Earn Five Miles Per Dollar on Everyday Purchases

There’s always a tendency to hold back on the very best deals in hopes that they will last a little longer, but I cannot help but to share with you a tremendous way to earn five (5) Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar you spend.

I’ll do my best to keep this post as short and succinct as possible, but if you feel I am leaving anything out feel free to leave a comment below and I will clarify.


  • Chase INK cards, Chase’s business cards, offer five (5) points per dollar on purchases at office supply stores like Office Depot.
  • American Express has a new pre-paid card called Bluebird, that allows you to pay just about anything with it and carries no annual fee.
  • Office Depot sells refills for the Bluebird card (called Vanilla Reloads) that you can pay for with your INK card.
  • Even for purchasing these “gift cards” you will earn five Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar at Office Depot.
  • Consequently, you can use your Bluebird card for purchases big and small, having already earned five points per dollar spent.

STEP ONE: Sign up for a Chase INK Card

Chase offers three types of INK cards and you can ultimately apply for all three of them, helping you to rack up points even faster. But each has a minimum spending requirement, so unless you are spending $25,000 on your credit card each month, do not sign up for all of them at once. Note that each card also has a generous sign-up bonus. 

  •  Chase INK Bold
    • (50K bonus points after $5,000 in spending within 3 months, no annual fee for the first year, then $95/year)
  • Chase INK Plus
    • (50K bonus points after $5,000 in spending within 3 months, no annual fee for the first year, then $95/year)
  • Chase INK Classic
    • (20K bonus points after $3,000 in spending within 3 months, no annual fee)

What card should I sign-up for? It depends on your spending habits. The INK Bold is a charge card (you must pay it off each month) while the INK Plus is a credit card. Both earn points that you can transfer into Ultimate Rewards (see STEP SIX below). I would not get the Classic card unless you also have a Chase Sapphire, INK Bold or INK Plus. Otherwise, you will not be able to transfer your points to Ultimate Rewards, which is the true value of using these cards. Click on one of the card links above for more precise deals on the offer of each card.

But I don’t have a small business! It doesn’t matter. Plain and simple. Make-up a company name—perhaps an aspirational company you have dreamed about one day starting. In place of your Tax ID number on the application form, simply put in your Social Security number. Voila! This is totally legit.

Will applying for these cards hurt my credit score? Each case is unique, but I wouldn’t sweat it. New applications for credit constitute about 10% of your credit score, so you could drop as much as 70 points if you have a 700 score. But many other factors are taken into consideration and even if you encounter a slight drop, your credit will quickly rebound as long you are making payments on time. As long as you pay on time and use the card reasonably and responsibly, there is no chance signing up for and churning credit cards will ever ruin your score. In fact, it will likely help your score in the long-term. My score is very high…

STEP TWO: Sign up for a free Bluebird card

Being a reloadable, pay-as-you-go card, the Bluebird card is made available free from American Express (or you can pick one up at your local Wal-Mart). Simply click here, sign-up for the card, and it will be delivered within 7-10 days.

STEP THREE: Buy Vanilla Reload Cards at Office Depot Using Your INK Card(s)

Vanilla Reload cards are becoming quite popular and some are reporting empty store shelves at their local Office Depot. But do not despair—my local Office Depot in Southern California has plenty and with a little patience, you can find some. The cost per $500 reload card is only $3.95, a great return for your investment when you consider how many points you are earning!

Note that the INK Bold and INK Plus cards max out at $50,000 (250,000 points) per year earned through office supplies, so do not go to crazy in purchasing these cards. The INK Classic maxes out at $25,000 (125,000 points) per year. 

STEP FOUR: Reload your Bluebird card online

This is easy enough—just visit vanillareload.com, enter the card number and PIN, click SUBMIT, and you will be able to send the money to your Bluebird card. You can reload $1,000 per day, up to $5,000 per month on your Bluebird card. (Hint: get multiple Bluebird cards...)

STEP FIVE: Use the Bluebird card

You can use your Bluebird card wherever a debit card is accepted and even in an ATM if you need to withdraw some cash.

STEP SIX: Enjoy the Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards allow points to be transferred to the following:

  • United Airlines – giving you access to the Star Alliance network with no fuel surcharge
  • Korean Air – giving you access to the SkyTeam network
  • British Airways- giving you access to the OneWorld network and some very cheap domestic flights on American Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Hyatt
  • Marriott
  • Priority Club
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Amtrak

*   *   *

And that’s it folks. Pretty simple, no?

I think these Vanilla Reload cards are going to go the way of Hyatt gift cards at Costco (as in, goodbye), but they are still widely available now. Sign-up for the INK Classic, Bold, or Plus card, get the free Bluebird card, and start taking advantage of the savings. This is way too good of a deal to pass up! Think about it--for a $3.95 fee when you purchase a $500 gift card you are getting 2,500 points. That's about $150 for 100,000 points--a round-trip business class ticket from North America to Europe...

And to top it off, you have the Chase INK card, which is a card I carry with me everywhere and find extremely useful. I love dealing with the Chase folks if an issue comes up and I must admit, when dealing with airlines on the phone all day, it is great to deal with people who actually know their jobs and are eager to help!


Kyle November 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I think the chase Ink Bold is a charge card whereas the Ink Plus is the credit card!

Correct! Thanks Kyle.

David November 9, 2012 at 03:12 pm

Under step 3, the limit is $50K and $25K, not 50K and 25K pts. (So, 250K pts and 125K pts per year)

Thank you!

AAExPlat November 10, 2012 at 06:46 am

I need to point out that Chase specifically prohibits the use of Ink Cards for personal expenses, which you have to agreevto during the application process. So if any of you game this card, Chase has cause to terminate your accounts. I suggest you be careful.

Kevin November 10, 2012 at 01:37 pm

Hey Matthew,

What was that last bit you mentioned about only getting the Classic if you already have the Sapphire... can you explain? We DO already have the Sapphire, but wouldn't the classic still earn ultimate rewards points regardless?

I think we're going to get the classic, as there's no annual fee. I don't care too much about the sign-up bonus, and the only thing I'm gonna do with this thing is pay my rent and earn the max per year...


Well, after all that is appears that Office Depot has pulled all Vanilla Reload cards from their shelves nationwide. Will report when this is confirmed...

@Kevin: The Classic does not earn Ultimate Rewards Points unless you have another UR account, like the Chase Sapphire. Then Chase will let you transfer these points into your UR account.

Santastico November 13, 2012 at 11:29 am

You are late in the game. Vanilla Reload cards are no longer available at Office Depot.

You are three days late. See above.

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