Small business owners looking to rack up points — while not breaking the bank with annual fees — have a great option:
NOTE: This post was updated in February 2020 to reflect the addition of 5X points on Lyft purchases and March 2020 with a new welcome bonus offer.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card, which earns 3X across a number of business categories (including travel: same as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which costs almost five times as much in annual fees).
The Chase Ink Business Preferred is a fantastic option for new entrepreneurs looking to save money while spending on such common business expenses as transportation, cell phone & internet, and advertising.
Even with the low annual fee, points earnings can easily offset the annual fee (and much more) each year. The current welcome bonus alone basically covers at least eight years of the annual fee.
(Remember you don’t need a separate EIN to apply for a small business credit card.)
Here’s why small business owners of all kinds — but especially new ones — should consider the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card.
Credit cards with great bonus categories or cool features cost money. It’s just a fact.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred is $95 a year
The American Express Business Gold Card, by comparison, is $295.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express sets you back $595. Granted, it comes with great features such as lounge access and airline incidental credit. But its points earnings pale in comparison to the Ink Business.
Many no annual fee cards — with a huge exception we’ll talk about in a few minutes — can’t hold a candle to cards charging annual fees.
So even if you value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at just a penny each, spending a total of $3167 annually in the 3X bonus categories recoups your annual fee. Trust me — as a business owner, you’ll spend a lot more than that each year. Earning back the annual fee will not be a problem.
Current Welcome Bonus
The Chase Ink Business Preferred offers 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points for new account holders who spend $15,000 within the first three months of being approved.
Cardholders can redeem UR points for travel (yes, even Delta flights!) through Chase’s travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents each –making those 100,000 points worth $1,250.
Imagine if all $15,000 of that spend is across the 3X categories. You’ll score a total of 145,000 Ultimate Rewards points (which is worth about 15 years of the card’s current annual fee!)!
5X on Lyft!
3X Bonus Categories
The Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card earns cardholders 3X across several different categories, up to a combined $150,000 in annual spend (defined as “each anniversary year,” not calendar year).
So once you spend $150,000 across the below categories combined, their earnings drop to 1X. (Frankly, if you’re a small business person spending that much money each year on these categories — and can afford it — you’re doing pretty darn well.)
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines
Let’s break down each of these great earnings.
Not every business owner spends a lot of money on flights. The Chase Ink Business Preferred is especially perfect for these people — because the “Travel” category encompasses far more than just airfare.
Earn 3X on other purchases such as:
- Lodging (hotels-motels-AirBNB, etc)
- Mass transit (subway-light rail-bus)
- Trains (Amtrak, etc)
- OTA Purchases (Momondo, Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia, etc)
Internet, Cable, and Phone Services
Here’s another biggie.
Most business owners live and die by Internet access and cell phones. Earn 3X by paying your cell phone bill, landline, and Internet service provider bills!
Advertising Purchases with Social Media Sites and Search Engines
Spend money advertising on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Buy sponsored ads on Google, Yahoo, or Bing? The Chase Ink Business Preferred will give you 3X for those purchases!
Earn 3X with FedEx, UPS, USPS purchases!
All your non-bonused spend earns 1X. But we have a no annual fee solution. Keep reading!
Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards
Business owners can redeem Ultimate Rewards in several ways:
- Travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards (1 point = 1.25 cents!)
- Statement credit (1 point = 1 cent. For example, 80,000 Ultimate Rewards = $800)
- ACH cash transfer to a bank account (1 point = 1 cent. For example, 80,000 Ultimate Rewards = $800)
- Gift cards
- Transfer to select airline and hotel loyalty programs (1:1 ratio)
Each has great possibilities. Obviously, redeeming points for free travel is always great — especially when it saves your new business some money.
Booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and redeeming points for 1.25 cents each is very nice. Plus, those bookings code with airlines as cash fares purchases — earning you elite miles/segments, spend credit, and frequent flyer miles!
For those looking to trim costs and save money, the statement credit and ACH cash transfer options are very tasty (though consult with your tax professional as to which is better for your business).
And don’t forget gift cards. Gift cards can be given to employees, clients, and other colleagues.
Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
We’ve heard anecdotally that the Chase Ink Business Preferred qualifies for Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection (essentially Chase’s answer to Amex FHR).
Perks include daily breakfast for two, resort credit, upgrades when available, and late checkout. If you’re a new business person trying to save cash, spending money at luxury hotels probably isn’t the best idea. Nonetheless, the option’s there if you want it.
Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption Coverage
If illness, inclement weather, or other covered situations cause your trip to be canceled or cut short, you may be reimbursed up to $5,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable expenses (airfare, hotels, tours, etc).
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Maximizing Earnings: Combine with the No Annual Fee Ink Business Cash Credit Card!
The Chase Ink Business Preferred doesn’t award office supply, restaurant, or gas station purchases.
How do I buy pens and paper? you may wonder. What about treating clients to drinks or lunch? What if I need to gas up my car on the way? How can I earn points on those purchases?!
The Chase Ink Business Cash card earns 5X on office supply store purchases and internet-cable-phone payments (actually better than the Ink Preferred’s), up to $25,000 in combined spending each year you hold the card.
You earn 2X on restaurant and gas station spending on the first $25,000 in combined spending each year.
Combine the cards’ Ultimate Rewards points — and redeem them at 1.25 cents each through the Chase Travel portal!
That’s a haul of Ultimate Rewards points for just $95 in annual fees. This article compares the Ink Preferred and Ink Cash.
Comparing the Chase Ink Business Preferred to Other Business Cards
The American Express Business Gold Card awards 4X for the two categories (from a list of six) in which your business spends the most during each business cycle. The Amex Biz Gold is a decent option; I like its 4X possibilities with gas stations and restaurants. But its $295 annual fee and 35,000 points welcome bonus aren’t exactly fantastic when compared to the Chase Ink Business Preferred.
Amex’s Blue Business Cash Card has no annual fee — but earns only 2% back. And that’s limited to $50,000 spending each calendar year.
The Ink Preferred doesn’t have the great bells and whistles of the Business Platinum Card® from American Express. But its a heck of a lot more affordable — and earns far more points in general than the Amex Business Platinum. (The Amex Business Platinum does have that 35% Pay with Points rebate I love, though. 🙂 )
Here’s What I ThINK
Chase has given business owners affordable ways to earn points while not spending a ton of money on annual fees. The bonus categories are great on both cards. But for those using travel products, the Chase Ink Business Preferred is at least a great starter product.
Featured image: Photo ©iStock.com/MangoStar_Studio, Rene’s Points composite
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