**For the fiscally responsible only. Only tackle these kinds of things if you are comfortable floating the money.
Update: Office Max has fixed the “glitch” and the two cards are now $99.90, but still great if you have a card for office supply stores.
Some of you have asked about random things I do to earn miles/points. I’m not sure if it’s pure fascination or envy or request for ideas that you can implement, but here’s a random one this week.
Office Max has a promotion this week where you can buy two $50 Mastercard gift cards and get $10 off. See page 6 of the ad – gold bar through the center and easy to miss. However, the fee for each of these cards is $4.95. So if you bought $100 worth, you are supposed to pay $99.90 (2 x $50 – $10 + $4.95 + $4.95). However, the cards are ringing up $10 off of EACH card. So you are in essence paying $89.90 for $100 in gift cards. Oh by the way, earning points for these same purchases since you would use your points earning credit card and getting $10.10 in free money on each $100.
You can only buy two in a transaction to receive the $10 off, but if your store is not busy and the clerk doesn’t object you could run multiple transactions. The official language advertised in the weekly ad says one offer per household, but I just bought $500 worth in 5 transactions. If you have a credit card that earns 5x points at office supply stores then you would make 2,248 points on the 5 transactions and $50.50 in free money. Even at 1x points it’s 450 points and the $50.50 free money. My transactions took me 10 minutes total so an excellent hourly wage.
Of course now you have $500 in gift cards to spend, but you’d be surprised at how quickly that goes if you leave them in your wallet or use them online for bills. Liquidating them is possible, but cumbersome.