Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Staples Gift Cards Can Be Used to Buy Visa Gift Cards In Store - If They Let You

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This may not be old news to many of you, but some may not know that the Staples register actually allows you to buy Visa Gift Cards.  If you check Frequent Miler Labs, you will see it mentioned there as well.

Most cashiers are trained to not allow it, but every once in a while you might find someone who lets you do it.

Today was one such day for me:

Why You Might Care:  What About Chase Ink?  How about 6.9% Cashback!?

Many bloggers advocate buying $200 Visa GCs at Staples with a Chase Ink card for 5x Ultimate Rewards card.  $200 cards at Staples come with a $6.95 fee.  That's too rich for my blood to deal with the hassle of $200 denomination cards.  I don't travel much and I have never flown first class so I can't expect to get outsized benefits from my Ultimate Rewards points.  If you really love UR points, go for it.  There is more than one way to play this game.

Either way, you can often buy Staples Gift Cards for cheap.  Right now you can buy a $500 Staples Gift Card from Raise for 6.3% off.  If you buy Staples Gift Cards with an American Express Gift Card that you bought with a Fidelity American Express when a shopping portal was paying 2.25% and you have free shipping, it will cost you 3.9% less.  That's slightly better than 10% off.

If you buy the VGC for 10% off, the final cost is $186.26.  That's 6.9% cashback for your $200 Visa Gift Card.  Not too shabby!  That's better than almost any other option of buying Visa Gift Cards I know of.  I can do that. 

How I bought My Visa Gift Card Today

I went into Staples today trying to buy some iPads to resell since they are $100 off this week.

The store had some $200 Visa Gift Cards.  I picked up one for another experiment which was inconclusive.  The cashier rang up everything together.  Then I pulled out the gift cards to pay with and gave him one.  The cashier told me that he would need to void the transaction to remove the $200 VGC once we already started paying with gift cards.  He didn't want to do that because it is a pain for him so he just let me pay with the gift cards with his manager's approval ("Let's see if it works!").

So, the tip is to buy something else with the Visa Gift Card and hope they don't want to start over.

The bottom line is that you probably aren't going to be able to buy the cards with gift cards unless you have a newbie working with you.  Don't go there solely for this purpose and don't buy the gift cards unless you have another way to liquidate them.  Like with iPads this week for reselling!

A Word of Caution

Staples is notorious for shutting people down for doing things they don't like.  This process requires you to add your Staples Rewards number (or forfeit the rewards on the other part of the purchase).  If you do this frequently, you might get banned.