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Chase currently offers two rewards cards for small business owners, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. Both cards offer top benefits and return on spend, featuring well thought out bonus categories and spending thresholds, and providing business owners the ability to earn a ton of Ultimate Rewards points on business expenses.
You can combine points earned via the two Ink cards with Ultimate Rewards earned with Chase’s suite of consumer-focused rewards cards which includes:
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
- Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
- No foreign transaction fees
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- $95 Annual Fee
- Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
- Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- No Annual Fee
Signup Bonus and Annual Fee
- Ink Cash – Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Ink Preferred – Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The Ink Cash is marketed as a cash back card, but in practical terms, it earns Ultimate Rewards. When used as a standalone product, you can redeem points for $0.01 a piece as cash back. However, if you also hold the Ink Preferred, Sapphire Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve, you can combine the points earned across all your Ultimate Rewards earning cards, and redeem them for a higher fixed-value through Chase’s Travel Portal, or transfer them to travel partners to achieve even higher returns.
So when comparing the signup bonuses, if you hold another Ultimate Rewards' earning card that charges an annual fee, you can think of the $500 signup bonus on the Ink Cash as 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. While 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points is exceptional for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, unless you hold another UR earning card that does carry an annual fee, you can extract no more than $500 value from it.
If you want higher fixed-value redemptions and the ability to transfer points, you’ll need to pay an annual fee one way or another. That said, while you need to meet a decent minimum spend, $500 cash back from a card that charges no annual fee is as good it gets.
The 80,000 point signup bonus available to new Ink Preferred cardholders is worth $800 if redeemed as cash back, $1,000 through the Chase Travel Portal at $0.0125 per point, and potentially much more if transferred to travel partners. How much more exactly?
In a past post, we covered a United First Saver Award returning 13.8¢ per mile. Transferred from Ultimate Rewards, the signup bonus on the Ink Preferred would net you roughly $11,000 in value on this flight. Jaw-dropping value by anyone's standards. Even taking into account the $95 annual fee, the signup bonus on the Ink Preferred provides a lot more value than that supplied with the Ink Cash.
Earning Potential and Bonus Categories
An area where both Ink cards are ultra-competitive is their bonus categories.
- Ink Cash – Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.
- Ink Preferred – Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases-with no limit to the amount you can earn.
Both cards allow you to rack up rewards at a rapid pace, featuring practical bonus categories where small business owners are likely to spend a fair portion of their operating budget. Maxing out the 5% category on the Ink Cash would return $1,250 per year to your pocket, 125,000 Ultimate Rewards. The best return when redeeming Ultimate Rewards for a fixed-value is with Sapphire Reserve cardholders, who receive 1.5¢ per point through the Chase Travel Portal. If you transferred the 5x points per dollar earned on the Ink Cash to your Sapphire Reserve account and redeemed them for 1.5¢ per point, you can achieve a minimum return of 7.5% on your bonus spend.
The Ink Preferred takes things to a whole other level, which you’d expect from a card charging an annual fee. You’ll earn 3x points on travel and everyday business expenses such as shipping and online marketing, making this a perfect card for an online business, e-commerce store, or local service provider. And if you max out the 3x bonus category spending threshold of $150K, you stand to collect 450,000 Ultimate Rewards per year, enough for multiple trips in first or business class or a score of nights in luxury hotels. The ‘best’ Ink card depends a lot on your business, and the everyday expenses you incur.
Feature Perks and Benefits
A number of the travel perks matchup between these two cards, with both featuring Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, Lost Luggage, and Delayed Baggage, and both cards receive Primary Rental CDW insurance when renting for business purposes, and secondary when renting for pleasure. The Ink Preferred also benefits’ from comprehensive Trip Delay Reimbursement, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance, and features no foreign transaction fees.
Additionally, the Ink Preferred provides one of the best cell phone protection plans we’ve come across, up to $600 per claimable event with a $100 deductible, provided you charge your monthly bill to the card. And you’ll receive 25% more points when redeeming for travel through Chase. That’s 1.25¢ per point value when redeeming for fixed-value, and potentially much higher returns if the points are transferred to partners.
Even though they are business cards, the Ink Cash and Ink Preferred are both subject to Chase’s 5/24 policy. If you’ve opened 5 or more new cards over the last 24 months, it’s highly likely Chase won’t approve your application. That said, if you're under 5/24 and you apply for either of these cards, as business cards, the Ink cards won’t count towards your 5/24 status.
Folks applying for Chase cards will also fall under the 90-day policy, which only allows you to get 1x business and 1x personal card in a ninety day period. Don’t think you’ll qualify for a business card? You may be surprised that almost anyone can qualify for a business credit card!
If you pass Chase’s strict application criteria, we recommend looking at your business spend and considering applying for either or both Ink cards — it all depends on how you can maximize your earning. The signup bonuses on both cards offer outlandish value, bonus categories are well structured and conducive to racking up a significant balance of points rapidly, and with the Ink Cash charging no annual fee, you’ll only wear the $95 annual fee for the Ink Preferred to hold both cards!
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