Chase Ink Bold

Chase has four business credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.  Ultimate Rewards points are currently most valuable airline, hotel, and travel points currency.

Chase Ink Bold, Ink Plus, Ink Classic, and Ink Cash

  • Ink Bold - 50,000 point bonus after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • Ink Plus - 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • Ink Classic - 20,000 after spending $3,000 in the first three months
  • Ink Cash - $200 cash back after spending $3,000 in the first three months

These cards come witha  limited time lower minimum spend.  I personally don’t have any information about how long the lower $5,000 minimum spend will be around.

Why I think that the Ink Bold is currently one of the the best (for spending) travel credit cards on the market

  1. With the card, you earn Ultimate Rewards.  In my opinion, these are the most valuable mileage points available anywhere on the planet.  Best of all, you can transfer points to United, British Airways, Southwest, and Korean Air (all with fantastic redemption options).  You can even transfer to Amtrak. (I still want to take advantage of their great redemption rates.)  Additionally, you can transfer those points to Marriott, Priority Club, Ritz-Carlton, and Hyatt.  By the way, Hyatt is by far the most valuable hotel transfer option unless Priority Club has a PointBreaks location.
  2. With the card, you have access to the Ultimate Rewards Shopping mall where you can really increase your point balance fast.  To see the current list of bonus points for Ultimate Reward shopping, check out his webpage.
  3. The 5x points at office supply stores, cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV.  You can also earn 2x points at gas stations and hotels. 
  4. As an Ink Bold card holder, you get free membership with The Lounge Club program.  The Lounge Club does not have a very strong presence in the US.  You and a guest can get two free entries to any of their lounges, and after that, you can enter at $27 per visit.  For infrequent travelers, this could be a nice perk.  By the way, the biggest difference between The Lounge Club program and Priority Pass program (associated with American Express Platinum) is that there are about 350 locations, whereas the Priority Pass program has over 650 locations world wide.
  5. $95 annual fee is waived the first year.  I don’t usually keep credit cards beyond the first year, but I’ll probably hang on to the Ink Bold (or switch to the Plus card) to keep my points active.

Why I’m a fan of the Ink Products

I have had five billing cycles where the points have posted since becoming an Ink Bold card member.  I’ve spent a total of $9,462.99.  My current Ultimate Rewards balance associated with the Ink Bold is 108,096.  Between the sign up bonus and all the bonus points categories I’m earning, that is an amazing rate of return.

Ultimate Rewards Ink Products

If I wanted to, I could transfer those points to Southwest and have over $1,800 worth of Southwest flights.  Or, I could transfer them to British Airways and fly four people from Boston to Dublin, Ireland in economy class.  Or, I could transfer then to United and take advantage of the 20% discount and fly my wife and I to Europe round-trip.

Anyway, this is why I think the Ink Bold is such a great card.

Understanding the Different Ink Related Products

Ink Bold & Ink Plus

As you’ll see below, these two cards have identical benefits.  The only difference between these two cards is that the Ink Bold is a charge card and the Ink Plus is a credit card.  A charge card must be paid off every month and has no pre-set spending limit.  A credit card allows balances to be rolled over from month to month (not that I suggest this).

Ink Classic

There are two big differences between the Classic and the Plus/Bold cards:

  1. Lower sign up bonus and lower minimum spend: Get 20,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months.  Personally, I’d do everything I could (i.e. Vanilla Reload cards or VanillaOne cards) to get the bigger bonus with the Plus or Bold.  However, if that is not possible, then this is your best option.  It will give you access to the 5x at office supply stores and the Lounge Club.
  2. There is no annual fee. While the Bold and Plus waive the annual fee for the first year, it will be $95 thereafter.  If you don’t want to pay the annual fee, then you could get either the Bold or Plus card (to get the bigger bonus), and after the first year downsize to the Classic card.

Ink Cash

The biggest disadvantage of the Ink Cash is that you don’t earn points as Ultimate Rewards.  This means that you can’t transfer points to any of the airlines or hotels.  Because of that, I wouldn’t even consider it (when placed against the Classic).  The bonus is the same as the Classic card – 20,000 points after spending $3,000.  These 20,000 points represent $200 cash back.

Since I’m all about the minimum spend, I’d focus on the Ink Bold or Ink Plus products and then downgrade to an Ink Classic after the first year.