Posted by William Charles on January 13, 2019
Manufactured Spending

Published on January 13th, 2019 | by William Charles

194

[Expired] Staples: Fee-Free $200 Visa Gift Cards In-Store [1/13-1/19]

Deal has expired, view more Staples deals by clicking here.

The Offer

  • Staples stores will offer fee-free $200 Visa gift cards for the week of 1/13-1/19. That’s a savings of $6.95.

The Fine Print

  • Valid 1/13/2-1/19 (starts Sunday)
  • In store only.
  • Subject to availability.
  • See gift cards for details, terms, conditions, and (if applicable) fees.
  • Limit 1 per customer.
  • All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
  • Product may not be available in all states.
  • The gift cards featured are not sponsors of or otherwise affiliated with this company.
  • The Visa Gift Card is issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.
  • Card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the U.S. No cash access.

Our Verdict

Fine print says it’ll only work for a single card per transactions. Although in the past multiples have worked in the same transaction. Make sure to use a card that earns at a high rate at office supply stores, there is also an amex offer and a chase offer. Personally wouldn’t risk using AmEx.



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SP
SP

Just saw a Chase offer for 30% at Staples for max CB of $19. Should stack nicely.

Elliott
Elliott

I just checked on Chase Pay (not sure if that’s where you saw it as well) and I see it on my CSR for 30% back. Is there any way to get my CIC to show up on the list of cards? It would be great to use the category bonus with the 30% CB.

Luis
Luis

Lol, Chase offers are only for personal cards. Good luck with that.

Pretty FI for a White Guy
Pretty FI for a White Guy

I’m not even getting the 30% offer 🙁

Elliott
Elliott

Oh, I didn’t know that. Thank you for letting me know 🙂

ctj
ctj

for a single $200 gift card, chase pay gives $19, which is better than the $10 back from a 5% card (eg. chase ink). but yeah, if buying 2+ cards, bus cards are better.

Jo
Jo

Is this a one time offer? Can I make two small purchases and both get 30%?

Celia
Celia

Single use offer. Max $19 back, so about a $63 purchase.

NinjaX
NinjaX

oh man. frenzy shits gonna go down for sure.

Tironci
Tironci

Why don’t use amex?

George
George

Because American Express is using Level 3 Purchase Data from retailers such as Staples to know exactly what you purchased at those retailers, thus not giving you the points if you MS.

Electroman
Electroman

Not giving you the points? The AMEX offer doesn’t exempt gift cards, so I’m pretty sure that’s not an issue.

ctj
ctj

because the amex offer terms say it is for business cards only, even though it shows on many personal cards. the fear is that amex will clawback any attempt to use the offer on a pers card.

CtownBin
CtownBin

Except there have not been ANY reports of clawbacks happening for this reason at all. All the clawbacks that have occurred have been because the same user (SSN) added and used the offer to more than one card. None of the clawbacks have happened solely because the offer was added to a personal card.

Os78
Os78

What’s the best way to convert to cash? Can you buy MO with these gift cards?

Mimi
Mimi

Few ways to convert to cash. Yes, you can buy MOs with them although not as good as draining the $500s.

s
s

split payment on 2 cards for $400 MOs at Albertson or Stater Bros

Burton
Burton

You might be able to use them to pay IRS for a $2 flat debit card fee. Quick way to liquidate if you don’t mind paying 1% to get more than that back or meet minimum spend. If I find these that is what I’ll try to do.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith

The Amex offer does not exclude gift cards, so I don’t think that should be an issue. However, they do have every right not to give you 5% back if you use the SimplyCash card, as the terms of the card very clearly exclude the 5% cash back on gift card purchases. It is worth noting that the last time they had this offer, there were no reports of people not getting 5% cash back for gift card purchases.

Luis
Luis

Ok Jason

Lia
Lia

There is also a Bank of America 10% Staples cash back offer, though with a maximum of 6$ cash back only. I have multiple BOA cards, but it seems the BOA offer can only be used with one card. Anybody knows if the BOA offer can be used with multiple cards?

Sam
Sam

No, the offers are per user, not card.

Burton
Burton

Charge $60 (or $100) to a BOA card and the rest to Chase after adding the offer and you should be able to get $25 back total plus whatever your normal rewards are (plus progress towards minimum spend). Makes it worth a trip for me.

