So I'm just here trying to determine if getting into the Staples rewards games is really worth it. Over the past few months I have gotten in more heavily to the CC points game and have always been a deal hunter.
I recently got in on the $15 Staples GC for every $100 of Visa GC deal - earning $150 in Staples GC + 5000 points on my INK card. I consider this a pretty good deal only lessened by the fact that I had to buy the GC in only $100 increments and now I have to unload each card manually over time. Overall I figure that the INK points were a wash with the GC fees, and so I basically get ~$150 free at Staples which I can spend on anything I need (including FAR items to convert into cash/checks). I consider this a pretty good (and better than average) deal - although it will take some time and effort to unload $1000 in Visa GC and to spend the Staples GC (especially if trying to convert into cash).
I have considered getting more into the Staples game - but all in all - it seems like a lot of effort for a minimal reward. I know that some people get super-excited about netting even $5 even if it means a lot of effort - and more power to them. I am trying to understand what I might be missing in how this all works out.
When I say "Staples rewards" I am referring not just to the Staples Rewards programs, but all the ways to take advantage of Staples offers, including rebates, etc.
The way I look at it is this:
Say I spend up to $300 every month on FAR and other great deals at Staples (from my recent investigations this seems like a fair number, if not a bit on the high side).
I pay 6.25% tax for a total of $318.75 in spending.
This nets me 1500 INK points, which we will convert to $15 in cash (I know other rewards can give a better ratio - but trying to keep things cash only basis).
IF I do an online order via FW I can net another 2.5% CB or $7.5.
Assuming all my purchases are FAR and I net back my original $300 spend. I have still spend $18.75 in taxes and earned $22.50 in CB. A net gain of $3.75.
Assuming I do this every month I net myself $45 a year.
Now I am not one to throw away $45 - but the effort involved does not seem worth it to me in this case. I know that everyone's effort/rewards scale is different. But, assuming I spend 1 hour a month dealing with these rebates (I think that 15/week to both file and follow through with past rebates is conservative at best) and at least $10 a year on USPS stamps for mail-in rebates - the effort looks even less attractive.
I understand that you are also pulling in merchandise as well - but there are only so many batteries, AV programs, and reams of paper I need
Obviously there are sometimes very good deals, like the Visa GC one above - or times when a rebate combined with a coupon might net a higher yield.
I am looking to find out how consistent these are and some real life examples from some of you on what you actually can net (in cash or near-cash) from being a diligent (but not super-zealous) Staples consumer.
I want to be convinced that there is more to this than I have realized, and the opportunity for much greater profit. Please tell me what I'm missing!