Today’s Escapades


Update #2, 01/07: Got all of my Staples gift cards today!  A couple of them were slightly smaller than what I expected, but still not bad at all for a deal that paid out $$$ for gift cards that earned tens of thousands of Ultimate Rewards points at 5 points per dollar and helped me complete the signup bonus threshold spending for my Chase business 3BM that netted over 125,000 signup points.













Update, 11/13: Staples has gone crazy and I’m all-in!  I’m currently due some $1,170 in Staples gift card rebates (which can be liquidated via Cardpool for $983 or used for rebate items) and have earned over 31,000 Ultimate Rewards points just in base spending on my Ink card, not even counting the 50,000 point signup bonus threshold help.  Amazon Payments works perfectly to cash out the Visa and Mastercard gift cards as described below.

So here’s where it gets crazy.  If you buy 3 of the $200 prepaid gift cards the system processes it for $135 in staples gift cards.  The fee on these cards is $6.95 each, so for $20.85 in fees I’ll earn over 3,100 points plus $135 in Staples gift cards (which can be liquidated for $113.40).  It’s probably a glitch, but I’ve got screenshots and printouts so they’ll be hard to argue with. Below are some of the combinations I tried on Monday.

In other news I continue to love CVS for bringing the Vanilla love to Cleveland and for having dozens of stores nearby :D You’ve made meeting my spending threshold on my recent App-O-Rama full of 4BMs and 3BMs easier than ever!



















This was originally posted on 11/11:

Related posts:
-Want To Boost Your Credit Score? Spend On Business Cards Instead Of Consumer Cards.

-A List Of Gift Cards Sold By Office Supply Stores
-Chase Ink Offers Being Updated
-Is Bluebird The Next Dollar Coin Churn?


Cleveland, home of the original Office Max, isn’t blessed with an Office Depot. The nearest ones that I could find are a couple hours away in Columbus, Detroit, and Pittsburgh.

In case you’re living under a rock, people have been stalking Office Depots for the past few weeks waiting for their latest supply of Vanilla Reload cards. The card costs $3.95 and can be cashed out at full value via Bluebird. Plus you earn 5 points per dollar with any Ink card. So for a $3.95 fee you earn 2,500 points, or 0.158 cents per point, or $127 at those rates to fly round-trip to Israel with United.

The current rumor is that Vanilla Reload cards have been pulled from Office Depot, but you can still get $500 gift cards at Office Depot for a $4.95 fee and then use that to buy a Vanilla Reload at one of dozens of stores that still carry them. That brings the fees up to $8.90 for 2,500 miles or 0.356 cents per points, or $284.80 for that round-trip to Israel with United.  Or just use the gift card for your everyday spending and earn 5 points per dollar everywhere.

Escapade #1:

As for me I went to a CVS and stocked up on Vanilla Reload cards to meet a spending threshold. It’s not nearly as lucrative, as there is a $3.95 fee and you only get 500 miles. Still buying miles at 0.79 cents is a great deal. The really nice thing though is to use that to meet a spending threshold. If you need to spend $5,000 to get 50,000 points then doing it like this will just cost you $39.50 and you’ll get those 50,000 points plus the 5,000 purchase points and you can use Bluebird to pay off your bill. You can use 40,000 Starpoints and transfer those to Flying Blue who can book you on Delta to fly to Israel with no fuel surcharges, though availability can be tough with Delta. At .79 cents per point that would run you $316 round-trip to Israel, though if you are getting points for opening a card and just need to meet a spend threshold then the cost will be much less than that.

I’ve already added the funds to my Bluebird account and can now cash it out for free.

Some DDF members have had success at Walgreens as well, post your experience in a comment.

Escapade #2:
I was browsing the DansDeals Forums on my Galaxy Nexus while I was out and read a post by member “DP7” that when you buy $100 in Visa or Mastercard gift cards at Staples you get a $15 Staples Gift card. The promotion runs through 11/24.

