Is it worth it to buy a gift card w/ fee through UR mall with Ink?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by calflygirl, Jul 15, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. calflygirl

    calflygirl Active Member

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    I just got my first Ink card (yay!). And for some reason I'm having difficulty with this math. It's well known that you can buy gift cards through Staples.com through the UR mall for an extra 3x on top of the regular 5x for the Ink card. The e-gift cards do not incur any additional fee, but the larger variety of regular gift cards appear to charge $1.99 for each card.

    Can someone help me out with the math and tell me if the extra fee justifies the extra 3x points, or if I'm better off going to a physical store? I appreciate that the math will change depending on how much the gift card is, but I figure this method has been utilized a lot so I'm trying to cut to the chase (no pun intended), if I can. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    What gift cards were you planning on buying? Part of the math is predicated on what you buy and how you plan to liquidate.
     
  3. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    This is kind of something for you to decide. How close is the closest Staples to you? Do you need the Staples card soon? Only questions you can answer will help you decide. That being said. If I personally were buying Staples gift cards as a means of manufacturing spend I would absolutely get the extra x3....that is the point of this game/hobby after all. Even taking away the x5 and assuming you are getting a $500 gc @ $1.99 that is better than 1 VR for $500 @ $3.95. So if you use VRs for manufactured spending you could go as low as $250 gc and still be getting about the same return.

    I hope I made sense. It did in my head.
     
  4. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    The only caveat to your post TB, is that none of the office stores offer a $500 gc online, and that fee would be on top of any activation fee, which would come with the Visa/MC/Amex cash gc's. If you're buying store cards or other retail cards as a means for manufacturing spend, it become significantly more cost prohibitive in time (if not also in money) when trying to liquidate. If a $500 Visa/MC/Amex card was available at around $7 for activation fee, adding another $2 makes it a bit more expensive but still $9 for 4k UR points, which is still a way better deal than getting 1x on $500 VR (assuming you can't get $500 VR at office stores by credit card). However, because that's not available online, and you'd have to go with $100 Visa cards ($6.95 per card) $69.50 for $1,000 worth (presuming you have a prepaid debit to unload for free) then your cost per point is .081 cents per point.

    That's higher than buying VR's at 1x (.079), but is close enough that if you need points faster and don't mind taking 45 minutes to unload $100 gc's at WM, that it might be worth your time. It's not worth it to me, personally, because if for some reason the extra 3x points don't post, then you're way over the average cost to acquire.
     
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  5. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    This I did not know.

    I also didn't realize the $1.99 fee is on top of the activation fee.

    This is what I get for trying to keep math simple! It reminds me of that commercial where the father asks his daughter to do some simple addition with her ultimately dismayed at how hard phone company math is.
     
  6. calflygirl

    calflygirl Active Member

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    Excellent points, TravelBear & Servo! I don't think I'm ready to jump into the Bluebird/Vanilla reload world yet. And b/c I have a Serve account I can't seem to cancel, it appears AMEX isn't ready for me to jump in either. ;-)

    I was thinking more for baby manufactured spending through gift cards for retailers I use (restaurants, gas, etc.). I may buy a few Visa gift cards at some point to use and hopefully liquidate with Amazon gift cards, but I would be purchasing those in person.

    Sounds like it wouldn't be worth the fee unless I was buying gift cards for several hundred dollars, and I don't think you can purchase $500 retail gift cards through staples.com.

    Thank you for your wisdom
     
  7. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    Yeah, I picked up a bunch of $100 Visa Gift Cards from Safeway during their recent promotion, where you got a $10 Safeway coupon (only one per order, and they didn't work in the self-checkout machines, one bit of pain) for each $100 fixed-value VISA Gift Card you purchased. To be honest after doing 10 of these at the Walmart ATM reloading them to BB, I just can't get up for doing this very often. Its just too painful. $500 cards, meaning two per trip, are awesome. $200 cards I'd consider. $100 cards, with all that waiting for the "Agree an Continue" and so forth, just aren't worth it. Even if it still makes financial sense at 8X to pay the extra fees.
     

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