This Single Credit Card Will Get You A $100 International Ticket To Almost Anywhere


Chase has recently upped the award bonus on the Ink Plus (a business credit card) to a pretty large amount – 70,000 Chase UR points.  Normally the card is 50k with the $95 waived and is available online; for this offer amount the fee is not waived and the card must be applied for in a branch.  Is it worth the effort?

Image courtesy of The Points Guy.

First off, the question is often “Can I get a business credit card?” – and the answer is absolutely yes.  Although I’m not sure how the in person process goes – might take a little more finesse when applying/speaking about the business which can certainly be more of a hobby business than a real one.

Next is the question of whether the $95 fee is worth it – Chase values the points at 1 cent each – they will let a holder redeem them for that in cash – with the 20k extra points of the bank offer this is basically a question of whether a $95 in-person application is worth $200 (minimum) and I would simply say that it certainly is.  Can we get more than that?

The next question is how to meet the spend – $5,000 in 3 months is a lot.  However there are ways to pay things like rent or mortgage which can quickly cover much of this spend required to hit an award.  I go into some of the options in this discussion on how to meet credit card award spend requirements.  What’s the worst case scenario?  A paypal of 5k to my buddy would lose $145.30.  My buddy can hand me the $4,854.70 that did arrive and I can pay my bill and eat that $145.30.  This is basically 1. worst case cost scenario and 2. quickest way to accomplish spend.  (I never do this method.)

My sweet spot for all my opportunistic point hoarding is international business class travel – but economy is a great deal and this is enough points to make a lot of things happen.  After meeting the spend requirements we’ll have 70k award + 5k spend = 75k Chase points.  What is that worth?  At a penny per point, $750.  Worst case scenario we are at $750 – $95 – $145.30 = we’re up $509.70 for a rather small amount of effort.

Kinda boring though, let’s fly somewhere.  The 75k points transfer 1:1 to several partners, including United Airlines.  75k is enough for a round trip to almost anywhere; I randomly picked a few months out and chose Chicago O’Hare to Berlin.  Taxes and fees vary by flights and could range generally from $50-150.  I put zero effort into minimizing that and am showing a realistic situation and just grabbed this flight:

60k miles and $158.50 to get to Berlin.  Personally I’d keep the 15k remaining Chase UR points and only transfer 60k to United, but for my value calcuations I am just going to charge $158.50 to this card then use the remaining points to eat away that charge.

What’s the math look like now?  70k + 5k + 158 points = 75,158 points total.  Costs: $95 + $158.50 and 60k points.  Rebating ourselves the 15,158 points not used at 1 cent per point we get $151.58 as cash back.  Final result: zero points left and an economy ticket to Europe for $101.92.  The ticket above would be over $1300 cash – subtracting that $101.92 we are clearly getting $1200 of value out of what Chase would have provided in cash back at around $750.

This is just to start – using United’s routing rules we can actually add a free or near-free one-way to this itinerary to turn this 1 trip into 1.5 trips.  Additionally we could add an open jaw – fly into Berlin and home from another city in Europe – to avoid having to be beholden to making some kind of circular based trip, which often (always?) costs more when using cash to buy a ticket.  So there’s a lot more value we could get above and beyond this $1200 already.  I bet there is more to add by navigating to through Chase’s shopping portal although a fraction of what has been demonstrated already.

So there you have it – a trip to Europe (and more using the 1.5 trick) all on a single card.

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