Today I want to flag a couple manufactured spend opportunities to make sure readers are aware of them.
$15 off $300 in Office Depot/OfficeMax MasterCard gift cards
Through August 24, 2019, automatically receive $15 off purchases of $300 or more in MasterCard gift cards at OfficeDepot and OfficeMax store locations. $200 fixed-value MasterCard gift cards have an activation fee of $6.95, so the purchase of two $200 cards comes to a total of $398.90. I’ve seen reports that the credit is only applied once per transaction, so your best bet is to either visit multiple locations or hope that your cashier will allow you to ring cards up in multiple, separate transactions.
Using a legacy Chase Ink Plus or Bold card, or a Chase Ink Cash, you’ll earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar, for a total of 1,995 negative-cost points (depending on the liquidation methods you have available).
$15 in free groceries after $150 or more in Visa or MasterCard gift card purchases at Giant/Stop & Shop/Martin’s, plus cheap or free gas
Via Doctor of Credit, the East Coast Giant/Stop & Shop/Martin’s grocery store chain is offering a version of their periodic promotion for free groceries when you purchase prepaid debit cards. These promotions have taken several forms over the years, but this is one of the most generous versions I’ve seen:
it applies to purchases of both Visa and MasterCard gift cards. Some people find it cheaper or more convenient to liquidate one type of card rather than the other, and this promotion gives them a choice.
it offers $15 in free groceries, while previous versions of the promotion sometimes offered just $10.
it offers a printed coupon to be used on a future purchase, which makes the coupon transferable and means you can ring up your gift card purchase at customer service and not hold up the ordinary checkout lanes.
and finally, if you choose to buy MasterCard gift cards, you’ll also earn 2 gas points per dollar. For folks that spend a lot on gas, that may be a very valuable incentive to buy MasterCards over Visas.
The offer is supposed to run between August 23 and August 29, 2019, and the coupons can be redeemed for groceries through September 5, 2019.
Conclusion: Visa or MasterCard?
The manufactured spend landscape has become so fractured that there’s no one strategy that is going to work for everyone. For a long time, conventional wisdom had it that Visa prepaid debit cards were easier to liquidate due to Walmart’s almost-universal geographic footprint. But with their obnoxious new ID requirements and restrictions, that wisdom has become less conventional.
As you seek out as many cost-effective liquidation methods as possible, you’ll just need to stay even more aware of which methods might make preferring one card network or issuer or another more or less profitable and convenient given your specific circumstances.