OP is meant to cover just the basics. As with any thread, others should feel free to add content to the wiki for more "advanced" or specific topics.
Here is a list of acronyms that are most commonly used in Staples threads, most of which are used throughout the SD world but some of which are specific to Staples:
AC = after coupon
AR/ASER = after rebate / after Staples Easy Rebate
BR = breakroom
BTS = Back to School
FAR/FAER = free after rebate or free after easy rebate
FARew (or FARewards) = free after Rewards
HM = Hammermill paper
MIR = mail-in rebate
MM = money maker
MP = Staples multi-purpose paper
OOP = out of pocket
PP = photo paper or paypal, depending on context
SER = Staples Easy Rebate
YMMV = your mileage may vary
Staples’ weekly deals run from Sun to Sat each week. Ads for the following week are posted on Staples.com every Thu morning at 10AM eastern time. There is almost always a thread for each week’s deals posted at that time, and sometimes even a few days sooner if someone happens to get a copy of the ad beforehand.
A Rewards account is needed to take full advantage of Staples deals. Rewards membership is free. There are two ways to earn Rewards – purchases and ink recycling (see next section). Primary benefits include
Rewards are treated like coupons at Staples and have no cash value. Rewards can be used on purchases of almost anything sold in Staples stores or at Staples.com, with the main exclusion being gift cards. For in-store purchases, Rewards vouchers can be used twice. Any amount not utilized the first time will be issued as a balance coupon that prints with the receipt. The balance coupon must be used in full. For online purchases, a Rewards voucher must be used in one shot.
NOTE – Rewards do not “roll” and should not be used to purchase FARew items, as doing so will reduce the Rewards you earn on the FARew item, e.g, if you use $10 of Rewards to pay for $13 FARew batteries, you will only get back $3 in Rewards on the batteries.
There are three levels of Rewards membership – Basic, Plus, and Premier. $500 of purchases must be made during the calendar year to reach Plus status, and $1,000 to reach Premier. Plus and Premier membership lasts for the remainder of the calendar year plus the following calendar year.
Rewards are typically issued on the second Tue of each month following the month the Rewards are earned, as follows:
Basic – earn 2% on OOP for most purchases. Rewards are issued on a monthly basis if at least $10 in Rewards is earned during the calendar quarter. The $10 minimum applies for each calendar quarter, and any balance <$10 is rolled over month to month until the end of the quarter. Any Rewards <$10 are lost at the end of each calendar quarter. Rewards expire on the last day of the second month after the month the Rewards were issued. E.g., Rewards earned in Mar are issued in mid-Apr and expire at the end of Jun.
Plus – earn 3% on OOP for most purchases. Rewards are issued on a monthly basis if at least $5 in Rewards is earned. The $5 minimum applies for each calendar quarter, and any balance <$5 is rolled over month to month until the end of the quarter. Any Rewards <$5 are lost at the end of each calendar quarter. Expiration is the same as for Basic accounts
Premier – earn 5% on OOP for most purchases. Rewards are issued on a monthly basis if at least $5 in Rewards is earned. The $5 minimum applies for each calendar year, and any balance <$5 is lost at the end of each calendar year.
Sign up for a Rewards account at a store or by clicking this link
Additional details can be found at these two links:
About Staples Rewards program
Staples Rewards Programs Terms & Conditions
Please refer to the wiki for additional Q&A on Staples Rewards
The basics of ink recycling at Staples are that you need to have made $30+ purchase(s) of ink within the previous 180 days to qualify for recycling. You can purchase ink and recycle on the same day in store. For online ink purchases, you should wait until the ink order is shipped before recycling. The $30 purchase requirement is based on your total (pre-tax) out of pocket expense after the use of coupons and Rewards. Out of pocket includes cash, credit cards, and gift cards.
NOTE - If you are using any coupons in a transaction that includes ink purchases, it is advised to buy the ink in a separate transaction, as coupons applied to other items will prorate to the ink for Rewards purposes and may drop your ink spending below $30.
You will receive $2 per recycled cartridge with monthly recycling limits of 10 cartridges ($20) for basic Rewards members and 20 cartridges ($40) for Plus/Premier members. Staples accepts pretty much any type of cartridge for recycling.
For more details on ink recycling at Staples, see bpvh’s master recycling thread for Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples
The best deals at Staples involve the use of one or more coupons. The use of coupons varies from store to store. Some stores are very lax and allow several coupons to be used in a single transaction (“stacking”) while others only allow a single coupon, even when there are multiple items in a transaction. Some stores accept competitor and manufacturer coupons while others do not.
