Free Money & 5X at Staples: $20 Rebate on Amex Gift Cards & How to Maximize

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Staples Amex Gift Card Rebate Deal

I love me some Staples gift card deals. Following a long dry spell at the beginning of the year, Staples has pretty regularly had Visa & Mastercard deals about once a month including last week’s Visa deal. This time they are back with a deal on Amex gift cards which isn’t as good, but will still be nice for some. Let’s take a look.

The Deal

  • When you buy $300 in American Express® Gift Cards get a $20 Staples® Gift Card.

Key Terms

  • Valid 6/5/16–6/11/16.
  • Limit 1 offer per household.
  • In-store only.

Maximizing the Deal

staples mastercard rebate

This deal is best maximized by using a card that earns 5X at office supply stores like the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash. You can also use an Amex SimplyCash Plus which earns 5% cashback at office supply stores. This will also work well with the 5% back Amex Offer.

Using the Chase Ink, the optimal strategy is to purchase 2 of the $200 cards which cost $206.95 each. Here is the math:

  • Cost: $413.90
  • Minus Rebate: $20
  • Final Cost: -$6.10
  • UR Points Earned: 2,070

You could also purchase a $200 card and a $100 card, but the savings of $1 on fees doesn’t justify the loss of 500 Ultimate Rewards points on the extra $100 in spend.

Need to Know

  • Amex gift cards are not PIN-enabled and cannot be loaded to prepaid cards such as Bluebird/Serve.
  • You can use Amex gift cards to buy merchandise anywhere Amex is accepted and some stores will allow you to buy other gift cards with them.
  • Amex gift cards seem to be much easier to find at Staples compared to their Visa & Mastercard counterparts which should make participating in this deal a bit easier.

Conclusion

No this deal isn’t as good as Visa or Mastercard gift card deals since those cards are easier to dispose of, but this is still a negative cost way to earn a few bucks plus 5X Ultimate Rewards if you have a Chase Ink. Since my local stores almost never have Visas anymore, I appreciate deals like these since there is always an abundant stock of Amex gift cards.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I think we Need to include the “opportunity cost” of disposing of these Amex GCs, i.e., if you use the $400 of Amex GCs to purchase stuff that you would have purchased with a 2% cash back credit card, the opportunity cost is $8.00. So that must be subtracted from the value of the deal.

      • No, not what I meant. Once you have earned the 5X using Ink (or whatever) and received the $20 Staples gift card, you have $400 in Amex gift cards that you can’t simply liquidate like you can a VGC or MGC. You have to use the $400 for spending on everyday stuff that doesn’t earn bonuses. If you had used a 2% cash back credit card instead, you would have earned $8, so you need to subtract $8 from the value of the $20 Staples gift card plus the 5X you have earned. That’s all I meant.

        • That’s not accurate. Opportunity cost doesn’t subtract from the value. It helps compare the two options, $8 OR $20 SGC + value of 5X. If one chooses the later, they aren’t only making $12 plus 5X.

          I give my college kid around $200 a month to help with groceries, gas, etc so these will work for that purpose. I’m not going to get stuck in an endless loop of analysis of if it would be better to make him an authorized user on a particular card.

  2. Staples GC is normal GC (not promo card) which can be resold, correct? I’d rather sell it at 84%, lose the $3.20 and be done with it rather than shop for items at staples.

  3. One of the headlines calls it a “MasterCard” deal, which was confusing at first. One of those pesky cut and paste issues.

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