Chase Ink Bonuses: $500 Or 50,000 Points?

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The two no annual fee cards with the best welcome bonuses are the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, and Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card. By my math, the welcome bonuses on these cards are worth $850 each, which is almost unheard of as far as no annual fee cards go.

However, there’s a secret to unlocking that amount of value. For example, yesterday I wrote about what you need to know when applying for Chase Ink Cards, and reader dixieboz asked the following:

Every time you write “$500 cash back (which can potentially be converted into 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 within three months” I wonder what you mean and how do you ‘convert’ them?

So in this post I wanted to explain what exactly I mean by that.

The basics of the Chase Ink Cash & Unlimited

Before I get too deep into this, let’s look at the basics of these cards, which are part of the Chase Ink trifecta.

Here are the basics of the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome bonus: $500/50,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months
  • Return on spend: 5x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines, and 2x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on restaurants and gas stations
  • Value of points: Each point can be redeemed for one cent, though in conjunction with another card can be worth more
  • Foreign transaction fees: 3%

Here are the basics of the Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome bonus: $500/50,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months
  • Return on spend: 1.5x points per dollar spent
  • Value of points: Each point can be redeemed for one cent, though in conjunction with another card can be worth more
  • Foreign transaction fees: 3%

These are considered separate products, so you’re eligible to have the Ink Cash, Ink Unlimited, and Ink Preferred (this includes getting the welcome bonuses on the cards, holding onto them long term, etc.).

Why the bonuses are marketed as being $500

On the surface, both the Ink Cash and Ink Unlimited are cash back cards, and points can be redeemed for a penny each. It doesn’t matter whether you want to redeem for a statement credit, travel purchase, or gift card, you’ll get a penny of value per point.

While the bonus is marketed as being for $500, the reality is that the rewards you earn are points, so each penny appears as one point. As a result, once you complete the minimum spend, you’ll receive 50,000 points, which can be redeemed for $500 cash back.

However, if you know how, you can get a lot more value out of these points.

How to get more than one penny of value per Ink point

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

That’s because points can be pooled across cards (I’ll explain how to do that below). That increases the value of your points by 25-50% right there, 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). The partner programs are as follows:

AirlinesHotels
Aer Lingus Aer ClubIHG Rewards Club
Air France/KLM Flying BlueMarriott Rewards
British Airways Executive ClubRitz-Carlton Rewards
Iberia PlusWorld Of Hyatt
JetBlue TrueBlue
Singapore KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

How do you actually convert Ink points?

The process of transferring points from the Ink Cash or Ink Unlimited is easy. Just make sure all your cards have the same log-in, which typically requires you to add personal cards to your business log-in, rather than the other way around (since business cards can’t generally be added to your personal log-in).

Just log into your Ultimate Rewards account, and on the main page you’ll see a listing of all the cards you have, assuming they’re linked correctly. Select the Ink Cash or Ink Unlimited (whichever you have).

Then on the next page click on the “Combine points” tab, and then you’ll be asked where you want to move points from and to. Select your Ink Cash or Ink Unlimited as the card to transfer points from, and select the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred (whichever you have) as the card to transfer points to.

You’ll be asked how many points you want to transfer, and you might as well transfer all of them. You can always transfer them back, and this doesn’t adjust the expiration of your points, or anything.

Then once you’re in your Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred account, you’ll see the points there, and suddenly you’ll see a lot more options for how to use those points.

Most notably, if you want to redeem the points for a travel purchase, your 50,000 points now get you  more value ($750 worth of travel with the Sapphire Reserve, or $625 worth of travel with the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred.

What I’d be most excited about is the ability to now 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.

Bottom line

The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card have the best welcome bonuses of any no annual fee credit cards, in my opinion, assuming you know how to redeem them. While a $500 bonus is good, earning up to $750 towards travel, or being able to transfer points to a valuable partner, is even better.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card you can get 1.5 cents of value per point towards a travel purchase, which increases the value of your points by 50%. Or with any of the three premium cards, you can transfer those points to an Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel partner.

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

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Comments

  1. Thank you for explaining!
    I looked at Chase Freedom Unlimited and just noticed the increased new member bonus of $200/20000 UR points instead of the usual $150.

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