Are you a small business owner looking to maximize your travel rewards with a business credit card?
The Chase Ink Business Preferred is one of the best options for 2017, featuring a great signup bonus as well as solid ongoing rewards. But the Ink Preferred isn’t right for everyone—it’s great for big spenders in typical business categories, but others are better served with other options.
We’ll review the Chase Ink Business Preferred, see how it stacks up against its competitors, and help you decide if it’s right for you.
Review of the Chase Ink Business PreferredSM
The Chase Ink Business PreferredSM, which replaced the Ink Plus Business credit card in 2017, is one of the top options for business travelers.
To start you off, you’ll earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of cardmembership.
As for ongoing rewards, it earns 3 Ultimate Rewards Points per $1 spent on travel as well as internet, phone, and cable services; shipping; and advertising on social media and search engines (up to $150,000 annually in combined purchases).
The card earns 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. That’s a great rewards rate if you spend heavily on typical business purchases or if you travel frequently.
One of the key benefits of the Ink Preferred is that, unlike some other Chase cards, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards Points one to one with Chase’s airline and hotel partners, including United, Southwest, Hyatt, and Marriott.
If you redeem wisely, you can get a value upwards of 3 cents per point—for example, you can turn your Ultimate Rewards Points into United miles for a high-price, low-mileage award ticket, or use them with Avios for a short-haul flight on British Airways.
At a minimum, you can use your points to book travel directly through Chase’s Orbitz-powered travel portal where they’re worth 1.25 cents each. This means your signup bonus is worth $1,000 of travel booked through Chase, and your bonus category rewards rate is 3.75%.
Other perks for travelers include primary rental car insurance; trip delay, interruption or cancellation insurance; and no foreign transaction fee.
Along with purchase, price, and warranty protection, the Ink Preferred pays up to $600 if you or your employees lose or damage a phone purchased using the card. It’s a solid suite of side benefits tailored to business owners.
The Ink Preferred comes with a $95 annual fee, which can be a heavy hit for smaller businesses. It’s also less than ideal for people who don’t travel frequently—points are worth 1.25 cents for travel booked through Chase, but they’re just 1 cent apiece when redeemed as a statement credit and other cash-like options.
Get the Chase Ink Business Preferred if:
- You want a killer signup bonus.
- You spend a lot on travel, telecommunications, shipping, or advertising.
- You’ve racked up points or miles with one of Chase’s hotel or airline partners and want to supplement your total.
Skip the Chase Ink Business Preferred if:
- You don’t spend much on the bonus categories. A flat-rate rewards card like the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is better for atypical spenders.
- You don’t want an annual fee. The American Express SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card has no annual fee but has similar bonus categories to the Ink Preferred.
- You want crème de la crème travel perks. Though it comes with a $450 annual fee, the Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN offers lounge access, a travel credit, and more.
Chase Ink Business PreferredSM vs. other travel credit cards
Chase Ink Business PreferredSM vs. Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business offers a flat 2 No Hassle Miles on every dollar you spend—period.
No bonus categories, no spending caps, no—well, no hassle.
With a 50,000-mile signup bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months and a $59 annual fee that’s waived the first year, the Spark Miles offers straightforward rewards at a relatively low cost.
No Hassle Miles are worth an even 1 cent per point no matter how you redeem them, so you don’t have to look around for point-transfer arbitrage opportunities like you would with the Chase Ink Business Preferred.
If you don’t spend a lot of money on the Ink Preferred’s bonus categories like shipping or ads, you might be better served with the Spark Miles. Ignoring signup bonuses and annual fees (but assuming Ultimate Rewards Points are worth 1.25 cents each), if less than 30% of your spending falls into the Chase Ink Business Preferred’s bonus categories, you’re better off with the Spark.
Verdict: The Spark Miles is better if you spend less than 30% of your money on the Ink Preferred’s bonus categories.
Chase Ink Business PreferredSM vs. American Express SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card
For a no annual fee credit card, the American Express SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card packs a punch.
The card earns a solid rewards rate:
- 5% cash back on office supply stores and wireless telephone services (up to $50,000 spent annually)
- 3% cash back on one of eight spending categories including restaurants, advertising, and gas (up to $50,000 spent annually)
- Unlimited 1% cash back everywhere else
Plus, the card has no employee card fees and comes with nine months of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, if you need to make a big buy and pay it off over time.
With great bonus categories and no annual fee, the SimplyCash is a great option if $95 a year seems too much to swallow. On the other hand, the card doesn’t have a signup bonus, and your rewards will never top the stated cash back rate—unlike the Ink Preferred, you can’t use travel rewards alchemy to turn 25,000 points into a $1,000 ticket.
Verdict: The SimplyCash card provides excellent ongoing rewards and no annual fee, but as long as you don’t mind annual charges, the Chase Ink Business Preferred’s signup bonus carries the day.
Ink Preferred vs. Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN
If, on the other hand, you’re okay with paying annual fees if the benefits justify the cost, the Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is the way to go.
With pretty much the best travel perks on the market, the card’s $450 annual fee is offset by:
- A $200 annual travel credit
- A credit for TSA Pre-check or Global Entry worth up to $100
- Free Gogo and Boingo internet, when you’re working on a plane or at an airport
- Access to Amex’s airport lounge network, which includes Centurion, International American Express, Delta Sky Club, and Priority Pass Select lounges
Plus, it’s got a killer signup bonus of up to 75,000 Membership Rewards Points: 50,000 when you spend $10,000 in the first three months of cardmembership, and an extra 25,000 when you spend an additional $10,000 during that same period.
With such a high bonus threshold, the Platinum isn’t for small spenders. If you travel often, though, you’ll find the benefits far outweigh the downsides.
One quick note: The Platinum is a charge card meant to be paid in full each month, so if you carry a balance, you’ll face a much higher APR than you would with the Ink Preferred.
Verdict: Get the Platinum if you’re a big spender who values travel perks. If you prefer a good signup bonus or can’t make the $20,000 signup bonus spending threshold, go with the Ink Preferred.
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