Office Depot Devalued Visa Deal: Do The Economics Make Sense Now or Are You Losing Money?

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Office Depot Visa Deal Economics

Starting today Office Depot & Officemax are running an instant rebate on Visa gift cards. Unlike past deals where the rebate more than offset the fees, this time you will be shelling out some money for the privilege of buying these cards. Does it make sense to do that?

The Deal

  • Save $10 instantly when you buy $300 or more in Visa gift cards.

Terms

  • Limit 1 offer per customer.
  • Discount applied at register.
  • Offer valid 6/4/17 through 6/10/17

The Devaluation

Previous offers have had a rebate as high as $20, although it has been $15 most recently. You also used to be able to receive 2 rebates per transaction for a long time. So for example, when purchasing $600 in cards with a $15 instant rebate X 2 the math worked out like this:

  • Cost of Cards: $620.85 (3 * $206.95)
  • Minus Rebate: $-30
  • Final Cost: $590.85
  • Profit: $9.15
  • Points Earned at 5X: 2,954

This was really great since you could walk out with a few bucks PLUS you could earn 5X with a Chase Ink Plus/Cash card or 5% back with a Amex SimplyCash. Heck, even if you were earning 2% back with another card or using a card to meet minimum spend it could make sense under the right circumstances.

The New Math

Unfortunately now the rebate is only $10 and you have a limit of 1 per transaction. Some stores will allow you to do multiple transactions but that is of course not guaranteed. In other words you are going to make the effort to go into a store without any guarantee that you will get more than 1 rebate. And the math looks like this:

  • 2 X $200 Visas: $413.90
  • Minus Rebate: $-10
  • Final Cost: $403.90
  • Profit: -$3.90

Economics of 5X

So now you are going to pay almost $4 for these cards. So does it make sense? Well let’s first look at the math using a 5X card such as the Chase Ink Plus/Cash. 

  • Points Earned: 2,070
  • Points Value (1.5 CPP): $31.05

I personally value Ultimate Rewards conservatively at 1.5 cents each. In that case a single rebate will net me $31.05 in points for a cost of $3.90. That is a cost per point of $.0019 or about 1/5 of a cent. An excellent value.

With that said, you must factor in your time. If you are making a profit of ~$27.15 on the purchase, does it make sense to spend time driving to the store given the limit of 1? I would say no, unless you have a store that you know will let you do multiple transactions or one that is very close. Also, don’t forget to factor in liquidation time.

Related: How To Liquidate Prepaid Visa & Mastercard Gift Cards

For Minimum Spend

Does it make sense to utilize this deal for minimum spend? It might. To start, Amex and U.S. Bank have been known to crack down on gift card purchases to meet minimum spend so keep that in mind. Other than that, this is a very low cost for cards which can easily be liquidated. If you struggle to meet spend or want to quickly get spend out of the way, then this is an excellent deal.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that this deal is about half as good as previous incarnations due to a limit of 1 and a lower rebate amount. With that said, for those who can do multiple transactions or for those who are looking to meet spend, this might make a lot of sense. If you are someone who constantly finds it takes longer than you anticipated to buy and liquidate cards at Office Depot, then you might actually be losing money when factoring in your time.


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22 COMMENTS

  1. HOw do you liquidate them to get money back ? I think lot of us would like some advice on the liquidation part of such efforts, be it OD gift card, vanilla reload card etc. thanks

    • AFAIK they aren’t available at every store and some people have had issues liquidating them. Certainly if you can use them then this is a breakeven out of pocket deal.

  2. You are correct….it’s a big fat rip off. Went to my Office Depot 10 am when they opened today in the hopes of spending $1000.00 in some combination (for a wedding gift) but was told the largest denomination in ANY STORE is $200.00 & $10 credit is limited to one card. So no matter how you slice it you loose money because you can’t get any $10 credit unless you spend a minimum of $300 i.e. a $200 card & a $100 card. Told me this offer is being made “by a 3rd party” but then why is Office Depot clearly advertising (pimping) for them, even in store display. This is very bad that Office Depot would be a party to this fraud. I am disabled and it was very difficult for me to drive over to Office Depot and enter their store without the advantage of a disabled persons scooter like @ most grocery stores. SHAME ON THEM! I will do my online shopping elsewhere in the future!

    • Sue,

      I dont think its worth the time and effort for you. Im not trying to discourage you, but theres just better things to do.

  3. It is clearly stated in the terms and conditions that you only get 1 discount. Why do you feel entitled to Office Depot selling you money at a discount?

    • Who is entitled? I am just pointing out that the deal has changed for the worse and may not be worth pursuing for some people. Office Depot definitely has the right to change and/or run any promotions they want.

    • Are you just dumb or what…..who would ever imagine that Office Depo would not even have ANY $300 gift cards for this promotion since the offer clearly states : “$10 discount for purchasing $300+ gift card”…. no one was asking them to apply a $10 discount to more than one gift card. Don’t you get it or are you an Office Depo employee. That’s what one calls deceptive advertising and it is highly frowned upon! Do you get it now?

  4. You can’t comprehend what you read and that makes me dumb? The ad says “Buy $300 or more in visa gift cards save $10” with 1 discount per customer. The “s” after card makes it plural.

  5. Curious why people aren’t buying the $200 cards with $4.95 in fees. They can be cashed out in the same manor as the ones with a 6.95 fee

  6. Can’t say I noticed today when I did the rounds on this deal, but are you guys seeing any variable $20-500 vgc’s or mcgc’s for more than $200, and that they’ll let use use chase ink cc to pay?

  7. Thanks laptopguy, I was able to do 3x transactions of $200×2 VGC at a couple of stores on my route today . The bad news is my favorite location next to the house is now limiting to one transaction. I also saw a sign for $10 off $50 Cabelas, Groupon, and Dominoes while I was there .

  8. I went to my local OD and they didn’t have the DE $4.95 cards and I sort of debated whether to bother with the normal $6.95 cards. At $4 out of pocket for $400, I decided it was no worse than spending a $5 fee for a $500 card elsewhere. I was considering MS to meet min spend on my new Amex cards (Biz Plus and Hilton) but decided that I’d just go with old reliable Ink Plus. I had more or less the same uncertainty as outlined in this article.

    One other thing I have great uncertainty about, mentioned in the above post, and incidentally have tried to find more data on and would love to see a substantial post on, is what the real DPs are on Amex tolerance for MS on their cards (for min spend or otherwise) *outside* the 100k Plat kerfuffle from last year. I read about warnings but it seems more smoke than fire. Then again, I don’t want to be the one getting burned.

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