Credit Card Review: Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus

Credit Card Review: Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus

BeachWelcome to my “Credit Card Review” Series. I’ve gotten a bunch of emails since I started writing about my fun credit card churning experiments, collecting tons of points for airline and travel rewards. I’ve had a blast doing research, finding deals, and taking some sweet vacations all on the credit card company’s dime. So I figured I should probably start putting together some reviews of the cards I enjoy, and maybe even some I don’t. I’m going to be coming from the perspective of someone who enjoys getting sweet signup bonuses, but also does NOT allow any credit card rewards change my budgeting habits. I pay my cards off every month, never pay interest, and treat them just like cash. If you can do this too, might as well reap the sweet bonuses and have the credit card company pay for your next vacation!

Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus

Finally, an awesome credit card signup bonus that I can sink my teeth into! I’ve been documenting my fun with travel credit card bonus points, most recently with our trip to Florida for some Disney fun and time to relax at the Dolphin Disney resort. Flight paid for in Alaska miles, hotel paid for with Starwood points, so no need to drop $600+ dollars to travel! Now that we’ve used up most of our Chase Ultimate Reward points and most of our Starwood Preferred Guest points as well, I’m looking at my next credit card churn.

60,000 Bonus Points = $600 cash or $750 in Travel Rewards!

I have to give credit to Bryan from for calling this one out. Since it’s small business week, Chase decided to up it’s usual offer of 50,000 bonus points for it’s small business card to 60,000 points. This offer is for one week only, so if you were on the fence about this one, now’s the time. I’ll be signing up tonight here, and hopefully collecting my bonus points in a few months. We just used the Ultimate Rewards for a statement credit (essentially cash back) last time, but hopefully I can maximize the travel rewards this time around.

Ultimate Rewards are probably the most flexible and valuable rewards points out there. Not only can you book discounted travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site, but you can also transfer your points to a ton of partners. Places like British Airways, United, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Korean Air, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Amtrak and Priority Club all take UR transfers at a 1:1 ratio. That’s a TON of options, with some sweet-tastic perks. For example, you can transfer 22,000 points over to Hyatt, and stay at their BEST hotels, some that demand over $1,000 per night! And if you’re on the west coast like me, you can use 50,000 British Airways points for 2 round-trip tickets to Hawaii! BOOM! Suffice to say, $750 is the MINIMUM amount in travel rewards you could score using these Chase bonus points, probably closer to $1,200+!

Which Card Should You Get?

There are some interesting points that need to be mentioned here. First off, these are business credit cards. Perfect for those with small businesses, or for those who are just starting out. And though it is stated to use this for business expenses, many testimonials that I have read around the web have shown that Chase doesn’t care what you charge on the card, personal or business expenses. So if you’re worried about the minimum spend ($5,000 within first 3 months), just make sure you put ALL your bills on the card, and place all your expenses on there. After dropping $5,000, you’ll walk away with a cool 65,000 points (or more, because of bonus categories) and be on your way to some sweet travel rewards.

Now, there is ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE between the Ink Bold and the Ink Plus. The Ink Bold is a Charge Card, which means you MUST pay it off every month (and therefore doesn’t charge interest EVER!). The Ink Plus is a Credit Card, which offers the flexibility of being able to pay it off later is you absolutely must. Besides that, both cards offer the same options:

  • Earn 5X points per dollar in select business categories (such as office supply stores, cell phone, and internet).
  • Earn 2X points per dollar at gas stations and hotels.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Direct access to a live service advisor anytime.
  • $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year, then $95.


As I see it, the major downside to any credit card is the user. If you cannot pay off the card every month, then cut up the plastic and start using cash envelopes. Outside of that, the annual fee on this card is a bummer, but at least it’s waived for the first year. And as I’ve stated in the past, when it comes time for the fee, just call and negotiate to have it removed, or at least score some bonus points out of the deal. The other downside is for those with no business at all. Which is probably less of you that you might think. If you’ve sold stuff on eBay and report the income, you are a small business. If you run a blog and collect $15 in advertising income, you run a business. And the beauty is that you can put “$15 business income” on the card application, but they still ask for “Gross Income” as well, so you can easily qualify with very little business income.

