Staples is a great company for creating manufactured spend, primarily because you are able to use the Ink Bold Card from Chase to earn 5x Ultimate Rewards, these points transfer to United and Hyatt, along with some other partners at a 1:1 ratio – personally I store my Ultimate Rewards in their present form and transfer over enough to top up either account when I am making an award reservation.
When you purchase an item that is Free After Rebate from Staples it falls into two categories:
- Staples Easy Rebate – this is a great program and very easy to use, just requires filling in an online rebate form and the check comes in the mail within 4-8 weeks.
- Manufacturers Mail In Rebate – still good, but a little more annoying as they often ask for more proof of purchase (like snipping the Barcode off a software box, and taping it to a form to be mailed in snail mail. Personally I dislike this as too many things can go wrong in terms of the mail getting lost or tossed in the trash on the other end, however – if you keep copies of everything that you mailed in then you should be fine.
For some reason, it seems that Anti Virus Software is the big one for Free After Rebates – you don’t ever have to use the software, but you buy it from staples, fill out the forms and wait for your check. Currently on offer for this are two versions of McAfee Total Protection 2013, a boxed copy and a downloadable copy.
To find the versions that are free enter the following code in the Staples search bar – Boxed Copy 957357 Download Copy 982948 you’ll know you have the right one when it says the price is Free!
Category Bonus – Office Supplies
If you pay for these with your Ink Bold then you will earn 5x Points for the purchase, $65 x 5 would net you 325 Ultimate Rewards Points
Booster Bonus – Shopping Portals
Go through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal for a extra 2x points, 130 more.. netting a total of 455 Ultimate Rewards Points
Or, if you don’t have the Ink Bold but have the Discover It card they are offering 5% Cash Back through the ShopDiscover Portal
Coupon Bonus- Ink Recycling Rewards and Easy Rewards
Use your rewards to pay for this product, this means you lose the Credit Card points, but you monetize your Coupon, for example last month I earned $40 in Ink Recycling by dropping off 20 Empty Cartridges to my local Staples, if I apply that to the order the total becomes $25, but they still send me a check for $65!
Bricks and Mortar (B&M) Bonus
If you want to purchase from the store rather than online, you will sacrifice the online bonuses from the shopping portal, but you will also be able to take 20% off the purchase price by using this coupon (note you don’t have to print it out, you can just tell them the code:
Your price for the Bricks and Mortar will be $65 minus 20% for $52 plus tax… if you have Rewards you can pay for it with those, or use your credit card. The Rebate will print out from the register along with your receipt! This method is a money maker as you are paying less than the price of the product and get rebated for the full price (Hat tip to MISTERCHEAP for this one!)
You can expect the rebate to take up to 12 weeks to be mailed to you, it might be sooner, but be prepared for a wait, it is only $65 but worth noting you will have to float this amount, and pay off the card and then wait for the funds to come back into circulation.
I looked today at my local Staples, and whilst I found similar products, I didn’t find the exact product when buying from the Bricks and Mortar store make sure you check the code on the back of the product to see if it is an exact match – 1 number of letter different and you probably won’t get your rebate. The Total Protection 2013 comes in many formats- the one that is free is shown above, and is a 1-3 PC version, today I saw a 1 PC version AND a 3 PC Version but neither of these were correct. When in double pull the SKU numbers from the website and cross check. The correct SKU is: Model: MTP13EMB3RAA make sure that the match is perfect if you buy at the store.
What I did
I listed a few options in this post to create manufactured spend at Staples, here is the path I took and why, follow the 10 steps and you cannot go wrong, if you don’t have the Ink Recycling Rewards just pay with Credit Card, if you have the Discover It Card and not the Ink Bold then use ShopDiscover:
STEP 1 Logged into Staples.com for my rewards (purchases count towards status with Staples, so always log in and attribute to your Staples account)
STEP 2 Searched for Product 982948 (downloadable Version)
STEP 3 Added to Cart
STEP 4 Closed Staples.com Window VERY IMPORTANT TO CLOSE AND NOT COMPLETE THE PURCHASE
STEP 5 Logged in to Ultimate Rewards, select Earn Rewards, search for Staples.com, click through to Staples.com this gives you the 2x bonus
STEP 6 The cart has 1 item and you are logged in. Click to check out
STEP 7 Selected Ship to Store (even though it is download) and picked a store in a state that doesn’t have sales tax I picked New Hampshire (Fort Eddy Plaza)
STEP 8 Paid for with $40 Ink Recycling Rewards and $25 Ink Bold
STEP 9 The Order Confirmation Page takes you to the Mail in Rebate, which I completed quite easily
Here is the Rebate, confirming it is for $65
STEP 10 Fill out the form, and mail it into Mcafee along with a print out of the two emails you just received, one showing the receipt for payment, one showing the download code. Wait 4-6 weeks (but be prepared for a little longer just in case).
Net Profit: $25 x 7 Ulitimate Reward Points = 175 Points Plus monetized my Ink Recycling for a further $40 in cash.
Related Post – An Introduction to Manufactured Spend