Inking 5X: What’s safe?

In April, I posted “Why Chase cancels accounts (and how to protect yourself).”  In that post I warned people about dangers in maximizing credit card perks (like the Ink Bold’s 5X office supply category).  Specifically, I wrote:

Use tricks that maximize credit card perks in moderation.  For example, buying Visa gift cards at Staples to help meet the Ink Bold’s $5K spend requirement (for the signup bonus) should be fine if you spread out the purchases over several months.  If you suddenly start spending $10K per month at Staples, though, I expect you’ll get noticed (in a bad way).

Since writing that post, the Ink Bold’s minimum spend requirements have doubled to $10K in three months, and I posted a better way to leverage the Ink cards to earn 5X everywhere by buying Vanilla Reload cards at Office Depot (see “One card to rule them all”).  Later, Chase unveiled a new Ink card (the Ink Plus) with the same earning structure and signup bonus as the Ink Bold.  All of those happenings have combined to lead many people to spend lots of money at Office Depot stores.  There’s little doubt that Chase is well aware of this phenomenon, and they’re probably not happy since a 5X payout is far more than they earn from merchant transaction fees.

Account closures

In my post about why Chase cancels accounts, I wrote about people who took extreme advantage of Chase’s AARP 5% cash back, and others who took advantage of Chase Freedom’s 10 points per transaction (when combined with a checking account).  Chase shut down those accounts without warning and with no explanation.  At that time, I had not yet heard of anyone getting shut down for overuse of the Chase Ink 5X categories.

After I wrote “One card to rule them all,” some people asserted that they or a friend had been shut down.  Often, though, comments like these come from people who intentionally want to scare others away.  They want the deal to last longer for themselves and hope that scaring people away will help.  I didn’t give much credence to those comments at the time, but I saw them as a fair warning nevertheless.

More recently, though, I’ve received a couple of emails about account closures that seem legitimate.  One person admits that he not only bought lots of Vanilla Reload cards at Office Depot, but also did many other things to “manufacture spend”.  In his case, Chase called to question him about his account activity, but when he failed to adequately explain his purchases, they shut down his accounts.  If history is a guide, he should eventually get paid 1 cent per point for his point balance, but it may take a while.  I have much less information about the second person who was shut down.  Apparently he tried to log in one day, but couldn’t.  When he called Chase, one of the managers asked him a number of questions about his Office Depot purchases, so he assumes that those purchases are to blame for his shutdown.

Both of these recent stories are scary for those of us who buy gift cards and reload cards at office supply stores.  Were these guys really shut down because of their Office Depot transactions?  There are other possibilities.  Auditors may have identified them as bad credit risks.  Or, their overall spending behavior may have triggered alarms.  Maybe they regularly spent more than expected.  For example, they may have been spending more on their Ink cards than what they reported their business income to be on their credit application.  There are many possibilities, but unfortunately we’re unlikely to ever know the truth for certain. 

So, what’s safe?

People ask me this all the time.  Can they safely buy $1000 worth of Vanilla Reload cards per month?  $2,000?  $3,000?  $4,000?

Sadly, I simply don’t know.  I expect that the answer varies depending on your circumstances.  If you are a big spender with a thriving business and a long history of excellent credit scores, then I’m sure you can get away with much more than someone with otherwise low spending patterns, small reported business revenue, and a short credit history.

My advice is to examine your own situation as if you were a Chase auditor.  Do your spending patterns look suspicious?  Are you a bad credit risk?  Are you an unprofitable Chase customer?  If you answer yes to these questions, then reduce your office supply purchases accordingly.  Also consider your own risk tolerance.  If you find yourself stressed out over whether or not Chase will shut you down, it’s probably not worth playing this game.

Protecting yourself

Some people proactively cash out their points or transfer them to their favorite loyalty program (United, for example).  The hope is that if Chase cancels their accounts they will at least still have profited from the points earned.  It seems unlikely that Chase will try to claw back points already redeemed. 

