October 12, 2012
Recently I’ve heard from several people who are trying to max out the Ink Bold (or Ink Plus) 5X benefit before the end of the year. Don’t do it. Slow down. Let me explain…
The Chase Ink credit and charge cards offer 5 points per dollar for purchases made at office supply stores, and for internet, cable and phone services. The Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards allow 5X for up to $50K in spend per year, whereas the Ink Classic and Ink Cash limit 5X to $25K per year. Since the discovery of ways to earn 5X everywhere (see “One card to rule them all“), and multiple ways to do so (see “Vanilla Reloadables“), some people have been eager to max out these benefits.
There are a few reasons not to max out the Ink benefits too quickly. Foremost is the danger of getting your Chase accounts shut down. Please see “Why Chase cancels accounts (and how to protect yourself)” and “Inking 5X: What’s safe?“ Secondly, the $50K (or $25K) clock is not based on the calendar year.
The $50K Clock
People who are rushing to max out their $50K (or $25K) benefit before the end of the calendar year need to know that the clock is not based on the calendar year. Just to be 100% sure, I asked Chase to clarify the $50K annual limit. Here was the answer:
Annually means the year beginning with the account open
date through the first statement after the anniversary of
your account open date, and each twelve billing cycles
So, if you got approved for your card in August, then you have until next August to max out your 5X benefit. That’s why I always say there is no reason to spend more than $4K per month in 5X categories ($4K x 12 = $48K – close enough to $50K in my opinion).
Of course, just because $4K per month is the most I recommend spending, that doesn’t mean it is safe for you to do so. Once again, please read “Why Chase cancels accounts (and how to protect yourself)” and “Inking 5X: What’s safe?” if you haven’t already.