Free Points with Free After Rebate Purchases 101

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Free After Rebate (FAR) purchases is something I’ve always been into, but have seldom written about on the blog. Typically these are purchases that I’ve needed in the past, i.e., shampoo, anti-virus software, printers, food, etc. I am always one to take the extra few minutes, fill out the rebate form, put on that 42 cent postage stamp and send in my rebate.

While this is great for items you actually need, there are also some great perks in getting those items even if you have absolutely no use. Another blogger, Frequent Miler, is well known for finding these deals that will get your credit card spend up and earn you miles along the way. You can also check out his FAQs on rebates and FAR items here.

Here is the basics on how it works:

For example, an anti-virus software is on sale for $50, but is giving you a $50 rebate after purchase. While you have to do some work and wait some time for the rebate, you are ultimately getting the item for FREE. Now, if this item is at an office supply store, you will get 5x points when using your Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus credit card. Typically, other credit cards will only earn you 1x points, but there is still some value even with these other cards. You will get the points based on the price you paid, i.e., $50 in this example, not the price after rebate. So if you are using the Chase Ink Bold card, you will end up with 250 Ultimate Reward points (5 x $50 = 250).

While 250 points doesn’t really seem like too much, you can double dip by going through one of the online shopping portals. Just by taking an extra 2 seconds and going to the shopping portal first you will earn bonus points on your purchase. My favorite and most recommended is Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. However, you must have the Chase Freedom, Sapphire, Ink, or Plus card for access. Most of the tricks explained below will be done with Ultimate Reward points in mind. Many times you can earn 5x bonus points just by going through the portal. So for the example above, if Staples is offering 5x points (which is does many times), you can get another 250 points.

This will then bring your total up to 500 points for this 1 FREE item. Now the kicker is that many times you are able to a) apply a coupon to the order and actually make money, and b) order more than 1 products (sometimes up to 10). So in this example, if you are able to order 10 items, that will actually next you 5,000 points for FREE. But remember, there are times you might have to pay sales tax, so take the word FREE with a grain of salt (although there are some tricks).

Before I continue on to the current deals, there are a few things I want to point out:

  • On some items and in some states you might have to pay sales tax. If the software is not an actually CD to install, but instead a download, pick an address in a state with no sales tax (i.e., CA, NH, FL, etc).
  • If there is no free shipping, select for the item to be shipped to the store (if possible), as this will typically give you free shipping.
  • If you’ve already purchased the item previously, look at the rebate number to see if you are eligible again. If it is the same you WILL NOT receive the rebate, if it is different, you are eligible.
  • At Staples, they will automatically select to sent you a Visa gift card, however, you are able to change your rebate option and select a check instead.
  • For Staples purchases you are able to use your Staples Rewards Dollars to make these purchases – one great way to trade them in for cash.
  • For Norton rebate products, make sure to CIRCLE the purchase price on the invoice or order confirmation email.
  • For Kaspersky rebate products, make sure to TAPE the UPC to the registration form; these rebates can take awhile to receive in the mail as well.
  • Some have reported having their account closed if doing this one too many times with a coupon code where they actually make money – to avoid this purchase all items as a guest.
  • This website site here does a great job at organizing the bonus points from the online shopping portals.
  • ALWAYS make a copy of the rebate, receipt, and UPC code you are submitting in case there are any issues (this is why the online rebate forms are the best!).
  • This will take some effort and organization on your part. You will need to keep track of mailing in your rebates on time and ensure you get the rebate check back in the mail. So you need to be on top of this.
  • Many of these are software programs. If you do not need then, I am sure a local school, nursing home, non-profit, etc. would love to have them donated!

Current Free After Rebate Deals:

Item: Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security 2012 (1-User) [Download] (Item #:368662)

  • Store: Staples
  • Maximum quantity: 10
  • Rebate number: 12-14521
  • Deal: Item costs $20 after savings, but receive a $20 rebate per item
  • Coupon code: 99618 will give you $15 off of a $150 order
  • Total cost: $185, but will receive $200 back in rebates, thus making $15 (if purchasing 10 of these items)
  • Expiration: 8/18
  • Shopping portal points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 4x points
    • Chase Sapphire: 4x points
    • Chase Ink Bold: 5x points
  • Total points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 985 points
    • Chase Sapphire: 985 points (800 from shopping portal and 185 from regular spend)
    • Chase Ink Bold: 1,850 points (925 from shopping portal and 925 from regular spend)
  • Tips/Hints: This is a download version so ship to a friend in a state with no sales tax (New Hampshire, Florida, etc.). This is also an easy online rebate, no sending in forms!

Item: QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll 2012 for Windows (1-3 Users) [Boxed CD] (Item #365837)

UPDATE: A reader pointed out that you MUST activate this product and to activate it QuickBooks Simple Start is needed. Sorry about this confusion, but because of the ambiguity, I’d advise against purchasing this one. If you already purchased you can see if you can cancel the order or just return it to your local story.

  • Store: Staples
  • Maximum quantity: 1
  • Rebate number: 12-96126
  • Deal: Item costs $199.99 after savings, but receive a $200 rebate
  • Coupon code: 99618 will give you $15 off of a $150 order
  • Total cost: $184.99, but will receive $200 back in rebates, but I paid about $16 in taxes, thus costing me $1 total.
  • Expiration: 8/18
  • Shopping portal points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 4x points
    • Chase Sapphire: 4x points
    • Chase Ink Bold: 5x points
  • Total points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 985 points (800 from shopping portal and 185 from regular spend)
    • Chase Sapphire: 985 points (800 from shopping portal and 185 from regular spend)
    • Chase Ink Bold: 1,850 points (925 from shopping portal and 925 from regular spend)
  • Tips/Hints: If you’ve already used the coupon code once, log off your account and check out as a guest.

Item: Symantec Norton 360 6.0 – 3 User (Item #N82E16832408381)

  • Store: Newegg.com
  • Maximum quantity: 1
  • Rebate number: 12-13323
  • Deal: Item costs $64.99 after savings, but receive a $50 rebate (this rebate will come in the form of a Visa pre-paid gift card, which might not be desirable to some)
  • Coupon code: EMCNBJF239 will give you $13 off your order
  • Total cost: $51.99, but will receive $50 back in rebates, thus costing me $1.99 total.
  • Expiration: 8/20
  • Shopping portal points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 5x points
    • Chase Sapphire: 5x points
    • Chase Ink Bold: 5x points
  • Total points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 312 points (260 from shopping portal and 52 from regular spend)
    • Chase Sapphire: 312 points (260 from shopping portal and 52 from regular spend)
    • Chase Ink Bold: 312 points (260 from shopping portal and 52 from regular spend)
  • Tips/Hints: There will be no shipping cost or sales tax unless you live in California, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

Item: Symantec Norton Internet Security 2012 (3-User) (Item #N82E16832408373)

  • Store: Newegg.com
  • Maximum quantity: 1
  • Rebate number: 12-13324
  • Deal: Item costs $64.99 after savings, but receive a $50 rebate (this rebate will come in the form of a Visa pre-paid gift card, which might not be desirable to some)
  • Coupon code: EMCNBJF239 will give you $12.50 off your order
  • Total cost: $50.00, but will receive $50 back in rebates, thus costing me $0 total.
  • Expiration: 8/27
  • Shopping portal points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 5x points
    • Chase Sapphire: 5x points
    • Chase Ink Bold: 5x points
  • Total points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 300 points (250 from shopping portal and 50 from regular spend)
    • Chase Sapphire: 300 points (250 from shopping portal and 50 from regular spend)
    • Chase Ink Bold: 300 points (250 from shopping portal and 50 from regular spend)
  • Tips/Hints: There will be no shipping cost or sales tax unless you live in California, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

Item: Corel Paintshop Pro X4 (Item #N82E16832106100)

  • Store: Newegg.com
  • Maximum quantity: 1
  • Rebate number: 12-98801
  • Deal: Item costs $59.99 after savings, but receive a $50 rebate
  • Coupon code: EMCNBJF29 will give you $9.99 off your order
  • Total cost: $50.00, but will receive $50 back in rebates, thus costing me $0 total.
  • Expiration: 8/22
  • Shopping portal points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 5x points
    • Chase Sapphire: 5x points
    • Chase Ink Bold: 5x points
  • Total points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 300 points (250 from shopping portal and 50 from regular spend)
    • Chase Sapphire: 300 points (250 from shopping portal and 50 from regular spend)
    • Chase Ink Bold: 300 points (250 from shopping portal and 50 from regular spend)
  • Tips/Hints: There will be no shipping cost or sales tax unless you live in California, New Jersey, and Tennessee. This item is limited quantities.

Item: Kaspersky Pure 2.0 – 3 user (Item #N82E16832355044)

  • Store: Newegg.com
  • Maximum quantity: 1
  • Rebate number: 43710
  • Deal: Item costs $60.00 after savings, but receive a $60 rebate
  • Coupon code: None
  • Total cost: $60.00, but will receive $60 back in rebates, thus costing me $0 total.
  • Expiration: 8/22
  • Shopping portal points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 5x points
    • Chase Sapphire: 5x points
    • Chase Ink Bold: 5x points
  • Total points earned:
    • Chase Freedom: 360 points (300 from shopping portal and 60 from regular spend)
    • Chase Sapphire: 360 points (300 from shopping portal and 60 from regular spend)
    • Chase Ink Bold: 360 points (300 from shopping portal and 60 from regular spend)
  • Tips/Hints: There will be no shipping cost or sales tax unless you live in California, New Jersey, and Tennessee. This item is limited quantities.

I actually took advantage of all of these except the Symantec Norton Internet Security 2012 as I did not want another Visa gift card as a rebate. The other Norton Internet 360 one I bought as I actually have a need for it. In total I put $548 on my credit card (which is great because I need to meet my minimum spend for my Chase Ink Bold credit card!) and will get back $560 in rebates/Visa Gift cards. I will also earn a total of 4,672. Now many of you will not think the ones that are limited to 1 per person are worth it and I get that. Clearly the best ones are from Staples where you can order multiple items, submit the rebate online, and get 5x points by using your Chase Ink Bold card. But if you need any of the other items, then it is a great deal!

Did I lose you all yet?! Hope this helps you all hit any minimum spend you need to meet and earns you extra points along the way. You can learn more about the Chase Ultimate Reward programs and the associated credit cards here.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for this post! Please note: for QuickBooks Payroll, Staples site states that activation is required before rebate can be redeemed.

  2. Just wanna say you’re super awesome!!! I hope you can do this every month as I too have to hit credit card spends and this makes it so much easier to stay organized 🙂

  3. can you go thru the Chase Ultimate reward shopping portal, but pay with an american express card to get the shopping portal points. Or does chase require you use the chase card thru the shopping portal?

    I know you will get points on chase card and shopping portal, but I want to use a corporate amex card because it is a business transaction.

    • @Grant – I just bought a booklet yesterday and swore I paid 42 cents. How much are they? I wasn’t paying full attention though.

  4. Between postage and sales tax, I have stopped buying “free after rebate” items unless I actually intend on using them.

  5. I have been doing these rebates for years. A couple of pointers/cautions:

    1) Be careful with Staples when adding $ off coupons with downloadable software orders. People have reported having their accounts shut down or blacklisted because of it, not sure particular reason. To be safe, use guest account to checkout.

    2) In my region (upstate NY), Staples rewards program gives back 5% on my purchase in rewards dollar. If not using coupon and have Staples rewards account, $200 in FAR item gives you back $10 in Staples rewards.

    3) If you (eventually) have lots of Staples Rewards Dollars, one way to cash them out is through Staples Easy Rebate items, such as the one mentioned above. For example, if I have $200 in Staples Rewards, I can buy $200 worth of the above mentioned software using the $200 Staples Rewards, file rebate for $200, and get $200 in rebate check, thus cashing out rewards. Note: this does not work with OfficeMax. There is no easy way to cash out OfficeMaxPerks rewards.

    4) Norton rebates require you to CIRCLE PURCHASE PRICE on invoice or order confirmation email, so make sure you do that!

    5) For Kaspersky rebates, make sure you TAPE THE UPC on registration form.

    6) Kaspersky rebates and other rebates handled by rebateshq often do take the entire 12 weeks before you get your rebate checks, so be patient!

    7) Keep copies of whatever you submit! Once in a great while, I get response about a rebate where they say my UPC was missing, hence submission is invalid. I reply back with a copy of the UPC and explain to them I made copies of everything I submitted and re-assured them I submitted everything. They all eventually approve my submission!

    @DWL: feel free to add any of the above to your post, if you deem them helpful to readers.

  6. You should be aware with the Norton that comes in a VISA prepaid gift card that you really cant account for all the points you received from the credit card spend since you will not get points when you use the VISA gift card. You just moved the timing of the payment and earning of the points.

    Also, given the bonus points you get through referal links, you can come out well ahead even when factoring in the cost of a stamp / envelope.

  7. You say in hints you can buy all 5 at once and the $13 coupon will be applied to each item. But I only see 4 Newegg items and one mentions a $9.99 coupon. Can you clarify?

    • @Devon – Thanks for pointing this out. Originally I thought you could get up to 5 rebates per person then saw it is limited to one and never took out the “hint” piece. Thanks and don’t worry about that “hint”

  8. @Devon I believe EMCNBJF239 only applies to the Norton products, and EMCNBJF29 only applies to the Corel product. Not sure what the hint meant either. I placed my Norton and Corel items separately as I wanted the invoices to be simple.

    Each promo code can only be applied once per Newegg account, so you’ll need to order both Norton products together to get discount off on both.

  9. how do you come up with $548?
    all rebates seems only can be used once per purchase…
    I am adding 1 ea for the 3 items in neweggs deal, I only come up 184 + $13tax (excluding Symantec Norton Internet Security 2012 (3-User)).

    Am i missing something here?

  10. for Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security 2012, can I get $200 rebate by submitting one order number and the rebate number if 10 items were purchased in one order ?

    • @Jimwei – Yes, when you purchase the order you can actually submit the rebate information immediately. They give you the link and all the information. You will only need to submit once.

  11. Another caution: For those who “shipped” to tax-free states, when filing the Staples Easy Rebate, make sure the “ship-to zip code” is indeed the shipping address/store zip code and not billing zip code. You won’t have a problem if you clicked the Easy Rebate link from your order confirmation email as that link pre-fills for you. But having the wrong zip-code will cause many many troubles!

  12. Did anybody buy QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll 2012 for Windows and submitted a rebate? Reading the instructions for this software, you have to purchase it and activate before 8/18/12, but send rebate before 9/22/12. This is quite strange requirement, since this is a box cd, it might not arrive before 8/18. Am I reading this wrong and you can activate this after 8/18? Also, there are some posts on SD about this deal, where people say you have to have some kind of QuickBooks software to activate this QuickBooks Payroll.

  13. is there a way to avoid the tax from neweggs? tax kind of kill the deal for me in CA.
    or did i count it right? using chase freedom.

    • @Chris – Unless you have a friend you can ship it to in another state and then have them give it to you, although that sounds like a hassle to me!

    • @Kenny – Staples puts out their circulars Sunday mornings where you can see many of the FAR deals. There are many threads out there on Slickdeals as well discussing FAR opportunities. I will start communicating them out when they are good and the blog frequentmiler does a great job on announcing these as well.

  14. Same question as Sergey. I’m curious about the activation condition for the QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll. Do anyone know if that requires any form of extra payment or any other pre-req S/W?

    • @Jay Raj and Sergie – From what I’ve read no actual activation is needed to get the rebate, but let me do some more digging.

