Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chase Ink Plus

Chase Ink Plus is one of my favorite credit cards. It is a business card product, and carries with it a $95 annual fee. But for those who have not yet had this credit card, this should be a strong consideration for your next credit card. Here’s the skinny.


Typical sign-on bonus of 50K Ultimate Reward (UR) points after meeting $5K spending requirement

  • 5X points on cell phone and internet provider services
  • Annual fee is waived for first year
  • 5X points on all office supply stores 

If you hold either the Chase Freedom or Chase Ink Cash cards, having this product or the Chase Sapphire Preferred allows you to transfer those points into UR points which is much more valuable than the cash back, which gives you a fixed value of 1 cent per point.

When I tell my friends about this card, the typical response is that they do not own a business. No worries. If you have ever sold an item on eBay or even thought about owning your own business, you could easily qualify as a sole proprietorship. You will use your personal SSN for your tax ID. It’s that simple. When asked for business revenue, if you have not yet had any revenue, say so. Chase recognizes that most businesses begin with no revenue.

If you live near a Staples or an Office Depot store, this card can be the key to earning 5X on many of your purchases. These stores carry retail gift cards (GC). Before this hobby, I would have stayed away from purchasing retail gift cards. Nowadays, I will stock up on gift cards whenever I visit an office store. The reason is simple. For gift cards that I purchase in the store, I receive 5X UR points. A great example is Lands’ End. If I purchase items from Lands’ End using a different CC, I receive 1x  or 1% back on my purchases. If I purchase Sears or Lands’ End gift cards from an office store, I receive 5x on the gift cards. To carry the example further, let’s say that I spend $100 at Lands’ End. I would receive $1 or 100 points for a regular CC. If I purchase the Lands’ End GC using my Chase Ink Plus from an office store, I will receive 500 UR points. Since UR points are roughly 2cpm (cents per mile), I will be receiving about a $10 rebate on my purchase or 10%, or effectively 10X the return on my other CC. This does not even take into consideration using an online shopping portal, but since that return is the same regardless of using your retail GC or regular spend CC, I didn't want to further confuse the math involved.

My favorite GC purchases at office stores are usually Amazon, Chipotle, Sears and Gap GC’s. Yes, you read that right, AMAZON! I earn 5X UR points on all of my Amazon purchases.

My biggest warning on GC purchases is that you must be organized. Retailers love selling GC’s because they know that a fair % of them will not be used, providing them 100% profit on those transactions. It can be difficult to have the correct GC with you at the right time. Earlier this week I got caught in that situation. I had purchased some Subway GC’s for my Fort Myers Beach trip, but when the time came for our first Subway lunch, my GC’s were safely tucked away at our vacation rental. Luckily, I am a Subway fan, so the GC’s will eventually be fully utilized, but I was definitely kicking myself for not having it with me.

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