spend, except for the sign up bonus.

      I’ve had the Chase Ink for 2+ years and have always used it for MS spending on Staples and OD. Got shutdown recently (6 months) after my personal cards got shut down.

      • B says:

        One more note. I noticed that for the shutdowns, if the card gets a fraud alert, it got shut down around 7-10 days after.

        This happened to both my personal cards (Freedom, CSR) and my Chase Ink. Both had a fraud alert when I was purchasing GC during check out. Both fraud alerts I resolved via email/text and continued the purchase.

        • joE says:

          Thanks for sharing and the details. How much were you MSing on your INK card?

          • B says:

            Between 2-5k per month for gift cards.
   purchases, these store offers from OD/OM/Staples, and getting gift card for Amazon/target/Whole Foods shopping etc.

            Also organic spend via on paying cellphone/internet/streaming bills.

      • NinjaX says:

        always appreciate DPs like yours. its a good warning to others, but your timeline is actually very interesting. wasnt the CSR and Freedom just part of the “normal” mass chase shutdowns earlier in the year when everyone got reinstated?

        did you try CFPB or try to fight them in any way? Sounds like most people just kept calling and it worked. not sure what happened in your case. really sorry to hear. chase is a big hit. i expect many others to join you very soon.

        what is also shocking is that your INK survived until recently. it should have been portfolio shut down. did you deposit MO in a checking account at chase? interesting it took 2 years. your CSR and freedom shutdown must have put eyes on your INK since they were new CC.

    • NoonRadar says:

      Yeah I’ve hit these bonuses since having Ink and have had the same concerns regarding having a ton of same store name, same amount repeat transactions. Even more so when I had to call Chase fraud to verify these transactions and the rep would mention the repeat transactions.

      Some people get shut down and some don’t, there’s no clear pattern. Either Chase doesn’t have anything programmed to look out for repeat and/or large transactions regarding 5x abuse (like they have for fraud) or they do but the manual reviews are supposed to look for other factors/offenses when deciding to shut down accounts.

      • NinjaX says:

        exactly. i thot it was well known and obvious that chase doesnt play games and burns your shit to hell, but i just dont get it with the INK abuse. its clear they know everything and have left many corpses in their path already. FT is full of them.

        but INK office GC has been a YMMV unclear exception for some reason. maybe youre right about looking for a better slamdunk case aka checkfreepay, MO depo, huge spend spikes and other crazy crap.

        be careful out there.

      • rick b says:

        Many business do legitimately purchase tons of GC for marketing purposes and Ink is a business card. they will be walking a really fine line with tons of complaints to cfpb if they did mass shutdowns of non MSers. Just don’t deposit mo in chase acct and don’t do direct bill pays

        • Jack says:

          And they also have hundreds of thousands dollars other real expenses. Easy to tell in the eyes of Chase

        • NoonRadar says:

          I’m sure this isn’t the reason. We scream 5x abuse and “business”. The vast majority of us only use Ink for these and similar gift card purchases.

          • NinjaX says:

            exactly. its too damn obvious and chase knows everything. very concerned and curious as to the delay or YMMV nature of shutdowns. if Amex BB and RB can do it, chase can easily replicate.

      • James B. says:

        I agree that it is indeed odd that Chase does not crack down on MS like US Bank or Amex.

        As a precautionary measure, I used to add in misc. items to avoid repeat transactions with the same amount day after day. Since Chase does appear to flag repeat transaction amounts, now I do not add in misc. items.

        I always call Chase to provide a spending notification to avoid fraud alerts. I only once did a Chase supervisor call me about large GC purchases which was triggered by a fraud alert.

  12. bob says:

    hot damn. so glad these offers roll around after my AF hits on my INK+ — no worries of hitting the yearly limit when you’re starting from 0.

  13. carl wilson says:

    Isn’t there a 25K limit on Chase Ink? and 50K on AMEX Simply Cash? Do those capacities apply to a cumilative Office Supply spend?, and PPDG and Gyft and Cardcash parceled off as a different utility category with no cap?

