Negative Staples Visa Gift Card Changes – The Removal of One Product & A New Limit Instituted

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staples visa gift card changes
This is what the listing USED to look like.

Staples Visa Gift Card Changes – $200 Card Gone & A New Limit

Last week Staples had a pretty amazing deal on $200 Visa gift cards. For a few hours in the middle of the night, they offered a $10 instant discount on each card with a limit of 3. In the end, the cost of 3 x $200 cards turned out to be $590.85. This deal made a lot of sense to people who could use a Chase Ink card, since it also generated 2,954 Ultimate Rewards points.

The cards “sold out” pretty quickly during the deal and have been showing as out of stock on the Staples website. That is they were showing as out of stock. Now they have simply disappeared. You can still find $100, $50 and $25 cards, but the SKU for the $200 cards has been erased.

staples visa gift card changes
This is the page where the cards once lived.

Has This Happened Before?

I seem to remember the $200 Visa cards disappearing before. With that said, I have searched and cannot seem to find any blog posts or forum threads about it. Perhaps I am just making it up, but I do believe at some point these cards (or perhaps the $100 versions) disappeared for a short while only to make a triumphant return. Let me know in the comments if I am crazy or not.

Why Would They Remove Them?

I’m not sure why Staples would remove the cards. It is obvious to them at this point that a lot of people purchase these to manufacture spend, but that has been going on awhile and they no doubt make some money from the $6.95 purchase fee. They simply may have decided the $100 cards with the same fee are more profitable or there could be another explanation.

In response to this development, pkerr on Flyertalk said, “Yep. It’s all over. They cleared out their inventory with that big sale and they shall no longer, ever again, not anytime soon, carry gift cards.”

I don’t think this is the case. Visa gift cards purchased from Staples online are shipped from GiftCardMall. I don’t believe that Staples has an inventory of these cards. Instead I think placing an order with Staples then generates an order with GiftCardMall. Sure the cards can go “out of stock” during promotions, because they have sold all that they care to at a discount.

This happened last December when they offered a similar $10 discount on $100 cards. After a few hours the $100 cards went “out of stock”. They remained that way for about a week if I remember correctly before coming back in stock at the normal price. Plus, if Staples was going to stop selling Visas, then why not blow out the other denominations in the same way?

New Limit of 3

staples visa gift card changes

One other new development that has sprouted up is a limit of 3 Visa gift cards per transaction. This seems to apply to all gift cards including the $100 versions. Previously there hadn’t been a limit, although Staples would often have issues with orders over $2,000. If the $200 cards do return to stock, it looks like you will be limited to a total of $600 in cards per transaction. Right now, the most you can buy is 3 x $100.

Alternatives

staples visa gift card changes
Staples and Officemax carry $200 cards that come in either the old yellow packaging or the new purple packaging.

I don’t personally buy $200 Visa gift cards at Staples (for full price) with any regularity anymore. Between the Easy Rebate deals and the Office Depot and Officemax deals, I have a lot of Ultimate Rewards points. Why pay at full price if you can wait for a discount?

With that said I recognize a lot of you purchase $200 Visa gift cards at Staples and the math makes sense to you. In that case your best alternatives will be to go into the store to purchase these cards. Both Staples and Officemax sell Visa gift cards issued by Metabank for $206.95. These cards work for Bluebird/Serve at Walmart and REDbird at Target.

If you are only worried about loading REDbird, Office Depot sells $200 Vanilla Visa gift cards that will work at Target. The Office Depot cards don’t work well at Walmart, so only purchase them if you are loading at Target.

So to sum it up:

  • Office Depot: Vanilla Branded works for REDbird
  • Staples/Officemax: Metabank Visas works for REDbird, Bluebird, Serve

Conclusion

I do think the $200 Visa gift cards will return to the Staples website eventually. The real bad news I think is the new limit of 3, which sort of makes the process of ordering large amounts a bit more tedious. The good news is you can still buy these cards in-store for the same price and earn the same rewards! Now the question as to whether that makes sense is an ongoing debate.


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28 COMMENTS

  1. damn, that stinks. I placed 2 orders in the last two days and then the website went down last night. Hopefully this is just a temporary change, although the limit of 3 will definitely hurt.

  2. Vanilla Visa gift cards used to be able to be loaded in $49.99 or less at Walmart. Is that still not the case? Does it matter if use register or kiosk?

    • Yes, as of yesterday, Vanillas can still be loaded at WM via Kate or register lanes for <$50 per transaction.

      • This only works some of the time for some people. I only personally have about a 50% success rate and know others with a similar experience as well.

        That is sort of why I don’t recommend it to people, but for those who want to try, make sure it works for you. Thanks for sharing the data point Mimi.