CtownBin
CtownBin

Does split payment always work at Staples? I know the system allows it, but multiple times I’ve been denied split payment when buying a VGC, with the rep saying that for VGCs the entire payment has to be on one CC. I’m curious if others have had this issue. This is quite important this time around the Chase offer maxes out at $63, and becomes far less valuable if you have to spend the full $200 to use it.

Andy
Andy

In your other post https://www.doctorofcredit.com/business-cards-amex-offer-10-back-at-staples-50-limit/, you said:”I’d personally save this offer now and then just wait for a Visa/Mastercard deal to come along to max it out (you only need to spend $500 to max it out).”

In this one, you said:”Personally wouldn’t risk using AmEx.”

Are there any factors about AMEX or AMEX offers changed and let you change you suggestions?

escot
escot

Good question, Andy — and while I look forward to DoC William’s response, perhaps it reflects the understandable skittishness re. the talons of Amex RAT teams. But I’m not quite so sure what the hesitance here reflects. Weren’t past “claw backs” aimed mostly at those who were loading up Amex discounts across multiple cards (using the widely mentioned “multiple tab/browser” tricks)? That’s not the issue here.

I get it too that some are reluctant to load up the Amex Spls & Lowe’s offers on their personal cards — even if clearly available — in anticipation of a worst case down-the-road interpretation of the clashing fine print t&c. (about “business cards.”)

Another line of skittishness seems to be a worry that Amex will claw back awards where discounts came on purchases of gc’s…. (via a stretched reading of general t&c…. but not on the specific offer…. “bulk” gift card purchases are excluded, but not otherwise, so again, I’m not sure what the mentioned “risk” is. )

In any case, did we have any credible reports of clawbacks last time these Amex 10% offers were available at Lowe’s & Spls – and involving gc purchases?? (I used mine in part for gc’s — and no issues for me then, and expect none now. Did I miss something?)

diggs
diggs

The offer in question was for 10% CB on up to $1,000 in purchases (so max $100 per card CB). It was only supposed to be available for biz cards, but apparently it was made available for some personal cards (even though the T&C’s on personal cards apparently also stated it was for biz cards only).

I added the offer to 4 AMEX SC Biz cards (1 primary, 3 AU’s) and reached the $1,000 threshold in purchases on each card. Within days of the purchases posting, I earned the 10% AMEX Offer Credit (per card). I also earned 5% CB from the SimplyCash “office supplies” purchase category, but that credit posted 2 billing cycles after the charges had posted (which is normal).

AMEX clawed back 3 out of 4 AMEX OFFER credits (so $300 out of $400), but the 5% “office supplies” CB earned (2 billing cycles later) was never clawed back. That’s why the claw-back fiasco was never a financial loss for me, but it certainly wasn’t worth the effort to purchase (and subsequently liquidate) a bunch of purchased GC’s after the AMEX offer credit was clawed back.

Any GC’s I’ve purchased @ Staples since then (such as when they offer them fee-free) have continued to earn 5% CB.

miafll
miafll

GC purchase is NOT the reason for claw back.
MULTIPLE CREDITS are the reason for claw back.

Now you can only add ONE offer this should eliminate most of the claw back BUT if your spouse has own Primary card that has the offer, and s/he is also an AU on your own Primary card that has the offer – there may still be a claw back if BOTH of you earn the credit, even on your own Primary Cards, if the primary card is of the same type, i.e. both are Business Plus…

This happened to me on last round. My own primary card credit was clawed back (the credit earned being the last one). The claw back happened 2.5 months after the initial credit posted.

Took me 3 phone calls to get the claw back reversed – initially it was treated as a dispute by the CSR. Supervisor agreed there should not be a claw back because we each only earn ONE credit on our own primary cards. She said because both Primary cards were the same Business Plus and I was the AU on spouse’ card, that may confused the system, She escalated the dispute to the “head of the queue”. After 2 weeks still haven’t got any update I called again. 3rd rep took a quick look and performed a reversal as
CR ADJ FROM BILLING INQUIRY which went thru and posted the next day, so the claw back
was reversed 3 weeks after it was billed.
Therefore on this go round I make sure to choose DIFFERENT TYPE of business cards when I added the offer to spouse’ and my primary card,.

diggs
diggs

>> GC purchase is NOT the reason for claw back.
@miafll Never said it was.