I happened to be passing by a Staples so I went in and they had plenty of those gift cards. You can get that rebate on up to 10 gift cards per address. So I plunked down $1,059.50 (The $59.50 were gift card fees) and had $1,000 in prepaid Mastercards.
-I used my Ink card, so first of all I got closer to a spending threshold bonus and I also earned 5,298 Ultimate Rewards points at 5 points per dollar.
-When I got home it took me less than 2 minutes to fill in my online easy rebate and receive confirmation with a tracking number. I’ll get $150 in Staples gift cards in the nest 4-6 weeks.
-I can now cash out those gift cards for free via Amazon Payments or I can also go buy Vanilla Reload cards and cash them out via Bluebird.
-When you add a gift card to Amazon Payments it does a $1 authorization that stops you from being able to completely cash it out until the authorization drops. One way to get around that is to use an incorrect expiration date when you add it to your Amazon account and then correct it right afterward. Then you will be able to spend the full gift card amount without having to wait for the authorization to fall off.
-Assuming I just use Amazon that’s $59.50 for $150 in Staples gift cards AND getting $1,000 closer to a spending threshold, AND getting 5,298 points that are worth about $100 to me.
-I can also sell the $150 in Staples gift cards to CardPool for $126 cash. That would leave me with 5,298 points that I paid $59.50 for but received a cash rebate of $126, so that’s negative $66.50 which means cash going back into my pocket for “buying” those points. Good luck figuring out the cost per mile on that one!
-Staples also runs promotions for free stuff after rebate fairly often, so that would be another way to cash out those gift cards if you didn’t want to take the 16% haircut that CardPool takes.

Not bad for a short weekend drive.

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Dan – you said you could cash out those staples gift cards via amazon payments. How do you do you do that exactly?


The Mastercard gift cards can be cashed out via Amazon Payments.
The Staples gift cards would have to be cashed out via CardPool if you don’t have anything you want to buy from Staples.


Can u explain this: I can also go buy 2 Vanilla Reload cards and cash them out via Bluebird


I have $1,000 in prepaid Mastercards. If I wanted I could buy 2 Vanilla Reloads of $500 each at one of the dozens of Vanilla Reload stores and then transfer the Reload to Bluebird to cash it out.

Not the most effective way to cash out though.

Vanilla Chilla

I was down in MIA a few weeks ago and purchased 2K worth of Vanillas reload cards with my Ink card. One thing that wasn’t mentioned is you have to open a “my vanilla” acccount first online b/c it takes them 7-10 days to send u the card. So I can’t fund anything to my bluebird until I receive my vanilla debit card in the mail. Just something to keep in mind to get the card before you buy the reloads so you’re not sitting on 2K worth of cards for a few weeks


@Vanilla Chilla:
I have a Bluebird card that I got for free from and today I transferred funds from my reload cards on Vanilla’s site to my Bluebird account.

I never opened a My Vanilla account.

Vanilla Chilla

So how does that work exactly becuase the way I assumed to get from vanilla to bluebird was going into bluebird account and funding from debit card. So that’s when I realized I need the vanilla debit card. So how can I get all these reload cards I have into my bluebird account w/o a vanilla debot card? From the vanilla site ?


@Vanilla Chilla:
Yes, you can load right from Vanilla Reload:
You just enter the bluebird number as the card to be funded and the reload pin.


@Dan: I tried unsuccessfully adding a visa gift card to amazon payments. Is there any different that you have to do than with a regular cc?


I had no problem adding my Mastercard Gift Card to Amazon Payments.
I do one thing differently though with gift cards, and I’ve added that to the post.


Can you please elaborate a little to explain the difference btwn the Vanilla reload and the 500 vanilla gift card. Can I just buy the gift cards from cvs and fund BB 500? Why is the reload necessary for the BB trick?

Vanilla Chilla

BH thx Dan , just loaded 1K directly to my BBird account ! They have a daily limit of 1K so ill have to do the other vanilla cards tomorrow.
Gut Vuch Brother.


Only the reload card can be added to Bluebird.
The only point of buying a $500 Vanilla gift card would be at an office supply store to get 5 points per dollar and then to use that gift card to buy vanilla reload cards at another store to cash out via Bluebird.

@Vanilla Chilla:


I went ahead and used one of my new $100 Mastercard gift cards just now via Amazon with the trick I wrote about in the post.

Worked without a hitch, $100 cashed out with no fees.


Does it make sense to purchase Vanilla Reloads at CVS with a credit card which pays a premium for charges are drug stores, like Hilton Amex (6x)?


You’d be better off buying prepaid cards at a store like Office Depot with an Ink card, but barring that it could make sense depending on how you value Hilton points and assuming you have no other spend thresholds to meet.


Does cashing out gift cards via Amazon use up your $1000 monthly limit?


@Dan: What happens if CVS doesnt have any Vanilla Reload cards when I get there? What do I do with the Vanilla Gift Cards I just bought at OD?