What Card Am I Getting?

Since the only difference is that one must be paid off in full every month, and the other doesn’t have to be, I’m going to go with the Ink Bold charge card. I’m super diligent about ALWAYS paying off my cards, so why NOT keep myself even more accountable with a charge card?? Plus, if I want the Ink Plus down the road, I can just apply and state that I want the flexibility of a credit card as well, and collect another 50,000 points (since the 10,000 extra points will be gone by then). Done and done!

Out of all the rewards cards out there, this may be the best signup bonus around. Most signup bonuses have been steady for a while, so it’s nice to see a decent bump every now and then. I plan on pairing this with another card, and rounding out my summer churn.

Discloser: There are affiliate links in the post, and if you sign up for a card through them, I do receive a commission. There is absolutely no obligation to sign up, I just want to share the cards that have given us points for free vacations so others can take advantage as well. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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  1. We have the Chase Freedom. I honestly didn’t know about the ability to transfer rewards to other programs. Thanks for the info! Could be pretty useful.
    Matt Becker recently posted..Why Whole Life Insurance is a Bad InvestmentMy Profile

    • Just an FYI, but you cannot transfer with the Freedom card itself. You need one of Chase’s “premium” cards like the Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Bold Cards (or the JP Morgan Cards). All of those cards have an annual fee, which can easily be offset with the rewards you earn and sometimes with a simple phone call (after the first year).

    • What Brian said. πŸ™‚

  2. Are you going to go all in and do most of your shopping at office supply stores to earn 5X basically anywhere via gift cards?

    • Gah! You know, I’m not sure yet. I think I’m going to do that for food and gas to start….might as well rake in a few thousand extra points πŸ™‚

  3. I never even thought about negotiating the annual fee. I’ll have to make a phone call when my fee comes due.
    David @my2centopinion recently posted..Worried about Expense Creep? Me tooMy Profile

  4. I have the Chase Sapphire and my first year is up so I have to pay the fee. I tried to call them to have it waived but they wouldn’t budge, maybe I should try again. Otherwise I’ll just downgrade and get the Chase Ink Bold! I probably won’t be traveling much in the near future so I might hold off on it until later.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted..No Haggle Car BuyingMy Profile

    • If they really won’t budge, ask to downgrade and go with the Bold. If you talk about going to AMEX or something, they might open their ears a bit… πŸ˜‰

  5. I love the Ink Bold – and would certainly get it at 60K it’s one of the best offers for a long time. BTW you can transfer to Partners with the Freedom too, you just need another card like the Bold or the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, linked in your Online profile then you can transfer the Freedom to the Bold or CSP and combine your new points balance – these then can be transferred to Partners!
    Matt from Saverocity recently posted..How Many Frequent Flyer Miles do you Need?My Profile

    • Thanks Matt. Linking up the Freedom with a premier card is very powerful, great call! This is my first taste of any of the “Ink” cards, excited to build up my UR points! If I could get to 100,000 UR and 100,000 Starwood points per year, I’d be a happy (4-star-hotel, first-class-flying) camper! πŸ™‚

  6. These cards have been on my radar for a couple of months. I’ve read on forums on how people have been making quite a bit with the 5x at office supply stores although I think some of the methods have already been shut down. I’m holding off on getting the cards now until I get back from my hike and get a new job.
    Andy Hough recently posted..Get Cash Back on Your Rent and Other BillsMy Profile

    • Yea, mostly just buy gift cards, $1,000 at a time and use them for gas, groceries and other purchases. 5,000 points a month is no joke! πŸ™‚ The “Vanilla Reload” and other tricks have been mostly shut down, but not completely. Travel Hackers will always find a way πŸ™‚

  7. I already have an Ink Plus and I wasn’t going to do this offer, but I’ve changed my mind. 10,000 extra points can almost get an extra night at many places. I’m going to try for the Ink Bold and see what happens. I always feel like they are going to deny me, but it hasn’t happened yet.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Excuses or Choices?My Profile

    • More UR points!!! Make it happen. Do you do the gift card/office supply store deal? I’m trying to think of ways to turbo charge my UR earnings…

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