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Cha-Ching! This Was The Easiest $500 I Ever Made

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Upgrade $500 Bonus Offer

I recently took advantage of the Upgrade $500 bonus offer in my quest to earn $30,000 from miles and points this year. It ended up being the easiest $500 I have made all year, maybe ever. I’ll go over the details of the offer and my experience with it. The deal is still around so you can grab $500 yourself just in time for the holidays.

Upgrade Checking Bonus Offer

This offer is only available via Credit Karma and here is a link to it (HT DoC).

For the offer you have to open up a personal credit line, similar to a credit card, and a their rewards checking account. The weird thing is the $500 bonus is all tied to activity with the checking account, besides being required to open both.

We opened the line of credit / card and the checking account for my wife. My application was denied unfortunately, although I plan to try again in the near future. The process was pretty easy. We filled out the form at the link above to get the personal credit line. During that process we were prompted to add on the Rewards Checking Account. We did that and both were approved instantly.

There was a hard pull but it is being reported that it is treated as a line of credit so should not affect Chase 5/24.

Upgrade OneCard

Upgrade $500 Bonus Offer Timeline

After getting approved we transferred $100 to the Rewards Checking Account and waited for the debit card to come. Once we received that, about a week later, we did 3 Amazon loads and then waited.

The Amazon loads were done on November 15th and the $500 bonus posted on November 26th. The bonus posted to the checking account even though the terms make it seem like it will post to the line of credit account. We never even activated that card, although there are a few reports of it posting there for people.

Here is the full timeline:
  • Opened the line of credit & checking account 11/7/22
  • Transferred in $100 from an external checking account 11/7/22
  • Received the debit card and made 3 Amazon loads with it on 11/15/22
  • The bonus posted on 11/26/22

Easy $500 Bonus – Final Thoughts

It is a bit strange that you need to open a line of credit and a checking account for this offer, even though the bonus is tied to the checking account, but it is easy as pie. I like that the requirements are only for 3 debit card charges and there is no deposit, or spending, minimum. The fact that the $500 bonus posts quickly really puts it over the top. As I said before, you could get this Upgrade $500 bonus offer in time for holiday shopping!

The debit card also earns 1% cash back which could be of interest to some. Although, there are better debit options out there these days.

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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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.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Has anyone, who has already received the $500 bonus, reached out to close their account? How easy was the process? Any hickups.

  2. So, I’m finally through the process and now just awaiting the $500 bonus.
    Unlike Mark, that was one of the MOST DIFFICULT $500’s I have ever made for a bank bonus signup offer.

    First, had to go through the whole providing LOTS of extra info to them (BTW, I have a credit score that generally ranges between 825-850 depending), etc. Biometric (pics) including all the tax info they required.
    Upload W-2’s
    Upload Full 2 years tax returns (include relevant schedules, e.g. Schedule K-1, Schedule C, Schedule F, Schedule E)

    After doing the initial transfer of some money from an external bank to Upgrade, I saw that I had the money shown on my balance the next day in my Upgrade account. What I failed to see, was the “Available Credit” was still $0. I tried to use my Debit card that day and the charge was declined!!
    I verified the transfer took place at my original bank but it took Upgrade 5+ days to actually make that balance available to me, so that I could use the debit card.

    This Upgrade bank/fintech, whatever they are, are a huge failure IMO. I’ll fully utilize the $500 offer but what a most difficult bank sign-up bonus offer ever – far from Easy!

    But still…Thanks Mark!!

    • Similar issue with P2. P1 (myself) had no issues. If it wasn’t a $500 bonus I’d of left P2 application in the dust.

      P2 had to submit for an IRS verification which took almost a month. Not to mention every rep has no idea what the previous rep said or did. It’s a S-show.

      Once opened the $500 is easy. Getting there though is rolling the dice.

  3. Hmm. Is the card I got the debit card, or a card against the line of credit? “Upgrade Cash Rewards”, green. Doesn’t say Debit on it, has a Visa logo.

  4. I stopped my application at the “upload 2 years of tax returns” step. They called me tonight to help me complete my application. I indicated I was not interested if that level of detail is required. They promptly cancelled my application with no complaints. I certainly appreciated that for sure! I hope they deleted all my info, but I kinda doubt it…

    • Yep, got the call too… But I’m in…it’s $500!
      And while I’m no where close to making $30k this year in sign-up bonus’s, I’ve made a lot, enough that when little things come up (ex. windshield gets a crack in it from a rock, 50 foot tree needs cutting down in the backyard, 4 year old AC craps out in the middle of the summer, etc)…All of these little “emergencies” have been less of a worry as I feel I’m using “other peoples money” to pay for what life throws at me.

      As far as I’m concerned, my PII has been compromised in so many different ways with breaches, etc…including the Chinese hack of OPM a few years back…Just got to keep an eye on things!

  5. You stated that there are better options for a rewards debit card. I’d love to hear about those. I do the bulk of my grocery shopping at a local grocery store that I love but they only take debit cards-no credit cards. I would love a way to earn on my grocery purchases. Thanks in advance.

