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The End of an Era: 5X Earnings on Many Gift Cards DEAD!

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Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

Ink no Longer Earning 5x at CardCash or PPDG

Ink no Longer Earning 5x at CardCash or PPDG

I have been laying in the fetal position most of the morning.  I keep thinking that this must be a bad dream that I just need to wake up from.  The easiest way to amass huge amounts of UR points is no more.  Adios, finito, sayonara, the end of an era is here.  First they took away eBay Bucks, then they took away using discounted eBay gift cards to buy third party gift cards, and now 5x earnings on PayPal Digital Gifts (PPDG) and CardCash.  Say it ain’t so! What do we do now?  Where do we go from here?  I will try to come up with some ideas if I can see through my tears.

Details on the Change

As of October 17, 2017 people have been reporting only earning 1x points when using their Ink Plus or Ink Cash to purchase gift cards from PPDG or CardCash. I checked my own recent transactions and found this to be true.  There are rumors that the Ink Bold is still earning 5x but we are unable to substantiate that at this time.  That may be because some of the Ink Bold cards are still Mastercard instead of Visa, I think, and that is why they may be coding differently.  That is just speculation on my part though.

Ink no Longer Earning 5x at CardCash or PPDG

Also note that the Chase Ink Preferred is no longer coding 3x on these purchases either, according to various reports.

Why This Matters

Buying gift cards through CardCash and PPDG was THE best way to rack up massive amounts of Ultimate Rewards points, in my opinion.  Whether you were buying them to resell, to purchase items at the store at a discount, or to increase your merchandise reselling profits this was a go to move.

I have already racked up over 100,000 UR points this year on PPDG discounted gift card purchases alone.  Most of those have been resold at break even or for a small profit – netting me free UR points.

I know some big time merchandise resellers, who use CardCash on an almost daily basis, have maxed out UR earnings on multiple Ink Plus cards already this year.  This comes at a really bad time for those of us who are still loading up on products to resell in the all important 4th quarter.

Ink no Longer Earning 5x at CardCash or PPDG

Plan Going Forward

There is nothing that can replace what we have lost.  We can try to lessen the blow though.  Here is my plan moving forward:

  • Cards to use for CardCash or PPDG purchases going forward
    • American Express’ Blue For Business – earns 2x MR on all purchases up to 50k in spend.  If you don’t have this card yet get it ASAP.  This may be the most lucrative card on the market now.
    • Any card you are currently working on minimum spend for.  This will guarantee you a return of 10-40% on every purchase you make.
    • Standard 2% cash back card like the Citi Double Cash.
  • Purchase any gift cards you were already paying full price for at office supply stores.  Amazon is the main one for this.  You will still earn 5x UR buying these gift cards from Office Max/Depot and Staples.
  • As of October 18th Gyft is still earning 5x with Ink.  They sometimes sell discounted gift cards as well.
  • Max out every Freedom quarter you can.  When they include grocery stores or Amazon etc. you can get some discounted gift cards that way.
  • The best way to rack up discounted UR points now is to buy Visa gift cards from office stores to earn 5x on the purchase.  You can then use the VGC to purchase a money order from Walmart or your local grocery store.
    • Buy them when the office store has a discounted sale on VGC.  They have sales on these quite often and you are able to get free UR points after taking the rebates into account.
    • Purchase $300 VGC off of Staples’ website and cash them out via money order.  This is now the quickest and surest way to amass discounted UR points in a hurry.  This will cost you .6 cents per point, when adding up the fees, but most find it worth it.
  • Gift Card Mart is still believed to earn 5x with the Ink Plus/Cash.  They sell discounted gift cards but are much smaller than CardCash.


This is a sad day for anyone with an Ink Plus or Cash in their wallet.  Purchasing gift cards from these two vendors brought me a ton of free travel.  The Ink Plus was my favorite card because of this but that is no longer the case.

The Ink Plus/Cash still is useful for cable bills, cell phone bills, Netflix, and internet but those are small potatoes compared to gift cards.

You can still source gift cards and earn 5x UR at office supply stores, Gyft, and Gift Card Mart.  There is still some hope that this is an error and at least CardCash will go back to coding 5x since this happened once before, but I am not holding out much hope.

As the game changes we too must change.  Hopefully I have given you some ideas on what to do going forward in this new world.  Let us know in the comments what you plan to do going forward!

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. […] I find this one personally devastating.  Since I am unable to get ANY Ultimate Reward sign up bonuses for myself or my wife this was my main vehicle to earn UR points.  PPDG is probably the best place to source gift cards for resale and getting 5X UR with your Ink Plus/Cash/Bold for all of those purchases was amazing.  For big time merchandise resellers CardCash was a great way to increase profits and earning 5% back on top of that was icing on the cake.  With the death of these two options I think quite a few people will struggle to hit the $50,000 limit on their Ink cards the next cardmember year.  And if they do it will most likely come at an increased out of pocket cost than the year before. […]

  2. […] There’s some new discounted gift card deals on eBay. As a reminder, gift cards sold by PPDG will no longer earn 5X, unless you have an old Ink Mastercard. Read this post for more info: The End of an Era: 5X Earnings on Many Gift Cards DEAD! […]

  3. I’m sure that constant headlines of… “This and that, go here and there AND 5X” on a near daily basis on many blogs had nothing to do with this and related cutbacks. (sarcasm)

    This “hobby” is no longer that, as it is a business for credit card pumpers and far too known about. When it was a small niche group of people, it was different. When I see ads and articles in major newspapers about all this, it is way too public. Deals die, yes. But nowadays they are murdered by far too much light being shown on them.

    Sad, but true.

  4. Mark: A couple of questions….

    “then they took away using discounted eBay gift cards to buy third party gift cards”

    I recall the changes on ebay not to accrue bucks but can you still use a regular, full price eBay GC to buy PPDG cards on ebay? I couldn’t recall all the changes/limitations and your use of th word ‘discount’ threw me off.

    Re. using a VGC to buy a money order at Wal-Mart, I thought that was dead as well as I recall seeing signs in stores saying it could only be done with cash and not cards? I thought they, like the U.S. Post Office hard coded registers to not accept it?
    Thanks much.

    • No eBay gift cards work on 3rd party gift cards anymore – discounted or full price 🙁

      Certain Walmart stores may have a cash only policy but it is not a company wide policy. And Vanilla visas from banccorp still work at USPS – you can find them at CVS and Sam’s Club.

      • Thanks. For #1, that’s what I thought. 🙁
        For Wal-Mart, good to know. For USPS, that must be for the $300 MetaBank Visas I am getting from Staples. The VARIABLE priced (up to $500) Vanilla Bankcorp Visa at OM/OD/Staples don’t allow purchase by credit card anymore, but the fixed priced ones still do…..are fixed priced Vanilla’s still available there? $200 max? $300 max? For 5x UR Office Supply stores are my preferred retailer. Thanks.

        • Metabank has not worked at USPS for over a year now so that may be where you are running into issues. I have not seen a Vanilla card at any of the office stores near me – only metabank visas.

  5. While my ink plus is a visa, my ink cash is a mastercard. I will use the ink cash the next time I purchase using PPDG and let you know if it codes as 5x.


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