Last week I wrote about earning 5x to 12x back by purchasing $200 Visa gift cards from Staples.com using Swagbucks. Even though the terms on Swagbucks state that rewards won’t be earned on gift card purchases, there wasn’t much information on whether this included Visa gift cards. That said I decided to pull the trigger on a test order and see if I end up earning Swagbucks on Visa gift cards purchased from Staples.com

Today I received my order of five $200 gift cards today, however the balance on my account shows 6,209 Swagbucks still pending from the Staples.com purchase.

6,210 pending Swagbucks

6,209 pending Swagbucks

In the meantime some news came out on Flyertalk that Staples sent out emails to various shopping portals saying that they will no longer pay them affiliate commision on sales of gift cards. It’s likely that anyone who has gift card purchases in limbo will earn the Swagbucks on those purchases, but it’s doubtful that future purchases at a given time will earn any.

Will We Earn 5X or 12X?

By leveraging a 5X earning credit card, Swagbucks (or another cash back portal), and Visa Savings Edge to purchase $200 Visa gift cards from Staples.com I expected to earn 12X back. This would mean that I would earn a profit while earning points at the same time.

The gift cards can then be liquidated through a number of ways including Amazon Payments, Walmart, or Evolve Money. If everything goes as planned after liquidating my $1,000 of Visa gift cards I will have earned 6,209 Swagbucks and 5,173 Ultimate Rewards points from using my Ink Plus card. The net result is a profit of $37.67 and 5,173 UR points and well worth the little time and effort.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Purchase cost: $1,034.75
  • Visa Savings Edge earning (1%): $10.34
  • Swagbucks portal earning (6X): $62.08
  • Total net cost: $962.33
  • Ultimate Rewards points earned (5X): 5173.75
  • Profit: $37.67

Now that I have received my Visa gift cards, lets see how things unfold with the pending Swagbucks. I feel pretty confident that I will earn the Swagbucks on these purchases, but am less optimistic of future purchases due to the new terms.

That said, $200 Visa gift cards are still alive and well and I’m sure you can find a handful of other cash back portals to choose from.

Sign-up Link for Swagbucks (my referral link, thanks if you use it and feel free to share yours in the comments!)

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3 Comments

  • I ordered the gift cards from Staples thru Swagbucks portal 8 days ago. I was the time that they haven’t restricted rewarding for gift cards and it was 6x. I’ve already received the gift cards also. BUT why it’s not in my “shop & earn” section yet!!? They told me to wait for 32 days but in the website it says it shows up in the “shop & earn” section as a pending reward after 2-7 days they it may take 32 days to be credited. Did this happen to anyone else here?

  • does Staples also restrict UR portal too, after all its only 2x for staples at UR portal.

    • choi, I’m not aware that Staples sent out the email to all cash back portals, but its plausible. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.