Category

Chase INK Bold

The Death Of Minimum Spend Requirements

Bluebird Takes Flight

As you have undoubtedly heard, the next big thing in the mileage game, American Express’s Bluebird, has taken flight.

I talked about it briefly in my recap of how to earn 5x Ultimate Rewards on every purchase. I’ve been using my Vanilla Prepaid Card to pay for all my purchases in New York this past weekend, earning 5x on everything which has been great!

While I won’t recap all of Bluebird’s features since almost every other Blogger has done so already, there is one thing that I think is really important about Bluebird that hasn’t been covered extensively yet.

If you don’t yet have your free Bluebird or free AMEX Prepaid Card, you can get them here.

Since Bluebird is a hybrid pre-paid checking account, as part of the free features of the Card, you have the ability to do free online bill pay which includes Credit Cards.

Essentially what you can do is buy the Vanilla Reload Cards with any Credit Card, load those Vanilla Cards onto Bluebird, and then use Bluebird to pay your Credit Card bill for free (up to $5,000 a month). In any other situation, this would be called kiting, but as of right now it is perfectly legal via Bluebird! The only fees incurred are the cost to purchase the Vanilla Reload Cards, which is nominal compared to the boatload of miles you are earning.

Although the ability to earn 5x Ultimate Rewards via Office Depot is pretty amazing, who knows how long it will be until Chase changes the terms on the INK Cards or starts cracking down hardcore on people who are abusing this perk. There is no way it is remotely feasible for Chase to basically pay people to buy these Vanilla Reload Card.

While I was walking around Times Square yesterday, I saw an Office Depot, so I went in thinking I would try and buy a few Vanilla Reloads. However as soon as I found the Gift Card Rack, it was apparent that someone had already wiped clean the rack. It reminds me of that movie Jingle All The Way with Arnold Schwarzenegger and his quest to find the last Turbo Man toy during Christmas.

Basically, if you are currently doing the 5x Office Depot trick, enjoy it while it lasts because who knows how long it will be around for.

However, as I was saying earlier, the Bluebird Card still is extremely useful even if Chase pulls the ability to earn 5x Ultimate Rewards Points at Office Supply Stores, due to the free online bill pay feature.

App-O-Rama

The biggest issue with doing an App-O-Rama’s is figuring how to complete the enormous Minimum Spend Requirements without unnecessarily spending money on things you don’t need. This is why I have yet to do my first App-O-Rama because there was no way for me to spend that much money in such a short amount of time! Even the $5,000 on the AMEX Business SPG was a stretch!

With Amazon Payments, you can easily move $1,000 a month for free, but when you have to spend $10,000 – $15,000 in 3 months on an App-O-Rama, that is barely a dent.

However with Bluebird because you can use it to pay your Credit Card bills, you can basically clear these high Minimum Spending Requirements for a few dollars. Although you will only be earning 1x instead of the normal 5x we are used to, it is still a pretty awesome deal as you will see below!

Example

I am getting ready to do my first App-O-Rama in November. Pre Bluebird, what Credit Cards I was planning on getting was entirely built around how I would complete the Minimum Spend Requirement (MSR). However post Bluebird, I can get any Cards regardless of the Minimum Spend Requirements because I can use Bluebird to pay my Credit Card bills.

I am currently planning on getting the following Cards. When I actually apply for the Cards, I will do a whole post about why I chose the Cards I did. Some of the Cards may seem bizzare choices out of context, but I assure you there is a method to the madness that I will explain at a later date.

Although the MSR would be substantially higher ($10,000 more) if I got a Chase INK Plus Card, I am going to wait that one out since I already have the Chase INK Bold.

In total, over 3-4 Months, I am going to have spend around $15,000. That is a sizeable chunk of change.

Via Amazon Payments, I can do $1,000 a month for free, so that drops the total down to $12,000.

I probably spend $1,000 a month on groceries, travel, and other junk I don’t actually need (not including rent). That still leaves about $9,000 I need to spend.

With the Bluebird Card, you can reload it via Vanilla Reload Packs that cost $3.95 per $500 pack at Office Depot or wherever else you can buy them with a Credit Card.

That being said, once you have the pack, you can reload your Bluebird Card with them (up to $5,000 a month). Once you have put the money on your Bluebird Card, you can simply pay your Credit Card bill (again $5,000 monthly limit).

