The Chase Ink business cards are awesome thanks to their huge signup bonuses and huge point bonus categories. The normal Ink Bold and Ink Plus signup bonus is 50K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months. In May it was 60K points.
Currently there is an in-branch offer for 70K points. However with the 50K and 60K offers the $95 annual fee was waived for the first year. With the bank offer you pay the annual fee right away.
However dozens of DDF readers, myself included, have reported getting their Ink Plus and Ink Bold cards matched to 70K via secure messaging. After you login on the Chase site you’ll see secure messaging center on the top right. Just ask to be matched to the 70K branch offer and you’ll get the extra 10K or 20K points right away to get up to 70K.
Chase typically matches signup offers for up to 90 days from when you got your card.
But best of all is that everyone that signed up for the 50K or 60K offers with the annual fee waived are getting the 70K match without having to pay the annual fee like the in-branch offer requires. Of course that can change at any time, but so far DDF reports show dozens of people batting 1.000 for the 70K match and not getting charged an annual fee!
Here is a chart with the differences between the Ink cards.
|Spend Threshold||$5,000 in 3 months.||$5,000 in 3 months.||$3,000 in 3 months.|
|Type of card||Charge Card: Must be paid off in full every month.||Credit Card: Can be paid back over time.||Credit Card: Can be paid back over time.|
|Annual Fee||None for the first year, then $95||None for the first year, then $95||None|
|Points transfer into miles?||Yes||Yes||No, but they can be transferred if you or your spouse also has a Ink Bold, Ink Plus, or Sapphire Preferred|
|Annual limit for 5 point per dollar categories||$50,000 of spending.||$50,000 of spending.||$25,000 of spending.|
|Double point categories||Gas and Hotels||Gas and Hotels||Gas and Dining|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||0%||0%||3%|
|APR for purchases and balance transfer.||N/A||15.24%||0% intro APR for 12 months then 13.24%|
As you can see, there’s no major difference between Ink Bold and Ink Plus other than charge versus credit. One advantage of Ink Plus would be that you can shift credit lines to that card to get it approved and if you ever decide to close it, you’ll be able to shift the credit line elsewhere.
A great thing about these business cards is that they don’t report your spending on your personal credit report.
On personal cards if you spend money on your card your credit score will be hurt even if you pay your bill on time. A whopping 30% of your credit score is based on credit utilization. You can pay off your card before your statement is generated to avoid that, but that takes effort and laying out money well before you have to. Additionally it’s good to have the statement close with a few dollars to show the card is active and being paid every month.
On a business card it’s just not reported, so you can wait until the money is due without it having a negative effect on your score. Plus if you close a business card it won’t ever have an effect on your score.
On a card like Ink Cash with 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers for 12 months you can owe money without having any negative effect on your credit score.
Benefits on all Ink cards:
All Ink cards give 2 free lounge visits per user, even on free additional user cards. Here is a link to find valid lounges worldwide. Lounges include the Dan Lounge in Tel Aviv and the Art & Lounge in Newark which both have kosher food.
Ink cards are now all issued as Visa cards, so you can register them for Visa Savings Edge.
With that program you earn cash back on top of points. You’ll earn 1% cash back at Staples, Chevron, and Texaco, 2% cash back at TigerDirect, 4% cash back at Alamo and National, 5% cash back at Lenovo, Sony, and several hotel brands, etc.
Plus all of the Ink cards offer 5 points per dollar on internet/cable service and telecom purchases, so that’s a nice rebate when you purchase a new cell phone and off your cable bill.
They also earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores. There are hundreds of gift cards sold by office supply stores.
-Upgrading at your local carrier’s store to an iPhone or Galaxy? 5 points per dollar.
-Buying gift cards for gas? 5 points per dollar plus you’ll pay the lower cash rates at the pump.
-Buying gift cards for Amazon, Gap, Groupon, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Marshalls, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, TJMaxx, etc? 5 points per dollar.
At Staples of course you would earn 1% cash back plus 5 points per dollar.
Your local school or other charity will be more than happy to accept donations of Amazon gift cards for supplies or any other useful gift cards for chinese auctions, raffles, fundraisers, etc.
They will give you a tax deductible receipt for the full face value-the price you paid for the gift cards. And at the same time you’ll earn 5 points per dollar. So while doing good you can still get a nice chunk of points and you’ll save on your taxes.
You can buy $200 Visa gift cards (now sold online from Staples) that earn 1,000 points and can be used to pay bills with EvolveMoney, uploaded to Bluebird or used for cash back, bill pay, money orders, etc. Or you can use them for everyday spending thereby getting 5 points per dollar on everything you buy anywhere via the Visa gift cards.
The Bold and Plus cards offer 2 points per dollar for spending on gas and hotels (plus 1%-5% cash back with Visa Savings Edge)
The Cash card offers 2 points per per dollar for spending on gas (plus 1% cash back with Visa Savings Edge and dining.
Chase Ultimate Rewards offer instant and fee-free transfers to top-notch mileage and points programs at a 1:1 ratio.
