What’s left for 5X Ink?


Last week we reported that PayPal Digital Gifts (a popular gift card vendor) was no longer earning 5X rewards with Chase Ink Cash or Ink Plus cards.  To be clear, PayPal Digital Gift purchases never really should have earned 5X since the merchant doesn’t seem to fit as an office supply store, phone, TV, or internet provider (the categories in which Ink Cash and Ink Plus earn 5X).  But it did.  It all depends on how the merchant is coded by the credit card processor (PayPal, in this case).

Usually Visa and Mastercard code merchants the same way, but this appears to be an exception.  Doctor of Credit reports that legacy Ink Mastercards (all new Inks are Visa cards) still earn 5X with PayPal Digital Gifts.  So, if you have an old Ink Bold sitting around or even an Ink Plus Mastercard, you can still earn 5X buying gift cards from PayPal Digital Gifts.  Unfortunately, if you don’t have one of those, I don’t think there’s any way to get one today.  Fortunately, there are other options for earning 5X…

Current Options for buying gift cards at 5X with Ink Cash or Ink Plus Visa cards

Here are the options I know of for buying gift cards that will still work to earn 5X…

  • Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples buy gift cards in-store.
  • Staples.com: Buy physical or e-gift cards online. Even though portals don’t work for most gift card purchases at Staples, it’s always worth a try.  Currently Shop with Chase is offering 4X bonus points via Ink and Freedom accounts, but only 2X if you log in via a Sapphire account.  uPromise is currently offering 5% cash back.  Please contribute your findings to the Frequent MIler Laboratory.
  • Gyft: Buy new gift e-gift cards via the app. Earn 5X only if you checkout through PayPal.
  • Swych: Buy new gift e-gift cards via the app. Earn 5X only if you checkout through PayPal.
  • GiftCard Mart: Buy second-hand discounted gift cards through this site. Earn 5X only if you checkout through PayPal. Update 2/19/18: This no longer works. See: Another one down: No more 5x at Gift Card Mart.

In general, a great resource for finding how a purchase may code is Doctor of Credit’s Payments Workshop.  And for information about which portals work when using or buying gift cards, see: Frequent MIler Laboratory.

Getting Ink

Today, only the Ink Cash and Ink Business Preferred cards are available for new applicants.  And, of the two, only Ink Cash offers 5X categories (the Ink Business Preferred offers 3X categories).  If you are interested in signing up for an Ink Cash card, please see our application tips before applying.

Alternatively, if you currently have an Ink Business Preferred card, it should be possible to product change to the Ink Cash card.  Keep in mind, though, that the Ink Cash has a $25K per membership year cap on 5X earnings whereas the Ink Business Preferred has a $150K cap on 3X earnings.

Another consideration: Unlike Ink Business Preferred points, Ink Cash card points cannot be directly transferred to airline programs or used for better than 1 cent per point towards travel.  That said, there’s a very easy workaround.  As long as you, a business partner, or another in your household has a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card (Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred), you can move your points to that account and then get better value from those points.

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[…] Buy GC with a $200 Lowe’s gift card. Best of all, Swych purchases have been known to code at 5x when purchased with the Ink Cash card and paying through PayPal (or the no longer available Ink […]

Looks like this might be over now. Swych is only allowing payment with Apple Pay or Amazon Checkout. Could you possibly still buy Amazon GCs at Office Depot, load them and the spend those $$ via Amazon Checkout?

[…] shop at Whole Foods, it’s a good deal to be able to get $10 off on groceries. Additionally, Gyft purchases may code as 5x when checking out through PayPal with an Ink card. Getting 10% off plus 5x would make this an excellent deal for Whole Foods shoppers. While this one […]

[…] card spend and get most of it back. What still works March 2018?), you may even be able to earn a category bonus. This is a small win, but an easy win nonetheless if you shop at […]

[…] PayPal Digital gifts no longer codes at 5x for Ink cards (See: What’s left for 5x Ink?) or 3x on the AT&T Access More card (See: Increase credit card spend and get most of it back. […]

[…] additional benefit of this offer is that Gyft purchases still code as 5X on the Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Plus cards, provided you check out using […]


Made a purchase at Rakuten.com with Paypal on 10/20 and to my it earned 5x. The store was Altatac. Not sure if this applies to all stores.

[…] What’s left for 5x Ink? […]




Just to confirm, Ink Plus is still a premium card able to transfer to partners, right? It’s not in the list in the last sentence.

Nick Reyes

That is correct.


can you clarify on what the 4x shop with chase at staples is? I clicked the link but it didn’t have explanation


That is the chase shopping portal. You shop at staples.com through chase portal, and it could give you up to 4 UR points per dollar.


If I buy “VISA GC” at staples.com through chase portal, could it still give me 4 UR points per dollar? or it has to be stores GC? thanks.

Nick Reyes

Like Greg said, most portals do not pay out on most gift card purchases at Staples. Check the Laboratory (link in the post or at the top of any page on Frequent Miler) for specific results. It’s always worth trying a portal rather than not trying as sometimes you get lucky and find a combo that works.


some questions to clarify what you’re saying:

1) new business preferred card (the one that only earns 3x) doesn’t work for any of the items described in bold?

2)it’s possible to call chase and request a product change from the new business preferred card (3x) to the ink cash, and start earning 5% on the scheme?

2a) if my wife has sapphire preferred i can then transfer my ink “cash” as points into her account?

Nick Reyes

Correct on all three.



Nick Reyes

Ah, true. Sorry — I read your comment quickly and I was agreeing that the Ink Business Preferred wouldn’t earn 5X at those merchants. Greg’s right — they do all earn 3X in my experience (I’ve tried most of them).


Is it required to buy in the Gyft app and not their website to earn the 5x? I usually purchase from my PC but will download the app if that’s needed. Thanks.

Nick Reyes

Good question. I’m not sure.


Thanks Greg. I’ll see if I have any purchases and try it out. Will provide update if I get the chance.


I can confirm it earns 5X from their website too. That’s what I usually do.


Just to confirm. Was this after the change since last week? Thanks.


Yes. I made purchases on 10/19 and 10/23. Both still earn 5X.


I still pay my cable and phone bill with this card. I still earn 5x with it. Also with sirus and netflix. They are 5x still.
I have since moved on to other cards but this card gives me an addtional 20,000 points per year just for doing nothing else.


Just curious — I still have an Ink Bold business card. That continues to earn 5x points at Staples, correct?

Nick Reyes

I believe that is correct. I don’t have an Ink Bold.

The Big Easy Traveler

Yes it does. Used it earlier this week


I used ink plus at gift card Mart recently and DIDN’T receive 5X

Sophie Friesen

I made a purchase on 1/30 that gave me 5pts… then I made another purchase on 2/07 that did not give me 5pts? Whats going on?

Rob P

Lately my Ink Plus statements have reminded me to only use the card for business purposes. Are they just covering their butts with that language, or do they really care? After 4 years, they don’t seem to really care what I buy, but I’m leery.