So for $9,000 in Vanilla Reloads Card ($500 increments or 18 Vanilla Cards), it will cost me $71.10 in giftcard fees.

For $71, I will be earning around 370,000 Miles / Points!

The best thing about this is that because you are using different Credit Cards to purchase all these Vanilla Reload Cards, you shouldn’t have any issues getting flagged. Whereas if you did this only with your Chase INK Cards, you might get flagged.

Chase INK Cards

Hypothetically if you got a Chase INK Card, you could also do this strategy to meet the $10,000 MSR in 3 months. However I would caution on being careful and at a minimum suggest using Amazon Payments to knock off $3,000 in MSR.

Link To Chase INK Plus

Link To Chase INK Bold

If you did that, then you would only have another $7,000 to spend. Assuming you put $1,000 in household expenses on the Card each month, you would only have $4,000 left which you could do at Office Depot without raising any flags. If you did $1,500 a month for 3 months via Vanilla Reload Cards, you would easily clear the $4,000 hurdle.

In the process because of the 5x Ultimate Rewards bonus, you would earn 20,000 additional Ultimate Rewards Points (5 UR x $4,000 in Vanilla Cards). So in total, you could potentially earn over 76,000 Ultimate Rewards Points by getting a Chase INK Card!

  • 25,000 Ultimate Rewards Points instantly after sign up
  • 25,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after completing $10,000 Minimum Spend
  • 26,000 Ultimate Rewards Points for completing actual $10,000 Minimum Spend ($4,000 at Office Depot (20k UR), $3,000 Amazon Payments (3k UR), $3,000 in monthly household spend (3k URx))

Recap

As you can see, if used carefully and in moderation, Bluebird can be an absolute game changer in terms of completing Minimum Spend Requirements.

The glory days of 5x via Office Depot will eventually come to an end one day, so enjoy it while you can.

Although the Vanilla Reload Cards do have some fees, in total for around $71, I should be earning a whopping 370,000 Miles / Points. So of course, I am more than happy to pay such a ridiculously small fee to earn that many miles.

Even though I will only be earning 1x Points on the Vanilla Reload Cards instead of the normal 5x I do with my Chase INK Bold, basically for every $1 I am spending in fees for my App-O-Rama, I am getting 5,211 Miles in return.

Hopefully this post encourages some of you to take the dive and do your first App-O-Rama! I am counting down the days to do mine!

-Parag

Chase INK Plus Links Are Back + Screenshot

Last week I talked about how the Chase INK Plus Card had dropped its Minimum Spend Requirement. Well about 2 hours after I posted it, Chase pulled the links for the Card because apparently that offer wasn’t supposed to be live yet. So for those of you that wanted to get in on it, if you clicked on the link it said the offer was expired.

Well thankfully it is now back!

Link To Chase INK Plus

As I have stated many times before, the Chase INK Plus and Chase INK Bold are now the Go-To Cards since Frequent Miler figured out how to use them with Bluebird and Vanilla Reload Cards. With either Chase INK Bold or Chase INK Plus, you can basically earn 5x UR Points on every purchase.

Although the Minimum Spend is quite high, you do get 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after spending $5,000 in 3 months.

I get emails from Readers who have read the Step By Step Guide On How To Sign Up For A Business Card and tell me they are interested in getting a Business Card but can’t meet the high Minimum Spend Requirement.

The thing I always point out is that you DON’T necessarily have to meet the Minimum Spend Requirement because many times you get 1/2 the Points right after the 1st purchase!

On that same topic, I also get weekly Reader emails saying they are interested in going to Europe for free and what is the easiest way to do so.

I always recommend getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred and then either the Chase INK Plus or Chase INK Bold. Since the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a Personal Card and the Chase INK Cards are Business Cards, you can apply for both in the same day without issue.

Link To Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link To Chase INK Bold

Link To Chase INK Plus

If you were to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and a Chase INK Card, you would get:

  • 40,000 Ultimate Rewards from Chase Sapphire Preferred for spending $3,000 in 3 months
  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards if you can spend $5,000 in 3 months

That is 90,000 Ultimate Rewards Points for spending $8,000 in 3 Months!

Since it only takes 60,000 Miles on United for an Economy Saver to Europe, you basically have a free ticket to Europe by signing up for those 2 Cards.

If you and your Travel Partner both signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and a Chase INK Card, then you would BOTH have a free Economy ticket to Europe.