Transfer partners include:
-Singapore (Star Alliance) offers private walled-in first class suites that can only be booked with their miles. A suite one-way from JFK to Europe is 57,375 miles. Travel to the US48, Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, and Israel can all be had on the cheap. There are no close-in booking fees and changes and cancellations are very cheap. Fuel surcharges apply when flying on most airlines besides United. More info here.
-United (Star Alliance) is still an excellent currency, even after their devaluation a few months ago. They never charge fuel surcharges, have very flexible routing rules, they allow one-way awards for half the mileage, they have short-haul awards for 10,000 miles, they allow for a stopover and an open-jaw so that you can really maximize a single award ticket into several free trips, and they have dozens of partners to fly on, most of which can be booked on their website.
-British Airways (OneWorld) is awesome for short-haul awards. Just 9,000 miles for a round-trip zone 1 or 15,000 miles for zone 2 short-haul award. The zone 3 award for 25,000 miles round-trip can also be a bargain, for example for flights between the west coast and any of the Hawaiian islands or between Boston and Ireland with no fuel surcharges. Flights to Israel on Air Berlin are just 60,000 miles with no fuel surcharges. They allow one-way awards for half the mileage. There are no close-in or expedite fees. You can cancel an award for as little as $5.60. Infants are only charged 10% of the miles on international trips instead of 10% of the full fare like US carriers charge. Plus they don’t collect fuel surcharges on AA or USAirways within the western hemisphere, on Qantas within Australia, on Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Alaska, or LAN and you can transfer points to Iberia to limit fuel surcharges there as well.
You can read more in the BA knowledgebase. And you can see 102 places you can go to nonstop from NYC with Avios.
-Korean (Skyteam) offers unbeatable first class availability (A380 First Class Trip Report here) and they also have true bargains on partner travel, just 30,000 miles to fly round-trip on Hawaiian or Alaska to Hawaii in coach or 60,000 miles in first. And it’s just 20,000 miles to fly to Alaska in coach or 40,000 miles in first. You can even get a free stopover on the way to or in Alaska!
-Southwest offers a value of about 1.7 cents per point towards award travel. Plus you get 2 free checked bags, free flight changes or flight cancellations. and you can even get a point refund if the price of your flight goes down. You can also transfer points to Airtran for flat-rate awards like business class upgrades or free tickets at a flat rate instead of a rate that corresponds to the ticket price. From Airtran they can even be converted back into the old Southwest program that also offers flat rate awards.
-Virgin Atlantic has some niche uses with awards on Delta and Cyprus Air. For example a round-trip from Tel Aviv to Cyprus is just 5,000 miles!
-Hyatt is a powerful hotel currency. They have added a new cash and points option that offers some excellent values and more importantly those stays earn points, elite stay credits, promo credits, and you can use suite upgrades on cash and point stays as well. It remains far less expensive for high-end hotel stays than any other hotel program, a $1,500/night villa at the Park Hyatt Maldives would run just 25,000 points or 12,500 points+$150.
You can also funnel points through Hyatt to Southwest to qualify for a free Southwest Companion Pass which gives you a free companion every time you pay for or redeem for a free ticket.
-You can also transfer points to Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Priority Club, and Amtrak. I’ve never been on an Amtrak in my life, but some people have reported getting some really nice bargains on Amtrak travel via their program.
The beauty of miles over points or cash-back:
The great thing about being able to transfer points into airlines or hotels are the incredible values you can attain.
-A first class ticket to Hawaii can cost $3,000 but you can use 60,000 miles for that same ticket, a value of 6.7 cents per mile. If you were using Capital One points you would need 300,000 points per ticket.
-A last minute ticket or a ticket where you don’t stay for 3 nights from New York to Detroit costs $1,500 in coach but just 9,000 miles. That’s a value of 16.7 cents per mile. If you were using Capital One points you would need 150,000 points per ticket.
-A first class ticket to Asia can cost $27,000 but you can use 135,000 miles for that same ticket, a value of 20 cents per mile. If you were using Capital One points you would need 2,700,000 points per ticket.
-A night at a Park Hyatt in Paris, Sydney, or the Maldives can run $1,500 with tax but you can use 25K-30K points for that room, a value of 5-6 cents per point. Or you can use less points and get even better values with cash and points. If you were using Capital One points you would need 150,000 points per night.
And that’s all besides for the fact that getting a Capital One card costs a minimum of 3 credit pulls whereas you can get several Chase cards with just 1 credit pull.
Yes, the Ink cards are business cards. But you may be already running a business that qualifies for a business cardand there are several huge advantages that business cards have over consumer cards as you can read here.
For example if your name is Joe Smith and you sell items online, or if you have any other side business/hobby and want a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures you can just open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business name. You don’t need to file any messy government paperwork to be allowed to do that.
Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.
If you’re like me and you run more than one business you can get the same type of card for each business to manage each businesses expenses separately.
Other Chase consumer cards you can apply for simultaneously include the Chase British Airways (50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, and an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a year), and the Chase United Explorer (30K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, and it gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance worldwide, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, and more), the Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, no fee the first year, free primary car rental insurance worldwide, plus 2 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), and the Chase Freedom (which gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories and 10% bonus points if you have a Chase checking account).