|by Jason Steele|
The Chase Blueprint program is a remarkable feature that is only available on four of lines of cards: Freedom, Ink, Sapphire, and Slate. Blueprint allows customers to pay off certain purchases in full within their interest free grace periods, while carrying a balance on other purchases for a period of time that they can designate. Blueprint also includes other powerful budgeting tools that allow customers to create and execute a plan to pay off their balance on their schedule. The ability to pay off some transactions within the grace period while carrying a balance on the other can result in a far lower amount interest paid than any other card without Blueprint. So valuable is this feature, that I though it was worth looking into the various Chase cards that offer Blueprint, so that you can figure out which card is best for your needs.
Let’s Take A Look At The Chase Offerings With Blueprint
While Chase says that there are four cards that have the Blueprint feature, Sapphire, Freedom, Ink, and Slate, two of these actually represent multiple card offerings. The Sapphire card comes in the standard version and the Sapphire Preferred, while there are four different Inc cards.
This is the simplest card of the group. It offers a range of interest rates from 11.99% – 21.99% depending on your credit worthiness. It’s key feature is the 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers over it’s generous introductory period 15 months. This card is clearly targeted at people who are trying to pay off their balance.
Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred
This is their reward card that is designed for travelers. If offers points worth 1% cash back for each dollar spent, but 2% on travel booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards booking tool. There is a 25,000 point sign up bonus worth $250, or more if used to book travel through their booking tool. As a rewards card, you can expect a higher APR. In this case, the interest rate is 13.24%. While the standard version has no annual fee, the Preferred version has a $95 annual fee. Along with fee, this card offers 25% more rewards when making purchases through Chase’s website, along with another 7% annual bonus on all the reward points you earn in a calendar year. The Sapphire Preferred card is the only card with Blueprint that does not have a foreign transaction fee. The fee is 3% on all other Chase cards with Blueprint. Finally, the Preferred card offers some point transfer options to programs such as British Airways Executive Club, Continental OnePass, Marriott, and Amtrak.
This card is the one that is targeted at customers who prefer cash back over travel rewards. There is a standard 1% cash back on most purchases, but they bonus goes up to 5% on different categories of spending each quarter. Those higher rewards are not unlimited as only your first $1,500 of spending in the designated categories are eligible for the higher cash back rate. While there is a 0% introductory APR, you will then receive a variable rate of between 11.99% – 22.99% depending on your credit score.
Ink is Chase’s business credit card line. There are four Ink cards currently being offered; the standard Ink, Ink Bold, Ink Plus, and Ink Cash. All of these cards are offering 10,000 bonus points worth $100 as a sign up bonus.
- The standard Ink offers a 0% introductory APR for six months. and no annual fee.
- Ink Plus offers points bonuses when you reach different spending thresholds each year. $50,000 in spending will earn you a 10,000 point bonus and you will receive 15,000 points when you spend $100,000 in a calendar year. Ink Plus has a $60 annual fee that is waived your first year.
- Ink Cash offers 3% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, on office supplies, and at hardware stores. There is no annual fee on this card.
- Ink Bold is a charge card with a flexible spending limit. You are expected to pay all charges in full each month. Similarly to the Ink Plus card, when you spend $25,000 a year, you will receive 7,500 bonus points; at $50,000 you will receive an additional 15,000 bonus points, and 25,000 bonus points when you reach$100,000 in net purchases. you will receive an additional 25,000 bonus points. It has a $95 annual fee that is waived your first year.
Which Card Should You Choose?
It used to be that there really was no effective difference between a business card and a personal card. The CARD Act of 2009 changed that in that it only applies to personal cards. Now, the Ink Card should probably only be considered by business owners. They would have to choose the Ink card that best suits there needs by offering the lowest interest rate and/or the highest rewards on the type of spending they anticipate using the card for.
As for the consumer offerings, the Sapphire Preferred is clearly the card for heavy travelers, especially if you plan on using the card on trips outside of the United States. The Freedom card is best for non-travel rewards while the Slate is for people who are trying to pay down their balance.
Whichever card you choose, make sure to activate the Blueprint features and take advantage of the opportunity to pay some charges in full if you have to carry a balance. Blueprint is a groundbreaking program that departs from the all or nothing interest rate policies found on all other cards. Pick the best card with Blueprint and you can cut your interest rate and maximize your cash back returns.