Recap

Although some of these Cards have quite high Minimum Spend Requirements, you shouldn’t look at them as a zero-sum game. Instead look at what you get instantly after signing up for a Card and then look at the rest of Points as an incentive. if you can meet the incentive, then great, if you can’t meet the incentive then you are no worse off because you already got some of the Points instantly after signing up for the Card.

If there was a Card that offered 1,000,000 Miles as a Sign Up Bonus but the catch was that you got 100,000 Miles after 1st purchase and then the remaining 900,000 after you spent $1,000,000 on the Card, that would still be an awesome deal. Even if you couldn’t meet the $1,000,000 Minimum Spend, you would still get 100,000 Miles after 1st purchase which is more than enough for a free ticket. The same idea applies here.

Although it would be nice to have the ability to easily spend $5,000 in 3 Months and earn 103,000 Ultimate Rewards after completing the Minimum Spend on the Chase INK and Chase Sapphire Preferred, there is no shame in only spending $3,000 and getting 68,000 Ultimate Rewards Points.

I would much rather have a free trip to Europe and leave some Points on the table, than only sign up for the Chase Sapphire, get 43,000 Points, and be short of the 60,000 Points needed for Europe because I didn’t get a Business Card for fear I couldn’t complete the entire $5,000 Minimum Spend. Just something to think about when doing your next churn or Credit Card sign up!

Parag

Chase INK Plus Minimum Spend Drops & Earning 5x On Everything

As you have probably seen, the Minimum Spend Requirement for the Chase INK Plus Card has dropped from a whopping $10,000 in 3 months to $5,000 in 3 months.

For signing up for the Chase INK Plus you get 25,000 Ultimate Rewards Points, and if you complete the Minimum Spend Requirement, you get an additional 25,000 UR Points.

Link To Chase INK Plus

I suspect this a glitch because Chase.com is still showing $10,000 Minimum Spend. I don’t know when they will fix this, so if you have thought about getting a Chase INK Card, now would be the time.

For those of you not familiar with the Chase INK Plus, it is a “Business Card” and is identical to the Chase INK Bold except that it is a true Credit Card, and not a Charge Card like the Bold.

That being said, many of you may be reading this saying I don’t have a Business and there is no way I can spend $5,000 in 3 months, so why are you telling me this.

Well for those of you at the Chicago Seminars who sat in on Frequent Miler’s presentation on Gift Card Churning, you are aware that the Chase INK Plus or Chase INK Bold is central to easily earning 150,000+ Ultimate Rewards Points a year for next to nothing.

More information on that is below, but since the the Minimum Spend has been cut in half on the Chase INK Plus from $10,000 to $5,000, if you don’t have a Chase INK Card now would be the time to get one, so you can get in on Frequent Miler’s current points extravaganza.

I don’t know how long this reduced Minimum Spend is going to last, it might just be a glitch, so I’d suggest signing up ASAP if you are interested.

Using the Amazon Payments trick and Frequent Miler’s gift card tricks below, you can easily clear this Minimum Spend in a month or two without even putting any actual spend on the Card.

I currently have the INK Bold and got it in Spring 2012, when the Minimum Spend Requirement was still $5,000. I am extremely happy I did so because it has been extremely useful at Office Depot.

Between my Sign Up Bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase INK Bold, I was able to earn over 110,000 Ultimate Rewards Points!

Frequent Miler’s – One Card To Rule Them All

First, I have to give credit to Frequent Miler’s and his amazing post called “One Card To Rule Them All”.

If you have any questions, check out his post because there are 300+ comments with answers.

I just did this entire process yesterday, so I am just going to recap my experience and throw in some information that I learned from the Chicago Seminars.

Basically what Greg (Frequent Miler) figured out is that because the Chase Ink Bold and Chase INK Plus both earn 5x UR Points at Office Supply stores like Office Depot, you could buy pre-paid Vanilla brand gift cards there, and then use those gift cards like it is your normal Credit Card, and essentially earn 5x Points everywhere.

It is really genius because by purchasing a pre-paid gift card with a Card that earns 5x UR Points, you are basically “transferring” that 5x earning power to the gift card. So when you go out and fill up gas, groceries, restaurants, you are essentially earning 5x Points!

If that wasn’t cool enough, Greg then discovered that you could get a free permanent AMEX Pre-Paid card, that is essentially a Debit Card that has a PIN. So you can make ATM withdrawals, etc. You can load those AMEX Pre-Paid Cards with the Vanilla Pre-Paid Gift Cards you bought at Office Depot with your Chase INK Card that earns 5x UR Points.

So basically not only can you earn 5x UR Points for buying Pre-Paid Gift Cards, but there is also a way to extract the money off of them via an ATM.

Then this past week, Walmart & AMEX announced a partnership of a new Pre-Paid Card called Bluebird. With this Card, you can do online bill pay, ATM withdrawals, etc, and you guessed it, you can load it with the Vanilla Gift Cards.

Step By Step Instructions

If you are interested in earning 5 UR Points per $1 spent on every purchase, here are the steps.

Again for any questions or more detail, check out Frequent Miler’s post.

1. Get A Chase INK Card

Without a Chase INK Card, you can’t earn 5x UR Points at Office Supply Stores, so if you don’t have one, you need to sign up for one.

The 2 options are either the Chase INK Bold or Chase INK Plus. They are identical except the INK Plus is a Credit Card while the INK Bold is a Charge Card.

I’d recommend the Chase INK Plus since the Minimum Spend is only $5,000 instead of $10,000.

Remember you don’t need a “Business” to get a Business Card. Anything counts as a Business, including a future business idea and you can use your Personal Social Security Number when you apply.

A Step By Step Guide on how to apply for a Chase Business Card can be found here.

Even if you recently signed up for a Personal Chase Card (Hyatt, United, Sapphire Preferred), you can still get a Business Card because Chase treats them separately.

Link To Chase INK Plus

2. Visit Your Local Office Depot

After you get your Chase INK Card, you will need to go to Office Depot to purchase the Pre-Paid Gift Cards below.

The reason why you have to go to Office Depot is because they sell these Pre-Paid Gift Cards, and Office Depot qualifies as a “Office Supply” store so it earns 5x UR Points.

Not all Office Depots carry the Pre-Paid Cards. In downtown Chicago, I was unable to locate the Cards, so I had to trek out to the suburbs.

3. Look For The Vanilla Pre-Paid Gift Cards

Once you are inside Office Depot, look for a rack of gift cards. Normally they are near the register or door.

On the rack, you will see a couple types of Pre-Paid Gift Cards.

The ones you want are called Vanilla.

There are a few type of Vanilla Gift Cards, so this is where it can kind of get confusing.

OneVanilla Pre-Paid Gift Card

The Vanilla Pre-Paid Gift Card looks like this. It costs $4.95 and you can load up to $500 on it when you purchase it.

This is an actual Visa Card, so once you register it online, you can use it at gas stations, grocery shopping, eating out, etc and technically earn 5 UR per $1 spent, since you purchased it with a Chase INK Card.

Vanilla Prepaid Reload Packs

Office Depot also sells Vanilla Prepaid Reload packs. Basically as the name implies, these are just reload packs that you can use to re-fill the OneVanilla Card above, or you can use the packs online to re-fill your AMEX Pre-Paid Card, which is below.

If you buy the Vanilla Prepaid Reload, you CANNOT use this as a Everday Card when you go out because it doesn’t come with a Card. These Reload Packs only come with a PIN number that you use to re-load your OneVanilla Card or AMEX pre-paid Card.

The Vanilla Prepaid Reload costs $3.95 and you can load up to $500 on it. It looks like this.

What I suggest is purchasing 1 OneVanilla Card, so you have an actual Card that you can use when you for Everyday Purchases, and then reload it with the $3.95 Vanilla Prepaid Reload packs.

Although there are some nominal fees to purchase these Cards, because you are earning 5x UR Points for the purchase, when you purchase a $500 Vanilla Card for either $3.95 – $4.95, you are earning 2,500 UR Points!

When you scale it, you could easily earn 250,000 UR Points and pay only $495.00 for all these gift cards…

4. Order An AMEX Pre-Paid Card

If you are happy just earning 5x on all your Everyday Purchases, feel free to stop here.

It can get kind of complicated going forward, so if you are new to this, I’d suggest first doing the steps above before advancing.

The reason why it is important to get an AMEX Pre-Paid Card is because the OneVanilla card has a $500 limit and doesn’t have a pin for ATM withdrawals.

So if you have a big purchase, such as Tax Payments, etc, you would only be able to do $500 in payments via the OneVanilla Card.

That is why you want to get a free AMEX Permanent Pre-Paid Card.

AMEX has 2 options, a regular Pre-Paid card & a new Bluebird Card.

Both are free and can be loaded with the Vanilla Reload Packs.

AMEX Pre-Paid Card

The AMEX Pre-Paid Card is similar to the OneVanilla, however you can load up to $2,500 on the Card and it allows for ATM withdrawal (up to $400) a day.

This is essentially an AMEX Card, so you can use it anywhere AMEX is accepted.

The best part is that you can load the AMEX Pre-Paid Card online with the Vanilla Prepaid Reload Packs!

The only limitation is that you can load up to $1,000 in a 24 hour period and there is a limit of $2,500 that can be loaded every 28 days. However, you are allowed to have 3 of these cards, so $7,500.

Even with the $2,500 a month limitation X 5 UR Points X 12 Months, that is still 150,000 UR Points a year.

You can either buy the AMEX Pre-Paid Card at Office Depot for $3.95 and then order a permanent card online, or you can skip that step / fee and simply order one online below for free.

Link To Order AMEX Pre-Paid Card

I personally would just order it online because even if you buy it in the store, you still need to go online to upgrade it to the permanent one.

The in-store version looks like this and has a $4.95 fee.

When you order your AMEX Pre-paid Card, you don’t have to load any money on it online. They will simply send you a blank AMEX Pre-Paid Card that you can load with the Vanilla Reload Packs when it arrives.

AMEX Bluebird

Bluebird is a new Pre-Paid Card that is a partnership between AMEX & Walmart.

As Joe Biden would say, “This is a BIG F$^i%NG DEAL”!

Full information about the Bluebird Card can be found at Frequent Miler.

It is very similar to the AMEX Pre-Paid Card above, but it has way more features and allows you to store up to $10,000 on it.

Additionally you can load up to $5,000 via Vanilla Reload Cards every month.

$5000 X 5 UR Points X 12 Months = 300,000 UR Points A Year

It is free to order a Bluebird Card and you can do so here.

Since both Cards are free, to diversify risk, I just went ahead and ordered both Cards.

Tying It All Together

So if any of that was complicated, here is a summary of what to do.

In short, using your Chase INK Card that earns 5X UR Points at Office Supply stores, you go to Office Depot and buy Vanilla Pre-Paid Cards. You can either use the OneVanilla Card as a “Everyday” Card and earn 5x points everywhere or you can use the Vanilla Pre-Paid Reload Packs to fund your AMEX Pre-Paid or Bluebird Card. If you choose, you can then use your AMEX Pre-Paid or Bluebird Card as your “Everyday” Card and continue to earn 5x everywhere. However since the AMEX Pre-Paid Card & Bluebird allow for ATM withdrawals, you can very easily withdraw some of your money out in cash and deposit it right in the bank!

Hopefully that makes sense!

Recap

Although there are a few moving parts to this and it does take some work, the potential for this is huge.

Back in the day, I did the Mint thing where you could buy $1 coins with a Credit Card and deposit them straight at the bank but I think this is much easier because it is all electronic.

I just went to Office Depot yesterday and bought 1 $500 OneVanilla Card and then 4 $500 Vanilla Reload Packs.

That $2,500 purchase earned me 12,500 UR Points, which is almost a free Round-trip on Southwest or British Airways, or a free One Way on United!

Although all the steps in this process do have to be done in moderation, as I stated earlier even doing $2,500 a month would earn 150,000 UR Points a year.

When was the last time you earned 12,500 Miles a month for less than $20.75 in cost?

One thing I will caution is that I know Chase reads the travel blogs and is fully aware of what we are doing, so in the event of protecting yourself, I’d recommend transferring out any UR Points from your Chase INK Card as they come in.

Transfer them either to a Mileage Program, or transfer them to your Chase Freedom, Sapphire, or Sapphire Preferred, if you have any of those Cards.

I haven’t heard of Chase closing anyone’s account for this, but to be safe, in the event that your Chase INK Card does gets shut down, you won’t loose all your UR Points because they will be in a separate account.

I just transferred out my 74,000 UR Points from my Bold to my Freedom last night.

Anyways, hopefully you take advantage of this offer and I strongly suggest checking out Frequent Miler’s many posts on this topic.

-Parag