Chase Ultimate Rewards: Sapphire Preferred vs. Ink Bold vs. Ink Plus

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This is post #8 of a series regarding the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

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Back in September 2011, I did an analysis on comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card to the Chase Ink Bold credit card. I was cleaning up some posts and realized that this is now incredibly out of date since some of the perks of the Chase Ink Bold card changed at the end of last year with the launch of a new card. Now, the Chase Ink Plus card has been introduced as well, and this card has 100% the same perks as the Chase Ink Bold.

With three difference Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards, how do you know which one is best for you? The Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Bold, and Chase Ink Plus all earn the exact same point currency. Unfortunately though, the Chase Ink Bold is no longer available to new applicants. As of today, the sign up bonuses aren’t too different and they have the exact same redemption value. However, there are significant differences regarding bonus categories with purchases.

So let’s get into some of the details of the two and my analysis:

  • Bonus Offer: Sapphire Preferred: up to 45,000; Ink Plus: 60,000; Ink Bold: No longer available
    • My pick: Plus
  • Spend Needed to Earn the Bonus:  Sapphire Preferred: $4,000 spend within 3 months; Ink Plus: $5,000 spend within 3 months to get the full bonus; Ink Bold: No longer available
    • My pick: Sapphire Preferred
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: Sapphire Preferred: 0% ; Ink Bold/Plus: 0% 

    • My pick: Equal
  • Annual Bonus Points: Sapphire Preferred: 7% annual bonus on all points earned (bonus points post to your account at the end of January for the prior calendar year) – this is for those that had the card prior to 7/20/2014; Ink Bold/Plus: None
    • My pick: Sapphire Preferred
  • Bonus Spend Categories: Sapphire Preferred: Double points on all travel and dining; Ink Bold/Plus: 5x points on office supplies, cable and wireless service, and landline communications; Double points on gas and hotels
    • My pick: All three, depends on your spending habits
  • Annual Fee: Sapphire Preferred: $95/year with first year waived; Ink Bold/Plus: $95/year with the first year waived

    • My pick: Equal
  • Late Payment Fee: Sapphire Preferred: Up to $15 if the balance is less than $100; up to $25 if the balance is $100 to less than $250; up to $35 if the balance is $250 or more; Ink Bold/Plus: $15 if the balance is less than $100; $29 if the balance is $100 or more, but less than $250; and $39 if the balance is $250 or more
    • My pick: Sapphire Preferred

I believe I captured it all, but please feel free to let me know if there are any other big differences that you think readers should know!

My overall analysis:

  • If your purpose is to have a card to use for international travel, all three cards will do since they both now have 0% foreign transaction fees
  • If you will have a hard time hitting the minimum spend requirements to get the bonus offer, get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • If most of your purchases are on travel and dining, get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • If you have high cable/internet/phone bills, use your Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus card – 5x points is huge!
  • If you already have the Chase Ink Bold, you can still get the Chase Ink Plus and an additional 50,000 points!
  • If you are really looking to maximize your points, get the remaining cards! But I would recommend waiting at least 60 days between applications to ensure you are approved for both.

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Disclosure: Some links in this post contain affiliate links where I get paid commission if apply and get approved for a credit card. I will only list the best credit card offers as my goal is for you to travel for free!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. […] Chase Sapphire Preferred: There is a pretty decent chance that tomorrow will bring the last day for the 50,000 bonus option. My assumption is that in April the best we’ll see is a 40,000 point offer – which still is AMAZING! However, if history repeats itself, that 50k offer will be back at some point this year, so if you are not ready to pull the plug just yet, do not lose sleep over it (just know I really have no inside knowledge, so this is all my opinion)! You can apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card here. You can also read an entire series on this card, the benefits, redemption opportunities, etc. here. […]


    • @Kalboz – To the best of my knowledge on the Ink Bold card is a business card – however, everyone I spoke to reported not needing a business tax ID.

  1. … But I would recommend waiting at least 60 days between applications to ensure you are approved for both….

    I thought Chase has a 180 days rule that rejects application automatically, no?

    • @morokcn – Chase is getting tougher and tougher to get approved, so chances are you’ll get denied if you apply within two months. I do not believe there is any cut and dry rule in place. However, most have reported being able to call the reconsideration line and get an approval.

  2. Actually, SP is really a 50K x 107% = 53.5K sign up bonus. If you put 3K minimum spend on SP in 2x categories you’d net (50K + 3K x 2) x 107% = 60K UR with SP. If you put 5K minimum spend on IB you would net 50K + 5K x 5 = 75K. Subtract 5K UR for the extra 2K spend requirement on IB but it still wins. It’s really a no brainer to get both but given the potential drop in the SP signup bonus that’s the card to get if you can only get approved one (that said, you can apply for and get approved for both on the same day, assuming you have good credit and aren’t maxed out on apps with Chase). SP will be the card I keep and IB will be the one I downgrade when the fee hits (there is no real downside to downgrading IB if you are keeping SP).

    • @HikerT – As long as you keep the card through January, you are absolutely correct (and if applying no, no reason to cancel beforehand). I personally think having both cards is great and using them based on the bonus spend categories to maximize your earnings! But overall, if you are to only keep one, I think sticking with the SP is the way to go.

  3. @mark the shark Where can I find the airport lounge passes? I’ve completed my spending requirements and will be booking rewards flights soon for the first time!

    @dealswelike Do you have any post’s about the advantages or disadvantages of keeping these cards for longer than a year (or adversely closing them out before the year anniversary) in regards to paying/not paying the annual fee?

  4. @Jeremy: The first year is free, but if you keep the card for longer than a year but close them out before the 2nd year then they will waive the annual fee.

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