How to see which purchases qualify for Chase Ink and Freedom bonus categories

I feel like a dummy.  I’ve struggled with this for years.  Chase Ink cards are great because the earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points and they offer a number of 2X and 5X bonus categories.  However, it has always been tough to figure out whether purchases you thought would earn a bonus really did.  The Chase Ink billing statement shows overall how many base points were earned and how many bonus points were earned, but it does not break this info down by purchase.  So, when I’ve needed to know, I’ve exported the statement data into Excel and calculated how many bonus points I thought should have been earned.  If my total numbers matched Chase’s, then all was good.  If the numbers didn’t match up, then I would look at the difference between Chase’s numbers and my own.  Let’s say, for example, that Chase awarded me 4,000 bonus points within the 5X categories.  That would mean that $1,000 in purchases qualified for 5X (1X base points and 4X bonus points).  If I expected only 3200 bonus points, then I knew that the discrepancy totaled $200 in charges.  If I had a single $200 charge on my statement, then it was a pretty good bet that that was the charge that unexpectedly earned 5X.

Now, Chase has made it much easier…  Here’s how:

1) Log into Ultimate Rewards

  • Log into your Chase account online
  • Click “Go to Ultimate Rewards”
  • If you have multiple accounts, select your Chase Ink account (or whichever account you want to examine)

2) Click “Rewards Activity”

  • Hover your mouse over the box that shows your point total
  • In the resulting drop down box, click “Rewards Activity”

which purchases qualify

Incidentally, if you want to move points between this card and another Ultimate Rewards card that you or your spouse own, you would click the link that says “Combine Points”.  For now, though, go to Rewards Activity.

3) Scroll past the junk

After clicking Rewards Activity, you’ll first see miscellaneous info.  Scroll down past this stuff until you see “Most recent activity”

which purchases qualify

4) Clearly see which purchases qualified

Compare earned points to the amount spent to see which purchases earned bonuses.  For example, in the first row shown below, I spent $600 at Staples but earned 3,000 points.  Clearly, I earned 5X.

which purchases qualify

5) Click “+” for more info

Now you’ll see the bonus information laid out explicitly.  No math required.  That was easy!

which purchases qualify

This works for Chase Freedom too

The exact same steps shown above can be used to identify exactly which charges qualified for the Freedom card’s 5X rotating categories.

What about Blueprint?

Some may point out that Chase also offers an online tool called Blueprint that shows your spending by category.  Isn’t that just as good?  It’s close, yes.  That said, there’s a small leap here in that you have to know that office supply stores earn 5X, for example, in order to know that all of the charges classified as Office Supply Stores did in fact earn 5X. And, with Chase Freedom 5X categories, especially, there’s no guarantee that the categories perfectly overlap with those in Blueprint.  I think that the method shown above is both easier and more certain.

 

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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Comments

  1. Many points & miles blogs indicate that purchasing gift cards at office supply stores counts for the 5x Ultimate Rewards, but for me it is posting as “Work Related” and not Office Supply stores, when I purchase them at Staples, and I am not getting the 5x bonus.

    • Its OK if it shows up as work related as long as you earn 5X. Did you look under the Ultimate Rewards section like I described above? I’ve never heard of anyone not earning 5X from purchases at Staples when paying with Chase Ink cards.

  2. Great tip. I got 5X on one of my Ebay Gift Card Purchases and only 1X on the other 3. Any ideas way? Do they only pay the bonus on PayPal Digital GC?

  3. Thanks, good to know. For Freedom and Sapphire you can do the same by logging onto Chase, look at the account activity and click on the “+” next to the transaction. Helpful when you try to figure out how close you are to the S1,500 quarterly limit for the Freedom bonus.

  4. Greg I am concerned about your neighborhood in that you could confuse a gas station with a restaurant. You gotta come out to the coast to clear all that up!

  5. I see in the Points column — Bonus earn — in blue between the number of points and the + symbol for purchases that earned bonus points. Makes it even easier to identify purchases that earned bonus points.

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