Personally, I highly value the ability to move Ultimate Rewards points to various loyalty programs as needed.  I don’t know right now whether I’ll want to move my points to United or Hyatt, for example.  I also don’t know who’s account I’ll want to move the points to.  It’s great that Chase allows you to move points to other people’s accounts, and I highly value that option.

Another possible way to protect yourself is to move keep points as Ultimate Rewards points, but transfer them to a friend or relative (assuming the friend or relative is less likely to get shut down).  The risk with this approach is the possibility that this action will cause your friend or relative to get shut down as well.  I’m not saying that’s a likely outcome, just that it’s possible.

For ongoing discussions about this topic as a whole, see this FlyerTalk thread

My plan

For now, I’ll scale back my Office Depot purchases a little bit, and increase my use of Chase cards for non bonus spend.  No, the sky isn’t falling:  I’m still not convinced that Chase is gunning for people who buy gift cards and reloadables at Office Depot, but it makes sense to be cautious.

Reader experiences

Has Chase called you to ask you to explain your office supply purchases?  Have you or someone you know had your accounts shut down?  Please comment below.

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. The last few months I’ve had a rash of fake users commenting on my blog to ‘warn’ people off of deals, falsely claiming to have had accounts shut down. This has been an organized effort discussed on some ‘private’ deal sites, by people taking advantage of those very deals.

    That effort has made me MORE transparent in what I share. The organized effort hasn’t been just on my blog, I’ve seen threads on Flyertalk where literally HALF of the posts in a thread are ‘fake’ and then the thread which identifies a mileage-earning opportunity dies.

    So much misinformation out there.

    Kudos on doing a great job doing your own research and sharing your experiences here!

  2. I got the card about a month ago and the spend req of 10k was bit too much, so along with other small purchases like gas & home phone bill, i made 2 trips to OD within 3 weeks, everything went all right. I than tried using the card to pay my tmobile bill, got declined. I called chase and was transferred to fraud dept, wouldn’t explain and says she is a supervisor, asked me to leave a number for call back, transferred to manager ( both women from india) she says its under review and i insisted that she explain what the prob is, she than agrees to verify me with infos like, which county or have bank with that company or like that,
    the last question asked was regarding the purchases at OD, explained that i need some pcs, printers and school supplies for my family members.
    in the end, she unblocked my card.

    I have SP and freedom with big usages too.

  3. @Tenzin: Chase Fraud department is made up of American employees, based in America. So, what you’ve said is wrong information to mislead others. Don’t believe me? Call their fraud dept, you won’t ever get a person from “India”.

    @Gary: I agree with the organized effort theory. It has become real bad lately. Yet those entitled folks continue to believe they deserve it more than others. HOWEVER, I would take FM’s advice seriously about assessing your own situation before going all in. Just because you can do $4k/month ($50/yr), does not mean Everyone can afford to do so.

  4. I’m not sure if this has an impact but every time I make a $500+ purchase at Office Depot, I wait for the purchase to post to my account and pay it off the next day. I think it shows Chase that they can trust me. I do that with all of my other chase cards too.
    I went to an Office Depot store in Riverside somewhere and they had 20+ Vanilla Reload cards. I purchased 2 cards ($970 total) and then took 4 extra cards for future spending at other stores closer to my home. I’m going to over generalize a bit, but go to stores in ‘poorer’ areas because their customers are less likely to purchase the Vanilla Reload cards.

  5. The real piece of information I’d like to find out is whether Chase (and other CC companies in general) CAN find out WHAT items you buy at Staples or Office Depot.

    I am intrigued by this, so does anyone know? They of course see your total purchase amount, but do they see any itemizations?

    To me they’d be more wary of gift card purchases than normal purchases, when deciding to shut down someone. I’m also wondering whether online purchases (e.g. are any different than in person purchases (as far as itemization information goes).

    If anyone has any insight knowledge, let us know. Googling “can credit card companies know what you buy” was fruitless, though I know we ought to know that.