    Doc I love the posts, and hold nothing but the highest respect for you, but if someone did every single one of these PPDG deals and VGC/MGC deals…wouldnt they run out of 5X bandwith in like April?? I guess the options beyond that 25K/50K point are avenues I frankly don’t want to go down, ( the auth-user road, multiple users, signing up for 50 credit cards in 3 yrs, etc).. No hate, no judgement, towards anybody, in fact I love 5X as much as anyone, and I find it fascinating to hear about people who can pull off all of these high-wire acts. I’m just skeptical that people can continually get paid out 5X, on all of these offers without going too far into the “abyss”. Thanks!

    • 50k for Chase Ink Plus, 25k for Chase Ink cash 50k for Amex simply cash. That’s $125,000. I don’t think most people are hitting that in April. Some people also have multiples of each card and family members etc.

      • carl wilson says:

        Yea, now that PPDG is toast the capacities are less relevant. And ive never even had a Chase Business product, so I never got in on that 5X party anyways. I guess I was always curious if the PPDG 5X utility category thing was uncapped, because it seemed like it was.

        Regardless, so long as OD pays out 5X on these deals I will try to do every one I can, within reason of course. I pay office rent, home rent, and employees/contractors through Plastiq with these, and being able to provide a physical check and float the payment 30-60 days all for an out-the-door fee of around 2% (+ 5X on the reverse velocity of course, resulting in a total profit). Super valuable for cashFlow, which is the lifeblood of every business.

    • Aks says:

      Recently I used used AMEX Simply Cash at OM. The AmEx statement shows purchase of 5% cashback GC. It takes two months to post cashback so my cashback is not posted yet.
      can anybody confirm if AMEX Simply Cash post 5% cashback.

      • John Galt says:

        Done this many times at OD and Staples (buying GCs) with Amex Simply Cash.

        Yes, it works. Zero issues.

      • carl wilson says:

        AMEX simply cash rebates takes at least 1-2 statements to post in my experience. I’ve had the card for a year and its been reliable, if slow, on the crediting of the rebate.
        I can confrim 5X at my local office depot. Tho the Office Max 1 mile away, codes only 1X. And, Oddly, my Staples online purchase of headphones coded only 1X.

        So as always Caveat Empetor my friend…

  14. freddy says:

    Good to see it come around again at OD. No Staples here in LA.

  15. Jack says:

    I don’t touch OD/OM. There are so many DPs out there with Chase shutting down due to abusing their bonus category here. Not to mention there are DPs out there saying OD/OM sending level 3 data. For $100 or $200 saving, it’s not worth losing valuable relationship with Chase and the future products that could be churnable.

    • ed says:

      These sales are nothing like they used to be, now have a lower discount, lower offers per customer and many have trouble liquidating these due to routes being shutdown. Many of the major ur shutdowns happened a while ago, the heyday is gone and many have left this hobby because it’s time consuming for little gain. There are pockets of areas which still have some ms’rs who are willing to spend the time, but nothing like it used to be. Many of us have turned back to reselling on ebay since the economy is starting to improve and we’re seeing people ready to start buying again. I’ve been busy with the new x phone. Still, nothing like years ago, takes longer to sell, but doable. Used to I couldn’t keep one listing on ebay longer than 24 hours, because demand was so huge, but that was before the recession and before ebay increased fees, changed rules and drove many of us away. I’m glad I got back into it recently, since ms has faded.

      • Jack says:

        the resell on iphone x has been dissapointed.. i ended up returning a few and not wasted anymore time on it. I happen to live in an area where MS is friendly and able to do couple mils a year no problem. With that high volume, it makes these deal worth risking getting chase shutdown 🙂

        • ed says:

          Were you trying to resell on ebay, amazon or strictly local? Only true profitable place I see for these that’s worth my time is ebay for international sales. I can undercut what the European stores charge due to their high prices and exchange rate which still benefits Euro to USD transactions. But, I also know how to ship direct, take care of customs and so forth which ends up cheaper for my buyers. Although, I always insure shipments and require signature, otherwise I wouldn’t risk selling high priced items online. Worst fraud I’ve experienced in the past has been from buyers in the U.S.

