Reader Question: “Is The Chase Ink Bonus $500 or 50,000 Points?”

I recently received a comment on a blog post that said:

I’m really interested in the two no annual fee Chase Ink Business cards and I’ve read several of your blogs where you say ‘$500 back’ for the welcome bonus while in other blogs you say ‘50,000 points’ for the same card. I’m confused, which is it?

First, let me apologize. I pride myself on simplicity and attempt to breakdown every subject so anyone can read and understand this complicated hobby will little effort.

I admit, I have done this. So in this post I wanted to explain how (and why) this is happening. Let’s dive right in and determine why I’m being so freaking confusing. 😉

CHASE INK BUSINESS CARDS

Before I go too deep into this, let’s look at the basics of the two no annual fees cards that are referenced in the reader comment:

Ink Business Cash Credit Card – You will earn a $500 cash back welcome bonus on this card after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
Return On Spend: 5% cash back on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines. Additionally, 2% cash back on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on restaurants and gas stations.
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card – You will earn a $500 cash back welcome bonus on this card after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
Return on spend: unlimited 1.5% cash back per dollar spent on every purchase.

Basics Of The Ink Cash & Ink Unlimited

These two cards are considered separate products, so you’re eligible to apply, obtain both welcome bonuses, and hold both the Ink Cash and the Ink Unlimited.

Why The Bonuses Are Marketed As Being $500

On the surface, both the Ink Cash and Ink Unlimited are simply cash back cards and points can be redeemed for a penny each.

In other words, if you have either the Ink Cash or the Ink Unlimited and DO NOT have any other Chase Ultimate Reward points earning card, when you meet the minimum spend on the Ink Cash or Ink Unlimited, it will be reflected in your Chase account as 50,000 points. If you decide to redeem the 50,000 points for statement credit, travel purchase, or gift card, you’ll get a penny of value per point, thus 50,000 points = $500.

However, it is possible to get much more value out of these that initial welcome bonus.

Photo Credit: Cape Fahn Hotel

How To Get More Value From Ink Points

The great news is that you can do significantly better than one cent per point if you have one of the three “premium” cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – This is my favorite beginners travel rewards card which has a welcome bonus of 60,000 points (highest ever) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. But the points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards a travel purchase.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – The current welcome bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. But the points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards a travel purchase.
Ink Business Preferred Card – The current welcome bonus is 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. But the points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase.

POOLING POINTS

This is where it gets good! If you have one of the three “premium” cards you have the ability to transfer and pool your points across cards.

In other words, you can move your points from the Ink Cash to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (and vice versa) or the Ink Cash to the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card (and vice versa).

That move alone increases the value of your points by 25-50%, and you can potentially get even more value out of your points by transferring them to one of the Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel partners (which is my preferred redemption).

Photo Credit: Cape Fahn Hotel

EXAMPLE EXAMPLE EXAMPLE

Let’s say that you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card in your wallet and have obtained the current 60,000 welcome bonus. Let’s now say that you applied and obtained the welcome bonus for the Ink Cash card. You could “cash out” the 50,000 point welcome bonus for $500 or you could transfer those points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred and have a (minimum) total of 110,000 points.

FINAL STAMP

The ability to redeem for 1.25 (or 1.5) cents each towards a travel purchase has the potential to be exciting but what I’d be most excited about is the ability to transfer the points at a 1:1 ratio to any of Chase’s airline and hotel partners, which wouldn’t be possible directly from the Ink Cash or Ink Unlimited.

Personally, I think the Ink Cash and the Ink Unlimited have the best welcome bonuses of any no annual fee credit cards, assuming you know how to redeem them. While a $500 bonus is good, 50,000 points and being able to transfer points to a travel partner, is even better.

Hopefully, this post helps explain why the welcome bonus is marketed as offering $500, when in reality there are some creative ways to redeem the points for more value.

Pro-Tip: Chase points transfer to travel partners at 1:1 therefore…
50,000 Chase Points = 50,000 United Miles
50,000 Chase Points = 50,000 Hyatt Points
50,000 Chase Points = 50,000 British Airway Miles

…so you may want to re-read THIS BLOG, THIS BLOG, OR THIS BLOG again.

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