  6. The coordinated effort is pretty dumb, if you ask me. Having said that, if FM is saying that he thinks some of the stories are legit, that’s enough to back me off. Chase is just too too valuable to risk losing. I have 5-6 of their cards, and they all treat me really well.

  7. I wonder if your OD total is a round number (such as $1,000) throws up a red flag (i.e. no sales tax). I’ve never purchased a vanilla card, but everytime I go into OD to buy office supplies, I grab one $100 amazon, home depot, etc. I have the same question, how do they know what you purchase?

  8. I have also recently been dealing with fake comments on my site scaring people away from this and similar things (FM, if you want to compare IP addresses just hollar). However, I totally agree that I’m sure it is possible to get shut down with OD purchases, just like folks did with the AARP card. I just don’t think that it is near as prevalent (yet) as some comments make it seem to be. I don’t mean this at all in a bad way, but if it were, I’m sure you and some of your active readers would be some of the first to know. 😉

  9. @code, seriously ! if you think i am making this up be it.

    you think you are always 100% right?

    get a life! i am not interesting in ruining this post with accents of card company reps.

    fools like you are why there is always something wrong in our society!

  10. @Grant – I disagree with you on being less suspicious by making a payment right after a charge hits your card. That is out of the norm, thus more suspicious. Unless you are running out of credit there is no need to do this.

    @James – They do not get a list of what you purchase. Now, one exception that I’ve seen is TIP when at a restaurant. I don’t remember what card that was on or when it was, but I have definitely seen my total charge broken out on the transaction line to display that. This makes sense though since the restaurant gets a pre-auth for your meal then adds on tip after.

    We are going to continue chugging along with OD purchases on Ink and will actually ramp up to more per month once we are finally done with spending requirements on my wife’s 6 card churn (until my next churn and new spending requirements at least, ha). We certainly go through too many cards to come close to $50k/yr on one of our Ink cards, so that is not a worry.

  11. Folks are getting shut down, and it is an issue. However, you’ve got to consider that most blog readers aren’t going to push the limits like those on the private site. So with that being said, I wouldn’t worry about it.

    Bloggers need to stick together and assure the readers there is probably nothing to worry about.

  12. I have been doing 6K a month on Vanilla cards in Dallas since May. So far, 32K with probably 2-3K in “Normal” none-OD purchases.

    Have had no issues yet. Plenty of Vanilla cards around multiple OD locations in Dallas. I’ll probably slow down as I got 18K spend within 6 months on Amex and Citi cards that I need to meet. So cant afford the non-OD purchases to be placed on Ink.

    I’ll probably cut down to 2-4K a month going forward.

  13. I stopped frequenting OD stores ever since they suspended my card and grilled about the abnormal big transaction. Just not worth when you thinkof the long term.

  14. @james

    It depends on what level of information the merchant is sending to the payment processor. Level I data is the most basic, level II contains item category, and level III is line item detail. The more data a merchant sends the lower the processing fee. However lots of merchants feel there sales data is private and don’t like to send level III. The main user of level III data are Corproate card users.

    For example charge something at Macy’s with an American Express card. You will get a breakdown of what you purchase right on the statement.

  15. @CodeAdam10

    I have gotten a call from Chase’s fraud department because of a supicious purchase (I bought Guild Wars 2 for my brother) online. She had a thick Indian accent.

  16. I had all my chase accounts shut down recently when I requested a limit increase on Ink Bold (despite being charge card I still had a “limit” of 5k). I am fairly sure it was my GC purchases (was doing about 5-6k a month as I wanted to hit $50k limit by year end and got card in March, waited for 6th Statement to ask for CLI). Was put on hold for ~10 mins while request processed. I was then asked about my purchases(~5-6 1k OD purchases plus a few misc charges to mix things up totaling $1-200 per month) which I answered were office supplies and a few computers for my business. I was then put on hold again and was told “Chase has decided not to continue the relationship” and that I would receive more information in the mail. Notice said “not used as intended” My credit is decent(780 fico, 5 inq in last two years, 3 this year less than $4k balances over $100+k total limits etc, never late). I would advise anyone else doing this to avoid asking for increase or anything else that would require someone higher up than basic rep to take notice of account. Prehaps one larger purchase might be easier to explain as tech upgrade or something than my weekly purchases.

