While I was watching TV last night with my wife I happened upon a post by Mommy Points that changed my schedule around a bit today. She was reporting that it seemed variable amount gift cards were disappearing from Office Depot, at least in some denominations. That’s a bummer for me as I do purchase these gift cards using my Ink Bold card for a number of different purposes.
For those new to the miles and points game, Ink Bold offers 5 points for every dollar you spend at office supply stores. So, buying gift cards at Office Depot to use elsewhere is a great way to earn 5 points for every dollar you spend elsewhere. The gift cards carry the VISA or AMEX logo and are pretty much usable anywhere credit cards are accepted.
I got up this morning and popped into my local Office Depot. I needed to pick up some other supplies, so it wouldn’t be a wasted trip no matter what the outcome. On my way up to the counter, I saw that the gift card rack was still chock full of variable amount cards (meaning, you can load any amount you want between $20 and $500 onto each card). I grabbed a big stack and went to the checkout counter to pay. A manager had to come over and authorize the transaction and asked me to wait a few minutes. When he came back, the answer was that he couldn’t sell me the cards because they were due to be pulled. I asked him if I could buy any, and he said he hadn’t heard back from his manager yet. He told me I could check back later to see if they had gotten an answer.
I had some other shopping to do so I swung back a couple of hours later. They had pulled a few of the different cards off the shelf but I noticed that there were 2 types of VISA cards and one type of AMEX cards (all variable amount) still on the shelf. The manager walked over a minute later and told me the products that were still on the shelf were not due to be discontinued. I got a peek at the memo they were referring to and there were a whole bunch of Visa gift cards that were listed as due to be removed not later than February 5th.
At a quick glance, all of the cards I noted as “discontinued” had fees of $4.95 per card. I actually ended up being able to purchase some of these today, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they disappeared soon. The other cards they still had displayed had fees of either $5.95 or $6.95.
So, it’s possible that the rumblings about the demise of the variable cards may only be a “speed bump” price increase in the variable cards. And, at $6.95 for a $500 gift card, I’m pretty sure I’m still a buyer, barring some other restriction on purchasing. I’m still earning at least 4 extra points per dollar (for things I buy on a credit card that earns 1 point per dollar) or 5 points if it’s something I could only pay cash for in the past and the cost of the card is still minimal.
There’s still more details to shake out, but at least in my neck of the woods, some variable gift cards are still available for purchase.
I don’t receive a referral on the Ink Bold card, but it is one of the primary cards I recommend to people, and it’s mostly due to the 5X on things like office supplies, cell phone bills, cable TV and internet charges. That’s really just free points you’re not picking up if you don’t have this card. The card carries a 50,000 point sign-up bonus, and has other bonuses, like double points on gas. If you don’t travel a lot but are looking to stockpile points for a dream vacation, Ink Bold really needs to be at the top of your list. Even if you don’t go crazy with gift cards there are still plenty of opportunities to earn well with this card.