Getting to Know Ultimate Rewards: Earning Points

ultimate rewards earning

Ultimate Rewards may be the best flexible points program available. The points are easy to earn, flexible, and valuable. In this resource we’ll look at ways to earn Ultimate Rewards. In other resources I talk about using and transferring Ultimate Rewards.

Signup bonuses

At the time of this writing, there are four different publicly available Ultimate Rewards credit cards, with Chase having recently eliminated the Ink Bold. While sign-up bonuses go up and down, there are usually good bonuses available ranging from 40,000 to 60,000 points. (See: Best signup offers for the current bonuses.) If one were to sign-up for one card a year, it would be fairly easy to earn 50,000 points or more per year from the sign-up bonus.

Note: It used to be easy to sign-up for multiple Ultimate Rewards earning cards each year, however Chase has recently started to crack down. If you have opened five or more new cards across all banks during the past 24 months, it is very difficult to get approved.

Category bonuses

The Sapphire Preferred offers 2 points per dollar (2X) for restaurants and travel.The Freedom card offers 5X in categories that change each quarter. The Ink business cards offer 5X for cable, internet, phone, and office supplies; and 2X for gas and lodging (or 2X gas & dining for the Ink Cash). By using the right card for the right situation, many people can, on average, double the points they would otherwise earn with a 1X card. In other words, a person who spends $20K per year with their credit card should be able to earn 40K or more Ultimate Rewards points.

Shop Through Chase Portal

When shopping online, it can sometimes be a good idea to start at Shop Through Chase (log into Ultimate Rewards and then click on “Earn Points” and “Shop Through Chase”). By starting at the Shop Through Chase portal and clicking through to the merchant you want to shop with, you can earn bonus points for all of your shopping. Bonus points vary by merchant and tend to change monthly, but can range anywhere from 1X to 40X. Most often, though, you will see bonus points in the 1X to 10X range. Recently, for example, the mall offered a 3X bonus at stores like Walmart, Apple, Best Buy & Staples. Note these bonus points are in addition to points normally earned by the credit card itself. If we estimate that the average person would spend $250 per month shopping via the Ultimate Rewards Mall, and would average 3 bonus points per dollar, then that person would earn 9K points per year beyond what is earned through regular use of their credit cards. (It is a good idea to check CashBack Monitor to find the best payout rates for a variety of portals.)

99,000 points per year

With the techniques listed above, a person could easily earn about 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points per year. When transferred to United Airlines, that’s almost enough for a roundtrip ticket in business class to Europe.

Taking it further

In my daily blog (Frequent Miler), I often describe tricks for earning extra points. One example is to buy Visa and Mastercard or merchant gift cards at office supply stores using a Chase Ink business card. Since the Ink cards give 5X for office supply purchases, you can earn 5 points per dollar buying gift cards that would then be used to buy other things. This is a great way to average 5X for almost all purchases!

I hope this resource gave you some ideas for how to earn huge numbers of Ultimate Rewards points. In another section you can find examples of how to get the most value from those points. As always, if you have any questions, please ask!

Go to: Table of Contents - Credit Cards - Flexible Points Programs - Airline Programs - Hotel Programs - Earning & Managing Points - Miscellaneous

About Shawn Coomer - Senior Editor

Shawn Coomer has spent nearly a decade circling the globe for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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