An Awesome Way to Liquidate Staples Rebate Visa Cards

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staples visa rebate cards liquidate

Cool Way to Liquidate Staples Visa Rebate Cards

Note: I know today is a bit of eBay overload, but I had already promised yesterday via Twitter that I was going to post this today. Besides, today’s 20% off deal just shows you how much value there is on eBay right now. Enjoy!

Some of my favorite deals that I write about are from office supply giant Staples. Quite often they run deals with negative cost gift cards. Not only can you generally make a few dollars on those deals, but by purchasing the cards, you can earn 5x Ultimate Rewards points with a Chase Ink card.

Unfortunately, Staples insists on running these deals through their Easy Rebates program. While it isn’t too much of a hassle, they normally pay rebates either in the form of a Staples gift card or a personalized prepaid Visa gift card.

I have long struggled with liquidating the Visa rebate cards. Sure you could use them for normal expenses, but then you lose out on credit card rewards for that spend. Also, since they normally come in smaller denominations, they can be a pain to deal with. Thankfully I have found a cool way to liquidate them.

Grocery Stores + Fuel Rewards

Right now Kroger and its subsidiaries are running a 4x fuel points promotion. Other grocery retailers are running similar promotions leading up to Father’s Day. While normally gift cards pay 2 points per dollar spent at Kroger, during such promotions they pay 4 points per dollar. Each 100 points equals $.10 off per gallon of gas up to 35 gallons, so the savings can add up quick.

For many, the trick could stop there. Simply find a merchant you like and purchase their card. Simple and easy. For me, it isn’t that simple. I have all of the merchant gift cards I need, so I want to liquidate these cards while at the same time making the money work for me. Thankfully, grocery stores have started stocking a magical type of card.

The eBay Gift Card

staples visa rebate cards liquidate

I have written a lot lately about gift card deals on eBay. They are quite often profitable and thankfully eBay allows you to use their gift cards to purchase other gift cards. The availability of eBay gift cards and grocery stores along with ample deals means that there is opportunity.

My Experience & Auto Draining

Yesterday I headed out to my local Smith’s with $200 in Staples rebate Visa cards. At the first Smith’s store, I went to the self checkout. An older lady was working the checkout and when she checked my id she immediately rejected my Staples cards as gift cards. I explained to her they were not gifts and had my name. She ultimately went to the manager and came back with the same answer.

Knowing that this isn’t the true policy at Smith’s (it may be a store level policy), I went to a different Smith’s down the street. This time I did a little age profiling and chose a younger cashier since I find they tend to ask less questions. I walked up with the Staples cards and my id in my hand and laid them down since I know their system prompts the cashier to check id.

This cashier had no problem with my purchase since he could see my name matched all of the cards. One other great thing about most grocery stores including Kroger brands is that their systems auto drain the card. This means I kept handing him cards and the system automatically drained the exact amount of the balance. So nice!

5x + Fuel Rewards

staples visa rebate cards liquidate

The way I look at it, the money on those rebate cards has already earned me 5x Ultimate Rewards points. Now by recycling it through eBay gift cards, I am earning fuel points. While the normal 2x fuel points are nice, I tend to wait for a 4x special since they come along every few months.

My $200 eBay gift card purchase yesterday earned 800 fuel points or $.80 off per gallon up to 35 gallons. That is worth about $24 to me since my wife and I usually fill up together and average about 30 gallons when we pump!

Conclusion

Buying eBay gift cards is a fantastic way to liquidate Staples Visa gift cards if you regularly participate in eBay deals. While it might not be common sense to convert a Visa card into a merchant card, it is a good move in my opinion.

The way I see it, I am taking money that is already spent and putting it to work without any additional float. Since I need to liquidate those Visas before they expire, this is a fantastic solution. Of course I wish Staples would just mail me a rebate check, but outside of that, this is my new preferred method of turning those cards back into cash.