>> MULTIPLE CREDITS are the reason for claw back.
Correct. My point was, the 5% CB benefit of the card wasn’t clawed back, only the additional AMEX OFFER credits (as the first AMEX offer credit that posted wasn’t clawed back)

Eric
Eric

Wasn’t the problem with the Amex offer that people were maxing it out on several cards and that was getting them clawed back? Not a gift card issue if I recall correctly.

atexit8
atexit8

All I can say is that I have used Amex offers to buy gift cards and have not had anything clawed back. I have Blue Cash Everyday card.

Mimi
Mimi

IME using the SC+ card with AUs having unique SSNs and each one getting the offer and using them, there were no clawbacks.

I think clawbacks are for those who have several biz cards with the offer and they max out each offer with the same SSN.

miafll
miafll

Then you are very lucky. The claw backs happened to this household exactly in the situation you described. It also happened to a friend with the same situation.
I was able to get 2 clawbacks reversed. He only got 1 reversed.
Of course it is always YMMV.
I have yet another clawback that is so strange (read my post above) – different SSN, both earned on Primary Card, but same card type, and one person is the AU of another person’s Primary but the credit is NOT earned on the AU card at all.
Yet, the last earned credit was clawed back – happened in the middle of Nov.
Took me 3 calls to get that reversed as AMEX is clearly in the wrong here.

C
C

Does staples report L3 data to ch@se?

DK
DK

I don’t believe so.

Dick Bupkiss
Dick Bupkiss

Yes, Staples absolutely 100% certainly DOES report L3 data to everyone (Chase, Amex and anyone who cares to read it).

simon
simon

I only buy about 2 gift cards from staples when used amex due to L3 concern, but i bought 4 or 5 max one time when used other cards, i just read my details and do not see staples report L3 to my BOA (i get 3% back)(see below sample)
Merchant: STAPLES 00110254
Transaction date: 10/26/2018
Transaction amount: $800.00
Reference number: 05410191240105001051951
Transaction type: Purchase
Merchant category: STATIONARY, OFFICE AND SCHOOL SUPPLY
STORES
Expense category: Miscellaneous Stores
Code: 5943

Subhuman-Male
Subhuman-Male

BoA simply doesn’t display everything

Closertothesun
Closertothesun

If your BoA is a Visa, you can see for yourself that L3 is being reported by googling the Visa Supplier Locator and searching for any staples anywhere and reading the line item data provided.

Mr. PTM

Doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the bank that issued your card. Has to do with the network the transaction rides on. Staples passes on L3 Line Item data to both Amex and Visa networks. If you want to see whether a particular store sends L3 data for Visa, look it up here:

https://www.visa.com/supplierlocator-app/app/#/home/supplier-locator

Don’t worry about L3 Summary, just L3 Line Item.
No equivalent lookup tool for Amex AFAIK, so I use Visa tool as a proxy for Amex.

simon
simon

so my BOA master card knows if i buy gift cards at staples, if that’s the case, i’d rather use amex for 5% back instead 3% from BOA if they all know what i buy there, anyone knows for sure?

86
86

On another blog a few years ago (TWG), he showed some evidence that Amex had access to line item data because the individual item purchased was listed when he looked at his account transactions online. But it was never stated what kind of card was used (personal, business), only that a purchase from Staples.com using some kind of Amex card showed “VISA 200 GIFT CARD”. It also looked like the only item purchased for that transaction.

As far as Visa or MC goes, I wouldn’t think a credit union or bank that doesn’t issue corporate/government credit cards would have the technology in place to receive L3 data, but that’s just my guess.

86
86

According to someone at BofA, for personal cards, they do not get any line item (L3) data, period. However, the dispute dept can request that the merchant send them the receipt details, and if the merchant agrees, can then see line item details if they want to investigate your account for some reason. But they do not know what you bought from the data they receive from the merchant at the time of the transaction. Don’t know whether the same holds for business cards or not.