  17. From my experience, I got Ink bold from July 2012 and spend 47k on reloadable cards in three months. And every time I bought at least 3.5k. Because of the quota, I applied for Ink plus this Sep and got approved with high credit limit. And I bought 12k in two OD trip. There is nothing happened. The only problem is that it is harder and harder to find vanilla reloadable cards recently.

  18. I had my cards shut down last month after 4 month’s of having it. The bastards wouldn’t do anything about it. I wisb I didn’t get this card in first place.

  19. I have not had any issues with Chase yet… Primary issue for me has been on the re-loadable card side… Mio freaked out and I had to send them scans of every card I had loaded and receipts for every purchase. (Be sure to save receipts…) Office Depot Manager even told me that they called the store to ask about me. Still closed my account and I had to send a certified mail letter to get my money back…

    From what I have read, it does not seem like the Chase adverse action is widespread on the ink, yet… The thing that worries me is the massive crackdown that came out of nowhere with AARP. If you read the heavy hitters thread on Fatwallet, there are people banned from Chase 5 years ago that still can’t get a card…

  20. Same good experince so far despite averaging $2.5-$3K per OD visit on reload cards. applied last week for the new Ink (already reached the $50k/yr in office supplies/Telecomm/internet on this one)and was denied. Called the reconsideration line and asked for the resason. they said standard procedure if you apply for a business card and already have one. The only reson the Rep asked is why I needed the card. I mentioned that I averaged $5k-$$8k a month in office supply spending related to business and would prefer the benefits of a credit card instead of a charge one. He noted that he could see my OD purchases and stated that this woiuld be a plus for my reconsideration. Put me on hold for 2 minutes and came back to congrat me on the new card. Way less questioning than when calling to reconsider a personal card denial. Just my experience.

  21. And they say bloggers are ruining the deals for everybody? Hah! I think it’s the people running $5-6k/month through OD purchases when they have “an ebay business” with profits of $1000/year! Get a grip people! Why can’t you be happy with $1-2k/month? That’s still 60k-120k miles per year! Stop being so greedy and ruining it for everybody! And then blaming the bloggers for your greed when it gets shut down. Just ridiculous!

    There are plenty of other ways to generate miles so learn other tricks and diversify. Why put all your eggs in one basket anyways?

  22. Any one knows if the Ink qualifies for the 7% annual bonus or is it just the personal Sapphire? Thanks for your time.

  23. @Daniel – Very interesting. Given that these are business cards, is it more likely that more likely that Level II/III data is being transferred?

  24. I got the Ink Card a few months ago. I put around 25K a month in non-office depot business expenses on the card.

    Do you think i’m running any risk buying 1-2K a month in vanillas?

  25. Is it me or is it tough to get a read on some of these comments? I feel like there’s a lot of misinformation being thrown out there to spook people, and the fact that a lot of the grammar in these posts is horrible makes me think that even more so.

  26. @Meow – If you can backup a business that requires that spend level, I really doubt you will have any issues. Much more likely to be issues for folks that only spend at OD.

  27. If they ask you to justify your spend. Why cant you just say you buy stuff at Office Depot at a discount and you resell it? Profits can be justifiably small but you can justify bigger(if you make 1K annual profit, revenue can be at 50K/5% return).

  28. Anyone have information about Vanilla Reload availability. Most OD around Anaheim/Irvine in Southern CA seem to be out. There were some posts on FM’s thread from 9/26 about OD stopped carrying Vanilla Reloads due to “XYZ” issues. Is there any truth to this, or another example of false information being spread?

