A New Cheaper Way to MS 5X At Office Supply Stores: The Dining Rewards Visa!

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Office Depot Dining Everywhere Visa Prepaid 5X

Office Depot Dining Everywhere Visa Prepaid 5X

Yesterday Chris Stafford broke the news in the Travel Hacking 101 Facebook group about Office Depot carrying a new type of prepaid Visa product. It is called the Dining Everywhere Visa and it is designed to be a prepaid card that you use at restaurants. The card’s website describes it as:

Use your Dining Everywhere Visa® Gift Card for restaurants and bars, everywhere Visa debit is accepted, even online.

Hmmm. Even online? I don’t know of many restaurants online, although I suppose that could mean for gift cards, online ordering, etc. Still, this is a Visa and perhaps it could work anywhere Visa is accepted. Better yet, the card is issued by Metabank (the same bank that issues the normal Visa cards sold at office supply stores) and it is also PIN-enabled according to the site.

So Why This Visa?

So what is the big deal about a new $200 Visa available at office supply stores? While the normal $200 Visa gift cards carry a $6.95 fee, this card only has a $4.95 fee. That makes the math of generating 5X much better. Of course the question is whether or not this card can be used to purchase money orders and/or to load Bluebird/Serve cards.

Why Visas at Office Supply Stores

Before I go into liquidation options, let me quickly go over the benefits of buying Visa gift cards at office supply stores. Many people purchase Visa gift cards at office supply stores with credit cards that earn a category bonus. The two most popular cards are the Chase Ink Plus and the Amex Simply Cash Plus. The Ink Plus earns 5X Ultimate Rewards while the Simply Cash Plus earns 5% cashback.

If you use a Chase Ink to purchase on of these cards, the math works out as follows:

  • Cost $204.95
  • Ultimate Rewards Generated: 1,025
  • Cost per point: $.0048

Less than half a cent per Ultimate Reward point is a very good deal, but only if you can easily liquidate. So can you?

Where to Liquidate

Yesterday when I learned of this card, I went out to my local Office Depot only to be disappointed that they didn’t have any of these cards. Fortunately Debbie at Traveling Well for Less was able to get her hands on some and test them out. According to her post:

I was able to purchase money orders at Walmart, grocery stores, the post office, and other places that sell money orders and accept debit cards.

And I didn’t have to enter my PIN at Walmart.

I was not able to get cash back.

So money orders seem to be a yes, at least for her, but what about Bluebird and/or Serve? Unfortunately, the news doesn’t seem to be as good.

I was not able to load my Bluebird or Serve at Walmart. And this Walmart required a pin.

While it seems she was not able to test the cards out extensively, the loads did not work for her. In the end we have good news and bad news, although more testing and data points are surely needed.

Conclusion

$200 Visas at office supply stores have been around forever and while the math at $6.95 per card isn’t terrible, it isn’t great either. With $2 less in fees per card this method of MS may make sense for some and it can definitely be a good way to rack up points rather quickly. I suspect this will be popular so if you are interested, you may want to act fast.


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27 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting find. I guess it’s just me but I’ve never been able to get behind the office supply gift card / MO bandwagon. Over the last 1-2 years I’ve given it a shot and for me it’s not worth the effort. The amount of time and mental CPU required to keep the ship sailing error-free is probably more taxing than it may seem. Never mind the fact that, as you encountered, hiccups along the way are commonplace. Better factor that into your value of time as for most of us time = money. You could even go so far as to assign an hourly expectation (which Shawn has done for himself in the past) and use that as your benchmark for whether or not an option is worth pursuing.

    MO are also a good way to get eyes on your bank accounts. For seasoned MS’ers who have a strategy in place I’m sure they make it work. Newbies on the other hand walk the line a bit blindly and usually figure things out after problems arise. To each their own, but for anyone new to this game, do your homework first before jumping into the vgc/mc -> liquidation method in 2016.

  2. IMO, a $200 prepaid Visa that cannot be liquidated through Serve isn’t worth bothering with, even if you do save two bucks. To make it work, one would have to purchase several of them, then do a split tender to buy one MO, then deposit that MO at the bank. Too much trouble for me. I think I’ll stick with Gift Card Mall for now.

    • This definitely isn’t for everyone, but I know many people are still turning these office supply Visas to money orders so this is a cheaper option. You should definitely factor in the time/hassle factor before deciding whether this is worth it.

    • Besides the time and costs, there is also the charge at WM for the MOs. How many GCs can you use for one MO? What is their maximum purchase and their fees?

