Staples Easy Rewards churn

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Gargoyle, Jan 17, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Staples (a U.S. chain of office supply stores) has the easiest rebates of any store I deal with. Some can be done easily online, but some are automatic- give your rewards card number at the checkout, and the rebate check is automatically mailed to you.

    They sometimes have products with 100% rebate. For example, today I bought a $14 plastic storage box, I didn't have to fill anything out, they'll automatically mail me a rebate check for the full amount in a few weeks. Next week they'll have $15 packs of photo paper on the same deal (limit two per person).

    Seems like a good way to get free stuff and rack up a small amount of credit card miles at the same time. (I will need to check and see if the sales tax is also rebated).

    These aren't in the class with mint gold dollar coins, but it's still a nice little thing.
     
  2. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    In my experience, the sales tax isn't included in the rebate. Still, above a certain price threshold or to meet a minimum spending threshold, it sometimes makes sense to do in-store FAR deals.
     
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  3. k_malm
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    k_malm Silver Member

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    Also, if you have a Chase Ink card, you can't beat the 5x points you get.
     
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  4. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Arrange for store pickup in New Hampshire. ;)
     
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  5. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    That is good piece of information. I should pay them occasional visits.
     
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  6. travelingmore
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    travelingmore Gold Member

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    Here in the Los Angeles area, you can also turn in your used printer ink cartridges for a $2.00 store credit each - you give your Staples Rewards number or phone number at the counter and you are credited. The credit is available for use in 2-4 weeks or so, depending on the calendar for their reward cycle - they process these things monthly, I think.
    You then go to Staples Rewards online and print your $2 or $4 , etc. coupon for store use - they are usually good for 2 months or so, once issued. You can reprint them if lost.
    I also like their occasional 50% sales on printer paper - buy 10, get credit back into your account for 5, etc.
     
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  7. Gargoyle
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    They do better deals here, a couple times a year they have $5 rebate on $6 reams of paper, so I wait and stock up at those times.
     
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  8. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    I believe all Staples offer the used ink cartridge rebate!

    Also, I do my on-line ordering through a shopping portal!;)
     
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  9. pshuang

    pshuang Silver Member

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    I'm a fan of the Staples Rewards and other office supply store rewards programs, Office Depot Work/Life and OfficeMax Perks. My experience has been the lengthiest with OfficeMax Perks program.

    Late last year and early this year, there was a round of competition, perhaps to try to bolster their membership numbers for the 2013 year, in which all three offered prominent front-page advertisements in their weekly circulars and in-store signage of many items which were either free or 1 cent after bonus reward credit. Sales tax is NOT credited as part of the bonus reward, however. So, rather than think of these items as being free, you should correctly think of them as being 90%+ discounted. :) These rewards programs operate somewhat differently than rebate programs -- the rewards are stored within their programs and when issued operate like store-specific gift cards or gift certificates. Office Depot seems to have the slowest issuance, as it does so on a quarterly basis; the other two issue on a monthly basis (with a week or so lag after the previous month end). These rewards programs also have minimum earning amounts which if you don't meet, no credit is issued. These minimums are not a problem if you're targeting items with bonus rewards as you will then easily meet the minimums.

    I know for certain since I've run through multiple cycles already that OfficeMax allows you to spend reward program credit on new purchases that themselves earn bonus rewards. This allows you to repeatedly "churn" for extremely discounted merchandise. I don't know yet if that re-spend is allowed with Staples Rewards or Office Depot Work Life. I can also note that OfficeMax Perks credit cannot be spent on buying gift cards or equivalents; haven't researched whether there are such restrictions on the other two chains' programs.

    In regards to churning credit card spend for points, these rewards programs are the opposite of useful since if you're able to churn by re-spending program credit for new merchandise, you're actually avoiding new credit card spend. But I will gladly take a 90%+ discount over earning points for the merchandise that goes on promotion for "free" or "1 cent" after rewards. The other caveat is that if you think you might go in "big" on these programs as in buying an enormous amount of stuff and accruing an enormous amount of program credit, in principle, if one of the chains declares one of the several forms of bankruptcy, I think you'll end up being one of the unsecured creditors that are very low on the totem pole. Often mass merchandisers who declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize will almost simultaneously petition the bankruptcy court to be allowed to honor their gift card obligations to prevent loss of customer confidence, but I'm not sure that credit in these rewards programs would be included in such a petition.
     
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  10. pshuang

    pshuang Silver Member

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    Data point on Staples Rewards: they spend like discount coupons rather than as forms of payment. I.e., if I take $100 in Staples Rewards and spend it on $100 of new merchandise, the register receipt shows $100 in discounts and nothing is due (including no basis on which to assess a sales tax if applicable).

    This is a modestly negative thing in that the previously spent funds presumably cannot be recycled by making new purchases that would earn 100% back in Staples Rewards -- I'm assuming that the register receipt showing a $0 basis on the newly purchased merchandise means no bonus Staples Rewards earned. This is a very slightly positive thing in that you don't have to pay sales tax on the amount of Staples Rewards redeemed.
     
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  11. Majikow

    Majikow Silver Member

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    Last year I made it to Staples Rewards Premier through all the FAR software deals, so the spending (I purchased off the website) did count towards a higher level. The only thing it was really good for was the free shipping.
     
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  12. pshuang

    pshuang Silver Member

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    Some more comments:

    First, the OP said that the Easy Rebates are completely automatic for them. That hasn't been my experience. I have had to go online and fill out a form. However, the process does seem to be significantly easier than the traditional mail-in rebate: the Easy Rebates process has not required me to cut out the UPC code or fill out a form with teensy-weensy space to write my mailing address and mail them in. It has been completable completely online. The register spits out a separate rebate receipt for each Easy Rebates offer, but during the online process you enter the receipt number and Staples can verify that you made the purchase and presumably verify that you're not trying to cheat the system by returning product after the rebate was received. Note that I have not attempted any software Easy Rebates, only traditional merchandise (paper, photo paper, etc.) It's possible that there are some different categories of Easy Rebates.

    Second, I commented that Staples Rewards appear to spend like discount coupons rather than as a form of payment. However, it appears that the Easy Rebate process does not object to these particular discounts -- at least, my Easy Rebates for the purchase transactions that included redemption of Staples Rewards for the bulk of the purchase transaction amount seem to be processing just fine. But I don't yet have the rebate checks in hand, so I don't have complete confirmation yet. (For example, suppose there was an item selling for $9.99 with Easy Rebate advertised at $9.99. I redeemed Staples Rewards to cover all of that $9.99, along the way eliminating the sales tax. I get an Easy Rebate register printout which I successfully submit online and the Easy Rebate system after some days lists the rebate as having been successfully validated. But I just don't have that $9.99 check in hand yet.)
     

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