  29. I can’t imagine what they would ask but if they were to ask about office depot purchases, my only excuse would be that I shop at costco a lot for my business and that they don’t accept mastercard. Therefore, I have to buy american express gift cards to go and buy things from there

  30. Quite a range of responses. It looks like some report having had no problem buying 3k or so per visit. That’s encouraging. The main problem so far appears to be finding stores that have the reload cards in stock.

  31. Today AMEX sent e-mail, saying that prepaid AMEX card (call BlueBird) is going to be discontinued on December 8. In the e-mail, last 4 digits of the card correspond to my AMEX prepaid card. The new card will be launched on December 8 with Walmart’s partnership. From description of the new card, I don’t see an options to load new AMEX prepaid card using Vanilla reload. FM,have you heard anything on this subject?

  32. @SP- I think there is a lot of bad info being spread. The day after someone reported all reloads were being removed, I purchased some. The store I went to had a large display with plenty of reloads. I plan to lay off the reloads for a bit but I don’t think the deal is quite dead.

    • Yes, Amex is coming out with a new prepaid product with Walmart. It looks like the new card will be loadable with Vanilla Reload packs (see this and search for Vanilla). I’m confused right now about our current prepaid cards. I too got an email that suggested that one of my current prepaid cards is the old Bluebird product, but I’m not sure that’s right. Let’s give it a week or two to iron itself out and see where it goes. If our existing Prepaid cards are being retired then there’s a nice cash-out option now!

  33. @Joe Basco–you were running 100-110% of your limit EVERY month. Doesn’t matter if you pay it off early or are never late.

  34. I have two Amex Prepaid cards, one is converted AMEX Prepaid I purchased from OD. This is the one I just got the email for, saying it will be off on 12/8. I have another one I ordered directly from the AMEX website, and haven’t received the email for it yet. Fingers crossed.

  35. @The Kaptain

    It all depends on the retailer. For corporate cards processors highly request level II or III data since they push it as a selling point to corporations (full detail on what your employees are buying.). I was at one Corporate Card conference where a certain bank highlighted issues about employees charging things to corporate cards they shouldnt be and how I address this.

    I’m not sure if this is the same case for small business cards like Ink

    Either way chase could find out what you are buying by inquiring with the merchant. I don’t see why Chase would crack down since they limited their downside with a cap of $50k. I would think they would be more worried about churning cards. But that is just my opinion.

  36. @ Will
    Same situation with me. I got the cancellation email for my AMEX prepaid card which was purchased at OD and then converted. However, my wife’s card, which was ordered directly from the AMEX website, has not yet received the email.

  37. Maybe these discontinuation emails are because the old walmart Bluebirds (walmart/amex version of prepaid card) is being discontinued and replaced with a new product so the email is meant for them, and the display sold (non Bluebird) temp AMEX prepaid cards have mistakenly been included in the email.

  38. I don’t see any difference between my AMEX prepaid card (bought at OD/converted later by AMEX) and my wife’s card (got from AMEX directly).

  39. The best part of the Reuters story is: “Shares of prepaid card companies Green Dot Corp and NetSpend Holdings Inc fell nearly 20 percent and 6 percent, respectively on Monday, as the entry of bigger players with deeper pockets stands to pressure the business of the companies that pioneered these products.”
    Very nice! Time for Netspend to get their comeuppance.

  40. As pointed out here, AMEX will issue a refund check for those cardholders, who doesn’t want to convert their card to new BlueBird. But, if you wish to do so, you will get one-time $20 credit from AMEX. Maybe it is not as lucrative to get full cash from your prepaid card, though.

  41. If someone wants to know information about what “level” of data OD is transmitting, let me show you what I can see from my AMEX SPG BUSINESS card….

    While Sears, Macys and other department stores DO INDEED give you a line item of what you purchased, Office Depot merilly says “retail”. That leads me to believe that they are NOT transmitting that you purchased gift cards.