      • I’m assuming the number of gift cards that can be used for one MO varies by merchant. The grocery store close to me charges $.59 per MO, and I believe they sell them for up to $1000.

  3. I guess I m missing something by how does debit card not require u to enter a pin? (“And I didn’t have to enter my PIN at Walmart.”)

  4. Not working everywhere, so be careful and don’t get stuck with these. Not even working in all restaurants, which the card clearly warns is a possibility.

  5. Just purchased a dining anywhere card at Office Depot with CC. Noted they also had the fuel anywhere card up to $100 and a shopping anywhere card for department stores, boutiques, etc, up to $200.

    • I can confirm they are not working everywhere, but sporadic. So, one person may say it worked for them for an MO at their locale, but then it may not work in your area. Best advice is to test a small one unless you can take the risk of buying a full $200 and then if it doesn’t work, know you’ll have to spend it on dining and so forth. With these, I’m treating them as if I could get stuck with them at any time, therefore won’t buy tons. Besides, OM/OD is YMMV on which location will sell to cc customers and also vary on quantity. Some won’t allow but one or two to be purchased. They think you’re up to something when you buy quantities of a dining card. Please be careful with this one.

      • I already made a mistake and bought $800 worth of these. Just went to Walmart for MO. Didn’t work. Stuck with them now. Costly mistake.

  6. I had an “Authorization Failure” at the Post office. My local Safeway (Reston, VA) takes cash only for a MO. Just for grins, I asked at a 7-11 (no, they only take cash as well). I will try Walmart later today, but it’s a bit of a hike to get there.

    Not looking so good to liquidate

  7. Happy to report that I was able to get a MO for the Dining Everywhere VISA from Walmart in Fair Lakes, Northern VA. (near I-66 and Fairfax County Pkwy) for $199.30, as Walmart charges .70c for processing. Estimated total cost:
    $4.95 for the card
    .70 MO processing fee
    2.00 Gas back and forth

    Received: 1025 UR points (bought with INK)

    Going to go back to OD to get a few more!

  8. Bought one from my local Office Depot. Tested buying $1.00 giftcard from amazon. DECLINED. Called customer service, they said card is hardcoded for dining only and that’s why it was declined. Haven’t tested at a restaurant yet….I’m in California.

  9. I have been having regular success with the Dining America gift cards. However, I ran into a problem today that was my own creation. I had purchased 3 cards with $200.00 each on them. I got into the habit of registering the cards and changing the PIN number to one that suits me. I’m not sure if this affects actually making the card work like we want, but I figured why not?

    Today, when entering the cards’ number and CVV2 codes, I accidentally put the CVV2 code from one card in another’s registration. Oops. But I figured I can get it changed by contacting “customer service”. I found out quickly that there is no obvious way to get a live person. I tried “0”, “#”, and several other combinations to no avail. The other method of contact was to snail mail to customer service (yes, I said snail mail), as that was the only other way listed on the site. Trying the “update Card” button (after selecting Wallet to see what you have) results in a 500 server error.

    In desperation, I Googled Blackhawk Network, which I guess runs the program, and emailed their customer service at BH.CustomerService@bhnetwork.com. The response came back a couple of hours later: Please, call (800) 524-1283 and press “0#” three times to be connected with a customer service agent. I thought Salvation! and dialed right away. The response on the phone: ”You have dialed a number that is not available from your calling area”. HUH?

    So I went back to the original Dining America site and tried the methodology on the number listed there. Viola, success! So my main aim was to correct the CVV2 number I mistakenly put in. “Customer Service” says there’s nothing they could do, but the card will work.
    When I went to change the pin number, what he said apparently was true, as the site initially did not accept may change with the CVV2 number I inadvertently put in. But when I put in the actual CCV2 number on the card, I was able to change my pin number.

    That being said, there’s something wrong with the Dining America website. Cards that I have used and cut up are still showing with full balances. The card I made the CCV2 mistake on shows up twice, so the total amount available to me (according to the website)
    is much more than what I actually have. Clicking on “Update Card” still goes to a 500 server error. There are several grayed out buttons with no functionality. The most frustrating thing was the fact that until I contacted the Blackhawk Network directly, there’s no way a person would know how to actually speak to a customer service agent (not that he was all that helpful). I hope in the future these will be corrected; I would like to continue buy these on a regular basis.

      • Jim’s nightmare experience here reminds me of a serious problem I’ve been noticing too — the inability to do on-line balance checks of many of these VGC’s I’ve bought from Staples…. (still works if I call, and with some cards, I find out they’ve change the 800 to call…. What a severe time-drag and “PIN” (pain-in-the-neck)….

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