News: Office Depot stops selling Gift Cards with open amounts
Thanks to all the readers who emailed me their experience at their local Office Depot!
Based on the majority of emails I’ve been receiving and this Flyertalk thread – it appears that Office Depot will no longer be selling gift cards that have an open amount (up to $500). Very sad face.
Why is this news?
If you have to ask, then it won’t be heart breaking to you – but for the last year, rewards fiends have been purchasing Amex and Visa gift cards at Office Depot with their Ink Bold or Ink Plus® Business Card (or both) business cards. One of the Ink cards’ most appealing benefits is the 5x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 at office supply stores. Smoking deal.
A lot of businesses will buy gift cards to give to their employees for spending instead of a credit card, but the majority of people (I’m assuming) were taking advantage of the 5x earning potential. Everyone loves Ultimate Rewards points.
After buying the gift cards, you could use them for daily spending, load them onto a permanent pre-paid card (certain Amex cards have this option), or you could use them to buy Vanilla Reloads in some situations. I’ve been buying Visa gift cards to then purchase Vanilla Reloads to fund my Bluebird account. All so I can earn points on my mortgage and auto loan (it’s worth it – that’s a lot of points!).
Office Depot used to let you buy Vanilla Reloads directly, but they stopped that a couple of months back. Other office supply stores like Staples and Office Max never let you purchase Vanilla Reloads, or variable gift cards. It looks like Office Depot is adjusting its gift cards to match the other office supply stores. Probably a smart business move.
You can still buy gift cards in $25, $50, $100, and $200 increments, but having to buy more gift cards increases your costs. There’s an activation fee that’s tied to each gift card, so buying them in the largest increment possible was the easiest, and most cost efficient option.
On Saturday, I was able to purchase (2) $500 gift cards without any problem at my local Office Depot. The manager had to come over for approval, and my ID was checked, but that’s business as usual.
The shelves were fully stocked and there was no mention of them being pulled. I will go back up there today and see what’s going on.
There’s still value to be had with your Ink cards and office supplies, but the game has changed. There are still plenty of other gift cards to purchase to take advantage of the 5x points. I haven’t checked it out yet, but Office Max even sells more Apple products now, and we all know I love Apple products. Once you go Mac, you don’t go back.
So for now, it doesn’t look good for variable gift cards at Office Depot, but the sky isn’t falling and we will figure something out. Always do. Please let me know your experiences down below and I’ll give you an update after my OD run today.
Noob it up.
[disclaimer: I do receive a referral credit for the Ink Bold and Plus.]
— Noob Master