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Update: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN has exciting new benefits, and a great new limited time offer. Learn more about the current offer here.
I received a letter in the mail yesterday regarding my Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, which in part read as follows:
Action Needed: You can enroll in the LOUNGE CLUB program until April 30, 2015.
We’re writing to let you know that we are ending our LOUNGE CLUB program for Ink from Chase customers. Since you’re not currently enrolled in this program, we’re offering you a one year non-renewable membership to LOUNGE CLUB, which provides access to airport lounges throughout the world.
Now I actually do have a Lounge Club membership through my Ink Plus Card, but that’s neither here nor there.
What was the Ink Card’s Lounge Club benefit?
The “premium” Ink Cards — the Ink Plus and now discontinued Ink Bold — offered a Lounge Club membership. Lounge Club is sort of like Priority Pass. The catch is that you only got two free lounge visits with your Ink enrollment, and then additional visits cost you $27.
Ultimately that’s better than nothing, though it’s hardly something that’s worth getting excited over, in my opinion.
Why I don’t really care about the benefit
As I’ve explained many times in the past, the Ink Plus is one of the best business credit cards out there. It offers:
- 5x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services
- 2x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and on hotels
It has a great sign-up bonus, but even so, it’s not a card I plan on keeping long term.
Instead the next business credit card I’m going to get is the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. This is basically the no annual fee version of the Ink Plus, and it offers similar bonus categories (except it offers double points at restaurants instead of hotels). The only catch is that it’s capped at half the bonus amounts, though chances are that’s no big deal for most of us:
- 5x points on the first $25,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services
- 2x points on the first $25,000 spent annually at gas stations and restaurants
If you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, then the points earned with the Ink Cash are just as valuable as they’d be on the Ink Plus (they become Ultimate Rewards points which can be transferred to any airline partner).
My point is, assuming you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card there’s really no reason to pay a $95 annual fee on a business card rather than having a card with very similar benefits that doesn’t have an annual fee. Even if you otherwise got $54 worth of lounge access with the Ink Plus Card, that doesn’t justify the $95 annual fee, in my opinion.
A Lounge Club membership gets you into The Club At Las Vegas Airport
Other cards that offer lounge access
If lounge access with a credit card is ultimately your goal, there are much more rewarding cards to consider:
- The The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN offer Priority Pass Select memberships (with unlimited visits), Delta SkyClub access when traveling on Delta-operated flights, and American Express Centurion Lounge access
- The Citi Prestige® Card offers a Priority Pass Select membership with guesting privileges
Ultimately I don’t like to see benefits taken away, but:
- For a vast majority of consumers the Ink Cash is a better product to have long term than the Ink Plus, in which case it would be a moot point
- If lounge access is the goal, there are plenty of more rewarding cards out there that are worth considering
Does the Lounge Club membership being discontinued change your feelings towards the Ink Plus?
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.