Get $200 in Gift Cards and 1000 Ultimate Reward Points for $1.90 or less at Officemax

OfficeMax Gift Card 10 off

Officemax is having a promotion this week until June 15, 2013 where if you buy $200 worth of Mastercard or Visa gift cards you get $10 off. Since these are MC/Visa gift cards, there are activation fees of either $6.95 (if your OfficeMax has $200 cards) or $5.95 (if your OfficeMax only has $100 cards).  After the discounts, you will pay $196.95 if they have $200 cards and $201.90 if you have to buy two $100 cards like I did. I took $400 worth of cards to the cashier and got her to ring up the orders separately so I got a discount on both orders.  She did have to look up the coupon in a binder that she had to get the discount. Since I paid with my Chase Ink Bold card, I get 5X Ultimate Rewards points on office supply stores.  Since I bought $400 worth that means 2000 more Ultimate Rewards points for me!


If you use your Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus cards then you will get 5X$200 = 1,000 Ultimate Reward Points for your purchase.  You can use these gift cards for everyday spend like groceries or gas or you can deposit them to your Amex Prepaid card or Bluebird and then take it out at an ATM.

I will probably get more of these since paying $1.90/1000 points is a great deal.  Just to put this into perspective, if your OfficeMax only has the $100 cards, then you could get 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points for $114 in fees by buying 120 $100 gift cards (if your Officemax let you buy that many 2 at a time).  If they have $200 gift cards at your store, you could buy 60 of them and make 60,000 Ultimate rewards and PROFIT $183 while doing it!  You could use those 60,000 points for a coach ticket to Ibiza at the end of summer on United since they are a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards. I just checked and there is availability!

Ibiza for 60K

I don’t really expect many of you to go around to 10 different OfficeMax stores buying $12,000 worth of gift cards, but you could do it to get a free or almost free trip! All you need is the Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus cards to take advantage of offers like these because they give you 5X Ultimate Rewards Points at office supply stores.  I will probably end up with $1,000 worth of cards and 5,000 miles from this offer.  Gotta love the points and miles game!

The rest of the story on the Target Giftcard Bonanza

For one day last month, Target had an online sale where you could buy $100 gift cards for $90.  I was able to get 16 of them after they limited people to only 10 cards (they allowed me 16 for some reason, lucky eh?).  While Target giftcards are definitely useful, I was mainly buying them to help meet the $10,000 spend requirement on my Amex Gold Business Rewards card I got a while back.  And once the bill came due, I wanted to get the cash back out to pay it.  I could have sold the gift cards for approximately 92% via PlasticJungle or ABC Giftcards, but I decided I wanted to see if I could do better. I had read about a product similar to the Amex Prepaid card called the Amex Prepaid for Target that was more or less a branded version of the Amex Prepaid card we know and love. I went to my local target and found them near the registers.

They normally have a $3 setup fee, but there was a coupon on the front waiving the fee.  I was able to use my Target Giftcards to pay for it, which converted my Target Giftcards into Amex for Target giftcards, usuable anywhere Amex is accepted.  The kicker is the cards also offer ATM access with one free withdrawal per month (and $3 for each additional).  I bought 2 of these cards, entered my personal information at the cashier, and then received the permanent card in the mail in about two weeks which allowed ATM access.  I then took one of these cards back to Target and reloaded an additional $500 on it with a $3 load fee. I was then able to take 3 withdrawals of $400 from the cards, and will use the balance at the grocery store. My costs will be a $3 ATM surcharge since most banks charge an ATM fee, but that is really about it.  So the overall Target deal from beginning to end breaks down like this.

  • Bought $1600 in gift cards for $1440
  • Upgraded $1500 of those gift cards to Amex for Target cards
  • Cashed out $1200 at ATMS
  • $288 left on Amex for Target Prepaid
  • $100 left on Target Giftcards

A grand total of $1588 in value for only $1440.   Yeah it isn’t the thing that is going to let you retire, but if you are trying to meet a stiff $10K spending requirement like I am, then any amount you can spend without actually spending is welcome! And don’t forget the 1440 Membership Rewards Points I will get for the spending. Comparing this to the $1472 I would have gotten by outright selling the gift cards, I think it was worth the extra trouble for an additional $116.

I got $75 in free Amex Giftcards? Did you?

I don’t think people really know how easy it is to get free stuff.  I talked about getting a $25 free gift card by signing up for a prepaid Amex here. I might have made that post too complicated, so here is the easy version

  1. Click here, sign up for Amex Prepaid Card and add $200 from your bank account.
  2. Amex sends you a $200 Amex Prepaid Card and a $25 gift card.

