April 20, 2012
If you have a Chase Ink card that gives 5 points per dollar for office supplies, FAR (Free After Rebate) deals at Office Depot should be pretty exciting. Currently, if you log into the Ultimate Rewards Mall with your Ink account and click through to Office Depot, you will earn 10 points per dollar for all purchases in addition to the 5 points per dollar you will earn automatically. So, FAR deals are great because you can earn 15 points per dollar and get your money back!
The current deals
Currently, Office Depot lists the following FAR deals:
- QuickBooks® Online Simple Start, Online Service 
$79.99 – $80 mail in rebate ($80 check)
- AVG 2012 Anti-Virus + PC TuneUp, For 3 Users, Traditional Disc 
$39.99 – $40 in rebates (2 $20 Visa prepaid cards)
- Trend Micro™ Titanium™ Maximum Security, Traditional Disc 
$59.99 – $60 in rebates (a $20 rebate and a $40 rebate. checks?)
- System Mechanic® 8, Traditional Disc 
$49.99 – $50 in rebates (a $30 rebate and a $20 rebate. checks?)
If you do all of these rebates, you would spend about $230 which you would get back as rebate checks and Visa cards. And, if you used your Ink card through the Ultimate Rewards Mall you would earn 15 X 230 = 3450 Ultimate Rewards points.
Why I’m not buying
Except for the QuickBooks offer, each of the others seems to have an Achilles heel:
- The AVG software returns Visa gift cards. I can deal with $200 or $500 cards, but $20 and $40? Not worth my time for 60 * 15 = 900 points
- One of the two Trend Micro rebates is an “upgrade rebate” that requires proof of a previous purchase.
- One of the two System Mechanic rebates is also an “upgrade rebate” that requires proof of a previous purchase.
So, I looked into buying just the 1 QuickBooks item. Since it is a different rebate number, it looks safe to buy even if you bought the same item through Staples. When I went to buy it, though, I found that Office Depot didn’t let me do the trick of delivering downloadable software to a store in California (which doesn’t charge tax for downloadable software). So, to buy this item I would have to pay sales tax or list a fake delivery address in a tax free state. And, unlike Staples, I would have to register the software and then fill out and send in a paper mail-in rebate. Is it worth the trouble for 80 * 15 = 1200 points? Maybe, but I’d rather spend my time researching other schemes…
Where to get more information
I haven’t done any Office Depot FAR deals, so I’m the last person in the world you should ask for more information. Instead, if you have questions or you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend you read this post at SlickDeals.Net.
If you’re new to Frequent Miler, please start here