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Chase Ink Visa Signature Changeover – What It Means For You

by on September 12, 2013 · 24 comments

in Chase

Since they launched, the family of Chase Ink cards for small businesses, including the Ink Plus and Ink Bold as well as the Ink Cash and Ink Classic, have been World MasterCards, but over the past few days, several readers have written in and commented on posts that when they recently applied for the cards, both were now Visa Signature products. I reached out to Chase to find out what was going on, and was informed that all the Ink cards will now be Visa Signatures. If, like me, you have either or both of these cards, they will still be World MasterCards – you won’t be getting a new card in the mail to replace your existing one – but when your current card expires, it will be switched over to Visa Signature.

The Ink Plus and Ink Bold will now be Visa Signature cards.

The Ink Plus and Ink Bold will now be Visa Signature cards.

So what does that actually mean? The truth is, not a huge amount for most cardholders. Many of the World MasterCard travel benefits such as travel accident insurance, car rental insurance and purchase protection are comparable to those offered by Visa Signature. World MasterCard does offer some other unique benefits, though, including:

MasterCard Easy Savings Program is a program for cardholders of MasterCards for small businesses that offers discounts, rebates and cash back when using your card at specific merchants. Current cash back deals include 5% at Avis and Budget, 10% from Monster.com, and 1% cash back at 19,000 gas stations across the US.

Screen shot 2013-09-12 at 8.54.11 AM

World Experiences and Offers at Fairmont, Mandarin Oriental and Relais & Chateaux properties, kind of like Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. When you use the card to pay for your stay at participating hotels, you get special value-added perks. At Fairmont hotels, you receive a room upgrade to best available and late checkout (2pm) for free – though blackout dates do apply.  At Mandarin Oriental properties, you receive complimentary breakfast, priority check-in and VIP status, which may include some kind of in-room amenity. At Relais & Châteaux hotels worldwide, you’ll receive the fourth night free or a bottle of champagne after a three-night stay.

Priceless New York is a perks program that with exclusive deals and offers in New York City that they email to customers, like access to exclusive concerts, or shopping perks like free delivery from FAO Schwartz and a $50 restaurant gift card for the Shops at Columbus Circle. The most recent addition to this program is the new Citi Bike NYC initiative where World MasterCardholders can explore New York by bike with a free 24-hour pass.

To see the full list of World MasterCard benefits check out the benefits page here.

Not to worry, though. In addition to comparable travel and purchase protections, Visa Signature cards come with a host of benefits themselves that rival those of World MasterCard including:

Visa SavingsEdge program for small businesses, which offers cardholders discounts and cash back when using their card at certain merchants including 5% cash back at hotels like La Quinta, Ramada and Days Inn, 4% cash back when renting from National and Alamo, 1% cash back on gas purchases at Texaco and Chevron, and 5% cash back on some business purchases like Microsoft365 and Lenovo products among others.

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Visa Signature Hotels gives cardholders who book through the program and pay using an eligible Visa Signature card extra perks such as discounted room rates, room upgrades, free breakfast, early check-in and late check-out, dining and spa credits and more – and all these perks add up. That room upgrade can easily be worth hundreds of dollars alone, while free breakfast can be worth around $25-50. Parking can be up to about $50 a day in major cities, while WiFi can be $15.  Throw in some food or spa certificates, and even if you’re paying above the most reduced, non-refundable rate you can find, you’re still coming out way ahead in terms of value.

Sonoma Wineries: The Sonoma County Vintners Association wineries have partnered with Visa Signature to offer cardholders a bunch of great perks to enhance the visiting and tasting experience up in California wine country including complimentary wine-tastings (usually two per cardholder), special reserve tastings and food pairings, and discounts on same-day wine and merchandise purchases. When you take a full day of tastings and purchases into account, you could really be saving some money here. Here is the full list of participating wineries.

Check out this post on the Top 10 Visa Signature Cardholder Benefits.

Great Card Perks Will Stay the Same

What is most important, however, is what is not changing about the Ink Plus, Ink Bold and Ink Classic. All three cards will still carry the following potentially super lucrative benefits:

5X Spending Categories: Both the Ink Bold and the Ink Plus earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores, as well as 5 points per dollar for cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services excluding equipment purchases. The bonus is earned on expenditures up to a total of $50,000 per card year (250,000 Ultimate Rewards points) on the Ink Plus and Ink Bold, and $25,000 max per year on the Ink Classic and Ink Cash.

2X Spending Categories: All the Ink cards also earn 2 points per $1 at gas stations and for hotel expenses – but only when purchased directly with the hotel. Booking on Orbitz or other outside websites (or travel agents) won’t get you the points. As for gas, Chase only requires that a merchant has a code for those categories – which is less restrictive than Amex’s requirement for the Premier Rewards card’s 2x gas station bonus which requires the gas to be purchased at a standalone gas station – so as long as the merchant at which you purchase the gas is coded as a gas station, you should receive 2x points with the Chase cards.

Portal Bonus Opportunities: When you log into the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal using one of these two Ink cards, you will also earn 2 points per $1 you spend on airfare and hotels, not to mention multiple points per dollar on tons of other online merchants when you shop online.

Ultimate Reward Transfer PartnersTransfer Partners: Because the Ink Plus and Ink Bold are two of Chase’s premium Ultimate Rewards cards, you can transfer the points you earn with them at a 1:1 ratio to any of the program’s 10 travel partners: British Airways, Korean Air, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, IHG Rewards, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Amtrak. Check out this post for Ways to Maximize Each Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner.

