If You Could Have Just One Credit Card…

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Since posting about some of the most lucrative ways to purchase an iPhone 5 last week, and a related reminder to make sure that cell phone bills are paid with one of the Chase Ink products in order to earn 5x, I have found myself several times saying that if I could have just one rewards credit card that it would by my Ink Bold.  That is a 100% true statement that I would stand behind until I turn blue in the face, but it made me curious as to why I am such a big fan of this card, and it also made me wonder which other cards are peoples’ #1 lists.

Application link: Ink Bold Charge Card
Application link: Ink Plus

I personally have dozens of credit cards, so have no practical need to “just choose one”, but I know that having multiple rewards cards is not realistic or desirable for everyone.  So, I do think it is both an interesting and worthy endeavor to talk about which card you would have if you could just have one.  Here is why I would easily select the Ink Bold Charge Card for my “one and only”, if I had to.

  • It earns Ultimate Reward points that can be transferred 1:1 to several hotel or airlines including two of my favorites, United and Hyatt.  These are my favorite type of points on the market, and next to Starwood points, they are also (in my opinion) the most valuable.
  • The Ink Bold Charge Card has extremely lucrative bonus categories that really make the points add up quickly.  The 5x bonus categories include: office supply stores, cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services.  5x Ultimate Reward points are awarded on the first $50,000 spent annually in those categories combined.  2x Ultimate Reward points are awarded on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and for hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel.
  • Those categories are huge as there are many expenses in there that almost all of us have in relatively large amounts every single month.  It is a total no-brainer to be earning 5x for things like cable, cell phones, internet, etc.  Many families have hundreds of dollars in expenses each month just in those categories, so those hundreds in expenses can be parlayed into thousands of Ultimate Rewards points without any extra work.  To see what I mean, just do the math and add up how much you spend each month in those categories, then multiply by 5x, then multiply by 12 months to see how many UR points you can earn in a year on bills you are already paying.  If your family is anything like mine, I bet you come up with a relatively large number.
  • Then there is the amazing 5x at office supply stories.  I truthfully don’t know how long that party will continue, but if you aren’t at least putting your toes into the world of gift cards, you are seriously missing out on one of the current hot and easy ways to earn miles and points.  This card makes that all possible.  I’m pretty conservative on the office supply store front, but even being conservative it is several thousand easy points each month.  Feel free to email me if you don’t know what I am talking about here.
  • The online Ultimate Rewards shopping portal is also my hands-down favorite online shopping portal out there.  The Ink cards aren’t the only ones that get you access to that portal, but if you could just have one card, this card would be good enough to keep your access to Ultimate Rewards shopping.  It is not all that uncommon to get 10x+ on many purchases made via this portal.
  • This card also has no foreign transaction fee, no annual fee the first year, and a reasonable annual fee in subsequent years.  Again, there are many cards with no foreign transaction fee and no annual fee the first year, but this card keep up with the pace in those categories.  I also like that the annual fee for this card is under $100 ($95) instead of being a triple digit annual fee, as is the case with some other rewards credit cards.  It’s easy enough to avoid the annual fee for a while given that there are at least two versions of this card (the Plus/credit card and the Bold/charge card), but I would absolutely pay the fee to keep the card if I needed to.

The only major thing going against the Ink Bold Charge Card or Ink Plus, in my mind, is that it is a business card.  That does add an extra hurdle for some folks who want to apply for the card, but as I have said a million times, think globally about what you do before you decide you don’t have a business.  Almost all of us do have a small business even if we don’t label it that way (blogs, Etsy, eBay, etc…).  You can read about my experience getting approved for my first business card (which happened to be the “old” Ink Bold) in order to get an idea of what the process is like.  It really is not that bad if you are semi-prepared for the questions they are likely to ask.

Do keep in mind that the Ink Bold is a charge card while the Ink Plus is a credit card.  If you pay your bill off in full each month that shouldn’t make a whole lot of difference, but it is important to be aware of the difference.  There are multiple reports of people getting approved for both cards.  I personally have the “old Ink Bold” that didn’t have the 5x bonus categories, and the “new Ink Bold” that does.  I had no issue getting approved for two Ink Bold cards.  If there is any potential issue, it should be easy to explain that you need to add the Ink Plus as it is a credit card, and you need that flexibility.  I would start with just getting one, but then get the other down the line.  I plan to get the Ink Plus next year around the time that my Ink Bold annual fee is coming due.

Okay, so there’s why the Ink Bold Charge Card (or Ink Plus) would be my card of choice if I had to pick just one.  Do you agree?  Am I totally off-base?  Which card would you pick if you had to just have one?