I am still a little confused about the bluebird. Correct me if I am wrong= is the best way to use BB by paying bills not currently able to be paid by credit cards such as rent, and then funding the BB account by buying a Vanilla Reload at CVS and paying for the Vanilla card by charging a credit card that I am currently trying to meet the spending minimum with? (sorry for the run-on sentence)

So What

How do you spend so much at Amazon payments with that limited list of available businesses?


how can the reload card be reloaded after purchase?


Dan, did you buy 10x$100 GCs or 5x$200 GCs? It seems (according to SD), you can buy $200 Visa and get $30 Staples GC as a rebate. If it is correct, will purchase of five $200 GC be cheaper (in terms of activation fee) than ten $100 GC?


and am I correct in saying that it is more profitable to use the vanilla/bluebird combo to meet minimum spending than to get 5x rewards with an ink card?


Of course.

So confirm that your local CVS has them right before doing that.

Something like that, though you can also use it to just get a check or pay off your credit card bill.
Though using it for Rent or Mortgage is probably safer.

@So What:

It can’t.

I did 10x$100.
Didn’t know that 5x$200 would work, though obviously that’s better even though the $200cards cost $6.95 each instead of $5.95 each.
Of course they can always catch onto that and correct it.

Don’t know what you mean by that.



By buying a vanilla using an ink card, you only get 5x/rewards, whereas by buying a vanilla card using a credit card that you are trying to reach the minimum spend amount to get say 50,000 miles, you get more bang for your buck, right?


Citibank dividend has 5% cash back at electronic stores for this quarter. does office depot qualify as one?


Dan i dont think CVS will take a prepaid Mastercard to purchase vanilla Reloads card to use fund the BB.


CVS around me doesn’t have VR (yet?)


Is it hard to get approved for an ink card?


Or use an Ink card that you just opened to kill 2 birds with one stone.

I doubt it.

Why wouldn’t they?
Either way I’ll just use Amazon, but why would they take a credit card and not that?

It’s still being rolled out at CVS.



Do you need to have a ss number for bluebird


Dan i dont think the take credit cards for vanilla reloads thats what i have read someplace ppl saying


@yg yes the ask for SS but its not a credit check


Funny because they took my credit card yesterday without making a fuss.


Dan, i think this Deal is only live until the 17th , can you please Check …l


Is it known if you get a single $150 Staples Gift card or ten $15 GCs? Because if it is latter, you cannot sell them to cardpool since they accept $25+ GCs only.


why dont you buy just one big 5k vanilla reload card? are you able to?


I can now cash out those gift cards for free via Amazon Payments
well can you explain how you do that how do you use gift cards to make a amazon payment


Dan Walgreens register said Cash only for Vanilla Reload card couldn’t buy it, means I have nothing out of the BB


It’s through 11/24.

When I track my rebate online it says “Staples Gift Card for $150.00”

$500 is the max.

Because they are Mastercard gift cards, you just pinput them as you would any credit card.

Walgreens is YMMV for credit cards.


Hey Dan,

Quick questions. Most GCs are not associated with an address or a name. Does that mean you can put what ever you want when you are adding the GC into Amazon Payments? Can you add any types of GC as in Amex/MC/Visa?


@jk2: based on past rebates from staples you should get one gift card value at $150, buy the way ebay daily deals has today officemax $50 gift card for only $40 shipped!


Dan, If staples sends you 10 $15 gift cards, you will not be able to sell them to cardpool as thier minmum offer for staples right now os $25 card


Again, it should be a $150 gift card.
I bought all 10 cards in one transaction.


Dan i purchased gift cards from staples it has only one rebate offer number on reciept and does not let me enter it again so i can get for all 6 cards i purchsed a staples gift card it shows i get only one , please advise how you did it, thanks


You only need to enter it once online.
When you go back to track it soon it will say how big of a gift card they will be sending you.


Dan so what are my other options loading a BB card if i cant get it with credit card as walgreens only accepts cash for vanilla reloads?


Is there any reason that you bought mastercard gift cards and not visa? Do amazon payments not work with Visa Gift cards?


Look at their site for other merchants.

No reason.


One point here I don’t get. Whats the point in purchasing prepaid MC just to buy VR with it ; If the CVS your going to allows cc to purchase VR why not just use a normal CC and get points for it and cash out the MC via AP!


Correct, that’s what I’m doing.