Staples coupons always have 5 or 16 digit codes. 5 digit codes are general use coupons and can be used multiple times and by anyone. Depending on the coupon, 5 digit codes can be used multiple times in a single transaction if the cashier allows it. 16 digit codes are unique, one-time use codes. Staples coupons usually have a grace period of 2 days past printed expiration for 5 digit codes and 7 days past printed expiration for 16 digit codes. This is definitely YMMV, as the register will accept the coupon but the cashier may not allow it. The issue should never be pushed if the cashier refuses, as it is meant as a courtesy, not a rule or right to use past expiration.
There are several types of coupon types that Staples generally issues - general $ off coupons ($5 off $25 purchase), general % off coupons (10% off entire purchase), product specific ($3 off photo paper), category specific (15% off furniture or $20 off $75 purchase of BR supplies). Other coupons may be for special events, such as having to use a coupon during their 25% back in Rewards promo in order to receive the extra Rewards.
NOTE – Staples occasionally issues "coupons" to trigger rebates on certain products. These coupons use codes that are 6 digits and are referred to as a NI-SKU (non-inventory SKU) which should be entered by the cashier as a product/SKU, rather than a normal coupon.
The stacking of coupons at Staples stores is an art form, and the rules can change with each new coupon that is issued. Your success with stacking can change from one cashier to the next, from one store to another, and even depending on the time of day. The best way to figure it all out is to read through the threads and try it yourself to see what works. While you want to maximize coupon use, you should never push the issue on a cashier or manager. No point in becoming "that guy (or gal)" over a few $, and also risk a crackdown over the long term because everyone acts entitled. Simply step away from the transaction politely and save it for another day/store/cashier/etc.
There are several sources for Staples coupons:
1. Go to http://www.staples.com/coupons. New coupons for the week are updated on Sun morning.Rebates
2. Sign up for Staples emails. There is a link at the lower left on the Staples.com homepage. You can also sign up at this link .
Email blasts are usually sent on Mon night with the new coupons for the week that are already available on Staples.com. The coupons sent in these blasts will have barcodes, while the coupons obtained via Staples.com do not. The email blasts will also include any special coupons for the week, e.g., $100 off Windows 8 computers, that are not initially released on Staples.com on Sun morning.
Some lucky people get the always popular $ off coupons sent by email, such as $25 off $75, $30 off $90, etc.
3. Check your “Coupon Wallet” at StaplesRewards.com. The Coupon Wallet usually only has all of the weekly coupons (with barcodes), but you’ll often find unique coupons here as well.
4. Staples issues product catalogs several times a year. There is a general office supplies catalog that usually has a coupon for a free item with purchase, e.g, free duffel bag with $150 online purchase. There is also a cleaning and breakroom supplies catalog that has a coupon for $20 off a $75 cleaning and breakroom supplies purchase and will include both an online and in-store coupon.
These catalogs can be obtained at a Staples store or requested at this link
5. Some other lucky people receive coupons in the mail, usually a $25 off 75 coupon in the form of a postcard.
6. Beg or trade for coupons in the Staples coupon beg/trade thread
If coupons are the bread of Staples deals, rebates are the butter. Most rebates for products purchased at Staples are SER’s that require nothing to be mailed – no UPC, no receipt, no envelope, no stamp. It really is easy. Occasionally there will be a traditional mail-in rebate, the most common being McAfee rebates.
FAR products are a good way to reach Plus or Premier status without actually spending any money. With the right use of coupons to offset tax you can add “spend” to your Rewards account with little or no OOP (or even turn into a MM).
FAR products are also the best way to “cash out” Rewards. Buy $40 of FAR products, pay with Rewards, and have $40 cash in your pocket 6-8 weeks later. As mentioned above, coupons can often be used to create MM deals, e.g., buy $40 of FAR products, use a $5 off 25 coupon, pay $35, and get back $40 in rebates = $5 MM. Use Rewards to pay the $35 and you cashed out Rewards while making a few $.
Submitting your rebate
SER's can be submitted at the Staples Easy Rebates site . Please note that for kiosk orders paid for in store, the "Ordered at a computer terminal in store" option should be selected.
Rebates usually take 4-6 weeks to process, which includes 2 weeks to account for the return period, plus another 2-4 weeks to send the payment. For in store purchases, the rebate submission should update with the quantity purchased and amount of the rebate about 4 hours after the purchase was made. For kiosk/online orders, the rebate should update on the estimated delivery date of the order.
