Inking Money

The New Ink Bold credit card from Chase is quickly becoming my favorite points earning credit card.  Yes, you read that right:  I’m beginning to favor it over the Sapphire Preferred!  The reason?  The Ink Bold gives 5 points per dollar at office supply stores.  And, as I’ve written about before, you can go through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Staples and buy gift cards to effectively get 9 points per dollar for almost all of your purchases!  4 points per dollar come from the Ultimate Rewards Mall and 5 points per dollar come from the Ink Bold category bonus.

Does it really work?  Yes!

There are a few reasons why this double dip might not have worked: 1) often purchases of gift cards do not count for bonus points when shopping through an online portal; and 2) gift cards from Staples are actually shipped from GiftCardMall.com so there was some question as to whether you would even get the 5X category bonus from the Ink Bold.

Several readers have assured me that they have received the full 9 points per dollar with this trick, but I felt that I had to try it myself.  Going through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Staples, I bought a Lands End gift card and a Visa gift card.  It took over a week, but the points for both purchases posted!  Unfortunately, I don’t have the new Ink Bold (I have the older one without the category bonus), but I do see that the purchases show up on my account as coming from Staples, so I feel safe in saying that this trick will work!

Buying Money for 9X

If you’re planning to shop at a merchant for which Staples.com carries gift cards, then your best bet is to buy those gift cards as described here.  For other purchases, you still have a great option: buy $100 Visa gift cards for $105.95.  By using your Ink Bold through the Ultimate Rewards Mall, you will earn 106 X 9 = 954 points for this purchase.  You can then spend the Visa at any place for which the Ink Bold does not have a category bonus (grocery stores, for example).  For every $100 spent this way, you will earn 854 points more than you would have earned had you simply used your credit card directly.  At the Fair Trading Price of 1.31 cents each, those 854 extra points are worth $11.18: almost twice the fee of the gift card!  Even if you exchanged 600 of the points for cash to pay yourself back for the gift card fee, you would end up with 254 extra points (2.5X bonus in addition to the 1X non-category points).

Both are better

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Sapphire Preferred!  The best combination, without a doubt, is to get both cards.  With both cards, the trick is to log into the Ultimate Rewards Mall with your Sapphire account, click through to Staples, and then pay with your Ink Bold.  With this combination, the 4 bonus points from the mall will post to your Sapphire account and you will earn a 7% annual bonus on top of those points.  In other words, you will earn 9.28 points per dollar for all Staples.com purchases!

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. […] Triple dip anywhere var addthis_product = 'wpp-262'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true,"data_track_addressbar":false};if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}I’ve written before about how you can use the Chase Ink card to get 9 points per dollar when buying gift cards.  The idea is to “double dip” by starting in the Ultimate Rewards Mall and then using your Chase Ink to buy gift cards at Staples.com.  The Ultimate Rewards Mall will give you 4 points per dollar, and the Ink will give you 5 points per dollar (because the new Ink cards give 5X for office supply store purchases).  This is a really great return for merchant gift cards since you can buy them through Staples without any shipping, handling, or service fees.  You can read more about this approach here and here. […]

Comments

    • ucipass: Yep. The way I think about it is that you should look at only the incremental points you get over using your Ink Bold directly. So, with this trick, you pay $5.95 for 854 more points than if you simply spend $100 on your Ink Bold (at a non bonus merchant). So, you are buying UR points for $5.95 / 854 = .7 cents each. With the Sapphire Preferred thrown in, the price per point drops slightly to .67 cents each.

  1. My question.
    Let’s say you have 50k points in your S. preferred card and 50k points in Ink Bold.

    If you transfer 50k points from Ink Bold to S.preferred account, do you get 7% bonus at the end of the year for 100k or only for 50k you originally had in your S.preferred account?
    Thanks! I read your blog day and night!

    • rick: Thanks! I don’t think you’ll get the 7% bonus for points transferred into your Sapphire Preferred account, but it can’t hurt to try! I plan to do that not so much to get the 7% bonus, but to consolidate my points on the card I plan to keep indefinitely. I have the old Ink Bold, so once the annual fee comes up I plan to call and cancel it. In the meantime, I’ll signup for the New Ink Bold sometime this year for yet another 50K bonus!

  2. there’s an even better way to ink money. go through the URM to reserve rental cars from avis, no need to put in cc info, the points post within 7 days. that’s what I call a PPM

  3. some how my points for are not posting when i use ink bold through ink bold ur mall. It says “Small business registrations are not eligible”. I used Avis 3 times in the last one month and so far no points. My statement closes on 5th, is that when the UR bonus points post?

    • ikonos: Do you know how to find your UR mall points under “Ultimate Rewards Mall & Travel Earnings”? That is the place to look to see if transactions have posted. It is true that it isn’t until shortly after your statement close date that the points actually get credited to your account so that you can use them.

  4. Yeah, nothing other than a staples purchase is listed there. My first Avis purchase was about a month back and I reserved at the Avis website going through the UR mall. Did you guys get your Avis points using the Ink Bold or the Saphire card? I think the Ink Bold may not qualify for Avis because of the text “Small business registrations are not eligible”.

    • ikonos: I’m afraid I can’t answer you because I haven’t tried Avis. Even if I had, I would definitely have logged into the UR mall with my Sapphire Preferred so that the points would qualify for the 7% annual bonus.

  5. bravo for killing the very last off. supply GC deal by writing so much detail. Used to be able to do this at ALL off. supply stores- but quickly killed- now this one will be too

    • guest: sorry, in advance if that happens. I do my best to weed out the schemes that I think will be killed due to attention. This one, though, seems pretty safe to me since the burden is spread between Chase (who pays for the 5X) and Staples (who pays for the 4X). Big Crumbs / Amex still goes on despite lots of press.

  6. Just Brilliant!
    I believe I read somewhere that customers with the old Ink Card can ask for the new 50k bonus to be applied to the old card and they will get it. Have you tried this?
    To make this deal even more promising why not use this Visa Gift Card at mygofer.com through Ebates for grocery shopping and receive 4% cashback paying for most of the fee!

  7. I just purchased on 2/3/12 $300 worth of Southwest gc thru the UR Mall staples portal. THe ink card showed these as pending,but then the purchase never moved into the completed transaction column nor does it show the points gained thru UR mall, but I did recieve the gift cards. Any thoughts?

    • Jeff: Have you looked under Ultimate Rewards… Rewards Activity… Ultimate Rewards Mall & Travel Earnings ? That’s where I look to see if points are pending. The points don’t actually post to your account until your monthly statement closes.

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