  3. Can you purchase with CC at office depot? I thought it was hard coded at the register? When I first got my Ink, I tried at the local office depot, they let me slide my card but got rejected at the register.

  4. $200 one was available for order as of only 2 days ago because I placed my latest order of 9 cards on 7/7 morning. The status on that order shows “shipped” but if I tried to reorder, it says “discontinued” Darn it… oh well. Good thing a local staple is only a mile away.

    • Unless something has changed in the past few weeks, Office Depot is only hardcoded as cash only for the variable load Vanilla Visas. The fixed denominations Visas such as the $200 cards have always worked with credit cards. (Like I said I haven’t confirmed this in the past couple of weeks, but have done it many times before that.)

  5. This is literally your fault. You post about this and it goes down a week later. Stop writing about staples. You are underestimating the audience of your blog and destroying deals. This is on YOU.

    • What? Here is a link to a thread on Slickdeals about the deal. It has 35,000 views. http://slickdeals.net/f/7947387-200-visa-physical-gift-card-197-free-shipping?src=SiteSearch

      Here is another thread on Fatwallet: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/expired-deals/1449473/

      Those sites and many others that had it are astronomically bigger than mine. In fact, I didn’t even post about this deal, because it happened in the middle of the night. The only thing I posted was telling people about how Staples calculates spend for Staples Rewards.

      Staples has had 4-5 big Visa gift card sales over the past few years and each and every time they have gone out to all of the deal sites. That is not what killed this. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I have written about buying Visas at Staples online.

    • People like you are the exact reason blogs like this exist. If you don’t like sharing deals with others, then go back to your section on FlyerTalk and don’t browse the blogs. I get people being selfish and hesitant to share, but blaming others for sharing? That’s a new kind of low.

  6. Is the limit of 3*$200 per order really a significant problem? You’d just do more orders and cycle at the same pace. Or am I missing something here?

    I typically cycle $4,000 of vgc’s from staples through my BB each month. Rather than doing five cards per order, four orders per month, I’ll just do three cards per order, seven orders per month (if/when they come back of course). Even if you’re a heavy hitter, the process is the same — just do more transactions.

    Sure that’s a couple extra steps, but not “real bad news” IMO.

    • I agree the limit isn’t the end of the world, but it is a negative change and one worth mentioning. Of course, the biggest news is that the $200 cards aren’t even listed on the website anymore so the limit is a mute point unless they return.

      • CopperHog, are you buying these cards and loading them onto your BlueBird card? I am assuming BB stood for BlueBird. I will admit I’m a noob at a lot of these things, but still have managed to bank about a 750K points in the past few years. Always room for more! I think we all thought the BlueBird was dead, but if we can buy these and load the BB, then it might be a way.

        Unless I’m just plain nuts.

  7. I believe this did in fact happened before and was then returned back on the market. I was lucky few ordered a bulk last weekend, and received an email saying it will be delayed. I just got notification saying its shipped today. so I am sure there’re lots of us hitting hard even w/o the promo going thus they couldn’t catch up with their processing. The limit qty is going to be a hassles for large hitters, but i guess question is if the store is even going bother to carry them or have the limit as well as online purchase ? (the stores nearby have discontiuned restocking for some reason )

  8. I have to agree with Jesse…to a point. Try googling “Staples Negative Spend” and you’ll see this blog front and center. Some things should be learned on your own and I think Staples has many avenues for this.

    Shawn took a bit of a cheeky tone with his “little birdies” comment in the previous post. You’re not Varys from game of thrones get over yourself.

    The name of the blog is “miles to memories” yet all I read is about mile hoarding and collecting. The redemption side of miles is seemingly lost. Additionally, I do think blogs, fatwallet, forums all killed the deal so to speak.

    The name calling and fingerprinting is a bit childish so lets move on.

    • Hey Tom or Jesse. I can see that this comment was posted from the same IP address as the Jesse comment. Feel free to share your opinions, but don’t try to post under different names to fool people.

      No one should call people names and I certainly didn’t do that. I don’t filter any comments and will continue to let you share your opinions here as long as you don’t try to post as different people. Thanks for respecting that rule.

  9. Gigs will get shutdown and it’s not just one person’s fault. Like you said, it’s all over the net although some of those who have been milking this deal for a long time are mad because their cash cow has been ‘compromised. They’d rather keep it to themselves ; )

    I learned a lot from you Shawn. Thanks and keep on doing what you do best : )

  10. I purchased Serve cards at office depot using an ink card and No fee until the 18th. So the 2.95 wasn’t charged. Now where do I unload this serve card without any fees? I need to open a BB. I bought $2000 to get a MS. Thanks Any other ideas? New to the game

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