Since the demise of Redbird, it has been pretty quiet around here on the manufactured spending front – until Saturday night, when Karyn shared a great find with us: OfficeMax is stocking $500 Visa gift cards and you can buy them with a credit card. I’ve since had one person tell me he was also able to buy MasterCard gift cards with a credit card as well, though initial reports stated otherwise.
I was attending the Chicago Seminars when all of this happened and I realized I didn’t bring my Chase Ink Plus card with me. When I finally got home on Sunday after two missed flights, I realized my Ink Plus was missing. So now I’m waiting for a new one to arrive before I can get in on this OfficeMax deal, which I guess some people would say is karma for “killing” this deal (or slowly choking the life out of). In any case, this is a great manufactured spending opportunity if you can access it. Hopefully I’ll have some positive feedback to share with you by next week’s installment.
The great thing about the $500 Visa gift cards at OfficeMax isn’t just the 5x points earned with credit cards like the Chase Ink Plus card, but many have reported that the fee was reduced to $3.95 per card at check-out. Basically, we got ourselves a throwback from the Vanilla Reload days, so it threw me off when the news got a lukewarm reaction. Even Rick seemed unfazed: “Yeah, but where do I find an OfficeMax? Maybe I can stop by one on my way to visit Howie…the limit is just $2,000 per day?” Basically, I got the same reaction I would have received if I’d said, “You can earn 1 mile per $1 by charging expenses to your mile-earning credit card.” I do hope this lasts through the week so I can stock up. And if it doesn’t? The sky won’t fall and we won’t be attacked by flesh eating zombies, so let’s put any plans for a panic attack on the back burner for now.
In other, non-epic manufactured spending news, I visited my local Safeway store last night, which has had a cash-only policy on Visa gift card purchases for quite a while. There was that one time when a cashier told me variable load gift cards were ok for credit card purchases, but then a manager got involved during the override process and cancelled the transaction. When this happened repeatedly, I gave up. However, today I got rung up by an assistant manager. Maybe it was a conversation I had with @gbplesh at the Chicago Seminars that inspired me, but I decided to try again.
I showed the assistant manager the Visa gift card, which was hanging above the candy rack, and asked if I could pay for it with a credit card. He said yes and I decided to purchase two of them for $500 each. As far as I could tell, there was no override involved when he processed the transaction. He did ask me before ripping the tabs off the back to see my card and ID and after a slightly long inspection, he handed both back and finished up the transaction. In the past, I would always go to the Safeway in the next town over to buy Visa gift cards, so this cuts a significant amount of time out of my ms route.
I think I’ll keep coming back to this store at night, when the lines are short (or nonexistent) and the cashiers are more mellow. While lots of credit cards offer bonus points on grocery spending, I’m going to use my Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard for ms at grocery stores for now. I’ve found great value in Arrival Miles and since I’m earning 2.05 miles per $1 spent, that’s a good incentive to channel that spend to the Barclay Arrival Plus card until another gift card source opens up. That’s when I’ll allocate my Safeway spending to a credit card that earns bonus points at grocery stores.
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