Answers to frequently asked questions about rebates:
1. Staples coupons do not reduce the rebate amount. The exception is the BTS pass (see BTS section below), which does reduce rebates. Using competitor coupons may reduce certain rebates.Please refer to the wiki for additional Q&A on Staples rebates
2. Using gift cards do not reduce the rebate amount.
3. Using Rewards do not reduce the rebate amount.
Staples.com will price match select online retailers and Staples B&M stores. Staples will match the price after the use of coupons and rebates. E.g., if the price on Staples.com is $200 and you use a $25 coupon, while Amazon’s price is $150, you will only receive a $25 price match. Some reps may allow the use of coupons after the match, but this is YMMV.
Staples B&M stores will price match competitor B&M stores and Staples.com. The use of coupons after price matching at a B&M store is also YMMV.
See full price-match policy here
Back to School season
Staples BTS sales typically run from mid Jun to mid Sep. During this time Staples sells their BTS Savings Pass for $10, which gives you a 15% discount on school supplies such as notebooks, backpacks, paper, etc. Some cashiers will push very hard to sell the pass, and even tell you it is free if you are making a purchase >$67, as the 15% discount will offset the cost of the pass.
Be very wary of the BTS pass. For most SDer’s, the BTS Savings Pass is a complete waste of $10, as it will reduce rebate payouts and prevent the use of other coupons.
DO NOT BUY THE BTS SAVINGS PASS UNLESS YOU ARE VERY EXPERIENCED WITH STAPLES DEALS AND FULLY UNDERSTAND HOW THIS PASS WILL AFFECT YOUR REBATES AND OTHER COUPON USAGE.
Staples contact information
Live chat available Mon-Fri 8AM-8PM EST (link on lower left of Staples.com home page)
Send an email
800-793-3320 General, Mon-Fri 8:30AM-9:00PM EST, Sat-Sun 9:00AM-8:00PM EST
888-891-3787 Premier, although recent posts indicate this takes you to the general Staples.com call center
Send email or initiate chat at this page
This thread is meant for all my fellow Staplers, so I welcome all comments to make this a better thread
Remember, use of coupons is uncommon by most Staples customers...so we stick out like a sore thumb. Staples is generous with their FAR deals and rewards & ink recycling programs. Don't ruin Stapling for the rest of us because one gets too greedy or feels entitled.
- Under no circumstances, do you ever mention Slickdeals or FW when you're at the B&M -- worst yet, bring a printout of these threads to "prove" manager or cashier wrong (BIG NO NO)
- Everything is YMMV (just because someone scored that deal, your success with same deal is not guaranteed)
- Walk in expecting nothing to work, and be pleasantly surprised if something does
- When things go wrong, keep your cool and be polite...smile or act surprised AND say you're sorry, then go and scream in your car (you don't want to be known as "that guy" or "that lady" over a few $). You can always cancel your transaction & walk away -- yes, even if you have a cart full of binders or case paper; come back another day & try another cashier; or go to another B&M.
Q: What is a kiosk order?
A: A kiosk order is the same as an online order with the ability to choose to pay at the register in the store once you have completed your order.
Q: Where do I find the kiosk in the store?
A: Usually at the back of the store. All a kiosk has is a computer terminal and a printer. Not all stores have kiosks but a Staples employee should be able to place a kiosk order for you from a CSR terminal.
Q: What happens at the end of my kiosk order and I choose to "pay at the register"?
A: Two pieces of paper will print. One you need to take to the register to pay for the order and the other is the customer copy. You have 48 hours from the time you place the order at the kiosk to pay for the order. You do not have to pay for the kiosk order at the store you placed the kiosk order.
Q: Why didn't any rebate print for the item I ordered from the kiosk on the register receipt?
A: Rebate receipts do not print at the register for products ordered from the kiosk. The rebate offer # should be included in the confirmation email you get back from placing a kiosk order. The rebate offer # should also print on the customer copy of the order.
Q: Can I use online coupons when placing a kiosk order?
A: As of 5/1/11 Staples changed their system to disallow the use of online coupons for kiosk orders. You can still enter them as part of the online order. However, they will print on the kiosk order form and will be rejected when the cashier scans the coupon on the order. Only if the manager/cashier is willing to override the system will the coupon be applied to the kiosk order. YMMV.
Q: Anything else I should know?
A: Kiosk orders are online orders for rebates but a store purchase for rewards.
Staples Gift Cards
Q: Do Staples Gift cards carry a balance?
A: Yes, like most gift cards, Staples gift cards can carry a balance. The balance will be shown on your purchase receipt.
Q: Can I use a Staples Gift card online?
A: Staples.com began accepting Staples gift cards in mid-November 2013. Up to 5 gift cards can be used per order.
Q: How many Staples Gift cards can I use to pay for a purchase?
