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Until May 25, 2015, the Chase Ink Plus business credit card is offering 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

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Existing cardmembers get 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for each person they refer to the card who is approved, up to 50,000 bonus points total. Put your referral link in the comments below. Here is my referral link:

This 60,000 point offer, which seems to come along once a year, is currently the best credit card offer on the market. The normal offer is 50,000 bonus points.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after $5,000 in spending in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses:  5x at office supply stores and on cable TV, landline, cell phone, and internet bills on first $50k spending in 5x categories per year; 2x at gas stations and on hotels booked directly through a hotel on first $50k spending in 2x categories per year
  • Value of Ultimate Rewards: Can be transferred to 6 airline miles, 4 hotel points, and Amtrak points or used like cash toward the purchase of any flight at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. I value Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents each.
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $95 annual fee (waived if you apply in branch)

Sign Up Bonus

Until May 25, 2015, the Chase Ink Plus business credit card is offering 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

Ultimate Rewards have two primary uses.

  1. Use them like cash to purchase any flight on any airline with no blackouts at a rate of 1.25 cents each. Please don’t use your points like this.
  2. Transfer them to miles or points with 11 travel partners. This is the best way to use them.

Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to:

  • United miles, which gives you access to all 27 Star Alliance members’ award space with no fuel surcharges
  • British Airways Avios, which are great for short, direct, economy awards within the Western Hemisphere and a few other places
  • Korean miles, which give you access to SkyTeam International First Class and cheap awards to Hawaii
  • Southwest points, which are worth 1.43+ cents toward Southwest flights
  • Singapore miles, which are better than United miles for United’s own flights to Hawaii, domestically, to Europe in economy, and to South America
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which is perfect for one way economy and Premium Economy awards to London and some partner awards
  • Hyatt points, which are perfect for awards at Hyatt properties worldwide
  • Amtrak points, which have some value for long train rides in First Class

Category Bonuses

The Chase Ink Plus offers 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cable TV, landline, cell phone, and internet bills on the first $50k in spending in 5x categories per year.

Office supply stores sell a lot of gift cards, so you can greatly expand the reach of the 5x categories.

The card also offers 2x at gas stations and on hotels booked directly through a hotel on the first $50k spending in 2x categories per year.

Can You Get a Business Card?

The Chase Ink Plus is a Business Card. Here is some information about getting Business Cards. I noticed that I got approved more easily for business cards when my business had revenue, and I estimated I’d spend at least $1,000 per month on my new card.

Referral Bonus

Post your referral link in the comments. I’m going to remove mine from this post in a few days because the 5,000 bonus points per successful referral is capped at 50,000 referral bonus points per person.

Fees

The Chase Ink Plus has no foreign transaction fees. It also has chip technology for global acceptance, so it’s a great card for overseas travel.

The card has has a $95 annual fee that is not waived, though I’ve read that it is waived for the first year if you apply at a Chase bank branch.

Bottom Line

The Ink Plus was already my favorite business card because of its sign up bonus, category bonuses, and transfer partners. That was with a 50,000 Ultimate Reward bonus. For the few weeks, it has a 60,000 Ultimate Reward bonus.

This card is not for everyone. It isn’t for you if you spend more money when you pay with a credit card than when you pay with cash. It isn’t for you if you don’t pay your cards in full each month. It isn’t for you if you can’t meet the minimum spending requirement.

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Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

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I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

The Chase Ink Plus, one of the best business cards on the market, has long offered new applicants no annual fee for the first 12 months, then a $95 annual fee.

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Today I noticed two other offers on the Ink Plus being split tested by Chase (and there may be more.) By repeatedly going to the Ink Plus’ page in a Chrome Incognito browser, I got three different offers.

They were:

  • $0 annual fee for first twelve months, then $95 (current standard offer)
  • $95 annual fee (ie not waived for first 12 months)
  • $0 annual fee for first twelve months, then $150 (ie a bigger annual fee)

As far as I could tell, only the annual fee varied. Every other aspect of the offer was the same.

Here’s the non-waived annual fee offer.

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Here’s the $150 annual fee (waived year one) offer.

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Clicking the Pricing & Terms link brought up this page, which confirmed the annual fee of $150.

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You can access that page by clicking this link.

Companies split test offers all the time. If Chase finds that people sign up for the worse offers at the same rate as the better offer, they’ll surely switch to a worse offer as a profit-maximizing company. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

In the meantime, if you go through an affiliate link to get the Ink Plus, you will get the best offer of $0 annual fee for 12 months, then $95. Affiliate links are not being split-tested to my knowledge.

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I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Just Another Points Traveler reports that the 70,000 point sign up bonus on the Ink Plus is back.

That’s fantastic news because the Ink Plusis already one of the best cards on the market for business when it has its normal 50,000 point sign up bonus.

Offer details of 70,000 point offer from Just Another Points Traveler:

  • LIMITED TIME BONUS OFFER: Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $875 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Named “Best for Travel Rewards for Small Business” MONEY® Magazine, October 2013
  • Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs with no transfer fees.
  • $95 Annual Fee

The big difference other than the extra 20,000 bonus points is that this offer does not waive the $95 annual fee for the first year. That’s a bummer, but it is worth paying $95 for 20,000 extra points.

