August 21, 2013
If you are signed up with OfficeMax’s MaxPerks program, you probably received an email titled “➡ Open Me for a $30 Coupon + Ink Deal.” If you view the email, you’ll see an offer for $30 off your next purchase of $175 at officemax.com:
A reader named Dave let me know that this offer works with gift cards purchased online at OfficeMax. He wrote:
Semi-targeted deal at officemax.com, but I believe any MaxPerks member got a $30 off 175 coupon, since I got one.
I was able to use it on giftcards…I got $300 of Nordstrom gcs for $271.98. Plus, I used my AX SimplyCash card and did a UR Mall click-through.
One great thing about this offer is that it coincides with an OfficeMax promo for discount iTunes gift cards. See “OfficeMax offering $50 iTunes gift cards for $40.”
The ShopDiscover portal currently offers 5% cash back when shopping at officemax.com, but past research has shown that points and cash back are not awarded at OfficeMax for gift card purchases. Still, it can’t hurt to try.
The big question is which credit card to use and how much to spend. If you pay with a Chase Ink card you’ll automatically earn 5 points per dollar since OfficeMax is an office supply store. Alternatively, you can use an Amex business card with OPEN savings and get 5% cash back as a statement credit for purchases up to $250, or 10% cash back for larger purchases. Best bet is to use the Amex SimplyCash card that offers 5% cash back for office supplies plus OPEN Savings for a potential total of 15% cash back.
With a deal offering $30 off $175, you can generally maximize savings (as a % of total) by spending as close to $175 as possible without going under. With Amex OPEN Savings, though, you can generally maximize savings by spending as close to $250.01 as possible without going under. Since both savings apply here, though, the best option isn’t evident. I modeled both options in Excel and found that spending $175 with an Amex OPEN card gives you 21.3% savings, whereas spending $250.01 gives you 20.8% savings. In other words, you get about 21% savings regardless of which approach you take. Savings increase to 25.4% and 25.2%, respectively, if you use a SimplyCash card.
If you use any card that does not have OPEN Savings, you can maximize savings by simply trying to spend as close as possible to $175 without going under.
Buying gift cards
OfficeMax offers a selection of gift cards online, which can be found here. They offer gift cards for Home Depot, Nordstrom, Kohls, Lands’ End, and more. All cards other than OfficeMax’s own gift cards include a 99 cent fee. So, you can reduce the fee as a percent of total by selecting the highest value cards available (i.e. get a $100 gift card rather than a $25 gift card).
At the time of this writing, OfficeMax is offering $50 iTunes gift cards for $40 and without the 99 cent fee. If it is still available when you read this, you should be able to find the offer here.
I decided to keep my purchase to as close to $175 as I could get while still getting gift cards that I could use. I bought one $100 OfficeMax gift card and two $50 iTunes gift cards. The total, before $30 savings, came to $180:
I then clicked “check out” and entered my promo code. $30 was then deducted from my total:
I plan to use the iTunes gift cards as gifts. With the OfficeMax gift card, I’ll go to my local OfficeMax store and use it to buy gift cards I really want. Note that I’ve never had any problem doing this, but many readers have reported that their local OfficeMax stores don’t allow buying gift cards with gift cards. So tread carefully.
By maximizing the use of my $30 off coupon and by taking advantage of an iTunes gift card promotion, I bought $200 worth of gift cards for $150. That’s a 25% savings before accounting for credit card rewards or cash back.