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
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
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!
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.