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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Absolutely agree. I have only waded into the gift card waters. But I pay for all of my gas on gift cards. And now that I can’t find Barnes & Noble on any of the portals I can still get 5x with a B&N card at Office Depot. Over the weekend I also took the first leap into the Amex Gift Card world. I had a purchase I can only find on Amazon or other non-points earning websites. So, 5x for that $200 purchase (Yes, I went through Hawaiian Airlines also). Chase Ink Bold is the very best. But I will be transitioning to the Ink Plus within the next 6-12 months. Will get the new signup bonus and I prefer the credit vs. charge card.

  2. Totally agree and thanks for the detailed analysis. To me, it’s a toss-up between Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold.

    I do have a question. Since these 2 cards are personal and business cards, respectively, do they affect our credit score the same way, assuming everything else being equal? I seem to remember seeing comments about a business card not being calculated toward one’s credit score.

  3. @Chister- per Chase online CSR, Chase business products are not reported to credit bureaus under the cardholders personal SSN unless the balance is past due 60 days, although I do recall getting a hard pull on my SSN for the IB approval. Although not certain, I do not believe Chase business products affect your available personal credit whatsoever

  4. Sorry totally disagree. It would be better to just have the Chase Sapphire because it also doubles as an excellent ice scraper and pry bar. 😉

  5. Sapphire Preferred because all the store employees you hand it to says “wow this is a heavy card”. If I had a nickel for every time one said that.

  6. Starwood Amex has to be up there also. I am staying at the Westin St John in January. The cost per night before tax and fees would be $629, or about $2800 for 5 nights (5th night free) and it is only costing me 48k points. This is the only card where you can get that type of return. This is my “everything else” card. If I am not getting 6:1 on my Hilton card or 2:1+ on my Chase cards on purchases, then this is the go to. Great for car down payments, furniture, and clothes, (that you can’t buy online of course). It is nice that we don’t have to choose just 1 though. 🙂

  7. Thanks MommyPoints for all the great information posted about Ink Bold. In fact you have talked me into getting one 🙂

    Now I wonder if I already have the Sapphire Preferred, can I combine the Ultimate Rewards account so both cards will earn points toward the same account?

    Also if I have to cancel my Sapphire later, can I still hold on to my Ultimate Rewards points if I still keep my Ink Bold? I was hoping if both cards connect to the same UR account and one day I need to cancel one, then I can still retain and don’t need to cash out all points.

    Thanks again for all your help and great posts. Your blog is my morning read everyday. Have a great day.

    • @Exodus, you can transfer points between the two accounts, so they will all be safe in one account if you close the other at some point. Just be sure to transfer them over first. It’s an instant process. I’m excited for you getting the Ink Bold! I don’t think you will regret the decision. Welcome to the world of 5x points. 😉 Thanks for reading!

  8. Thanks MommyPoints, so essentially, each card (Sapphire and Ink Bold) is linked to a separate UR account? But I can transfer points from one to the other when I close a card?

    I was hoping they are similar to AE Member Rewards which link all cards to earn points toward one MR account. But I guess with instant transfer, it’s pretty much the same except just to maintain different accounts instead of one.

    Yes I am excited and looking forward to joining the 5x world. I wished I have stumbled on your blog earlier and learned about the 5x opportunities with Ink Bold sooner as I could have earned so many more points with my previous year’s business travel. Anyhow I guess never too late as soon as this still stays live.

    Thanks again for all the help and keep up the excellent work. Have a wonderful day.

    • @Exodus, you can sort of combine them. My personal accounts are “linked” and show individual UR balances and a joint balance when you log-in. You can get your biz account to show on the same log-in screen, so it should be able to be viewed together as well….I just haven’t done that.

  9. Here is something I have been struggling with – given the 5X available on spending on pretty much anything (Courtesy the Ink Plus), is it worthwhile hanging on to the Sapphire?

  10. @MP: a couple of questions…

    1) Does the charge version (the Ink Bold) cause a hard credit pull?

    2) Do both versions offer all of the listed benefits (5X categories, etc.)?

  11. -That windshield scrapper comment is hilarious. I could see us Texans using it for that since we so rarely have ice!
    -Fauxblogger’s understanding is the same as mine in terms of the credit pull/credit score.
    -JettyBoy, it only beats the Ink Bold for dining and non-hotel travel (well and it has the 7% bonus), so it is a hard call. I have both, but for those looking to avoid paying so many annual fees I have a clear favorite between the two.
    -AS, yes it will result in a hard pull on your personal credit, but it then is not reflected on your personal credit unless you start missing payments (or so I’m told – I’ve never missed payments) The benefits of both are the same.

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