Last week, my mom, the ultimate points and miles newbie, got approved for the Chase Ink Plus Business card. I’ve had my Ink Plus card for almost a year now, and it’s earned a permanent slot in my ever-expanding wallet (aka, it’s worth paying the annual fee). When I asked my mom why she was attracted to the card (truth is, I was indirectly trying to quiz her to see how much she has learned about points and miles cards), she was stumped. She replied, “uh… I like the points?”. Good one, Mom.
Her answer inspired me to follow suit with a similar post I did last year titled – “So You Got an American Express Platinum Card, Now What?” (ironically, that was one of 2013′s top posts) to outline the benefits of the two most-promoted Ink cards in clear-cut manner.
In the points and miles world, we are constantly presented with the “latest and greatest” and “best” credit cards, so we sometimes fine that we end up getting the cards simply because every else is… without exactly understanding all of what the card has to offer.
I’m hoping that this post will not only help my mom, but others who are also in the same boat.
First off, let’s go over the difference between the Chase Ink Plus Business Card vs the Chase Ink Bold Business Card. In short - The Ink Bold and Ink Plus are nearly identical in terms benefits, except for the fact that the Ink Bold is a charge card (which means it comes with no pre-set spending limit and you have to pay it off in full each month). On the other hand, the Ink Plus is a credit card (meaning you can carry a balance if needed). Since earning points and miles via credit card spend only makes sense if you pay off the balance in full each month regardless, it really doesn’t matter which card you go with. I personally have chosen the Ink Plus.
…So… you got an Ink Card, Now What?
- Meet the Minimum Spend Requirement: This is app-o-rama 101, a total no-brainer. With any card, in order to earn a generous sign-up bonus, you usually have to meet some sort of minimum spend requirement. The Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards both currently offer a generous sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points (limited time offer) after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months of opening the account. I am very mindful of minimum spend deadlines – there’s no way I want to miss out on a boatload of points!
- Pay Your Bill in Full Every Month: This is another “back-to-the-basics” tip for reward credit cards; not only does paying in full each month improve your credit score and worthiness, but your good behavior also gets rewarded in the form of points and miles, creating some lucrative opportunities for free travel. This practice is especially important for the Ink Bold Business card in particular because it is a charge card, not a credit card, which requires a full payment each month, period. Of course, pro-churners have this down to a science, right?
- Earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services (generous $50,000 limit per year): A way to maximize these deals are to buy other retailer gift cards (such as Amazon, Chipotle, AMC, etc.) at your local Staples or office supply store. Some people also choose to buy $200 Visa gift cards at office supply stores, despite the $5.95 fee, simply because it is like buying 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points for less than $6. Another strategy is to sync your card to Plink (more on that below). I also make sure to pay my wireless and Fios bill each month with my Ink Plus.
- Earn 2x points at gas stations and hotel accommodations (only when booked directly through the hotel, also a generous $50K cap): While I prefer using my Chase Sapphire Preferred card for all travel and hotel bookings (because of the 2x + 7% yearly points-dividend), I always make sure I use my Ink Plus when filling up the tank!
- Understand the Value of Ultimate Rewards Points: Though Chase sells each Ultimate Reward point for 2.5 cents a piece, I realistically value them at 2 cents a piece (especially when transferred to United MileagePlus Miles or Hyatt GoldPassport points). With that said, the sign up bonus alone conservatively has a value of $1,000 in my eyes!
- Get Familiar With The Ultimate Rewards Travel Transfer Partners: Ultimate Rewards can be transferred 1:1 to a nice variety of travel partners including United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, IHG and Amtrak. I personally prefer transferring my Ultimate Rewards points to United miles (to travel in first or business class on Star Alliance partners such as Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, etc.) and to stay at aspirational Hyatt properties that can cost up to $1,000 a night such as the Park Hyatt Tokyo, Park Hyatt Maldives, The Grand Hyatt Kauai, and the brand-new Andaz Maui.
- The Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal is the Best Out There: I always make sure I’m earning points or cashback with virtually every single online-shopping transaction, and to be honest, 90% of my transactions are purchased through the Ultimate Rewards portal because it’s a lucrative way to earn tons of points (examples – 10 points per dollar at Kohls.com, 7 extra points per dollar at Sephora.com, etc).
- Use Internationally – No Foreign Transaction Fees: Both the Chase Ink Bold Business Card and the Chase Ink Plus Business card is essential to International travel with the no-foreign-transaction fee benefit.
- Purchase Protection: Some eligible purchases can be protected against accidental damage, loss or theft for up. For instance, Chase saved my butt twice this year when I shattered my brand-new iPhone5 (related post).
- Free Lounge Club Membership: Both cards also grant cardholders complimentary Lounge Club membership (2 complimentary lounge visits per year, after that, it’s $27 per visit). Lounge Club offers around 350 VIP airport lounges worldwide.
- Sync Your Ink With Plink: Nice rhyme, right? Only continue on with this step if you’re comfortable sharing your log-in information with Plink. Plink is a new rewards site that lets you earn points to redeem for either gift cards or airline miles just by shopping and dining out using a synced credit card. My favorite partnership is the Plink/Staples partnership. In short, you can earn 300 Plink points ($3 value) for every $60 purchase at Staples (limit 10 transactions a month). I always “cash” out my Plink points for Amazon gift cards, and my Christmas shopping strategy this year was to buy retailer gift cards at Staples (in increments of $75 each) for friends and family, so that I could receive the maximum amount of Plink points back per transaction. Not only did I get 5x on Xmas gift purchases, but I also was able to treat myself to a nice Amazon reward!
I’m definitely excited to have the Ink Plus Business Card as part of my credit card family, and I truly do go out of my way to make sure I make the most of what this great card has to offer!
How have you taken advantage of your Ink Bold or Ink Plus card benefits? Is there anything that I’ve missed that should be added to the list?
- Chase Provides the Best Protection Against Flight Delays or Cancellations
- I Shattered My Brand New iPhone Not Once, But Twice – Chase Saved Me