A: The terms and conditions on the back of the card say the limit is 5. However, this is not a register restriction so you can use as many as the store allows. Some stores may limit one to 5 Staples gift cards. Staples.com is limited to 5 Staples gift cards.
Q: Do purchases of Staples Gift cards count towards the spend threshold for Plus or Premier status?
A: No they do not. IF they did there would be little need to buy photo paper and ream paper every week to reach the spend threshold for a given status and Staples threads would be short in length during BTS season..
Q: Do purchases made with Staples Gift cards of products other than gift cards count towards Plus or Premier status?
A: Yes they do except for gift cards and other products outlined on Rewards site. Staples Gift cards are the same as cash as stated on the back of the card.
Q: Can I use Staples Gift Cards to purchase other gift cards?
A: Not officially per the terms & conditions on the back of the gift card. The register will allow it but the cashier may not.
Q: Can I purchase gift cards including Staples gift cards with rewards or coupons?
A: No. The register restricts the use of coupons and/or rewards from discounting the purchase price of gift cards including Staples gift cards. Their purchase also does not count as part of the minimum to use a coupon. Doing this online has worked in the past but is not recommended as one can get blacklisted for repeated abuse.
Q: What happens if you use a Staples Gift card to purchase an item that has a rebate or has rewards back? Will that affect the amount of the rebate or the rewards?
A: A Staples gift card is the same as cash (read the terms on the back of the card) and will not affect the amount of any rebate or rewards back when purchasing an item with a Staples Gift card.
Q: What happens if I return a purchase I bought using a Staples gift card?
A: Generally speaking, the purchase price is returned as the same form of payment you used to make the original purchase. If you used a Staples gift card and return the product you will get back a Staples cash card. If you used rewards you get the rewards back. If you used a credit card you get a credit back on the credit card you used for the original purchase.
Q: My rewards are about to expire. Is there anything I can do to extend them?
A: Rewards are issued as 16 digit coupons. Therefore you should be able to use them 7 days past expiration. If you would like to extend them beyond 7 days then buy something in the store during the last seven days before they expire and then return the items bought with the rewards. You should get a refund voucher that expires 30 days from the original expiration date of your rewards.
Q: I made a purchase using my rewards or balance coupon and now want to do a return. What happens to my rewards?
A: As long as the reward's original expiration has not passed, you will receive a refund voucher of your rewards. This voucher has to be used in full by the voucher's expiration date and is non-refundable.
Q: If I use rewards to pay for part of my transaction, will I receive 5% rewards on the remaining amount that I pay OOP?
Q: I used Rewards on an online/kiosk order and I need to cancel my order. Will I get my Rewards back?
A: In order to get your Rewards back w/o a lot of hassle call the number for Staples.com and ask them to remove the rewards from your order. Confirm this and THEN have them cancel your online/kiosk order if possible.
Q: I made a purchase, but forgot to give the cashier my rewards number. Is there any way I can add my purchase to my rewards account?
A: Go into your rewards account, and click on 'Purchase Details' on the left side. On the right side you should see a button that says 'Add Receipt.'
Q: I purchased some items and used one (or more) coupon(s). One (or more) of the items gave rewards back. I did not get back the amount of rewards I was expecting. What happened?
A: What happened is that your coupon(s) (and/or instant savings and/or rewards) were prorated by percentage across all the items in your transaction reducing the amount of rewards you got back. For example, you bought items for $4, $6, and $10 and used a $2 coupon that was applied to the $10 item. The $4 item gave back 100% rewards. Your sub-total before sales tax was $20. The $2 coupon was prorated against all the items in your transaction even though it reduced the purchase price of the $10 item. Proration works like this. 1) Determine the sub-total of all items you purchased before sales tax. 2) Determine the amount of all coupons you used(and/or rewards, and/or instant savings). 3) Divide the amount of the item that gave rewards by the sub-total of the transaction. In this example, that would be $4/$20 or 20%. 4) Take the percentage calculated in 3 and multiply it against the coupon total. In this case 20% of $2 or $.40. 4. Since you only get rewards on what you spend OOP (prorated), you would get back $4-$.40 or $3.60 on the $4 item due to coupon proration. (Best way to get maximum rewards back when using multiple coupons is to add a gift card, e.g. $200 visa gift card to the transaction)
ETA: Proration can also reduce required minimum spends when using coupons and/or rewards. E.g. the minimum required for ink purchases may not be met if you use coupons and/or rewards in the transaction. Same process as above.
Q: I bought photo paper or ream paper or whatever last week that had a rebate. It is being offered again this week with a rebate. Can I buy it again?
