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This week Staples is (once again) giving away free money (through today).

staples-gift-card-1019-1025Combined with the Chase Ink card that gives 5x on money spent at office supply stores, this is a great deal.  Staples typically sells $100 and $200 gift cards, so there are several different options

Option 1 – 2 $200 cards

Best option (if you can find them) is 2 $200 cards.  There’s a $6.95 activation fee on both, so it’s a money maker of $6.10, plus if you’re paying with the Chase Ink, that’s 2000 Chase points

Option 2 – 1 $200 and 1 $100 cards

You can also get a $200 and a $100 card for $300 total.  Your out of pocket will be slightly less, since the $100 cards only have an activation fee of $5.95, making it a moneymaker of $7.10, but you only get 1500 Chase points (when paying for the Ink)

Option 3 – 3 $100 cards

If your store is out of $200 cards (probably likely), you can get the $100 ones. There’s a $5.95 activation fee on all 3, so it’s still a slight money maker, plus if you’re paying with the Chase Ink, that’s 1500 Chase points

What I did

I live in a fairly major city (Cincinnati) that has several different Staples stores near me.  I have 2 within about 2-3 miles of me, including one that I literally pass by a Staples store every day on my way to / from work.  Normally I would just stop by that one, but the last time I did, they had a sign saying that “Gift Cards are not able to be activated at this time”.

On Wednesday, I was in the area of the other nearby Staples store and so I thought I would stop by.  Unfortunately for me, they did not have any $200 Visa gift cards.  So I was left with a dilemma about what to do.  Because this deal is limited to 1 per household, do I take the guaranteed deal now, or try to come back later at this (or the other) Staples store?  Or just bag the promotion entirely?

After I left the store, I thought this would be an interesting question for a larger audience.  What would you do?  Taking the 3 $100 gift cards means no additional time, and 1500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points plus about $2 money maker.

Going to another store would cost me a few extra minutes, but if they had the $200 gift cards, that would be an additional 500 Ultimate Rewards points plus an additional $5.  Of course, I then run the risk that they might not have any $200 gift cards either, in which case I’d have spent extra time for no additional value.

So what would you do?



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