How do I see how much my rebate from Staples is from? When I go to track my rebate it just says 15 dollars on purchase of 100 or more on visa or mc gift cards, not a total amount


can i get more then 10 staples gift cards to another address?


sorry meant m/c gift cards then the staples rebates



We we go around the 1 per household by buying multiple GCs and have different people with different addresses submit the rebate? Can this be scaled up?


or they may see i paid with same credit card and wont allow even to different address?


Anyone have any luck buying the MC or visa in NYC today


Is this for any staples? or are some stores not participating in this deal?


I bought 5 $200 visa GC’s @ staples and paid 34.75 in fees


Spoke to a manager at Staples. She confirmed the $200 cards are eligible and will print a rebate form. The promotion is for the value purchased, not dependent upon the number of gift cards it takes you to get to $100. So a $200 gift card counts as 2 of the 10 limit. Let’s hope she is right.


how do u feel about buying the gc online?


I see there are a bunch of over loadable prepaid cards like green dot. What’s so special about the vanilla variety? Why can’t I use those too for blue bird?


Anyone find that they cant get onto the rebate website to submit rebate? is there any reason to panik?


Just went to staples. They didnt carry any $200 visa or mastercard, only amex. Oh well.
I did get a few $100 cards though


@S: Are you able to access the website and input rebate info?

Big Boy

How did you get more than 10 GC?
Is there really an issue with getting onto the rebate website now?


Good lord, who has time for all of this? Does anyone have a full time job? Kids?


dan how did you get around the 10 per address


I thought I the max amount is 10 repairs per household.
Dan are you sending those all to the same address or are you using other addresses as well?
I only did 10x$100 once. I would like to do it again, will the same address work?



hey dan, does the staples rebate have to be done in different peoples name and addresses or am I allowed to do as many as i want?


Dan, Im assuming you are having the rebates sent to different addresses?


are you sure that you will get the $135 for 3 $200 gift cards
if you look below the rebate status it reads
* This rebate amount is an estimate. Returns and exchanges will also affect the eligible rebate


Is Staples considered an office supply store for the 5X points?


Dan, I don’t understand what does “Staples gone crazy” mean. I am sure you are aware that number of rebates is 10 per household. You can only achieve this by submitting rebates for different mailing addresses. Is it what are you doing?


Dan- how did you do more then 10?


@Matza: Then get off the site and stop wasting your time commenting!


How do you add funds to amazon payments. It only gives me option to do so with a checking account?


how long does it take for STATUS to update to show the amount you will get? or Estimated amount?


@Ddawg: instead of trying to add funds go to send money and it will ask if you want to send with cc


@ely: No


Can I use bluebird to pay an Amex cc bill(business or personal cc) and will this trigger a red flag?


Thanks! but then I can only do 1k a month correct?


The staples I went to only had amex. I put 3k worht of cards? Can I fund all 3k to my amazon payments account for no fees and from there fund to my bank account?


When is the Staples deal over? It is not in the flyer.


@Big Boy:
The rebate itself says you can get 10 Staples gift cards with the rebate so it can be read that a $150 staples gift card is just 1 out of ten.

Otherwise start finding more addresses if you want to play it safe.

Read the post.


im very confused whats this deal all about.


How much are the Bluebird cards?worth to get a starter kit from Walmart?


Just signup on for free.


got some amex gift cards in home depot (with my ink bold card). tried buying vanila reload cards at family dollar but their new system requires your vanila card to be swiped. is there a 1k limit for these cards to be funded to amazon payments to avoid the fees?


Dan check it out – I bought 4 $100 cards, at first the rebate showed a $60 gift card, now i just got another update email from them and somehow it was bumped up to a $120 card!!


can anyone help? i wana a piece of the action!! whats the deal with the staples cards?


In the Bronx A CVS store did not allow a purchase of Vanilla reloads withe a CC. It’s Cash only.


How are you do $1170 in rebates? Are you able to buy multiple sets of giftcards and get the rebates even though the limit is 10?


@ dan where can i see how much the rebate is for? After i submitted my rebate i checked but it does not say an amount. all it says is submission received. It also does not say which products where purchased


the $200 card is not available online do they have it in store?


the blue bird looks like a bust if it is Cash only


i called bestbuy and asked them to match the staples deal with bestbuy gift cards and $150 back. so I paid only $50 for $200 bestbuy gift card


@sam: Please explain what you mean?


I’m having the same issue as Mo.


I just was in Walgreens & in a CVS in Brooklyn. It is CASH only for the reloadables.