Both of these you can use anywhere American Express is taken, so grocery stores, gas stations, etc. You can get up to 3 of these cards like I did or just get 1 and only get $25. Don’t wait though because this offer ends at August 31.

Start with $25 free, finish with 5 points per dollar on all purchases with the Amex Prepaid card.

How about a free $25 gift card? That is just the beginning. When you load a new Amex Prepaid Card from your checking account with $200 or more, they will send you a free $25 gift card 4-6 weeks after.  While this by itself won’t get you around the world, this card can easily be the thing that does get you there with strategic use.

For those of you not familiar with prepaid credit cards, they are one time or reloadable cards that can be processed as a credit card.  Since it is a prepaid card, there is no interest, no payments due, and no late payment or overlimit fees.  You can spend the amount on the card and not more.  This type of thing is great for people such as students who have *ahem* spending or budgeting problems and need a little more structure around their financial life. But this particular prepaid card has some unique funding methods and benefits that earns it a place in my wallet even though I have great credit.

First off, right now until August 31 they are offering a $25 gift card free for signing up for a card and funding it with $200 from your checking account.  Lets use the example of groceries.  You are probably going to spend $200 in groceries over the next month.  So click on this link, and sign up for the prepaid card and load $200 onto it.  They will mail you the card in about a week for that looks just like the one above and can be used wherever they take Amex, including your grocery store. There isn’t any tax since it is a giftcard and they mail it to you for free too!  So then you spend the $200 that you were going to spend anyways using the new card.  Then in 4-6 weeks from signup, you will get an extra $25 gift card in the mail.  Boom!  $25 that you didn’t have before you read this blog.

There are other reasons you might want to use this prepaid card instead of your debit card that you regularly use.  Especially if you are currently rebuilding your credit and don’t have a good credit card that provides benefits.  While this doesn’t have all the benefits that a full fledged benefits that a regular Amex such as the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex does, it does have two that definitely make it worth having, especially if you can’t qualify for the credit card version  The first is purchase protection:  Consider this scenario.  You just bought a snazzy new digital camera for your trip you have planned by following my Easy Quarter Million.  You forget the bags in your car and your car gets broken into and the camera is stolen!  This prepaid Amex will reimburse you for accidentally damaged  or stolen goods that you purchased using the card during the first 90 days after purchase.  Awesome, right?  The other great benefit is Roadside Assistance.  For people who don’t want to pay for AAA or additional premium with their car insurance (which reminds me, I am currently paying for this and I don’t need to now!), this will cover towing for a broken down vehicle, changing tires, lockout service, gas if you run out, and jumpstarting for a dead battery.  These are really rare and great to have on a prepaid card.  That can save you hundreds of dollars per year if your car has problems often.

Now since this blog is about miles and travel, let me tell you the secret value in this prepaid card and how to get 5 points per dollar on all of your purchases!  The Chase Ink Bold that I have reviewed in the past gives an amazing 5 points per dollar at Office Supply stores such as Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples.  And at Office Depot, they sell the reload cards for this Amex Prepaid that are called Vanilla Reload cards and can be bought for up to $500 in value with a fixed low $3.95 fee.

Office Depot allows you to pay for these cards using your Ink Bold card!  What this means is you can basically get 5X points on ALL of your spending by this method.  For example, if you normally spend $1000 a month, now you can buy 2 $500 reload cards at Office Depot, load them onto your Amex Prepaid card then use that card for your day to day spending.  Since you get 5X points, you will get 5000 Ultimate Reward points for the purchases at Office Depot.  Over 12 months, you will end up with 60,000 Ultimate Reward points that you could transfer to United for a round trip ticket to Europe!  If you spend more than $1000 a month then the amounts go up even more!  If you use your Ink Bold in this way make sure you also put some other spending on that card so 100% of your spending isn’t at Office Depot and you don’t get unwanted attention from Chase. I personally have been doing this for several months in varying amounts from $1000 to $2500 and haven’t had any problems. There are limits on loading the Amex Prepaid card of $1000 per day and no more than $2500 in any 30 day period. The last really great thing about this card is you can take funds from it at an ATM!  Amex gives you one free withdrawal per month and it is $2 for each one after that (although the ATM you use may charge their own fee).  When you combine this with reloading using your Ink Bold at Office Depot, it really becomes a point generating machine!

So what are you waiting for, sign up for your Amex Prepaid and a Free $25 Giftcard now!  Feel free to post any questions or comments in the comments section and I will try to answer them for you.