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This month Chase has been offering increased signup bonuses for the Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards of 60,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. That’s 20% higher than the normal signup bonus of 50,000 points. Chase has also been offering an augmented bonus for the Ink Cash card of $300 cash back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months (the typical bonus is only $200). Ink Bold and Ink Plus have a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year. Ink Cash has no annual fee. These bonuses are set to expire on June 1, so if you’ve been meaning to apply, now is the time.
It’s easy to get excited over 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points and 5X spending categories, but the Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards offer an array of other, less heralded benefits that add even more value to what are already stellar products. Here are some of the additional reasons I keep these cards in my wallet:
1. No foreign transaction fees: One of my biggest credit card pet peeves is the foreign transaction fee most cards charge on purchases made outside the US. This can range up to 3%, adding a sneaky and sizable expense to your budget. It shocks me how many credit cards that are specifically geared towards travelers charge foreign transaction fees, but Chase leads the pack with its array of credit cards that waive this pesky pecuniary concern and let you charge away while getting away.
2. Lounge Club Membership: Update – Lounge Club Membership is no longer a benefit of Ink cards. Ink cardholders get complimentary access to The Lounge Club, which is a network of over 300 lounges internationally. Each year you get two free passes, and after that each visit costs $27. This benefit is good for all Ink cardholders, including additional cardholders (which are free to add). There are currently 20 US airports with Lounge Clubs, and over 350 participating lounges worldwide. You will be mailed an invitation code once you become a new cardmember and link to signup. Check out this post for more details.
3. Purchase Protection: Ink Bold and Ink Plus are both Visa Signature cards, which offer Purchase Security. Eligible purchases made on these cards can be replaced, repaired, or reimbursed up to $500 per claim or $50,000 per cardholder for the first 90 days from the date of purchase in the event of theft, fire or water damage, vandalism, or certain other events. Claims can be filed online, so the process is less arduous than some others. This is a benefit you hope to never need, but will be thankful for when you do.
4. Portal bonuses:When you log into the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal using your Ink Bold or Ink Plus account, you’ll not only find bonuses at various merchants where you can earn multiple points per dollar, but you’ll also earn 2X points per $1 on airfare you purchase through portals like Travelocity and Expedia, bringing their earning potential in line with that of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
5. Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Another Visa Signature benefit, when you pay for the entire cost of Common Carrier tickets on your Ink Bold or Ink Plus card, you’ll be eligible to receive reimbursement for checked or carry-on luggage and its contents that is lost due to theft or misdirection by the airline. This benefit is supplemental, so you’ll only be reimbursed for the difference between the value of the amount claimed and the amount paid by the airline, up to $3,000 per trip (coverage is limited to $2,000 per bag for New York residents). Lost-luggage reimbursements vary between airlines, so this benefit can come in handy if you end up on an carrier with a less generous policy. You can find more details here.
6. Cash-back Flexibility: I’ve met many small business owners who simply want to earn cash back on their spending. The beauty of the Ink Cards and Ultimate Rewards is that in addition to being able to transfer your points to incredibly valuable transfer partners, you can also use your points for statement credits at the rate of 1 point = 1 cent. In essence, the 5 points per dollar you spend on office supplies and telecommunications could actually translate into 5% cash back to your business’ bottom line. To initiate a cash back credit, log in to Ultimaterewards.com-> Use Points -> Pay Yourself Back. The present 60,000 point sign-up bonus = $600 in statement credits. I don’t generally advocate this because it sacrifices some value, but for those whoaren’t interested in travel redemptions, cash back is a great option to have.
7. Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Visa Signature offers coverage for damage to auto rentals when you pay for the rental with your card and decline the collision damage waiver coverage offered by the rental company. Coverage includes the deductible portion of your personal auto insurance, administrative and loss-of-use charges, and reasonable towing charges due to damage or theft. If you don’t have your own insurance, it also covers the cost of the damage or theft itself. There are a number of stipulations, so read the details thoroughly before you bank on it as your sole means of rental insurance.
8. Roadside Dispatch: Visa Signature cards also come with 24-hour roadside dispatch services, such as towing (within 5 miles), jump starting, tire changing and more. These services aren’t free; there is a flat fee of $59.95 per service call. Still, that’s a lot cheaper than the average service call, especially for towing. If you don’t already have AAA or other roadside assistance protection, this benefit could save you money when your car hits the skids.
9. Jot App for Expense Management: I hate keeping track of business receipts, which becomes problematic with expense reports and correctly keeping track of write-offs (in other words, my accountant despises me). The free Jot app allows you to instantly tag expenses to different projects and even snap pictures so you can exactly reconcile them later. You can manage all of your employee card accounts instantly, and while it has some of the same functionality of the general Chase app, it allows you to dig further and get information you need more quickly. Overall it saves time, and to me, time is money!
10. Ink Insider Benefits: The Chase Ink team has lined up exclusive benefits with Google, Avis and Expedia for cardholders. You can get $150 in free Google Adwords advertising and access to Google webinars to help build your online business via advertising. The Avis benefit gets you 2X earning toward free rentals, upgrades, GPS discounts, and other savings. As with all deals, you should still comparison shop, since rentals using this program may be more expensive than those available on Priceline or with other eligible discounts.