There are currently four Chase Ink cards and while they are pretty similar in nature, there are some clear differences that can help you decide which card is for you (which I’ll describe below). I personally have the Chase Ink Bold and it has become one of my go-to cards. This is one of my top three go-to cards (along with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Starwood American Express) and I use it primarily for spend at office supply stores, to pay off my internet/cable bill, and for gas. Another post will come along soon with the card I use for all my purchases, stay tuned. NOTE: The Chase Ink Classic card is no longer available for new applicants.

In my opinion, the Chase cards are great go to options for everyday spend. The fact that you can transfer the earned points to Hyatt, United, and British Airways at a 1:1 ratio is HUGE! There are more partners, but those are my three favorite (you can read more about the airline and hotel partners here). 

The differences of the four cards range from the sign on bonus, annual fee, capped amount on bonus points, foreign transaction fees, point redemption, etc. All four cards give you the 5x bonus on office supply spend and telecommunications (tv, internet, cell phone service). All four are part of the Ultimate Rewards program, although slight limitations which I have discussed below (check out this Chase Ultimate Rewards series to fully understand the program). Although these are business cards, many have been able to apply and get approved for these cards without including an EIN number (myself included at the time).

Essentially, the Chase Ink Plus credit card and Chase Ink Bold charge card are 99.9% the same, but with one difference – since the Chase Ink Bold is a charge card you must pay the balance in full each month, where the Chase Ink Plus is a credit card allowing you to pay the credit card over time (although there are high APR fees and I highly do not advise doing this!). Aside from that difference the cards are 100% the same.

With both these cards you earn:

  • 5x points per $1 on business expenses up to a maximum of 200,000 bonus points/$50,000 spent  (business expenses include: wireless communication services, cable and satellite television and radio services, office supply stores and wholesale distributors of office supplies)
  • 2x points per $1 at gas stations, hotels and motels up to a maximum of 50,000 bonus points/$50,000 spent
  • 1x points per $1 on all other purchases – no limit on points you can earn

The Chase Ink Classic credit card and Chase Ink Cash credit card are also very similar in nature – both have no annual fee, a 3% foreign transaction fee, and do not allow you to transfer your points directly to loyalty partners. However, both cards earn you points (although Ink Cash is advertised as cash back) where you can transfer your points to a Chase Ultimate Rewards account that allows direct transfers to partner airline and hotel programs (only Ink Bold, Ink Plus, and Sapphire Preferred have this availability).

Chase allows you to transfer to other Chase accounts in your name or your families name, although many have been able to transfer to accounts where the name does not match up. Keep in mind though that although this is not against the terms, there have been reports of accounts being shut down due to this. But as long as one member in your family has an Ink Plus, Ink Bold, or Sapphire Preferred account, you can transfer points from the no annual fee cards to these accounts. From there you can directly transfer to a loyalty partner (as of right now the names do not need to match) and get a better value of your points than cash back. This means that there is really no reason to pay more than one annual fee of $95/year per family (unless you need the higher spend maximum for the 5x point category).
With both these cards you earn:

  • 5x points per $1 on business expenses up to a maximum of 100,000 bonus points/$25,000 spent  (business expenses include: wireless communication services, cable and satellite television and radio services, office supply stores and wholesale distributors of office supplies)
  • Chase Ink Classic: 2x points per $1 at gas stations, hotels and motels up to a maximum of 25,000 bonus points/$25,000 spent
  • Chase Ink Cash: 2x points per $1 at gas stations and restaurants up to a maximum of 25,000 bonus points/$25,000 spent
  • 1x points per $1 on all other purchases – no limit on points you can earn

Again, these cards are 99.9% the same with one difference – both cards give you 2x points at gas stations, but the Ink Classic also gives 2x points at hotels/motels while the Ink Cash gives 2x points at restaurants. If you are interested in either of these two cards, get the one where you spend more between restaurants and hotels/motels.

One of the biggest hits of these cards (although by no means the only reason for these cards) is the 5x points categories, specifically at office supply stores (i.e., Office Depot). If you plan on going big (although I recommend treading with caution), you can spend up to $150,000 per person if you have all four cards. My assumption is the average person won’t even come close to spending this much and the $50,000 capped spend will do. My personal recommendation is to get the Chase Ink Bold charge card and Chase Ink Plus credit card due to the 50,000 bonus points each (after meeting the minimum spend), but downgrading one of them to the Chase Ink Cash or Chase Ink Classic. There really is no reason to pay more than one annual fee a year between all your Chase Ultimate Reward cards per family. Read this prior blog post about downgraded your Chase credit cards.

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  • CaroleZoom said,

    Typo: I think you meant Plus for the second one?
    “Chase Ink Bold is a charge card you must pay the balance in full each month, where the Chase Ink Bold is a credit card allowing you to pay the credit card over time “

  • dealswelike said,

    @CaroleZoom – Thanks! It’s been updated.

  • jer said,

    is there a cap on the # of points you can earn in the 5x categories? or is it a dollar amount cap that earns 5x?

    you mention 100k points on $25k spend… but if it’s a cap on the dollar amount that earns 5x, it should be 125k points on $25k spend…

  • jer said,

    (for the Classic & Cash)

  • dealswelike said,

    @jer – Essentially the 5x point categories is 1x point on all purchases and 4x bonus points. The bonus points are capped after you spend $25,000 (for Classic & Cash) or $50,000 (for Bold & Plus). For the Classic & Cash it is 100k points BONUS capped on $25k spend. After you hit that cap you can continue to earn 1 point per dollar spent.

  • jer said,

    cool, didn’t realize you were marking the bonus points. got it :)

  • silz said,

    Thank you for your detailed review.
    - Are we allowed to apply for both Bold and Plus on the same day? Or should we wait?
    - my Chase SP is coming up on 2nd year, what are the key differences of Bold and SP? since I read you have both..

  • dealswelike said,

    @sliz – I personally would not recommend applying for 2 chase cards on the same day, especially since they are both business cards. If one was business and one was personal, that would be a different story. I would wait at least 30 days, but there is no way to absolutely know. Chances are you’ll have to call the reconsideration line either way, but just let them know that you need a card where you can carry a balance and one where you need to pay in full is essential for you business.

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