Understanding OfficeMax/Depot Rewards Programs

I frequently see posts on deals sites describing specials at OfficeMax/Depot where you get stuff free, or close to free, after getting reward dollars. However, I think you can only use the reward dollars towards other purchases, so this seems valuable only if you actually need the thing that’s being offered. I don’t really need 100 reams of paper, even if buying them gives me a store gift card that can be used to get more paper.

There must be a good strategy here and I’d like some handholding. I believe people are rolling forward the reward dollars to get more free-after-rewards purchases. You buy item 1 for $20, get $20 in rewards a month later. And use that $20 in rewards to buy item 2 that offers $20 in rewards. Is that correct?

Any tips and tricks on cashing out effectively? Postage stamps? iTunes/Amazon Gift cards? Any perils to avoid?

Been years since I played this game, but back then it was sometimes difficult to keep it rolling perpetually. For example, around back to school time they used to (maybe they still do) offer backpacks that were FARewards, which included some of their more high-end models ($150+). If you took advantage of that you then had to find a similar value in FARewards items to spend that on before it expired, which wasn’t always possible so if your goal was continuous rolling you had to pay some consideration to what their future offers were likely to be and that wasn’t trivial since weekly ads and pure speculation were really the only source of this information.

OM never allowed you to buy OM gift cards (although IIRC they once cancelled an online order I placed and in refunding my purchase I believe the rewards portion was ultimately refunded to me in OM gift cards, which had the benefit of not expiring – not sure if that’s still the case). Also, back then you could use the rewards to purchase 3rd party gift cards in-store if the clerk didn’t stop you (I suspect that loophole has been closed by now, but perhaps not). One downside this was that it did effectively lock in a sales tax loss for you. What I mean by that is you paid sales tax on the original purchase and when purchasing a gift card you’re not going to negate any sales tax on that purchase the way you would if buying physical merchandise.

Assuming 3rd party gift cards have been disallowed you’d then be stuck trying to find some item you could resell at either a profit or a minimal loss or some item OM sold for a reasonable price that you actually wanted to buy (a surprisingly challenging task). Back then they sold the Ooma and it was reasonably priced and sometimes they’d have decent deals on printers, but finding such items were far from trivial.

As to case paper, I can’t say the time involved would be justified, but it wasn’t hard to resell a case for ~$20 on Craigslist.

I probably ended up paying $60 for an entire year of my employer’s paper purchases because there are paper deals like every week.

I never bothered with the program with my personal spending.

OD/OM don’t roll. CVS rolled when I was doing the CVS game (SD’s grocery forum was really good at mixing CVS ads, coupons from the printer, and manufacturer coupons to get stuff). OD Rewards had unlimited rebates on VGC when it was being tried out earlier this year in select areas, but when it rolled out nationwide that was obviously eliminated. The way people monetized that was purchasing tablets or other products and reselling them.

Same, been years since I did it probably not worth it anymore.

In OD I hit a $1000 Reward certificate one month due to all those 100% Reward promos + free shipping they used to have. (The store employees were impressed) I’m still using the office supplies 5+ years later.

Got tired of it all and cashed out with a clearance computer and several hundred dollars in stamps. Basically went to the store and bought all the stamps a few weeks in a row. I’m set for life with stamps.


Are stamps still an allowable purchase with however they dole out rewards dollars? I use a lot of stamps and they could be considered almost as good as cash to me.

Probably gonna vary by branch as with most cash equivalents, As far as I recall I didn’t see any stamp exclusions on the reward certificate.