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For a while now I’ve found Ultimate Rewards points to be among the most valuable points currencies out there, especially as the value of Membership Rewards points continues to
plummet decline. One card which accrues Ultimate Rewards points is the Chase Ink Bold business credit card, which offers 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after making $5,000 worth of purchases in the first three months of having the card.
Last week I posted that the sign-up bonus/registration link was being pulled on Monday, and it was indeed. But fortunately the reason they pulled the link isn’t because they’re decreasing the sign-up bonus, but because they adjusted the benefits of the card substantially. You can read a summary of the old benefits of the card here.
Ultimately what the changes seem to come down to is that Chase is aligning the Ink Bold card (business) a lot more closely with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (personal). On one hand that’s a good thing since I consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to be one of the best all around credit cards in the market today. On the other hand it’s not all good news, since one of the unique benefits of the Ink Bold card that’s being cut is the threshold bonuses they offered, which were as follows:
You earn one point per dollar spent on the card, with the following threshold bonuses:
7,500 bonus points if you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year
15,000 additional bonus points if you spend an additional $25,000 on the card in a calendar year
25,000 additional bonus points if you spend an additional $50,000 on the card in a calendar year
That being said, they’ve added some benefits to the card (outlined below), that actually make this a really attractive card in my opinion.
How to Earn Points
You earn five points per dollar spent on telecom categories (cable, wireless, landline, etc.) and office supply stores, which is a huge bonus. This is actually really useful since not many cards offer bonuses in these categories. Keep in mind that this can all be stacked with other promotions through the Ultimate Rewards mall, which often offers an additional 5-10 points per dollar spent at office supply stores.
Then you earn two points per dollar on gas and hotels. While the Sapphire Preferred card offers double points on dining and travel, this is a pretty nice complement to the card, given that you can now earn two Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on gas (meaning there are now ways to earn two Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on gas, travel expenses, and dining, which covers about 99% of my purchases)!
Lastly, you earn one point per dollar spent on everything else.
How to Redeem Points
This is really what makes the program great. On September 30 American Express Membership Rewards ended their relationship with Continental OnePass, which was a huge loss for the program.
Ultimate Rewards not only partners with Continental OnePass and United Mileage Plus, but also with Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club, British Airways, and Korean Air.
Two of the best options when it comes to transfers are Continental/United and Hyatt. They transfer 1:1 to both programs, so this is a way to earn more Continental and United miles than you’d earn directly with their co-branded card, given that you earn bonus points for several spend categories.
Furthermore, the points transfers are instant, and points can be transferred to anyone’s account. This is hugely valuable, since you can use your Ultimate Rewards points to top off anyone’s account.
Alternatively you can apply points towards any “revenue” ticket at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. That means that a $625 flight will cost you 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. This isn’t the most efficient way to use points, though it’s still a bit more lucrative than American Express’ “Pay with Points” option in most cases.
Other Cool Features:
The Annual Fee is Waived for the First Year
It’s $95 per year after that.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Should be standard with all cards nowadays (in my opinion), though unfortunately that’s not the case.
Free Priority Pass Membership
That gets you two free lounge visits and then $27 for every subsequent visit.
This is a great sign-up bonus, especially in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. If you sign up for both cards that’s around 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which can be instantly transferred to Continental/United/Hyatt. Even if the card doesn’t work best for your long term spending habits, the sign-up bonus makes the card worthwhile, in my opinion. Those 100,000 points can get you a business class ticket from the US to Asia, or even three nights in a suite at the highest end Park Hyatts (think Park Hyatt Sydney, where a suite is regularly $2,000+ per night).
Also keep in mind that Chase is usually pretty strict about approving multiple personal applications at once, though they’ll typically approve one personal and one business application. Even if you don’t actually have a business, you can still get approved for the card by listing your business as a sole proprietorship and giving your Social Security Number as the tax ID for the business.