There are three ways you can get big points from this new offer:

  1. Folks who don’t have an Ink Plus can get one and get 70,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in three months
  2. Folks who got an Ink Plus in the last three months can try to get matched to the new better offer to get 20,000 more bonus points.
  3. Folks who have had an Ink Plus for a while can refer friends and get 10,000 bonus points per approved friend.

Keep reading for more information on the three ways to earn extra Ultimate Rewards today.

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

From now until June 22, Chase is increasing the sign up bonus on the Ink Bold and Ink Plus to 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in three months.

These are two of my absolute favorite cards. I’ve gotten the Ink Bold for two of my businesses and the Ink Plus for one, earning about 200,000 Ultimate Rewards in the process that I’ve used to book Rookie Alli on her first flat bed business class experience, my United Global First flight to Australia to see the Aussie Open, and my upcoming trip in Thai First Class on an A380 with an hourlong massage on the ground.

What’s the full deal, how can you use 60k Ultimate Rewards, and what has my experience been with the Ink Bold and Plus?

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A reader wrote to me:

For credit cards, HSBC is by FAR the best for foreign purchases but not sure if it is because it is HSBC Premier rather then regular HSBC. HSBC Premier gives me the same exchange rate as what they get when exchanging money between other banks with no mark-up. It is crazy how much I save. I’ve found Chase to be the most expensive and American Express somewhere in between. The difference in exchange rates negates any benefit from earning miles etc even though all the cards say no foreign transaction fee.

Many American credit cards charge a 3% fee when the origin of the charge is foreign. This is frustrating, and swamps the value of the miles you earn usually since one mile is rarely worth three cents.

You’ll get hit with the fee even when the charge is in dollars, as I found out when I paid a 3% fee on the taxes charge on an Avios booking made at BA.com in dollars.

But there are several cards that advertise no charge for foreign transactions. The Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, and Ink Plus all mention the benefit in their marketing.

But there are two ways banks make money on foreign charges. The first is the fee they might charge. The second way banks make money on your foreign purchases is by converting the purchase into dollars at a bad rate for you. This is what the emailer suspected Chase was doing.

To test out how much of that was happening, I’ve made two purchases with my Ink Plus in New Zealand.

The first purchase was NZD 260 for a 440 foot bungee jump. The second was NZD 109 for a Milford Sound cruise. In both cases, those amounts were the exact amount charged to me since New Zealand follows the enlightened practice of including all taxes in quoted prices.

Both are showing as pending in my Chase account online.

Doing a little math, the conversion rate was 1 NZD to $0.8289. (I’ll be using “$” to denote US dollars and “NZD” for New Zealand dollars.)

How does this compare to the prevailing rate? The easiest way to check is to google “1 NZD to USD.”

Google says I would need to spend 84 cents to buy 1 NZD. Chase sold me 1 NZD for less than 83 cents! For whatever reason, Chase offered me a better deal than the prevailing rate.

Maybe you could see this more easily if we look at one $1 should buy me according to google and Chase.

Google: $1 = 1.19 NZD

Chase: $1 = 1.21 NZD

Chase is clearly giving me an incredible deal. Even more so when you compare it changing money on the street.

Street Rate

Banks throughout Auckland and Queenstown show their prices for buying and selling dollars. The one I saw today in Queenstown would sell NZD for $0.8815. This is about 4% worse than the prevailing market rate according to google. (Remember the fewer dollars we spend for 1 NZD, the better.)

If I had taken dollars to a New Zealand bank and changed them to NZD to book my tours, I would have needed 369 NZD total. That would have cost me $325.27 at the bank. Chase charged me only $305.86.

Conclusions

Today in Queenstown, New Zealand, I was way better off paying for tours with my Ink Plus than I would have been changing American dollars or using another card with a 3% foreign transaction fee.

I’ve made that conclusion very specific because I am very surprised by the results of my experiment. I expected Chase to offer me about the same rate than if I had changed at a bank.

Clearly my results were different than the emailer’s experiments of splitting foreign charges halfway between Chase and American Express cards. He found both to offer a bad rate with American Express offering a slightly better exchange rate.

I do think New Zealand’s banks and change houses offer bad rates for cash, implying about a 3% fee. I generally notice rich world countries offer way worse exchange rates than developing countries. For instance, in Arequipa, Peru there are dozens of change shops that have only a 1% spread between their dollar buy and sell prices, meaning they are only shading about half a percent on each side.

Recap

Today in New Zealand dollars, I got a better deal by charging to my Ink Plus than I would have gotten from an exchange house. Your exchange rate may not be as good when you use a credit card for a foreign transaction.

But I was very happy to see that a “no foreign exchange fee” card like the Ink Plus didn’t try to make up for that lack of a fee with a bad exchange rate. A reader’s email made me fear that “no foreign exchange fee” cards might be a scam, but in my experience they aren’t.

I got a great exchange rate and paid no foreign exchange fee.

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