Should You Sacrifice 20k Ultimate Rewards Points?

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Update: This offer for the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card is expired. Please check out the current list of the best current travel credit cards.

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, there’s an increased 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus on the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card. In order to earn the points you have to spend $5,000 within three months, and the $95 annual fee on the card isn’t waived. The increased sign-up offer expires this Sunday, October 19, 2014.

Interestingly the same increased sign-up bonus isn’t available on the Ink Bold® Business Charge Card. The card has virtually identical benefits, with the only major difference being that it’s a charge card, meaning you can’t carry a balance (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway, in my opinion). The sign-up bonus on that card is 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points with the same spend requirement, though the $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

Which card should you apply for, the Ink Plus or Ink Bold? The answer seems obvious on the surface, since one has an increased sign-up bonus, while the other doesn’t.

However, the slight complication is that rumor has it that the Ink Bold will be discontinued at some point. I don’t have any inside information on whether that’s true or not, so have no clue on the timeline on that if it were to happen.

So which Ink card is best to apply for?

What it comes down to is one of two options:

  • Go for the promotional increased sign-up bonus since it’s the better offer (we don’t know if/when the increased bonus will return)
  • Choose the card which might go away

Keep in mind that you can be approved for and earn the sign-up bonus on both cards, since they’re considered unique products. Generally I recommend waiting at least 30 days between Chase business card applications, though.

So I guess the question comes down to whether you think the Ink Bold will be around for at least another 30 days or not. Like I said, I don’t have any insight here. I would guess that if it is going away it probably won’t be within the next month, but that’s just speculation on my part.

Are Ultimate Rewards points actually valuable?

With the Ink Plus sign-up bonus you earn 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points. If nothing else, each of those can be redeemed for 1.25 cents towards the cost of a travel purchase. So that’s $875 worth of travel, though that’s definitely not how I would redeem the points, since there are much better uses of them.

Ultimate Rewards has almost a dozen transfer partners, including three of my absolute favorite loyalty programs:

I’d argue that Korean Air and Singapore have the two most underrated programs when it comes to aspirational premium cabin redemptions. Hyatt Gold Passport is also the best hotel program for aspirational hotel redemptions, in my opinion.

Park-Hyatt-Seoul-7
Infinity pool at the Park Hyatt Seoul — just 15,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night, or 7,500 points + $100

I value Ultimate Rewards points at well over 1.5 cents each, given the number of great redemptions you can make with these points for some of the most aspirational airlines and hotels in the world.

Bottom line

Both the Ink Plus or Ink Bold have great sign-up bonuses, and Ultimate Rewards are a very worthwhile currency, so I’d definitely pick up one or the other in the next couple of days. Which is better for you depends on your risk tolerance and which of the cards you currently have or have had in the past.

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Comments

  1. Alternatively you can refer other people and earn 10k UR in the process. I have already earned 50k from this promo as well. Lucky you should point that out, its a way to sweeten the deal.

  2. I don’t think I find them quite as valuable as you do, but paying $95 for 20k ultimate reward points is a no brainer.

  3. The title sounds overly dramatic and even if you attempt to provide some notice, you claim that you are just speculating but the post sounds quite disingenuous.

    Let’s face it. The Bold doesn’t pay a commission while the Plus does. One cannot apply for the Bold in branch anymore and it’s only a matter of time before they pull the plug online.

  4. Thanks for being about the only blogger to out this into perspective. You outline the issue/decision between bold and ink plus very well. It is much more then 70,000 points (incremental 20,000) for $95 which everyone else is promoting.

  5. Went for the Ink Bold myself. Just because I think getting 100k UR points rather than 70k points is the better deal in the long run.

  6. Lucky,

    I am in the US on a F1/H1B visa. I am interestedin the ink cards. Do you have any experience whether or not this is possible? I have an SNN with good credit/history. If you have helped anyone with this I’d love to know anything that could help me understand.

  7. Its common knowledge the bold is ending on 11/12. The 70,000 offer will be back. Get your 50,000 or lose it forever. Its quite a simple proposition.

  8. @Andrew

    MMS had a remarkably balanced post about it a few days ago. And Dan publicized it in the first place, based on a poster in his forum and some calling around to branches. (It always sort of irks me when people only h/t the person they heard something from rather than the original source of the info.)

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