Staples Negative Cost Mastercard Gift Card Deal Returns This Weekend – Still “Free” Money & Points, But Less Generous


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staples mastercard gift card deal

Staples Visa/Mastercard Gift Card Deal

While Staples has held several deals on Visa gift cards lately, we haven’t seen a Mastercard deal since April. Starting on Sunday 7/12/15 they will be offering a $15 Staples gift card via rebate with the purchase of $300 or more in Mastercard gift cards. This is $5 less than previous rebates, but still ends up being a negative cost.

See: How To Liquidate Prepaid Visa & Mastercard Gift Cards

Key Terms

  • In store only.
  • Good from Sunday 7/12/15 through Saturday 7/18/15.
  • Limit of one rebate per household.

How to Maximize

staples mastercard gift card deal

This deal is best maximized by using a card that earns 5x at office supply stores like the Chase Ink cards. Using the Chase Ink, the optimal strategy is to purchase 2 of the $200 cards. Here is the math:

  • Cost: $413.90
  • Minus Rebate: $15
  • Final Cost: -$1.10
  • UR Points Earned: 2,070

Liquidate the Rebate Gift Card

Since this rebate comes in the form of a Staples gift card it is less than ideal. You can of course use the gift card to purchase items at Staples or gift card resellers will buy it for up to 86% or $12.90. By going that route, you would end up with an overall loss of $1. Another way to look at it is purchasing 2,070 Ultimate Rewards for $1.


I am glad that Staples continues to have these deals with regularity, although I hope this new lower $15 rebate amount doesn’t become the new norm. Hopefully after this deal is over, Staples will go back to discounting Visas since they are easier to liquidate and I much prefer prepaid Visa rebates as opposed to Staples gift cards.

HT: Doctor of Credit

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  1. Many gift card buyers won’t accept cards under $25. How do you liquidate the MasterCard? They are tricky at WM.

    • You have to quickly hit the “change payment” button or they work well on the kiosk. Good point on the Staples GC. I do know a few will accept lower value cards, but you might not get 86%. Even at lower amounts it makes sense, although the best value is to use the card at Staples for full value.

  2. Hey Shawn,

    If anybody would know you would. Does the one limit per household reset each promotion period? I bought some Staples GC’s last promotion a few weeks back am I eligible for this?

  3. Don’t count on that return selling the Staples card. I’ve found that the gift card sites don’t take Staples cards with less that a $25 denomination.

    • Good point. I have never had an issue with $20 cards, but a $15 card may be more of a hassle. Since I spend enough at Staples anyway, my strategy has always been to keep these cards and use them at full value. That is definitely the best option, but even if you can find an exchange offering around 80%, it still makes sense for the points made from the deal.

  4. I had difficulty loading my last MC GCs into BB (I have no kiosk, and have to go through cashier). The machine won’t accept them. The only trick I’ve found is overriding the process by quickly hitting the “change payment” button (and then selecting Debit) and loading it in increments of $49.95. Way to much work. Any ideas? Thanks.

  5. The last 4 of the MasterCard gift card number is not the PIN. There is a separate card within the gift card packet that has the four digit pin. You can also call and set the pin if you forget to look for this card or lose it.

  6. Shawn, I have a problem here, wonder if you can have some insight.

    I bought 2x$200 Mastercard GC, transaction went smooth, when I got home, it sez it’s not activiated, I checked on, punch in the card number & PIN give me an error msg. I called the number on the back of the card, they now want me to fax them the information.

    Has this happen to you before? Any insight. Would going back to Staples help?

    • This has never happened to me. You can go back to the Staples and see if the manager can reverse the transaction so you don’t have to wait. Outside of that you will have to fill out the paperwork which will take some time to process. I would personally go back to Staples and see if the manager can see what happened considering you have all of the paperwork.

      This is a good reminder for everyone to check their receipts for serial numbers to make sure things have properly activated before leaving the store. I’m so sorry this happened to you. It does sound like a computer error instead of fraud. Hopefully that is the case and it is easy to clear up.

      • Same thing happened to me. Then I noticed my receipt says “Item Will Be Activated Within 24 Hours”. This has never happened before.

  7. I have to same issue as the person mentioned above. But if you look at the staples receipt you will notice a new line that says card will take upto 24 hrs to activate. But my cards are not activated even after 24 hrs. I called staples store and they said it might be a system error and if they don’t activate in the next few hours to come to the store. MasterCard Gift Cards are a hassle when compared Visa Gift Cards..
    I bought the gift cards at 2 different stores and the issue is happening on cards from both the stores. So I guess it might be a Staples issue?

  8. I just tried to load a $200 MC GC onto my BB, and it didn’t go thru, as it came up as a Credit Card.

    Where is the “Change payment” button, on the Keypad at WM?

    Or does the cashier have to hit “Change Payment”?


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