  42. Oh man. I hope the new card can be loaded with vanilla.

    But I’m loving this “Cash Out” option. Going to top up my 6 cards to 15K and wait for the checks in the mail!

  43. So maybe all the store bought temp AMEX prepaids go Bluebird (if the bluebird email was not mistakenly sent to those cards? Looks like same features as the generic AMEX prepaid card ordered from AMEX, just add Walmart affiliation.

  44. Oh, and another data point on the “bluebird” thingy. I *too* got a note…from a converted prepaid card at OD. I did NOT get notes on my 2nd prepaid AMEX or on my Wife’s prepaid AMEX (both ordered from AMEX directly). I was wondering the correlation until Will pointed it out. So I’m confirming his theory based upon my data points.

    I *too* also eyed this as a GREAT cashout opportunity. Load $2k more on the card and then request a check! That’ll help my min spend on my SPG Business AMEX 😀

  45. @Gabriel – good to know.

    However I suspect that it may be more complicated than this when dealing with gift cards and prepaid cards. Normal card fees (that goes to Visa, AMEX etc) are in the 2.5-5% range. When buying a $500 reload card for $3.95 this is far below the commission that would be due from a $500 retail sale. Also the $3.95 fee has to be shared with the retailer which exaggerates this effect even more.

    As such, I suspect on the face of it Chase etc. only sees ‘Retail’ purchase from OD but if they looked further could figure out that this was gift card/ reload card spending for which they get minimal payout.

    Their payout tells them what you are buying.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised if in their back-end systems they track not just total spend by account but profitability of account. And this is what they use to decide if they want to waive their annual fees when you call to cancel etc.

    All this goes to say is to reaffirm what FM says – don’t assume you’re smarter than Chase and make sure Chase gets something out of the relationship too.

  46. @FrequentMiler!

    I think it’s time for you to create a new post on this Bluebird closure and what it means to existing prepaid cards.

    This NEW development is hijacking this post.

  47. Russell — so how would they know what you’re buying if you get a pack of pencils with the Vanilla card?

  48. From the comments it sounds like the Amex cards purchased from OD are considered part of the Bluebird conversion while the prepaids obtained directly from Amex are not, yes? I have two via the direct from Amex route.

    With the Buebird cash out option, does it therefore make sense to go out and get an Amex prepaid from OD? How many Amex prepaids can one have?

    Also, has anyone taken extra empty Vanillas from OD for later loading (since they seem hard to find)? I’m wondering if OD thinks that is acceptable. I was in an OD on a road trip that had 50+ Vanillas, it was like hitting the mother lode. 🙂 Thanks.

  49. @frequent churner

    They won’t know what you are buying just what type of thing you are buying.

    Pack of gum or a PC – both will earn a commission as a retail purchase.

    Gift card or reload card purchase – special commission rate. They probably have no idea which card you are buying, just that the sale was not a regular retail sale.

  50. That’s odd, I thought merchants can’t pay less based on what they sell, except for PIN Debits. I found a Visa merchant fee schedule online and it doesn’t show that fees are different based on type of product purchased.

  51. @ Frequent Churner,

    This is just a hypothesis. I don’t know for sure.
    It just seems illogical that Visa would charge 2.5%+ of a $500 transaction for a Visa prepaid card. They get their cut when you actually spend the Visa prepaid card.
    This is why they don’t let you use them as debit cards to get cash – as they don’t get a cut of the spend then.
    Everything is contractual – so Visa / MC could very easily have specific rate for specific categories of products – just like when you use a debit card at the store and get cash back – the cash back component does not generate commission the same way. This can only happen if they have a way to categorize spend.

  52. I think most problems that ppl experience w/ Chase, CC, Amex (and even Netspend) in regards to account closings is mediated by unadulterated (American-style) GREED!

