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Yesterday was a big day in my house, my much anticipated New Ink Bold Business card arrived in the mail! I have wanted this card since it came out in November of last year. I have drooled over the 5x point categories of office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services. In fact, despite how insanely crazy tomorrow will be getting ready to head out of town to go to the Freddies and the Frequent Traveler University, it is at the top of my “to do” list to move some of our recurring bills in those bonus categories to this card. However, I started maximizing the Ink Bold benefits today without moving any bills to this card.
Application Link: Chase Ink Bold
While I was out running errands, I ran in to an Office Depot that isn’t too far from my house. I have been there before to scout gift cards, but this time I was armed with my New Ink Bold that was going to give me 5 Ultimate Reward points for every dollar I spent there on everything – including gift cards. While the gift card selection there was heavy on mid-level clothing retailers and chain restaurants, there were a couple gift cards there that did interest me greatly. The main one that caught my eye today was the $50 Shell gift card. Check out this photo of $100 of gas AKA 500 Ultimate Reward points.
Since my husband frequently has to drive three hours each way to Austin for work, gas is a pretty sizable expense in my household. I would say we spend around $500 per month on gas. I loved the first quarter of 2012 when gas was one of the 5x bonus categories on the Chase Freedom Visa Card, and have really missed that little perk of having to fill the car up so often. I am very excited to have a way to get 5x points for gas purchases during all twelve months of the year now! Assuming we used gift cards purchased with the New Ink Bold for 5x points at office supply stores, or the Chase Freedom during the quarters that gas is a 5x bonus category, the $500 per month that was spent on gas will earn us 30,000 Ultimate Reward points per year. Those points are very valuable for my family and will allow us to beef up our United, Hyatt, British Airways, Marriott, or Priority Club accounts. That is crazy for just one type of purchase that we were going to have to make regardless!
I wanted to add a quick note due to some of the comments on the post (and thanks for all the comments!), that it of course doesn’t make sense to chase points by paying more for gas than you normally would. If you don’t normally buy Shell gas, and Shell is more expensive in your area, then clearly this might not be the best plan for you. However, it does seem that Shell gas cards are treated as a cash transaction, so if you live in an area that charges more to use credit cards on gas, this could result in some savings. I know in my area you can use Kroger Fuel Points at Shell gas stations, so the price is typically about the same, but your results may vary.
If you want to really learn about maximizing gift cards, I would read the posts by fellow BoardingArea blogger, The Frequent Miler. I love his schemes and “experiments”, but the truth is I barely have time to keep up with laundry (for the record, there is lots of laundry when you are potty-training a little one!), so my gift card buying and selling time is currently pretty limited. However, even I can handle stopping at an Office Depot near my house to pick up some gas gift cards every once in a while. 30,000 Ultimate Reward points annually for my efforts is nothing to laugh at, so I am stepping into the world of strategic gift card buying…..one fill-up at a time.
For the record, I also picked up a $50 Shell gift card to give away during my “Family Travel” presentation this weekend at the Frequent Traveler University. The gift card will be given away, but the 5x points it earned are all mine. 😉 If you have the new Ink Bold, have you started to maximize the 5x bonus categories yet?
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