          • carl wilson says:

            Ed— excellent comment about shipping.

            Shipping: The somewhat obscure though oh-so necessary, very much growing, and surprisingly profitable, industry. My myopic obsession with shipping was laughed at by all my wall street/MBA/silicon valley/financier friends when we all graduated college….all the “smart” guys lol, Ivy league schools, graduate degrees and all of it, guys who thought Management Consulting was the way to go … HAHAHA because how the hell could a “smart guy” be interested in mail and shipping?! HAHAHA

            but believe you me, they are not laughing anymore.

  16. Flyingpig says:

    Are these gift cards relatively vulnerable to fraud? I remember people talking about specific Visa or Master cards that we better use them ASAP. Thanks

  17. ed says:

    Some locations have prudish managers who hide inventory during a sale like this, as if they hate when shoppers see something in the ad that brings them into the store. It’s like these type of managers hate work, hate when they get more business in their store and I’ve even heard one say they hated these sales and actually said they hated that I was “taking advantage” of the discount when I only bought the amount needed to get the discount. One store kept up that kind of thing and we pulled our business orders from that location and got others to do the same. We also complained to corporate about the way we were treated. Within 6 months that store was shutdown. The most recent discount on 5 backs was another chance for a local store to show it’s true colors when they also hid inventory and would only put out 2 cards at a time. When I asked if they were doing that, and had more hidden, the cashier clammed up. The next day they they were, 2 more cards. I thought it was cute and just smiled. I wasn’t there to buy every card they had. I understand why some have gotten bad, due to some of you who buy hoards of these in one trip, but that is the fault of those stores who allow it. Balance is a good thing, but I abhor managers who act like sales cause them more work. If corporate knew how some of them acted, they wouldn’t have a job.

    • YB says:

      Lol, you make a crusade out of it, I just ask one of the oblivious sales reps to find me more inventory.

      I doubt it was your complaining that had the store shut down…. OD/OM has been shutting down stores left and right after the merger.

      • Ed says:

        It wasn’t just me complaining. In fact, complaining doesn’t have any effect on a store closing, but what few business sales they had were diminished down to a point of unacceptable level to keep that store open. Business orders at the local level is small anyhow compared to national reps, but enough of us had had enough. My wife happens to be the person in charge of office supply orders for 3 companies and some of it is local. Managers should not assume the person they’re treating like a criminal for wanting to buy a few stupid gift cards is just an Rewards gamer. They could also be someone who orders a lot of office supplies. Anyhow, we no longer have to deal with that bad location. I’m not that excited about these little sales anymore. If I have the time I’ll stop to buy, but inventories are already low so hope they restock in the next week or there’ll be some disappointed shoppers. Although, Black Friday week isn’t a huge thing for this chain compared to the big retailers.

    • Jan B says:

      This is the experience in my area. I go out of town and have no issues at stores, if the inventory is there, and it has been.

      “…but that is the fault of those stores who allow it”. Agreed, in my area, too.

      “If corp knew how some of them acted, they wouldn’t have a job.” Disagree. We look at the behavior regarding GC sales as defining them. But, the corp. wants employees to sell the inventory and services. GCs don’t generate the profits for the store. As long as the store sells that, behavior about GCs is not of concern to corp.

      No Chase on this for me, if I go out of town. I will use Barclay Arrival.

  18. Jeff says:

    Ughh of course, the promo is during Thanksgiving week when I’ll be gone 1/2 the week! I’ll take it, though. Have about $15k left to meet the 5x max on Ink+ for my cardmembership year.

  19. AngJi says:

    I can’t find this deal in the weekly ad. Is it still going on?