A: In order to find out if it is a continuing offer from last week (or weeks in the past) or a new offer number you need to go to Stapleseasyrebates.com and find the product you wish to purchase using the available search functions. IF the offer number is a new offer number for the dates you are going to make the purchase then you can buy the product again and get the rebate.
Q: I bought 2 (or more) items that fall under the same Easy Rebate® promotion number. After entering the first SKU online, I am not able to submit for the additional SKU(s).
A: If you purchased multiples of the same product with a rebate or if you purchased multiple items that fall under the same rebate offer number, you only need to enter the rebate offer number once. The system will use your Easy Rebates® ID number or order number to verify the rebate products you purchased. Then it will update your status to reflect the multiple rebates.
Q: Can I use a PO Box for Staples Rebates?
A: You can use a PO Box for Staples Easy Rebates (SER). However, Mail-in Rebates (MIR) may vary. Sometimes you can use a PO Box and sometimes you have to use a street address. Read the fine print on the rebate form. It will usually state whether or not it requires a street address or specifically excludes a PO Box.
Q: We know staples rebates are not lowered by rewards or coupons, but what about McAfee purchased at staples and sent through MIR?
A: No, McAfee rebates are not lowered by either.
Other rebate Help information can be found here: https://www.stapleseasy
Q: I spent the $500 for Plus status (or $1000 for Premier status). How long before I am able to recycle 20 carts?
A: Once you have hit the spend threshold to advance your status it takes anywhere from 2-4 week depending on the processing cycle for upgrading members. Call the Rewards people to 1. Verify that you actually have hit the spend threshold 2. Find out more precisely when you will have your status upgraded. You cannot recycle 20 carts for credit unless your status has been upgraded.
Q: Can I use a manufacturer coupon (MQ), including an Internet Printable (IP), with my purchase?
A: YMMV, especially if you are using another Staples coupon for that same item. If your store accepts MQs, always give them last, i.e. after any other Staples/ competitor coupons and rewards (May not be applicable in TX, MA, PA and CT). If your rewards cover your purchase fully, you may not use MQs. Unlike MQs which are treated as a payment form, Staples Rewards are considered to be coupons and therefore need to be processed before payment is effected. Also, if the coupon does not take when scanned, ask the cashier if s/he pressed the Vendor Coupon button. Some cash registers may require this button to be pressed before the coupon is scanned, otherwise the register will think that a Staples coupon is being scanned and will reject the MQ because it will not recognize it.
Q: How can I tell the last date I can recycle cartridges without buying ink?
A: You have to keep track of the date yourself as the Staples Rewards website does not currently offer this information readily. If you cannot remember when your last last ink purchase was, please check "Purchase Details" for previous months. Count 179 from the day you spent at least $30 on ink (or 1st ink purchase if you made several to reach >=$30).
http://www.calendar-12.com/date_add_days (credit to Elementary_Watson).
You do not necessarily have to buy ink again right away. It may be best to wait until the following month to do so, e.g. if your 180-day period runs out on 10/9, recycle by that date but make the new ink purchase in November.
Q: Can I use a credit card to purchase gift cards at Staples stores?
A: There are consistently reports of stores requiring you to pay for gift cards or prepaid CCs with cash or debit card only. However, this is not corporate policy, per the letter posted here-- http://slickdeals.net/forums/showpost.php?p=
The Staples app is a shopping tool for the Staples shopper. For us SDer's, the best part of the app is the ability to generate coupons. For more information on using the Staples app to generate coupons, check out tenderidol's Staples App Thread
Reward a Classroom (Staples Rewards)
Link your rewards account to a teacher's rewards account. The teacher will receive 2% of your purchases and 5% of your copy and print purchases. This does not affect your rewards account at all...you continue to receive 5% on your purchases.
1. The program runs July 1 to June 30 and you have to re-link each program year. Once you have picked your teacher, you cannot change your pick until you re-link the following year.
2. Each rewards account can link to only one teacher.
3. Each teacher can have a maximum of 40 accounts linked to them.
4. Teachers must be signed up for BOTH Staples Teacher Rewards AND Reward a Classroom.
5. Each account can earn a max of $50 for a teacher (so each teacher can earn a total of $2000).
6. Teachers cannot see the names nor the purchases of the people linked to their account. They can only see the number of people and how much money has been accrued.
7. You need a teacher's name in order to participate. You cannot do a random search and just pick someone. If you don't know a teacher, look up a school's website and pick someone as a RAOK (random act of kindness)!
Here is the Staples link to sign up:
And the FAQ link:
How to reconstruct an Easy Rebate ID if you never received a receipt: