One of the benefits with the Chase Ink cards is that you earn 5x points at office supply stores on ALL purchases – doesn’t matter if your purchase is for pencils, laptops, office chair, store gift card, other merchant gift cards, Visa/Mastercard/Amex Gift cards, candy, etc. Your entire transaction will get you 5x points (up to a certain maximum depending on the card you use).
To maximize the points I earn, I typically purchase 5 $200 Visa or Mastercard gift cards a month at Staples since there is one just a flew blocks away from where a live. I have both a Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus card, but I use my Ink Bold primarily for my Staples purchases so I can keep track of very specific business expenses on my Ink Plus. Over the course of the month, this $1,034.75 purchase earns me 5,173.50 Chase Ultimate Reward points. I personally value these points at about $100. Usually though I am able to get a higher value on each point based on what the hotel actually costs, but that doesn’t actually mean I’d stay at that hotel for that price point.
Up until recently, you could only purchase $200 Visa or Mastercard gift cards in-store, but, via Dans Deals, you can now purchase the $200 Visa gift cards online! The reason why this is so valuable is that you can first go through an online shopping portal to make your purchase and hopefully earn points, miles, or cash back towards you purchase. And, you do not have to actually make the trek to the store! My favorites:
- TopCashBack.com – Has been a pretty steady 3% cash back and no where in the terms does it state that physical gift cards are excluded, it just says that e-gift cards will not earn the cash back.
- Swagbucks – Great option right now because they have increased the Swagbucks you’ll earn for Staples purchases from 2 SBs per dollar spent to 6 SBs per dollar spent. You can also cash out Swagbucks for as much as 10 cents per SB! I’ll write more about this online shopping portal, but you can really earn a lot!
- Chase Ultimate Rewards – You’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent. This is a higher value then TopCashBack.com if you value your UR points at 2 cents/point, but I’d rather get the money back now to cover the cost of the fees.
- ShopDiscover – 5% cash back, but you need to have a Discover credit card.
If you purchase $1,000 Visa gift cards a month, for example, you can cash those out via Amazon Payments. With Amazon Payments you can send up to $1,000/month via credit or debit card (Visa and Mastercard gift cards can also be used as debit cards).
While I know you are over paying for the value of the Visa gift card, the math really does work out:
- Purchase 5 $200 gift cards = $1,034.75
- Get 3% cash back via TopCashBack.com = $31.04 (Swagbucks can get you more if you cash out for merchant gift cards)
- So really you are paying $1,003.71 for $1,000 worth of gift cards and earning 5,173.50 Chase Ultimate Reward points
Over the course of the year, you can earn 62,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points! While this will cost you very little money out of pocket, there are some things to keep in mind:
- Some of the shopping portals are buggy and transactions are not always reported correctly. This means you have to be okay spending the extra points if they do not post as fighting with these portals can be tiring.
- Staples Visa gift cards can always sell out online. Although, they are available in store (but not always!)
- You will be using up your Amazon Payments allotment if you typically use it to meet minimum spend requirements.
- Points and miles can always devalue!
- There is the cost of your time, although the fact that you can order online means that your time spent earning these points is significantly reduced.
- The Visa gift cards are being sent through mail, so you need to keep on top of things to ensure you receive them and they do not get lost in the mail. That could propose a headache. Although I do not expect this to happen often at all.
- You are capped at the amount of points you can earn with the 5x bonus on all four Chase Ink cards – Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus you are capped at 200,000 bonus points ($50,000 spend) and Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Classic you are capped at 100,000 bonus points ($25,000 spend)
There are other ways to unload Visa gift cards as well, such as Walmart and Evolve bill pay, but since I do not live near a Walmart and do not have many bills to pay through Evolve, I do not go those routes.
If you are new to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you can read this prior blog series to understand the points values and redemption opportunities.
- Chase Ink Plus card: Get 50,000 points after you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months; $95 annual fee waived the first year.
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