Note: I do not have any financial relationship with Chase and do not receive any commission if you apply for this card. The purpose of this article is to share my thoughts, feeling and experiences. (See disclaimer at the bottom of the page.)
Last week on the day before Chase unexpectedly increased the sign up bonus for the Chase Ink Bold & Plus cards to 60,000 points, both my wife and I applied for one. She already has an old Mastercard version of the Ink Plus and I don’t currently have any of the Ink cards. Let me explain some of the benefits of the cards and why we applied for them.
While 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points is an incredible bonus, the normal bonus of 50,000 points is still a good value. Over the past couple of years I have managed to average about $.02 per point in redemption value. This means that those 50,000 points are worth roughly $1,000 to me. With the bonus being 60,000 points for a limited time, that means $1,200 in value.
Thankfully Chase is usually good about matching offers, so I foresee being able to get them to credit the additional 10,000 points once I hit the minimum spending requirements for the bonus.
Ultimate Rewards Value
Let me explain my valuation a bit without getting into too much detail. If you book travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site, each point is worth $.0125. This means that the current bonus is worth about $750 in travel. That is a fantastic deal, but you can get even more value by transferring to Chase’s travel partners. Here are three redemption I have made in the past year with three different transfer partners.
Redemption 1: Transfer 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points to United for a flight from Tokyo to Seoul with a day in Taipei.
The cheapest retail ticket was $302 without the time in Taipei. Value of points for this redemption: $.0302!
Redemption 2: Transfer 12,500 Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways Avios for a one-way flight from Maui to Los Angeles in June.
This redemption was in the high season and the cheapest one-way ticket was about $400. Giving me a value of about $.04 per point.
Redemption 3: Transfer 12,000 Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt for a redemption at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo.
Room rates were $325 per night for the two nights that we stayed in this hotel. Value per point was: $.027.
I have also redeemed for business class flights with over a $.10 per point value and a few times redeemed for as low as $.0125. When I average out my redemptions, I come to about $.025 per point, but I feel more comfortable with my $0.02 value since it is more conservative and several of Chase’s transfer partners have devalued lately. (I know there are deeper ways to value points, but I don’t feel it necessary to delve into them in this article.
The Chase Ink Bold & Plus cards have phenomenal category bonuses.
- Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services up to $50,000.
- Earn 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and for hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel up to $50,000.
If I value these points at about $.02, that means I receive about $.10 back on every purchase at an office supply store and on my utility services. I also receive about $.04 back on hotel and gas station purchases which isn’t too bad, although it isn’t my primary motivation for receiving this card.
I currently spend $160 per month on cellular, internet & television services. This means that I earn 9,600 Ultimate Rewards points by paying for them with my Chase Ink card. (Autopay!) I know that many families have MUCH higher bills so the math would work out better for them. If I did nothing with this card except pay my existing bills, I would earn almost $200 in points for paying the $95 annual fee! (Which is waived the first year!)
Deals & Gift Cards
The fantastic thing about office supply stores is that they sell a huge variety of gift cards. This allows me to earn 5x points on spending that otherwise wouldn’t have earned a bonus. An example is the recent Visa gift card online deal from Staples. I can use those gift cards to pay bills that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to pay with a credit card. Officemax often has similar deals which are great opportunities to earn points.
Staples, Officemax & Office Depot all sell merchant gift cards as well. Shop at Amazon? Why not earn 5x points by buying an Amazon gift card at Staples and then loading it to your account before purchases. These stores sell so many different gift cards that it is very likely that your favorite merchant or restaurant is included. They even sell Southwest gift cards which can help you earn bonus points on flights!
The Chase Ink Bold & Plus cards both come with Lounge Club membership. With this membership, the first two lounge visits are free and then each subsequent visit is $27. Jasmine and I used our Lounge Club membership recently in Taipei since we didn’t have lounge access for our flight to Seoul. This is a good secondary benefit to fill in those lounge access holes or for you to experience what a lounge is all about.
Getting A Chase Ink Card
The Chase Ink cards are business credit cards that come in three flavors, the Cash, Plus & Bold. This article deals only with the Ink Plus & Ink Bold cards. Those cards have the same category bonuses as mentioned above. The only difference between the two is that the Plus is a traditional credit card with a limit and the Bold is a charge card which must be paid off every month. (You should be paying off all of your cards in FULL every month or these cards are not for you.)
While it can sometimes be easier to get a credit card from Chase on the consumer side, their business cards are not easy. You really need to have excellent credit and a REAL business to get one of these cards. Chase used to be pretty lax with what they consider a business, but recent reports suggest that they are being more strict. While a business doesn’t have to have revenue to get a card (if it is new for example), Chase may require some proof that the business exists.
Both my wife and I have legitimate long term businesses, so this isn’t a problem for us, but for some it may be an issue. I had a friend who used an Ebay business when applying for the Ink card. He wasn’t immediately approved and eventually had to talk to a credit analyst on the phone. While he did sell things on Ebay, it was one item here or there. The phone rep asked for his User ID and was able to see this. The application was denied.
Chase Business Reconsideration
If you aren’t immediately approved then you must call Chase’s reconsideration line. I recommend calling as soon as possible. Sometimes I dread the call so much though that I wait. Once or twice the application has been approved on its own (Not with Chase), but usually waiting means a denial. It is best to call right away and plead your case. The Chase Business Reconsideration Number is (800) 453-9719. They are open Monday-Friday during normal business hours only.
When on the reconsideration call, be polite and friendly. Make sure you sound firm in your answers and be prepared to answer a number of questions about both your personal credit and your business. From my experience, a call with Chase Business Reconsideration is among the hardest ones to do. They are professional and well trained credit analysts and are looking at your application with a critical eye.
Unlike some other blogs, I don’t receive any commission if you apply for the Chase Ink cards. The reason for this post is to share my thoughts on the cards and why both my wife and I recently applied for them. If you follow some of the links in this post, you will find a number of deals that I have written about which pair perfectly with the Chase Ink Bold & Plus cards. If you care to apply, here is a direct link to Chase’s Ink page. (Not an affiliate link.)
Please let me know if you have any questions! For those who are new, I hope this helped to explain things a bit!