February 22, 2013
Office supply stores and travel hacking are a strange combination, but in the past year or two they’ve been great together. Thanks to credit card bonus categories, Easy Rebates, big portal promotions, Vanilla Reload cards, and more, office supply stores have been a fantastic source of free or cheap points. While many of these deals have gone away, there are still some great opportunities. For example, here are a couple:
- Take advantage of American Express’ OPEN Savings program (automatically part of most Amex business cards) at OfficeMax.com to get 10% back on orders of more than $250. This way you can get credit card rewards from your purchase (as always), plus sizable savings. And, OfficeMax.com recently began selling third party gift cards…
- Take advantage of credit cards that offer extra points at Office Supply stores (Chase Ink cards, for example), and go through an online portal to Staples.com to make purchases. Staples.com carries some third party gift cards, and their e-gift cards are fee-free. I’ve successfully gone through TopCashBack to Staples to get 5.5% cash back plus I’ve earned 5 points per dollar using my Chase Ink card!
So, now that Office Depot and OfficeMax are merging, what’s next? Here are my completely uninformed guesses of what will happen:
- The new entity will be called Office Depot and will act like Office Depot in terms of what products are sold, the rewards program, etc.
- Many stores will close, especially where Office Depot and OfficeMax are currently in close proximity.
- We will lose the ability to save up to 10% via Amex OPEN Savings. Of course it’s possible that Amex will negotiate a similar deal with the new entity, but my guess is that this benefit will go away entirely.
- There will be short term deals as stores close and as stores formerly known as OfficeMax get rid of whatever inventory is not carried by Office Depot.
- OfficeMax’s MaxPerks rewards program will be phased out. I expect that they’ll give people time to spend their MaxPerks rewards, but will issue new rewards as Office Depot Worklife rewards.
So, yeah, I expect that most of this will be bad news to consumers and pointaholics. For people who live in places with either OfficeMax or Office Depot, but not both, there may be some good news in that whatever deals are available should be available to them. On the whole, though, its probably not a good thing. On the optimistic front, maybe this bigger entity will work harder to compete with Staples and we’ll see some new, great opportunities. We’ll see…
Hat tip to Tweeter named Mark for coming up with the name “Office DeMax”. I like it!