Update 2: Lots of reports of this no longer working.
Update: Seeing some mixed reports. Some confirmation but didn’t work for others. I suggest small amounts to test!
We’ve recently been renovating our home office, and had been doing so using several Amazon.com gift cards and Home Improvement Gift Cards from office supply stores in order to maximize the 5X Chase Ink spending bonus. The Home Improvement Gift Card is a fee free gift card which you can normally load $20-$500 on that is valid at several of the big name home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowes, as well as Sears and several others. It’s a very useful gift card in itself, and is a Discover card. Frequent Miler wrote about it previously here
, but at that time it did not have the new feature I’m about to reveal.
Home Improvement Gift Card
As I went to check the balance on one of my gift cards the other day I noticed the following message at the bottom of the page:
Home Improvement Gift Card PIN
It is now possible to set a PIN for the Home Improvement Gift Card! Even better, the FAQs state you don’t even need to set the PIN beforehand. If you select 4 digits as you go to use the card as DEBIT it will set the PIN then. I attempted to use the card as DEBIT and load it into my Bluebird account. It worked! This is essentially fee-free points.
This is ideal with the Chase Ink card which provides 5X at office supply stores (like Office Depot where the Home Improvement Gift Card is sold) – but works well for many other cards too! I was also able to find the Home Improvement Gift Card at a CVS near my house, and a $25 one at a Sunoco gas station. Supposedly they are also available at Winn Dixie and other stores but I have not checked on that yet. You can visit the website to find locations to purchase near you.
With the recent change of variable load gift cards returning to Office Depot but now having a “cash only” sign above them, the Home Improvement Gift Card is a great replacement. However, I would assume this will similarly come to an end at some point.
Variable Load Gift Cards at Office Depot
I did experience a glitch while loading one Home Improvement Gift Card to Bluebird. It didn’t go through initially, and when I went to check the balance on the Home Improvement Gift Card mobile site it couldn’t display it there either and showed an error. I tried the same card again later and it worked just fine.
As with everything, this is entirely at your own risk. Credit card companies do shut down abusers or send accounts to financial reviews, and there is a possibility of somehow having money stuck on these cards. I’d recommend you test a small amount to confirm for your intended purposes before jumping in – and maybe never fully jump in!