Chase Ink: Check your X

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The Chase Ink family of cards are, in my opinion, the most rewarding cards for those who collect points and miles.  The cards earn 5 points per dollar for office supplies, cellular, landline, and cable; and 2 points per dollar for gas and hotels.  Through tricks like the one described in the post “One card to rule them all” it’s possible to earn 5 points per dollar for all purchases.  It’s almost ridiculous how great this family of cards can be.

Chase gives 2X and 5X bonus points based on how the transactions are coded by each merchant.  Purchases made at Office Supply stores such as OfficeMax, Office Depot, etc. are generally awarded 5X regardless of what you buy.  This is not true, though, for phone and internet charges.  A reader found, for example, that he was not given 5X when he prepaid a Verizon bill.  When he called Chase to ask about this, he was told that the transaction was listed as an equipment purchase.  Chase awarded the 5X to him to make up for the mistake.  This reader’s example shows how important it is to check that you were awarded the proper number of points with each monthly statement.

How to check

I haven’t found an easy way to do this.  Chase’s billing statements do not show bonus points awarded for each transaction.  Instead, each monthly statement shows base points earned for all transactions (1 point per dollar), bonus points earned for 2X categories (an extra 1 point per dollar), and bonus points earned for 5X categories (an extra 4 points per dollar).  So, here is how I check my X:

  1. Log in to my online Chase account and view the most recent statement.
  2. Copy transactions from the statement to a spreadsheet application (e.g. Microsoft Excel)
  3. Check base points: Total dollars spent across all transactions should match the “+1 point per $1 earned on all purchases.”  You may be off by a few points depending on how Chase rounds the transactions for awarding points.
  4. Check 2X points: Add up all of your hotel and gas transactions.  The total dollars spent should match the 2X bonus points earned (give or take a few due to rounding error).  Look for something like “+1 pts per $1 gas, lodging” on your statement.
  5. Check 5X points: Add up all of your office supply, cellular, landline, and cable transactions.  Multiply the total by 4.  The total should match the 5X bonus points earned (give or take a few due to rounding error).  Look for “+4 pts per $1 intrnt, cable, phone, ofc sply st” on your statement.

The hardest part is when the points don’t match up.  Then, you need to figure out how big the discrepancy is in order to figure out which transactions were coded differently than you expected.  If you feel you were not awarded points correctly, call Chase or send them a private message asking for the additional points.  They’re usually very good about such things.  If you don’t get a adequate response, don’t feel bad about calling again.  You’re very likely to get a more sympathetic response on your second or third try.

I’m hoping that a reader will comment something like “you idiot, there’s a much easier way to do this…”  If so, please explain the better way, and I’ll update this post!

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