Merchants That Qualify for 5x Points With Chase Ink

Oct 20, 2016

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No matter the size of your business, the Chase Ink Plus or the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card are great cards for getting value back from your spending. After all, most businesses have office supply and telecom expenses, and these Chase cards offer a return of 5 points per dollar on these purchases. Paired with the Ink Business Preferred card Chase announced just yesterday, small businesses have tremendous opportunity to earn bonus points.

Chase has a rather wide net of merchants that qualify for these 5x bonus categories, but you might be surprised at some of the retailers that only earn you 1x. So, let’s dive into the Chase 5x bonus categories and our compiled list of qualifying — and non-qualifying — merchants.

Bonus Categories

Per Chase, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar for “purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.” For the Chase Ink Plus, you’ll earn 5x on the first $50,000 of spending in these categories every 12 months. With the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card, you’ll earn 5x on just the first $25,000 in qualifying purchases.

If you spend heavily in these categories, the $95 annual fee on the Chase Ink Plus is probably justified. Per TPG’s latest valuation of Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2.1 cents each, spending $26,200 — just $1,200 more than the Chase Ink Cash’s limit — in the 5x categories would justify the annual fee ($1,200 x 4 extra Ultimate Reward points x $0.021 = $101).

Even if you only value UR points at the 1.25 cents of value you can get from the Chase Travel Center (1.5 cents if you transfer your UR to the Chase Sapphire Reserve), your total 5x spending would need to be just $27,000 to make up for the $95 annual fee ($2,000 x 4 extra Ultimate Rewards points x $0.0125 = $100).

In addition to the 5x bonus category, the Chase Ink cards also has a 2x category. For the Chase Ink Plus, you’ll earn 2x at “gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel.” For the Chase Ink Business Cash, the 2x category is gas stations and restaurants.

Qualifying Merchants

Staples gives you 5x Ultimate Rewards points on the Chase Ink Plus, but do you value stopovers & open jaws more?
Earn 5x at Staples and many other merchants. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Now that you know which categories will earn you 5x, let’s take a look at specific merchants that do or don’t qualify. The following data points are based on TPG team members’ own experiences as well as what’s been reported elsewhere.

Merchants known to qualify for 5x:

  • Internet/cable: Time Warner Cable, Charter Spectrum, Google FiOS, Cox Internet, DirecTV, DISH
  • Cell phone: Sprint, T-Mobile (monthly bills), AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Virgin Mobile, Cricket Wireless,
  • Office supply stores: OfficeMax, Office Depot, Staples
  • Miscellaneous: GoDaddy, Microsoft OneDrive
  • Video and music streaming services (H/T to Doctor of Credit): Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, Sling, SiriusXM, Vudu, TiVo

Merchants/methods where results vary:

Merchants known NOT to qualify:

  • Cell phone: Google Project Fi, T-Mobile equipment purchases
  • Video and music streaming services (H/T to Doctor of Credit): Playstation Vue, Amazon Prime music and video, Apple iTunes
  • Miscellaneous others: Adobe Acrobat DC, Google Cloud

If you want to “Buy Local,” you can use Visa’s Supplier Locator tool to search the Merchant Category Code (MCC) to see what stores around you might qualify. Based on personal experience and confirmation from @ChaseSupport on Twitter, the following MCC codes will qualify for 5x: 4813, 4814, 4815, 4816, 4899, 5943.

Merchant category codes are subject to change at any time. So, please let us know if there are any merchants or MCC codes listed above where you didn’t get a 5x bonus when you expected to.

Sign Up Bonus

If you don’t have the Chase Ink Business Cash yet, you’re in luck. Chase recently increased the sign-up bonus to $500 cash after spending $3,000 in the first three months — or 50,000 Ultimate Reward points if you have a UR-earning card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus. This is an excellent bonus for a card without an annual fee.

If you plan to spend heavily in the 5x categories — or need an Ultimate Rewards-earning card — the Chase Ink Plus is offering a solid 60,000-point sign-up bonus. Just make sure that you’ll be able to spend the required $5,000 in the first three months after opening the account to earn that incentive.

Bottom Line

If you have a business, the Chase Ink Plus or the Chase Business Ink Cash are great credit cards for getting 5x on crucial spending. Hopefully this list of qualifying merchants helped you discover a few more business expenses that you should charge to your Chase Ink card.

Are there other merchants that earn 5x that we should add to the list?


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