  20. Troy says:

    My nearest OD is cash only on gift cards this week. Manager wouldn’t make an exception. Will have to try a different store and see if they make an exception.

  21. Rfclub says:

    Does it work with those everywhere cards?

  22. Jim says:

    Would Grocery Everywhere cards work for MO at Kroger? Fees are only $4.95 on those.

  23. Hatem says:

    Is that limit one per day or what? I want to milk it

  24. Scoreseasy says:

    Does it work with the 5 back cards?

  25. Austin says:

    DP: the instant discount works on the “Everywhere” cards, which have a 4.95 fee. I got the “grocery Everywhere” but it should work on all of them.

    Presumably these work as normal metabank vgc for MO, but I’ll see

  26. TJ says:

    I’m in NYC this week and there are no OD/OM around so I left my CC to my friend and he was able to buy $2k worth of cards for me. One girl didn’t care and let him ring up 5 orders.

    I used it for the $250 bonus if you spend 2k and upgrade BCE to BCP. I’ve also put about $700-$800 extra of organic spend on the card as well. I bought an Apple Watch. 😛

  27. TheMonkeyTech says:

    Went to OfficeDepot just as they opened. Had to reciprocate flirtatious behavior with some old middle aged cashier. I feel dirty but you gotta do what you gotta do. She let me ring up 10 cards in 5 separate transactions. I wanted to push for more but people in line were looking at me suspiciously already…

    Went back after lunch and nabbed the last 6. The OfficeDepot near me is completely depleted of variable visa cards already. Cashier told me they don’t stock much to begin with, usually have around 2-3 packs on hand (each pack contains 10 variable).

    • jd says:

      make sure you use protection.

    • Al says:

      Tried to do 2 separate transax, but the cashier said only can do one. Solely due to an obnoxious guy who came in during a previous similar deal and found a newbie cashier who let him buy all they had (took about an hour). Cashier was fired and now “only 1 offer per customer.” There’s always the obnoxious greedy one that ruins it for everyone else.

  28. TheMonkeyTech says:

    Another OfficeMax doesn’t even carry variable Visas any longer, only fixed amounts up to $100. Supervisor said there’s been a lot of fraud over the years and they don’t want to deal with any variable cards. For some reason though they don’t experience much fraud with fixed 100 cards?

  29. baboo says:

    1) do these count toward amex minimum spend?
    2) do they come with pin to turn into money orders?

  30. Nicole says:

    Entire Connecticut doesn’t have a Office Depot or a office max. Strange to see that….

    • Ken says:

      Up until last year or so all of Colorado didn’t have a single CVS. The difference is that all office stores are circling the drain and CVS is growing like weeds.

  31. Kien says:

    Tried to use a $500 Visa GC to pay for two $200 ones but the register kept declining my transaction. It was ran as a credit and when it asked for a pin, I hit cancel and it wouldn’t run through. I was told to use a real credit card which I ended up doing and it worked fine. I didn’t assign a pin to my card so I didn’t have it handy. The cashier told me that you cannot use a debit Gift card to pay for these. Is that true or I did something wrong?

  32. lisa says:

    had no problem doing back to back transactions of (2) $200 VGC. the $15 came off no problem.

  33. Castro says:

    I’ve purchased both the variable and fixed $200 VGCs and only the variable GCs provided the instant discount. Anyone else experienced this?

    Also do everywhere cards work at Stop & Shop and Family Dollar?

  34. Sully says:

    I couldn’t find it advertised on the weekly ad website, in the printed copies in store, or any signage at the gift card rack, but the $15 did come off when purchasing two $200 VGC variables yesterday. I’ll be heading back as the store had a few dozen on the rack. Thanks again DoC!

  35. Sam says:

    Interesting thing……I went to OD last night to purchase 2 VGCs in 2 transactions. cashier took my ID and CC and started calling some online merchant number for purchasing GCs and said my card is declined. I walked away, no point wasting my time there… this something new?

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