  15. Oh, now I’m a little nervous. I just purchased the $199.99 Intuit QuickBooks Enhanced and it said the rebate is for those who purchase AND ACTIVATE it. Help? I’m not too computer savvy. What do we have to do to activate or is that really necessary in your experience? Also, the mouse print at ultimate rewards mall said the 5x points was not good on software. True?

    • @M. Jan Gradowitz – The past few months folks have been getting the points for software purchases. While I cannot promise that trend will continue, it’s been working thus far.

  16. After reading the last 10 pages of the SlickDeals thread. I would advise all to NOT get the QuickBooks Enhanced.

    Rebate requires a Payroll Service Key obtained through activation. Activation IS required and in order to activate, you will need either EIN or a company ID obtained from registering their QuickBooks Simple Start.

    The QB Enhanced was meant to be an extension of QuickBooks Simple Start, hence the extra requirement to obtain the PSK

    • @Ted F – Thanks for this. The rebate does state: “:Complete Original Rebate Redemption Form, Original UPC, and Payroll Service Key.” It also states that the 16-digit Payroll Service Key can be found on the confirmation email receipt received after activating the product.” So yes, you must register it. I do not know much about Quickbooks Enhanced, so if it requires QuickBook Simple Start, then you are correct, this will not be advisable, sorry for the confusion. However, are you positive that a EIN or company ID is needed?

  17. Thanks all for the heads-up on Quickbooks Payroll and the activation requirement. Just called Staples and they were very helpful in cancelling my order.

  18. @DWL Well, the only firm record so far has been that valid EIN or company ID is needed. Others have contemplated using SSN or simply random 9 digit number to try and see if it would work (betting that system is not that advanced to validate number), but so far, no one has ventured with such.

    http://slickdeals.net/f/5024962-Staples-In-Store-Deals-7-pk-Zebra-Z-Grip-Retractable-Ballpoint-Pens-Free-after-4-rebate-8-pk-Staples-2-Pencils-0-25-100-pk-HP-Everyday-4-x6-Gloss-Photo-Paper-1-after-9-reb?p=52455970#post52455622 onwards

    For those deeming this rebate too much of hassle and want to return item, make sure not to open it!

  19. @DWL No worries! I’d be going through this stuff anyway, it’s how I make my minimum spends! Just sharing what I would know anyway!

  20. Just talked to Staples about cancelling my order for the QB Enhanced. They are unable to cancel but stated that I can return it to the store, as long as it is unopened… Just FYI for everyone.
    I actually think I will go ahead and activate the software, since I do have a legit EIN number to use, and submit for the rebate.

  21. Hi. Please clarify. The T&Cs on the Chase UR site state that for Staples, software is not eligible. Isn’t the first deal considered software? Thanks

    • @Maury – You are correct, the T&C does state that, however, people have still been getting the points for these transactions.

  22. Can you please clear the following issue for me (Ted touched on it). When I buy at Staples and ship to a tax free state, can the rebate be mailed to me directly or it has to go to that state.
    Thanks!

    • @James – The rebate will get sent to you. You are allowed to ship to a store, so select this option, select a store in a tax free state, and you are good to go.

  23. Donating unneeded products to a nonprofit organization will earn ou a tax deduction plus help someone in need. Only goods, not services, are tax deductible.

  24. So I made two purchases at NewEgg, one with Norton products and one with the Kaspersky & Corel. One tracked in UR account and one didn’t even though they were 10 minutes apart. I got full credit on one for the amount BEFORE the promotion code was applied.

    It’s taken 2 weeks with Chase message customer service but they are denying my 2nd NewEgg because of the promotion code. How does that make any sense….should I submit a new request on a new message to try to get a different agent?

  25. This is an older post, but all my searches point to it — is there a convenient way to find or do you have any tips on finding Staples FAR items? I check the local weekly but rarely see anything, and from comments on FT and other sites it seems like they are more common than I am finding.

    FW does a great job of pointing out Newegg and TD FAR items, and sometimes I check FAR sites like freeafterrebate.us, but the issue with a site like that is they often have very cheap items not suitable for manufactured spending, points, etc.

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