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36 COMMENTS

  1. Nice idea. Thanks for sharing. Better than my usual alternative of plowing them into Amazon eGift cards. If I only have one or two small Staples rebate Visas, I’ll probably still do that. But if I find my self with a decent amount, I’ll be using your idea for sure.

  2. I’m all about buying ebay gift cards, especially with fuel point bonuses like that (up until you cap out on redeeming them that is…). Really though, this isn’t any different from using them for regular spend and actually might be a bit worse.

    “Sure you could use them for normal expenses, but then you lose out on credit card rewards for that spend.”
    By buying ebay gift cards at Smith’s with the VISA GCs, you still miss out on the credit card points and possibly even more than the standard amount because grocery is a bonus category for many cards.

    If instead you used the VISA cards for non-bonused regular spend, you would come out ahead.

    The only advantage of this method is the simplicity with the auto-draining, so that may still make this worth it for you, but you’re giving up some points along the way.

    My preferred method for prepaid cards (Amex, VISA, or otherwise) is to use them with PayPal for my ebay purchases and other online shopping that allows PayPal (for non-bonused spend). The odd remainders typically go into Amazon gift cards which I use for regular spending. This is only efficient because I’ve maxed my ebay gift card usage out, otherwise I could do a lot better by buying those first.

    If possible, always burn your prepaids on non-bonused spend if you don’t have a way to directly unload them into cash.

    • Noah, I’ve read and retread terms and conditions. Where are you seein a max in using eBay gift cards? I see the max of purchasing any gift cards at 5000 / year through eBay but no cap on eBay gift card usage to buy other items. I see an arbitrage opportunity to lever up and the gift card is key to maximizing. Care if I send you an email? I have your address.

    • Well for me it is mostly about simplicity considering 100% of my non-bonused spend generally goes towards meeting minimum spend requirements throughout the year and I think that goes the same for others. Personally, I don’t want to be loading and worrying about multiple Visa gift cards on Paypal, considering I already have a ton of issues with them.

      If you have one or two cards then I agree loading them to Amazon works, but for some deals I end up with 8 or 10 of these cards and being able to swipe them in one transaction and consolidate them in this way is the most efficient use in my opinion. Oh and thanks to generous Amex offers, I haven’t paid for anything on Amazon in close to two years! As always there isn’t any one right answer.

      • You go a great job Shawn! You are up there with the top bloggers at this point and one of the few I read each day. I’ve had inconsistent success with the staples promos getting multiple cards and didn’t keep good enough records to what I did right so maybe you can help me out. Different emails and phone numbers worked except when using gmail variations simply by using a … Sometimes I got messege saying the address was already used sometimes it worked. Sometimes I just changed my address by a letter or a number and the mailman still delivered. Do you know the exact metric to use?

      • Agreed on non-bonused spend going towards minimum spends being the best option. The only reason I have extra non-bonused spend is because of the gift card reselling, so that won’t work for everyone.

        If ebay gift cards are your end goal, you could use PayPal through Gyft and tack on an extra 2% in Gyft points without ever leaving your house. Your fuel points are worth far more than 2%, but this might be a better option for others. Still involves typing them all into PayPal though and I think PayPal wastes $1 with a temporary charge that you’ll have to wait to fall off (huge pain for draining them).

        At the end of the day, I think we can all agree that using prepaid cards is rather inconvenient..s

        Tell me more about these Amex Offers though, are you buying Amazon gift cards at other places or was the Amex Offer for Amazon directly?

      • Just take them along with you to wamart for either bluebird/serve loads od buying mo’s. Remember u have 4 swipes per transaction.

    • Have you maxed both personal and business Paypal accounts? There’s a 5k limit PER account and each person is allowed two accounts (one business, one personal).

      • I’ve currently maxed out my personal PayPal account and am currently in the process of spinning up a business PayPal account, so I haven’t used any gift cards on that one yet. Despite not being able to use them right away, I still frequently buy the ebay gift cards while they are on sale so I’ve build up a bit of a stockpile (>$1k).