BTW, wouldn’t this also have huge implications for people’s personal privacy if banks had unrestricted access to that kind of data from consumer credit cards? The people who claim that banks receive that kind of data on Visa and MC consumer cards from merchants who also send L3 data for corporate/government cards don’t usually back up their claims with evidence that it applies to anything other than corporate/government cards.

Amex could be different (with their own cards) since they’re both the network and the bank in that case.

86
86

Does Staples report L3 data for PERSONAL and SMALL BUSINESS Visa card transactions? They certainly do for corporate and government Visa cards.

Dick Bupkiss
Dick Bupkiss

Yes. They don’t report it just to some but not others. Either a store does supply L3 data or they don’t, to all. Staples does. The banks can see every detail of every transaction, if they care to look at it.

86
86

I don’t mean to challenge you, but how do you know that for sure? Most grocery stores now send L3 data (for Visa, anyway), but my experience when I’ve talked with CSRs is that they probably see only the total amount purchased, not each line item that appears on the sometimes very long receipts you get.

Adrien Agreste
Adrien Agreste

Fuuuuuuuuu…

Rye
Rye

Time to use my Staples Amex offers!

TravelingTricks.com

Same here, 10% off via the SPG biz and BRG (OG) up to $50

Arun Ganesan
Arun Ganesan

Why is it risky to use Amex card to buy this gift card. Please clarify

Hodor
Hodor

It can be risky if trying to meet MSR. This has been covered heavily on DoC, Reddit and elsewhere.

Dennis
Dennis

Staples sends data to Amex regarding what is purchased. They’ll know that buying a lot of gift cards is to meet min spending.

Saturn
Saturn

L3 is Level 3 data which identifies what you bought. Amex gets this from office supply stores, so you should err on the side of caution if you are meeting MSR. (You can still get away with 1 or 2 of these for your bonus.)

MoreSun
MoreSun

Woot! Don’t have Chase Offer, do have Amex offer. (Not meeting an msr, only buy one at a time, not on mr earning card.) Didn’t have any issues with Amex before so fingers crossed that holds.

HarryTheFirstHarry
HarryTheFirstHarry

So whats the best way (minimal visits + max out as many cards + least cashier fatigue) if you have both Amex 10% (max 50) and Chase 30% (max 19) offers since Chase is capped at $19 and Amex at $50?
By my calculations, buy 3x$200 VGC in a single transaction, ask to split payment across two cards, pay first with chase for $70 and the rest on Amex.
Of course about $36 of the total will be “wasted” without bonus CB, but that’s better than splitting on to a 3rd card IMHO which may really “fatigue” the cashier.

Novacat05
Novacat05

Currently on a $2k spend in 90 days for my BCE upgrade. Is $500 of a $2k min spend really gonna set off flags to Amex? I already have almost $900 of it done on normal everyday stuff that is in no way questionable.

I would love to grab 2 $200 VGCs and a $100 to some other store to knock out $500 spend and max out the Amex 10% offer as well… I have no trouble using the VGCs on everyday spending like bills and such that only offer 1%, I don’t have to resort to true MS methods, not like Amex cares though once you buy the VGCs.

Eric
Eric

I wouldn’t risk it. Lots of DPs of Amex not honoring MSR with alternative spend methods.

86
86

+1

Celia
Celia

As Eric said, I wouldn’t risk it for bonus spending requirements. Staples gives L3 data to Amex and they can deny you the upgrade bonus.

Novacat05
Novacat05

The Amex Staples offer is good until 6/30/2019, so what I will do is just wait till the next time Staples runs this deal, by then I’ll be past my min spending requirement and just be doing it for the 10% offer, which clearly states gift cards are not excluded.

Besides, I have 10% Chase Pay @ ShopRite this month for Chase Freedom($400 max) so hopefully a $5 off $50+ purchase coupon shows up in the circular this month. If not I’ll just go with merchant cards.

Thanks for the advice!

veeRob

I don’t see a need to wait, really. You can buy it now and just ignore the spend as far as your min spending. That’s what I plan on doing.

Superman
Superman

To veeRob’s point, I did exactly that. I did $2K spend above the $500 for a total of $2.5K, and received 10% CB plus $250 welcome bonus, since I met MSR irrespective of buying the VGCs.

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