Chase Gift Cards Debriefing

If you were living under a pretty large boulder for the last 5 months you might have missed that from April until last weekend Chase was selling gift cards with no fee, up to $2600 worth per card, per 30 days.

One thing I like to do is after offers have ended look back on how well they went, and ways to avoid issues, or learn from mistakes.

I hit Chase Gift Cards (CGC) mostly from May-August (quit last month due to a bad vibe) and didn’t have trouble, but others have seen their Chase cards closed out from this activity. I’m going to use it to illustrate why the Milenomics approach to credit card annual fees came in very handy in this situation.

Never Cancel a Card When the Annual Fee Comes Due

Part of why closing cards is not a good idea is perfectly exemplified in the CGC opportunity.  Had I closed all my and my wife’s Chase cards outright when the annual fee came due I would have missed out on thousands of miles that I was able to order from Chase.  I already go to Wal-Mart many times a month for other MMRs, so adding in BB reloads and MOs off of the Chase GCs was an easy fit into my usual trips, with very little additional costs in either fees or my time.

To be clear; I got lucky. I didn’t know this type of opportunity would come up; but keeping cards open has other benefits such as reduced CC utilization %, and easy opening of new cards by shifting credit around.

If you were looking to hit a goal, say 20k UR/UA off of CGC, then with just 2 Chase cards you’d have to have done the max 2500 for 4 months straight on each of those two cards. With 4 cards you could do just $1250 on each card for 4 months straight.

By downgrading my Wife’s Chase Sapphire to a Freedom I ended up actually earning more Chase UR points than I would have with the CSP, 2,750 per $2500 order.  All of our open Chase cards got a healthy workout over the summer.  And now they’re sleeping soundly in their dresser drawers; awaiting the next big thing.

Did you get in on Chase GCs?  Will you rethink how you close your credit cards?  Any other thoughts you might like to share?

Update:  Reader Chris brought up a question: Was it worth the possible Chase blacklisting for the UR/UA/SW points you were able to earn through this promo?  If Citi, tomorrow offered the same deal, $2600 per card per month would the experience with CGC cause you to be more/less cautious?

Update 2: Multiple readers commented on using the promotion to hit minimum spending requirements.  Doing so was a smart use of this deal, even if you only bought enough GCs to hit that minimum.

Update 3: As MLH mentioned, The lack of any type of bonus and no way to load from home did hurt the usefulness of the program.  Driving out of your way, and your time (At your T-Rate) could have easily made the deal no good for many. [rule]