    No sense by most churners, whatsoever, about what it takes to develop a sustainable (!), mutual beneficial relationship. For example, I am still going strong on Netspend. Being able to charge rent, utilities, etc. for $1 (vs. 3.5% thru other venues).

    I’ll still be reaping benefits when all the $8k/mo NS wonders (or INK Bold wonders), will long have been shut out.

  53. Interchange rates are set rates and do vary by industry and payment type. for example grocery pays less than retail. Gas stations that have you enter your zip code pay less than those that do not. Online transactions cost less when you ask for cvv. All based on fraud. Fraud is less at grocery than retail, asking for zip proves the card is yours. Having cvv means card was present at time of transaction.

    In addition to interchange a merchant pays a processing fee. This is set amount vs rate. This fee is negotiable with the payment processor. Volume would get discounts on this fee but not interchange.

  54. @Ben – It’s what we are all trying to figure out here. How do you determine what is a safe amount? You post you use your Netspend card for rent and utilities, anything else? Do you ever do any ATM withdrawals or just pay bills?

  55. Also found it very interesting when I was told the interchange rate is higher for reward cards vs non rewards cards. The merchant pays a few basis points more for us to earn airline miles, etc. The part I’ve always wanted to know and haven’t been able to find someone to share with me is how is the interchange fee spilt up. The processing fee goes to the processor a merchant uses, but how much of the interchange rate goes to the issuing bank (chase, citi, etc) and how much goes to the card type (visa, mc).

    I’ve always been told that data is confidential.

  56. Since Chase sets limits on how many bonus points one can get in the 5x category, and the fact that the ink bold card has a membership fee, one would think that they let people max out on those points. They secretly hope that the 5x bonus entices people to pay the membership fee but end up using the card for all purchases, including the 1x purchases. But that’s not what they advertise.

    What’s wrong with only using the card for 5x purchases? If they call, tell them that you like to use the card at office depot because it pays 5x, but that there are better offers for other categories. They surely know that people have more than one credit card. Do the terms state that one can’t use the card to buy gift cards?

    Bottom line: If spending more than 25k a year in the 5x category is an issue, then what’s the point of having the ink bold? Might as well switch to the free ink card that offers 5x up to 25k. If they’ll still shut people down for spending 25k at 5x and people have to start worrying about their spending habits, then what good is the offer? Why disclose a limit in the terms of service that they won’t allow you to reach (or only under the assumption that not all purchases are 5x)? Put it in the TOS that, for example, in order to get the 5x points, you need spend at least the same amount in non 5x categories. Anything else is false advertising.

  57. @Jack. I do rent payment thru MO, utilities and credit card payments thru ACH. All via NS. Plus I throw them a bone every month (typically $500 in CC transactions).

    Between wife and me (separate acts), we get to turn-over $4k/mo. Almost all of which would otherwise not be available as a credit card transaction. Being able to redirect payments (NOT spending!!!) to the tune of $48k/a towards minimum spend, THAT’S WHAT I CALL A WIN!

  58. Ben — I was paying nothing but small bills as well with NS and got shut down. Didn’t thrown them a bone, but I’m smarter with my current prepaid cards and do put regular spend on there. The ones I have now also have much lower fees so I have an incentive.

  59. I have been abusing the 5X significantly,however, I am still alive. Is it because I have a lot of money in my savings and checking accounts I have with them, and two direct deposits?

  60. The September-October 2012 posts at seem to indicate that many of the heavy users of the Chase AARP credit card’s uncapped 5% 6 month rebate who had their credit cards cancelled by Chase and their rewards confiscated eventually got checks for their rewards, and some have successfully applied for new credit cards with Chase after only a few months.

    I suspect that these actions may be the result of former card holders filing complaints with regulatory agencies. If so, I suspect that the results may depend on the former card holders’ state of residence.

  61. Do not ask how much vanilla card you can purchase.

    Let’s say someone said $1,000 per month,

    Then Chase can close account at $999 (extreme case, of course)

    My point is that Chase is watching this website and posts all the time.

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