  6. This is the most convoluted, eff’d up bank signup I’ve ever been involved with.
    Taking a pic of your drivers license, with a link sent to your phone.
    Being forced to take a selfie, turning your head left and right like you’re in a police lineup (and being told your biometric data will be retained up to 3 years! (that should give hackers enough time to get it all).
    Upload W-2’s
    Upload Full 2 years tax returns (include relevant schedules, e.g. Schedule K-1, Schedule C, Schedule F, Schedule E)
    4506-T Upgrade will follow up with you via email on next steps for submitting your 4506T form
    Never had a more difficult bank signup in my life. This takes the cake.
    I’m this far in…I’ll take their $500 and tell em’ where to shove it when I’m done.
    On another note, they did offer: “Open an Upgrade High Yield Savings Account
    Reach your goals faster with our 3.50% APY¹, and no monthly fees.”
    While 3.50% sounds promising…I’m pulling 4% at HM Bradley.

    • I’m in this same boat. I submitted bank statement and they want another statement. They have one year of my tax return they have enough info from me. I’ll finish the process.
      The agent told me google the 4506T form. What a joke.
      Anyway, another agent told me I can use the debit card without the line. So if the bonus seems to be linked to the debit and I use the debit you think it will trigger the bonus if the line is still pending?

  7. My wife and I both rejected. Funny the app did not ask for our SS#. We make 150k yearly with credit scores in the mid 700s. No baddies.

  8. Why not for a quick $500? They loved me until I flipped them the bird at requesting two years of tax returns or a 4506-T. I am really disappointed that you didn’t indicate what they require. I simply will not give tax returns or a 4506-T for a relatively small credit line. I was alerted when they told me my credit line before I gave them my SS#. I don’t need the 10,000 future requests for financial products based upon my income. Total disappointment.

    • They didn’t ask me for anything so how could I include something that wasn’t asked of me. Only shared my personal experience which was easy and quick.

      • Fair enough. From other comments, it appears you were the exception, not the rule. Lucky you. I felt the same way when the Brex bonus was realized last year! Easiest money ever!

  9. Glad it worked out so easy for you. I did the exact same you did, about 2 months ago, and am still battling for the $500 bonus. Spent 90 minutes on the phone last week, 3 departments, no one knows what’s going on. Told my issue was escalated to the “higher ups”.

  10. I did the Upgrade deal exactly like you did and never received my $500 bonus. When I called the customer service rep said “there’s no guarantee you’ll get the bonus even if you fulfill all the requirements.” He said there was nothing he could do and insisted that in the fine print it says it’s not guaranteed.

      • I did file a complaint with the CFPB. I’m not sure how much power they have. They said they would forward on my complaint to the company and hopefully Upgrade would respond. It’s been 2 weeks and I have heard nothing from either Upgrade or CFPB.

  11. Hi Mark,
    From your post, it seems like the play is just not use the line of credit and even if the worse case scenario and the credit post to the line of credit, use it for the bonus amount only and eat the interest on it (15-30%).

    • I would imagine if it posted there it would be a negative balance situation so I am guessing no interest. Not sure though and somewhat unlikely it goes there.

  12. Do you have a standard protocol and timeline for closing these accounts? I’ve never really looked at bank accounts as a source of income but you’re certainly showing that it can be done so I wouldn’t mind knowing a bit more.

    • Sometimes they will say 3 months or 6 months etc. I’ll usually give it at least 6 months and then close them.

      • Have you closed this Upgrade account yet?
        If so, how was your experience in doing so? Did you have to call them and request closure of your checking account, as well as the Line of Credit?

  13. 5/24 only counts credit cards correct? To my knowledge this shouldn’t count as it would report as line of credit if ever used.

    • Yeah hard pulls don’t affect 5/24, only new CCs which this is not. The Daily Churn podcast has a good discussion on this on a recent podcast.

      • Thanks Tom updated the post. Yeah it is a weird one since you get a credit card that earns rewards but it is on a line of credit. Wasn’t sure how that would be coded for 5/24 purposes.

          • For some reason, my Amazon Load did not work. I think it was taking a really long time for my deposit to transition to “Available” (maybe holidays?). Anyway, I had it on me during a trip over New Years weekend and used the card maybe 4 times. Basically forgot about this, but occasionally saw notifications from this thread that people weren’t getting the $$. Just logged in, and I don’t know why my first thought was that something nefarious had occurred, like a draw from my original checking account. But I got the $500. Thanks!

        • I too was not familiar with reloading an Amazon Gift Card balance but I believe every Amazon account has one – although there may be nothing on it at the time. If you go here —> you should see your Gift-Card-Balance and you can “RELOAD YOUR BALANCE” there.
          I too did with Mark stated (it took a bit for me to find) and was able to complete my three Amazon Gift Card reloads while sitting at my computer in about 3 mins – Rinse & repeat.
          Now, the next time I go purchase something at Amazon, I’ll have to the option to use some of my “Amazon Gift Card Balance” to pay for my purchase before using one of my other forms of payment.

    • I have only checked Credit Karma and it shows as a hard pull and Tom above says it is treated as a personal loan so should be good.

    • Well that stinks Rick. I have no idea why my wife’s got through and mine didn’t. We have somewhat similar profiles and activity.

    • It looks like there was, never checked till now. Once you get past 5/24 you don’t really worry about such things haha. I’ll add that in.

      • Is this “personal line of credit” actually considered a credit card for purposes of 5/24? If it’s just a revolver LOC, it shouldn’t be counted against 5/24, correct


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