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Last week Chase launched an increased sign-up bonus for the Ink Plus card, offering 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. That’s 40% higher than the normal sign-up bonus of 50,000 points. While this card offer does not waive the $95 annual fee in the first year, the extra 20,000 points easily outweigh the upfront cost. This bonus offer is slated to end on Friday, so if you’ve been thinking about applying, make sure to do so before it disappears.
While there’s a lot you can do with 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points, Ink Plus has an array of other benefits that add even more value. Here are the top reasons to keep this card in your wallet:
1. 5x bonus spending categories: Chase Ink cards earn 5 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phones, landline, internet, and cable TV services. You also get a respectable 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel. Aside from your own regular spending, you can put these bonuses to good use by purchasing retail gift cards and earning a substantial return.
2. 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 you won’t find them on the Ink Plus.
3. Lounge Club Membership: Ink Plus gets you complimentary access to The Lounge Club, which is a network of over 350 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 authorized users (which are free to add). There are currently 20 US airports with Lounge Clubs, and over 350 participating lounges worldwide. You’ll be mailed an invitation code and a link to sign up once you become a new cardmember. Check out this post for more details.
4. Purchase Protection: Ink Plus is a Visa Signature card, which offers 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.
5. Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Another Visa Signature benefit, when you pay for the entire cost of Common Carrier tickets on your 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 a 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 travel partners, you can also redeem them for statement credits at a rate of 1 cent per point. In essence, the 5 points per dollar you spend on office supplies and telecommunications could actually translate into 5% cash back. To initiate a cash back credit, log in to UltimateRewards.com-> Use Points -> Pay Yourself Back. The present 70,000 point sign-up bonus = $700 in statement credits. I don’t generally advocate this because it sacrifices some value, but for those who aren’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 cardscome 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 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.
10. Ink Insider Benefits: The Chase Ink team has lined up exclusive benefits for cardholders with Google and Avis. 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.
Ink Plus® Business Credit Card