Just two days ago I was approved for the Ink Bold credit card. I already have an old Ink Bold (which I refer to as an Ink Old), but I’ll get another signup bonus from the new one because the new one is a different product. The new Ink Bold offers 5 points per dollar for office supplies, phone services, and cable bills and 2 points per dollar for gas and hotels. The Ink Old, on the other hand, offered only 1 point per dollar base (with some options to increase the payout a little bit).
The current offer for the Ink Bold, if you signup via a referral link (see Preparing for Miles), is 50K points after $5K of spend in 3 months. Unfortunately, it looks like this deal will go away soon (my guess is end of month) to be replaced with a $10K spend requirement. See Gary’s View from the Wing post for more information.
The +27K bonus plan
I love that the Ink Bold offers 50K Ultimate Rewards points as a signup bonus. To me, Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable points available, so 50K is awesome. However, I’m greedy and will happily do what it takes to earn even more! The trick is to spend the required $5K in ways that will earn as many points as possible. Here’s my plan:
Office Depot via Ultimate Rewards Mall: $100 = 1,500 points
Currently, Office Depot is offering 10 points per dollar for purchases made via the Ultimate Rewards Mall if you sign in with your Ink card. By going through the mall and making purchases that I need anyway, I’ll earn 10X from the mall and 5X from the Ink Bold’s office supply category bonus.
Staples Free After Rebate Downloads: $3000 = 21,000 points
Almost every week, a new deal is available in which you can buy “free after rebate” software from Staples. By going through the Ultimate Rewards Mall you can earn 2X bonus points, plus you’ll get 5X from the Ink’s office supply category bonus. Staples has been averaging about $1000 per month in available FAR deals so I hope to do $3000 worth in 3 months.
Note that some people see Staples at 3X in the Ultimate Rewards Mall so they will earn even more points!
Office Depot $500 Visa cards: $2000 = 10,000 points
As I posted a couple of days ago, it is possible, in person, to buy $500 Visa gift cards at Office Depot with only a $4.95 service fee. Purchases made at Office Depot count as office supply purchases, so these Visa cards will net 5X points! I’ll buy at least two of these and use them for non category purchases such as groceries and department stores.
Add it up
The plan shown above will return over 32,000 points with only about $5,000 spend. If all $5000 went instead to 1X purchases, you would gain only 5,000 points above the sign-up bonus, so this plan gives you an extra 27,000 points! In reality, of course, you would probably have a mix of 1X, 2X, and 5X purchases without this plan, so 27K extra is a bit of an exaggeration, but it sounds better than saying “between 0 and 27K extra”…
Note that the amounts shown are approximations of what will be spent. The Staples deals, in particular, will depend on what is available at the time.
As I wrote about a few days ago, Chase may cancel your accounts if they suspect you of abusing your card’s benefits. That being said, unless you have a very low credit limit, I do not think that spending $5K in 3 months on office supplies will raise any eyebrows. If you spend $10K per month all on office supplies, however, you may be at risk. No one but Chase (I suppose) knows the magic amount that is safe, so use your own judgment here.
If you do not have a Chase Ink card, you can read more about those and other cards on the Preparing for Miles page which can be found as a menu item at the top of every page on the Frequent Miler blog.
If you’re new to Frequent Miler, please start here