Ink Bold vs. Ink Plus vs. Ink Classic vs. Ink Cash: Which Business Card?
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Hilary Stockton
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Ink Bold vs. Ink Plus vs. Ink Classic vs. Ink Cash: Which Business Card?

As if 3 different Ink business cards weren't confusing enough, Chase has resurrected the Ink Plus, adding a fourth Ink business card to the mix. Since I've already gotten a couple emails asking about the Ink Plus that I mentioned in passing in How to Buy Ultimate Rewards Points, I figured it was time for a comparison of all the Ink business cards:

 

Ink Bold Business Card: 50,000 Points

The main difference between the Ink Bold Business Card and the resurrected Ink Plus is that the Ink Bold is a charge card. That means that there's no predefined credit limit, but you must pay off the card in full every month. 

Pros:

  • No predefined spend limit, as a charge card
  • 50,000 bonus after $5000 spend within the first 3 months
  • 5X points for Internet, cable, phone services, office supply stores (including gift cards, e.g. Amazon)
  • 2X points for hotel and gas spend
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee is waived the first year
  • Lounge Club membership and two complimentary lounge passes per year

Cons:

  • Must spend $5000 within 3 months to receive 50,000 point bonus
  • Maximum of $50,000 in spend can receive the 5X bonus, for up to 250,000 points
  • Annual fee after first year is $95
  • No 0% APR grace period, as a charge card


Ink Plus: 50,000 Points

The Ink Plus isn't new--it was around in 2010 in a different incarnation, and with a much lower bonus. This time around, it looks exactly the same as the Ink Bold--same 50,000 bonus, same $5000 spend requirement to receive the bonus, same 5X and 2X bonus categories, etc.--except the Ink Plus is a credit card.

So all the pros and cons above apply except:

Pros of Ink Plus vs. Ink Bold:

  • 0% intro APR for first 6 months means that it can be easier to meet the $5K minimum spend within 3 months by purchasing gift cards for Amazon, Visa, etc. that you can use later for business expenses, then paying these off in months 4-6 without incurring any interest penalties.

Cons of Ink Plus vs. Ink Bold

  • As a credit card, you will have a predefined credit limit. For my business, I like the flexibility of not having to worry about bumping up against a too low credit limit in any given month.


Ink Classic: 20,000 Points

The key aspect of the Ink Classic in addition to the lower bonus is that it has no annual fee, and because of this, you can't transfer points out to Ultimate Rewards partners (United, Hyatt, etc.) unless you also have a fee-paying card, such as the Ink Bold or Sapphire Preferred. 

Pros of Ink Classic vs. Ink Plus

  • No annual fee, making it a good card to keep open for your credit score: increase average age of accounts and show low credit utilization
  • Lower spend requirement for bonus

Cons of Ink Classic vs. Ink Plus

  • Lower bonus: 20,000 points after spending $3000 in three months
  • Maximum of $25,000 in spend can receive the 5X bonus, for up to 125,000 points
  • Must have an Ink Plus, Ink Bold or Sapphire Preferred account in order to transfer points out to Ultimate Rewards partners such as United, Hyatt, etc.


Ink Cash: $200 Cash Back

Unless you have no interest in redeeming for travel, I don't recommend the Ink Cash, as it's a pure cash back card: no points at all. Instead of 5X points, you earn 5X cash back on the same categories as you do for the other Ink cards: office supply stores, Internet, cable TV, and mobile/landline telephony. But note that the 2X categories are gas and restaurants, not gas and hotels.


Strategy

If you don't have any Ink business cards, your first question may be--am I eligible? While business cards are almost never approved instantly, don't let that faze you. Check our post with reconsideration phone numbers. If you have any kind of hobby that makes some money, such as selling things on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, at garage sales, etc.--that's a business. If you're a landlord, that's a business. If you do any consulting work, that's a business. 

Next, figure out if you can front load expenses in order to complete $5000 spend within 3 months, for the 50,000 Ink Bold or Ink Plus bonus. For help, see Maximizing the Chase Ink Bold: How to Meet Minimum Spend 

Between the Ink Bold and Ink Plus, it's down to whether you prefer a charge card with no predefined spending limit, or if you want the Ink Plus with its initial 0% APR for the first 6 months. 

Can you apply for both the Ink Bold and Ink Plus at the same time? It is possible to get both, but you'll need to complete $10,000 in spend within 3 months. Personally I think a good strategy for anyone who already has the Ink Bold is to wait and apply for the Ink Plus around the time that their Ink Bold 1 year anniversary comes up, since you may not be able to negotiate an annual fee waiver for the Ink Bold. That way, you'd basically have a replacement Ink card product with another annual fee waiver that's almost exactly the same as the Ink Bold except as a credit card, not a charge card--hopefully you'd get a high enough credit limit. 

 

Related posts

Bye Bye Ink Bold: Last Chance for 50K Points with No Annual Fee

Ink Bold Signup Tips

Maximizing the Chase Ink Bold: How to Meet Minimum Spend

5X Points for All Amazon Spend

Make Your Own 100,000 Credit Card Bonus Offer

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Comments
Avatar_60_masha Masha G. commented 02 Aug 2012

Do you know how much is the annual fee for the Ink Plus?

Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 02 Aug 2012
Masha, the Ink Plus annual fee is waived the first year, then $95; same as the Ink Bold.
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