As Mommy Points recently reported on Twitter, it looks like at least some Office Depot locations are no longer allowing you to buy gift cards with credit cards. It’s probably only a matter of time before this rolls out nationwide, if it has not already.
Why Is This Important?
Well, because some credit cards such as the Chase Ink Cash feature large bonuses for shopping at office supply stores; the Ink Cash, for instance, awards 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $25,000 per year spent on such stores and cable, internet, and phone services (combined). (It’s marketed as cash back with the Ink Cash, but really awarded as Ultimate Rewards points, which can then be redeemed for cash back or, if you have a premium card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, combined with that card’s points pool for maximum value).
It’s Not the Holidays, Why Do I Want A Bunch of Gift Cards?
Because you can use those gift cards for regular shopping to get big rewards that you wouldn’t get otherwise. For instance, if you can use the Ink Cash to get Amazon gift cards, and then use those to shop at Amazon, you are essentially getting 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar at Amazon. Per The Points Guy’s June 2017 valuations, those points are worth about 2.2 cents each. Therefore, you are effectively getting 11% back at Amazon!
You can also get gift cards to use at a number of other stores and restaurants, especially national chains.
The Way Forward
This seems to be going on as we speak, so it may not be the policy at all Office Depots yet. Also, as far as I know, it’s not the case at other office supply stores, such as Staples and local stores.
In any case, don’t despair. These things pop up all the time, and policies change all the time. New offers and methods for earning outsize rewards will surely come along.
H/T: Mommy Points