        Once I get the business PayPal account up and running, I’ll probably end up hitting the gift card limit within a month or two. The quantity of cards I move through ebay is pretty high. Unfortunately, I’ve maxed out my ebay bucks for the quarter already, so any deals between now and July won’t be as profitable.

        • Hi Noah – Sounds like your PayPal business application is taking a while? Any idea on how long you expect it to take (or has taken so far)? Any tips on the application process? Thanks.

          • The application was really simple and I think I just had to send them a photo id and proof of address. I don’t remember if they wanted to see the business formation paperwork or not (you wouldn’t have this for a sole-prop anyway). The whole process only took a few business days.

            The delay has entirely been on my end as I work on other more pressing projects. I’m losing out on some ebay gift card usage timing, but nothing major because I’ll be able to max it out again right away(ish).

  3. Filling two cars is against policy at almost all gas stations due to “safety”. Use those eBay gift cards to get yourself 20 liter jerry cans. Expensive, but quality.

    I have a more lucrative grocery / gas combo in my geography. Haven’t paid for gas (usually negative cost) in years. My jerry cans have gotten quite a workout and hold up well. I fill and empty four 20 liter cans twice weekly.

  4. Shawn,
    Great post – as always!
    You left out the obvious: loading Redcard or Serve. Are these cards not pinable? That would explain it.

  5. Lease a BMW 🙂

    ok, I didn’t exactly lease a BMW to do this but after leasing it and was ready to make my first online payment through BMW finance, to my surprise, I learned that it accepts debit card as well including staples visa rebate card! I was able to make my first lease payment of $209 almost using $15/$20 cards I was piling up but no idea what to do with. I also tried $100 master cards that I bought from home depot on amex offer yesterday and that worked too but the visa version didn’t work.

  6. I go to my bank and cash them out — they run as “cash advances” – but don’t incur fees because they’re debit cards. Was at the bank to cash out $2K in rebate cards from last month LOL

  7. Shawn, seems one didn’t go far enough with the explanation. What can one do with the ebay gift cards? Buy product/services?

    Just want to get the jist of this advice correct. The idea is to further enhance the Staples rebate through an additional intermediary, ie, Kroger points for fuel? Next step with ebay liquidation. What is it?

    Not an ebay user much at all. Probably why I am not getting this. Please accept apology.

    • No problem Jan. I write about gift card deals on eBay all of the time so just keep an eye out for those. I generally can purchase merchant gift cards on eBay with eBay gift cards. I then turn around and sell those to sites like Cardpool for a profit. In the mean time I make a profit through eBay Bucks, portal cashback and fuel points, etc.

    • Some people use family members and work addresses. Also, there are other deals from time to time that I get rebates on as well. For example, about a month ago I purchased 5 Galaxy Tabs to resell and each one came with a $50 rebate.

  8. Hi Shawn,

    I followed your instruction to get $100 gift card at Ralph’s. but when I got home I looked at the receipt that did not show 400 fuel points add to my account. I bought the meta bank gift card with gift box pic. did I miss anything or promotion will automatically apply at shell’s pump? Thanks

  9. Ryan, I believed and also have done this at Kroger before with the Metabank GC and beside Shawn mentioned he got the ebay GC which qualify for the 4x, normally 2x. Visa/MC GC only earn 1x, does not qualify for 2x or during 4x promo, read the fine print at Kroger about the 4x.

    Hope that help.

  10. “The way I look at it, the money on those rebate cards has already earned me 5x Ultimate Rewards points. Now by recycling it through eBay gift cards, I am earning fuel points.”

  11. This question may be missed for a while, but I got my first Staples GC for recycling ink cartridges and it’s an emailed coupon that expires in six weeks. I guess this changed recently? From my reading it’s unlikely I can turn this into a different GC in-store and now I can’t use it at the grocery. Guess I’ll have to actually buy something physical at Staples.

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