My goal for this thread is to make a go-to place for people to learn about using Staples Rewards. I just signed up for Staples Rewards, but am trying to learn about it, so please correct me on any of this information if I'm wrong. From reading various threads on hot deals, it seems that we have several FWers that are extremely well-versed in Staples' policies.
Thanks to metsfan for this program
Staples Logger Excel File (with Macros): Download Metsfan's logger
This is the most valuable post I've seen relating to the Staples Rewards Program:
my4mainecoons said: If you pay for a Free After Rewards item w/ Rewards you will not get Rewards back.
If you pay for a Free After Rebate item w/ Rewards you will get your entire Rebate back.
Free after Rebate IS NOT the same as Free After Rewards.
Using coupons on Free After Rebate items will not lower your Rebate.
Using Staples coupons on Free After Rewards items will lower your Reward amount.
Using manufacturer coupons on Free After Rewards items has not been affecting Reward amount lately.
Mr.V- yes, I've often paid for Free After Rebate items with 100% Rewards and received back full rebate $$.
In summary, to maximize your rewards, you should never use Staples rewards when purchasing free after rewards items. If you use Staples coupons, they will reduce your award amount by the amount of the coupon. Manufacturer's coupons do not reduce the award amount. You should be able to purchase free after rebate items any way you want and still get the rebate. Therefore, you can use your rewards that you receive from free after rewards items and purchase free after rebate items to essentially cash out the rewards certificates.
RebatesHQ - Try using your full 9 digit zip (no hyphen) and 5 digit zip to see which one shows more rebates. You can also use this site to find check numbers of checks that have been cut.
Staples Inventory Checker - This site can be helpful in checking inventory if there's a problem with the inventory checker page on Staples.com. It also shows you certain discounted items and lets you find out if they are available near you.
Staples Rebate Offers - Use this site to check easy rebate offers and find offer numbers. GO TO THIS SITE BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER A REBATE OFFER IS A CONTINUATION OR A NEW ONE/WHETHER LIMITS ARE RESET
From bpvh (http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/deal-discussion/1007173/), the one exception to the first sentence is where there is a fixed value in rewards (purchase a case of paper and get $39.99 in rewards). Even if you use rewards to purchase the paper, you still get the full $39.99 in rewards. On the other hand, if a deal requires you to spend $30, and you use $20 in rewards on the original purchase price of $45, you don't get rewards because the rewards used are subtracted from the purchase price when determining eligibility.
If you use a dollar off coupon, Staples will prorate the coupon amount to each item. This is not ideal because you are essentially wasting a portion of the coupon if some of the items in the order are free after rewards items.
MISTERCHEAP said: Otherwise, I agree with you Roy. Rule is $/$$ coupons are OK (not real loss, saves sales tax upfront), individual Staples issued "product" coupons which are meant to lower the price on one given item (eg, Avery Labels), will get prorated against all the items on an order, even rewards items that are not Avery.
A "free after rewards" item is an item that Staples sells where they offer 100% back in rewards. For example, in this thread: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/1156615/?start=120, the binders are "free after rewards"
A "free after rebate" item is an item where you get a rebate check/gift card for the item as opposed to rewards which must be spent at Staples.
Ink Recycling: Regular members can recycle up to 10 cartridges per calendar month, premier members can recycle up to 20 per calendar month. Unless a promotion is going on, each cartridge is worth $2 in rewards and will be paid out separately from other rewards. There is also no minimum, so if you recycle one cartridge, you will get $2 in rewards regardless of whether you purchased anything else.
This thread: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/deal-discussion/1007173/ contains a lot more information on ink recycling, so questions related to ink recycling should be directed there.
Frequently Asked Questions I will also continue adding questions that I think of. I will add in other questions posed in the replies as well.
Questions still awaiting answers: