Maximizing Ultimate Rewards Points With Chase Checking Accounts & Freedom, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Bold Combo

by on April 2, 2012 · 101 comments

in Chase, Credit Cards, Ultimate Rewards

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Update: The Chase Freedom card no longer offers a bonus of 10% on all purchases plus a 10 point per transaction bonus. Instead, both of those benefits have been replaced with a 10% annual bonus at the end of the year on all purchases. The current sign-up bonus is 10,000 points with $500 spend within the first 3 months.

Update:  As of July 20, 2014, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card no longer offers the 7% annual points dividend. View the current sign up offer here.

Last week I wrote about maximizing point-earning with the Chase Freedom card’s rotating quarterly 5x spend categories. The trick is to then transfer those “cash back” points into valuable Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card/Ink Bold Ultimate Rewards points which can be transferred to United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club and Amtrak. You do this by logging on to -> Manage Ultimate Rewards -> Combine points, and send your Freedom points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred®/ Ink Bold account.

To further maximize Chase earning, you can get still more points by having Chase checking accounts (which are free if you have a direct deposit set up or $1,500 average daily balance) through the Chase Exclusives program.

Once you have a checking account you are eligible for an additional Freedom bonus of 10% on all purchases plus a 10 point per transaction bonus. So even a $1 pack of gum will earn you 12 points, a $20 shirt you’d get 32 points, $100 purchase would be 120 points and so on.

Freedom 10% bonus and 10 Points per Transaction

Most people who have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card/Freedom/Ink Bold + Checking account put almost all expenses on the Freedom card except:
1) Large dining and travel purchases, which get 2 x points plus a 7% bonus with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. A $100 meal would net 214 points with Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card versus 120 points with Freedom.

2) Spend at office supply stores, cable and wireless service, and landline communications since they get 5 points per dollar with Ink Bold. Gas and hotels get 2 points per dollar (though I’d put hotels on my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to also get the 7% annual dividend).

Also, if you got the old Ink Bold card before they instituted the 5x/2x spend categories in late November 2011, you should be enrolled in the Ink Bold Exclusives program which offers a 20% bonus on all spend with a 7,500-point bonus at $25,000 and another 15,000 point bonus at $50,000 and another 25,000 points at $100,000. I was able to get this card before the changes and I’ve been told that I will be rolled into the new Ink Bold card in April. I am going to apply for the new Ink Bold card to hopefully get the 50,000 point bonus on that card, since several TPG readers have informed me that it’s possible.

I know this sounds confusing, but the bottom line is that Chase is investing heavily in their rewards programs and are actively encouraging creditworthy individuals to not only have personal credit cards, but also checking accounts and business accounts. While I generally don’t recommend putting all of your points in one basket, Chase points are transferable to numerous programs and can even be redeemed for “any flight, anytime” at 1.25 cents a piece so it’s a good base program to have. As a Chase personal, business, credit card, checking and auto loan customer, I also find having multiple accounts in good standing helps Chase to approve me for more cards, which helps maximize my yearly points accrual.

If you have no Chase cards right now, but want to create this power combination, I’d recommend first getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card which currently has a 50,000-point bonus (53,500 after the 7% yearly dividend kicks in) after $3,000 spend within 3 months and the $95 annual fee waived the first year. This bonus is dropping tomorrow, Tuesday April 3 at 10am, so get in while it’s good.

You can also apply for the Ink Bold, which also has a 50,000-point bonus after $5,000 in spend within 3 months, on the same day – you’ll likely get auto-denied, but you can call the business reconsideration line (8am-8pm EST) and explain that you want the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for personal spend and Ink Bold for business. Just make sure you can spend the $8,000 within three months (here are some ways to maximize spend) and if you can’t handle it, then wait at least one month before applying for the next card. You can then apply for the Ink Bold and Freedom on the same day since the Freedom currently comes with 20,000 bonus points (which some have had bumped to 30,000 by simply asking once you get the card) after $500 spend within 3 months and has no annual fee. Update: The Chase Freedom card’s sign-up bonus is currently 10,000 points.

At any point you can open your Chase checking account, which will not negatively impact your credit (they’ll just run a soft inquiry to verify your identity). Once you have all of these accounts open, you can confirm that you are enrolled in the Chase Exclusives program by sending a secure message by logging into and then clicking the Secure Message Center -> Send New Message. They are generally very response and will write back within hours confirming your enrollment.

Then, spend as usual and watch the Ultimate Rewards points rack up. Remember, you can transfer your Freedom points to your Sapphire Preferred/Ink Bold accounts (or to anyone else’s) by logging into -> Manage Ultimate Rewards -> Combine points.

I’ve been a Chase customer for a long time (they have great coverage in major cities like New York, Los Angeles and Miami) and I love their online banking software, including the ability to deposit checks by taking a picture of them on your mobile phone.

As I wrote about yesterday, it’s important to have solid everyday point earning opportunities because you shouldn’t bank on sign-up bonuses fueling your account balances forever!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Gpapadop

    Do you have ONE online login for ALL your Chase accounts? I specifically mean the Ink Bold card…or do you have a separate login for it? I have heard conflicting reports on the subject and getting ready to call Chase about it.

    Along the same subject…If separate logins are required, does this mean you keep two different “batches” of UR points?

    Great updates from your recent travels, thanks!

  • thepointsguy

    I have the same login for all of my accounts. However, when i log into it brings up a prompt to select either my Bold or Sapphire Preferred (but I can combine the points). I do wish it was all into one program, like Amex

  • Sean

    Any suggestions on getting a Chase checking account if there are no branches in your area (or if when you enter your ZIP online they tell you there are no eligible branches?) Is it worth entering a ZIP code from a city where they have branches to get to the page and then just sign up and enter your real info.

  • Guest

    So really you sould be able to get 128K within two months by spending just a tad over 8K correct?

  • thepointsguy

    correct..and no annual fees

  • Edward Wang

    I applied for both Ink Bold and Sapphire Preferred card last night and got the message “we will get back to you in writing in 10 days” for both applications. It is an denial? What should I do now?

  • thepointsguy

    Call the reconsideration lines to get the status. If denied, work with them to get approved, for example shifting around current credit lines

  • PJ

    Is it a strict requirement that you do need to proof that you have genuine personal business toget an INK BOLD ?

  • jivepicnic

    I have the same issue as Sean. I’d love to get a Chase checking account to pair with my Freedom card via the Exclusives program, but when I enter my zip code on the Chase website, I get a message saying that the product isn’t available in my area (I live in PA). Any ideas? Can I enter a different zip code just to get to the application screen and then enter my correct address details?

  • Silva

    Thanks for the information. I tried transferring points from Chase Freedom to Chase United Explorer card thru Combine points option. It did not work out. Is it not possible to transfer between Freedom and Explorer card?

  • Dave

    Same thing happened to me. I actually called them to try to make one, but they can’t do it. From my research, your address needs to match your credit card address, so no making things up.

    I heard of ONE solution though. Next time you’re around a Chase branch, you can sign up that way. I know it’s kind of a hassle and I’m not 100% sure if I’d do it.. but it could be worth it. I live in Boston – nearest Branch in CT. I’m not going to drive there.. But i go on vacation to LA in a month, so I could theoretically sign up in a branch there.

    If anyone else has found a workaround, let me know!

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  • thepointsguy

    You can get the Ink Bold using your SSN and being a sole proprieter

  • Sean

    Thanks for that. I am also in Boston so definitely can’t justify driving to CT for a checking account. I will keep this in mind next time I am in Florida or even a weekend trip to NYC.

  • thepointsguy

    You can only transfer from Freedom to Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold and then onto United.

  • egwg

    Chase sends out a $200 cash bonus coupon for opening a checking account. These can be picked up on ebay for about $15.

  • TxBrit

    It seems that Chase Exclusive only pairs with the Freedom and Ink Bold cards but NOT the Sapphire card. Am I correct?

  • thepointsguy

    Just the freedom

  • bluto

    I have the old Ink Bold, too. I am curious, where did you hear that it would be rolled into the new one? I like my old Bold so I hope that doesn’t happen.

  • James

    Are you going to cancel your old version Ink card before applying for the new Ink card? And if not what will your reason be for having both, I would think that they would just move your existing card to the new version and then you would not get the bonus points. I would like to do the same thing, so looking forward to see how it works, thanks.

  • thepointsguy

    I actually have two LLCs with two EINs so I’m going to apply for the New Ink bold with my other LLC. Otherwise, I’d apply for the new one and just say that I need the No Foreign Transaction fees for busienss expenses and will shift the credit line from the old one to get the new one open if necessary. I never like canceling cards before applying for the new one becuase then you can’t use it as a bargaining chip.

  • Silva

    Thanks. Is it possible to transfer points from Person A’s Sapphire Preferred to Person B’s United MileagePlus account?

  • thepointsguy

    Yep! You transfer your Sapphire Preferred/Ink Bold points to the United account of anyone you’d like- when you go to transfer they ask for Frist Name, Last Name and Account number. They go instantly- a great feature of the program.

  • cransauce

    I also live in PA and had the same problem as you. Only way around it was to just make a quick stop in to a branch on a weekend trip to visit friends in NYC and it took about 20 minutes to set up.

  • Dov

    Here is a active Freedom 30 Application

  • Dov
  • jivepicnic

    Thanks for the info, cransauce. My parents live in Ohio where there are Chase branches, so I think I’ll make a stop there the next time I’m visiting them.

  • freqflyercoll

    are all old ink bold holders being rolled into the new one? or was that specific to you? I have the old one, got it right before the new one came out…but i’ve asked several times to switch to the new one, and chase just keeps telling me to reapply. so i’ve been planning to do that, and try to get the bonus again :)

  • freqflyercoll

    So I’m in the same boat, and I initially asked Chase to switch me to the new Ink bold, but they told me there was no way they could do that, that I had to reapply. So I’m planning to do that and get the bonus points again :)

  • Edward Wang

    I just called and was approved. Agent was nice and helpful. Thank you for your advice.

  • StM

    For some reason, the order you get your cards in matters. I recently got an Ink Bold, and it cannot be added to my personal cards. I can create a seperate account for it and then add my personals to it. Since I like my old login (use it for lots of other sites like an idiot), I just keep 2 seperate Chase logins.

  • Longmanzz

    hi, TPG, I also have the old Ink bold like you do. And if they are going to roll it into the new Ink bold in April, do you think they will approve if we apply for the new Ink bold now?

  • Matt C

    Will the Chase Ink Bold pull a hard or soft inquiry since its a Business Card? Also, is this a World Mastercard — I’m going to Asia and I want to use it for the free SPG Gold Status

  • Marianag

    We just opened a Chase checking account and will be opening the business checking account today. Both with no fees. Additionally, the bank representative recommended that we link our Sapphire to our personal checking account to cover any over draft we might have. We can do the same with the Ink Bold and the business account. We do occasionally overdraft but with this arrangement, our need for extra $$ in the bank will go straight to the credit card and we will earn miles! No other large bank can offer that (Citibank, Bank of America) and that’s what I like about Chase.

  • Yeliad57

    DONT miss out on the 10% bump on points that you get if you have/open a Chase checking acct!!! And, if you are a current member of the military or a veteran, chase waives the minimal balance and $25 monthly acct fee!!

  • thepointsguy

    Hard inquiry on your personal credit, but it will sit on your business credit line, which is separate from personal

  • thepointsguy

    Going to ask to get clarification on this

  • thepointsguy

    Awesome- will add

  • Yeliad57

    My wife and i applied for 2 Freedom cards [different accts] on the same day at a Chase office 2 mo. ago. I knew that we wouldn’t be able to get a Chase Sapphire Preferred card for 30 days or more, but on a whim i applied on-line the next day [TPG're welcome, Brian] for the Sapphire. Bingo! Was approved; no need for reconsideration line. What gave? Probably related to fact that we’d had a Chase UA Mileage Plus card for 20 years with nary a missed payment, and out credit rating is off the charts as well. I guess this was just an anomaly, but it Does happen.

  • Ken Paynter

    If you have the older version Ink Bold Card, you get 1.2 points (vs. 1 point) on ALL purchase when you also have the Chase checking account. It’s great for spending in categories where you aren’t getting a >1x earning ratio from another card. I have a tough choice this year when my AMEX SPG card needs to be renewed.

  • Guest

    Re your rolling over from old ink to new ‘in april’- is that forced or voluntary? Because i got the old on purpose for thresholds & exclusives, & definitely want to keep the old card & program. Info?

  • PJ

    too bad SPG does not offer a free anniversary night as Hyatt or Marriott. that would make the annual fee a no brainer

    in reality, if you plan to collect 6K SPG points a year that is aobut the breakeven since 6K would get me 2 free weekend sheraton nights in a lot of SPG roperties or i can go worund with cash and points option

  • Ken Paynter

    Your local Chase branch can merge your personal into your business. Your business will become your primary login.

  • Lark7774

    I was auto approved for the new ink bold, even though we have the old one. This was about three weeks ago. Confirmed 50k for $5k sprend when activating. Used same EIN and other info for the first card. The only problem is it looks just like the other one.

  • PJ

    200 TAXABLE interest income ; I am amazed people sell those on ebay :)

    my neighbor asked me how I would grade her Chase points hunt : so far she and her husband opened two checking accounts ( 200 and 150 bonus) two freedom cards ( 30K +20K) and 2 Sapphire Preferred ( 50 K and 50K) ; mean me still held out the A+ citing her late participation and her siblings + working audlt kids are still NI ( not involved) . She is determined to match all my chase cards ASAP . next on her agenda : 2 United Explorer followed by 2 Southwest ( pray for the return of 50K bonus) or 2 Hyatts

  • PJ

    GOOD TO KNOW one of my friends with 800++ credit score got those two cards back to back but with help from Chase Reconsideration now i can suggest same strategy to friends after all what can you lose ?

  • PJ

    $1500 balance to dodge service charge is a deal. SOON they possibly ask you to do DIRECT DEPOSIT for $150. I am retired and I am not drawing Social security$ yet. But I did know any ACH (just once even from your non chase account ) will do the trick; I trasnfered 250 off my own account away and ACHed over to Chase.. Bingo again $150 is taxable interest

  • Lee

    If you don’t have a business and want the Ink Bold, people have said you use your SSN as a sole proprietorship. However what do you put for the annual revenue/income, how many years it’s been operating, etc.? Do they check this info thoroughly?

  • PJ

    thanks Brian; so I assume I can just relate the need for INKBOLD since I do a lot of day trading etc :)
    amex targeted for $50K MR to get bunisess gold. the application form looks intiminating to a points hunter who already have Platinum Gold SPG and Blue

    I shall try Inkbold next on my next Chase card; last approval was United Explorer about mid march

  • PJ

    128 k is worth at least $2000 to me you are getting 10K merchadise for $8K
    isn’t it much better than clipping grocery coupons ?

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  • AceTracer

    Chase seems desperate to give me money. This year alone I’ve gotten 200,000 miles (BA, Sapphire, United), $150 checking account bonus, two club cards, and now 10% cash back?

    I’d send TPG a check for his cut, but I think Chase is doing that already :)

  • Matt C
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  • Pete

    How long do you guys keep your cards / when to cancel? It’s hard keeping track of different accounts and when the annual fee kicks in. For your cards with annual fees…do you close them or negotiate them every year? I just imagine its a hassle to do that even if they waive the first year fee.

  • Vince is offering 1.16 – 1.22 cents for each chase ultimate rewards so cashing out seems a great option

  • AceTracer

    I applied for the $350 offer and got rejected because I had applied for the United card a few months ago, but I called the reconsideration line and they agreed to give me the Chase Freedom if I lowered my United limit from 13k to 8k. I never use anywhere near that much anyway.

    I now have the Sapphire, Freedom, and Chase checking trifecta. I’m waiting on the Ink Bold.

  • matt greco

    is there a way to make this work if chase doesn’t offer checking in your area? is it possible to open the checking account anyway once you have the CC with them?

  • Julie

    Hello TPG. I just applied for a Chase checking account so as to take advantage of the additional Chase Exclusives bonus with the Freedom, but to my surprise I was declined.
    I was approved for the Freedom card earlier in the week – could this be the problem; applying for two products too close together? It’s been more than six months since my last application (Sapphire Preferred.)
    I did encounter difficulty during the online application process; when providing funds for the opening balance, their system wouldn’t recognize my bank info for an EFT, or either of my Chase cards. Then I got the Declined announcement and an invitation to pull my file with TransUnion.
    I called Chase and the rep said try again with a debit card, or go into a branch. I suppose that’s what I’ll do.
    Has anyone else been declined for a Chase checking account?

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  • User Name

    They did this over the phone for me.

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  • Julie

    Turns out I was doing something wrong when trying to provide funds: changed to a debit card and it went through with instant approval.

    Looking forward to my Chase Exclusives benefits.

  • Julie

    I responded to an ad for Chase Total checking (going for the exalted Sapphire-Freedom-checking triple-play) which offered the $150 bonus and one of the requirements was direct deposit.
    Not 24 hours later I received a targeted offer for the same bonus but WITHOUT the direct deposit requirement.
    I’ve sent a secure message asking for the terms and conditions of the targeted offer, since I’d really rather not do direct deposit.

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  • ktan

    I just opened a Chase checking account today and I already have the freedom card. Do I need to do anything to activate the ‘ 10% on all purchases plus a 10 point per transaction bonus’ or will it just start happening automatically now?

  • ktan

    I just opened a Chase checking account today and I already have the freedom card. Do I need to do anything to activate the ‘ 10% on all purchases plus a 10 point per transaction bonus’ or will it just start happening automatically now?

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  • Robert Swift
  • Robert Swift

    Hi, I am having a terrible time trying to access my account page… I have 1800 reward points,
    which I understand with bonus it worth $100.00. I can’t create new account , cant find box
    to click. Have no password that works. Do not need credit card where it always takes me.
    Have account #, all I need is a new password….With help on the way I sign off…..
    Marlene Swift

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  • TD

    Sapphire vs Freedom with Chase checking decision:

    Food and Dining: All purchases over $950 for travel and dining should be put on Sapphire (assuming that there is not a 5% Freedom bonus taking place).

    All other Purchases should be put on Freedom.

  • TD

    I meant $9.50

  • Gmash

    How did you get this calculation of 128K by spending 8K. Can you please elaborate. Thanks !

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  • Peter

    Does anyone know — can the $200 checking sign-up bonus cash be able to converted to Chase Ultimate Reward points?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes- as long as you have a sapphire preferred or ink bold/plus

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  • Colts8526

    I have a chase sapphire preferred card that i want to downgrade to a Chase Freedom. I know that you can transferred your chase freedom points to the chase sapphire; however can you do the opposite?

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  • Kaushal

    I have the exact question. It’s been 2 months since I opened Chase Checking but I still don’t see those 10% +10 UR points being added to my UR points balance.

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  • Jasanna

    Just transferred from my husband’s Freedom to my Sapphire and combined the points. I sure wish there were Chase branches around here!

  • Taylormade

    I’ve been married to my Membership Rewards program for years and use the points primarily for Delta. Considering how bad Delta’s program is and my frustrations with AMEX, would this be a good route to go? We do fly SWA the most and I already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

  • EAN


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