Overall, the Ink Plus is the credit card I spend the most on thanks to its valuable earning structure, great travel partners and other benefits. Though mine is currently a World MasterCard, when I get the new Visa Signature version, I’m still going to put most of my spending on it and take advantage of Visa Signature’s value-added benefits instead.

For more information on the Ink Plus and Ink Bold, check out these posts:

Maximizing the Chase Ink Office Store Category Spending Bonuses
A Detailed Look at Ink Benefits You Might Not Know About
Ranking the Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
Top 10 Ways To Maximize Each Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner
Why I Love Chase Ultimate Rewards
Ranking the Top Chase Travel Credit Card Offers

If you don’t currently have a MasterCard they come with a bunch of benefits, which I’ll highlight in a different post. In my opinion, the top 3 MasterCard sign-up bonuses are:

Barclaycard Arrival: 40,000 points after $1,000 spent within 3 months. $89 annual fee, waived the first year.

Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World Mastercard: 50,000 miles after $3,000 in 3 months.

Chase United Explorer card: 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in 3 months when you sign up for this card in a Chase branch or if you are targeted on United.com or 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. $95 annual fee waived for the first year on both offers.

I’m interested to hear about your experiences – in the past, have you been able to get the sign-up bonus again for a card when it switched networks?

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Cory

    Don’t suppose this is a “new product” worthy of a 2nd signup bonus if we cancel before ours are officially changed over and reapply another time?

  • *!

    If we currently have the mastercard cards, can we apply for the “new” product, the visa product and be able to get sign up bonuses?

  • =]

    This is the big one. Can it be considered a new card?

  • thepointsguy

    Not sure of that… I think we will have to wait and hear first hand reports to see how that plays out

  • Curtis

    Yeah, you and all the other bloggers are missing the most important thing about the change. Is Visa a new product and a new sign up bonus can be had (not that you can’t do it with another business, but still…)

  • Federico

    I think you can not, because they do not promote it as Chase Ink Visa or Mastercard (as Citi AA does).

  • thepointsguy

    Has that been 100% confirmed anywhere? I don’t want to tell people that and then have them get decline- or worse, get approved but be ineligible for the bonus.

  • Steve

    My Ink Plus is a World Elite MC. Are there any significant differences between World and World Elite?

  • Mason

    This sucks because I use this card at Sams Club which only accepts Mastercard and Discover.

  • thepointsguy

    Million dollar (point?) question. I’m not 100% sure

  • harlanvaughn
  • hdawg

    United says sold fares accidentally for $0 on website, Bloomberg reports – Company says error existed on website for ”

    United says sold fares accidentally for $0 on website, Bloomberg reports -

    Company says error existed on website for “a couple of hours” and booking

    engine has been closed to fix problem, according to Bloomberg.

  • ryan

    Gotta love the reactions here. All the comments are about whether you can receive a new one – exactly what I was thinking when I read it.

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  • Reisen

    This is hilarious. I applied during small business week back in June, and already have a stack of like ten cards:

    First, I called and requested an expedited card, and since the first one had been snail-mailed, they overnighted a second.

    Then they ran out of plastic (metal?) due to the promotion so both cards were temporary cards on old plastic.

    Then they sent the correct plastic

    Then they sent updated plastic with the MC logo changed from colored to silver.

    All of that for both my card, and my supps’ cards.

  • doodler

    me too. So, i’m going to buy a Samsclub Gift Card through Ebates (since the UR marketplace doesn’t give the bonus for cash-equivalents) and pay for everything with GC. Also: if you shop at Samsclub.com i think you can use Visa there. Just not in-store

  • Todd

    I wonder if Chase will be switching to Visa for it’s non business cards as well. I currently have the Chase Sapphire Preferred MasterCard as well as the Chase Freedom Mastercard.

  • Curtis

    No, I haven’t seen it confirmed anywhere. That’s what’s on everyone’s minds though :) Agree about not saying until confirmed, but we need a guinea pig quick!

  • skwok

    No need to cancel. Have Ink Plus MC active when applied for Ink Plus Visa. Approved. You can see my post about previous application dates if you think you will apply too soon since previous application:

    Getting Bonus for Chase Ink Visa Card After Chase Ink Mastercard http://wp.me/p3NHEr-vj

  • Mr. Cool

    the “MasterCard Easy Savings Program” will NOT let me apply. i enter all the info & it simply reloads the web page…different browsers, different computers. sucks. anyone know how to contact MC plz?

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  • Josh

    Any word on whether this can count as a new card? Can. Apply if I already have ink MasterCard.

  • clvus

    I was going through my cards and deciding which to close and I noticed I had TWO Ink cards listed under the same biz. Now I wondered how I managed this but on researching it I read your blog and realized I prob got the MC first then the Visa after the change over. Which would seem to suggest that you can get the bonus for both. Now I’m wondering whether to keep the MC and close the Visa in order to rebonus( was going to do it the other ay round) .

    Also noted, I have been going through the small print on Chase card sign ups and it seems they have gotten more picky, is this new? “Chase cardmembers with a history of only using their current or prior Chase card for promotional pricing offers, are not eligible for a second Chase credit card with promotional pricing” found in Sapphire and Explorer terms and conditions

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