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Update: The Chase Ink Plus card is no longer available. Check here for the most current card offers.
I haven’t written about the Chase Ink cards very much, but I’ve been thinking about picking up a Chase Ink Cash lately. I already have a Chase Ink Plus. It’s possible to get both because they’re technically different card products.
They have a lot in common. But there are a few differences that make or break the value you’ll get from them.
In This Post
- Link: Chase Ink Plus
- Link: Chase Ink Cash
Both of these cards earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on:
- Purchases at office supply stores
- Phone bills
- Cable bills
- Internet service
And both of them earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points at gas stations.
The 5X categories are a very beautiful thing.
- My home internet service to the Chase Ink Plus
- The internet service for my Airbnbs
- My AT&T cell phone bill (which I save 15% on)
And, more recently, I’ve been buying basic cleaning supplies from Staples.com.
Not everything, because not all of it’s a good deal. But take this toilet paper, for example.
Simple math says $16 for 30 rolls is ~53 cents a roll. That’s a pretty good price!
A comparable offering from Amazon is $25 for 36 rolls, or ~69 cents a roll. Not bad either, but it all adds up, as they say.
If you find something that is cheaper at Amazon, you can always buy Amazon gift cards at Staples (which you’ll earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on), and then buy what you need from Amazon. That way, you still earn as many points, and save money in the process.
Yes, it’s an added step, but it can be worth it to save money and earn points. 5X is one of the most generous category bonuses around, and Ultimate Rewards points can still be very valuable (especially on British Airways and Hyatt hotel stays).
So yes. It’s easy to rack up a ton of points in these categories. For me, 3,000 points a month is nearly 40,000 points a year, give or take. That’s a few free flights, or a few free nights, depending on how I play it. Well worth the $95 annual fee on the Chase Ink Plus.
Which brings us to the differences.
- Chase Ink Plus is $95 a year.
- Chase Ink Cash is $0.
- Chase Ink Plus has no foreign transaction fees.
- Chase Ink Cash has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.
I’ve written about why you need at least one no annual fee credit card in your arsenal. But the no annual fee card (Chase Ink Cash) isn’t very good to travel overseas with.
That said, it’s worth paying the $95 fee on the Chase Ink Plus because it…
Transfers to airline and hotel partners
Chase Ink Plus transfers to travel partners at a 1:1 ratio:
(Aside: I could throw out Virgin Atlantic and Marriott, and be just fine, but some peeps might find a use for their points.)
Anyway, you can NOT transfer points if all you have is the Chase Ink Cash.
To transfer points, you need one of these:
- Chase Ink Plus
- Chase Ink Bold (not offered any more)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
They all have a $95 annual fee.
These cards don’t have an annual fee, but you can transfer their points when you have one of the cards above:
- Chase Ink Cash
- Chase Freedom
That other 2X category
- Chase Ink Plus also earns 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on hotel stays booked directly with the hotel
- Chase Ink Cash also earns 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on restaurants
Here’s where it gets good. Because you can earn 2X on dining with the Chase Ink Cash, just like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
I don’t need two Chase cards with this capability, so I could either:
- Get the Chase Ink Cash, and toss the Chase Ink Plus
- Get the Chase Ink Cash, and toss the Chase Sapphire Preferred
That way, I’m only paying a $95 annual fee one time instead of two.
Wild card is the other 2X category with the Chase Sapphire Preferred: travel.
Which is where the Citi ThankYou Premier comes in, with its 3X earning in this category. I’ve been curious about ThankYou points for a while, so I’m thinking of dumping the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and supplementing travel purchases with a Citi ThankYou card.
There are lots of cards to choose from and each of them will fit into your groove and spending patterns in different ways.
And, like me, your situation could change in a couple of years, and you might want different cards.
- Chase Ink Plus lets you earn 5X on $50,000 spent on purchases in all the combined 5X categories.
- Chase Ink Plus lets you earn 2X on $50,000 spent on purchases at gas stations and hotels combined.
- Chase Ink Cash lets you earn 5X on $25,000 spent on purchases in all the combined 5X categories.
- Chase Ink Cash lets you earn 2X on $25,000 spent on purchases on gas stations and dining combined.
If you plan on spending more than $2,000 per month on office supplies, phone service, and cable, get the Chase Ink Plus because it has a higher limit.
Or, get both. Max one out, then the other. If you pay $95 for the Chase Ink Plus, you can add the Chase Ink Cash to your wallet for free, and keep earning 5X in those categories.
I got the Chase Ink Plus for Out and Out back in 2013. I had no revenue, and no employees (apart from me, obvi). I applied with my SSN. Chase didn’t approve me right away.
I called and answered a few questions, and was approved over the phone. I’ve had the card since (and it’s still a World Elite MasterCard!).
So you don’t need huge revenue or an EIN. Just be truthful on your application.
You can apply using your credit profile, but after that, it won’t show up on your personal credit report.
Hope this was helpful – let me know if you have any questions about either card or how they work!
And thanks again for using my links if you decide to pick one up!* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!
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