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The world has been essentially on hold in 2020, especially for small businesses. And while your business may have seen an uptick in revenue in the last several months, there’s a good chance your operating costs are higher than before. This makes it a wise time to ensure you have the right business credit card for your expenses.
Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards are considered some of the best around, and fortunately, there are three different business credit cards under this umbrella. Even better, all three currently feature incredibly high sign-up bonuses that can put extra cash or travel rewards in the coffers of your business.
To help you determine which one of these three Chase business credit cards to apply for, we’ve detailed the pros and cons of all three cards, including the sign-up bonuses, the cash back you’ll earn from each card’s bonus categories and other card benefits. So let’s dive into the Chase Ink Business credit card lineup and see which one might be right for your business needs.
Chase Ink business credit cards
First, let’s take a look at all the key details of these three cards side by side:
Record-high bonuses on Chase Ink cards
The sign-up bonuses on all three of these Chase Ink cards are high right now, and some of the best you’ll find compared to many other popular business credit cards.
The Ink Business Preferred card is the highest of the bunch, but it also comes with quite a significant minimum spending requirement. You’ll earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on your card within the first three months after opening the account. If your business already generates this much in expenses, then this card can result in a ton of points, making the annual fee well worth it.
Frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, which makes this Ink Business Preferred sign-up bonus worth approximately $2,000. That’s an amazing bonus offer, and for only a $95 annual fee.
However, if your business doesn’t come close to spending an average of $5,000 per month, you’ll instead want to consider either the Ink Business Unlimited or Ink Business Cash cards. Both of these cards recently increased their sign-up offers to $750 in bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on the card within the first three months after opening the account.
This is actually the best offer we’ve ever seen for these two no-annual-fee business cards, which makes it a great time to apply. And if you’re able to pair either of these cards with a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, the bonus from either card can actually be worth as much as $1,500 in travel. More on that in a moment.
Earning points with Chase Ink credit cards
One of the biggest differences between the three cards is the number of points your business earns on its purchases.
With the Ink Business Preferred, you’ll earn 3 points for every dollar you spend in these four categories, up to $150,000 in combined purchases each card holder year:
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines
You’ll also earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases you make with the card as well as on purchases you make in the four bonus categories above the combined $150,000 in a year.
The Ink Business Cash card also offers bonus categories, but the categories are different. You’ll earn 5% cash back in these two categories, up to $25,000 in combined purchases each card holder year:
- Office supply stores
- Internet, cable and phone services
Your business also earns 2% cash back in two additional categories, again capped at $25,000 in combined purchases per card holder year:
- Gas stations
The Ink Business Cash card earns 1% cash back on all other purchases as well as on any purchases made above the $25,000 thresholds in each set of bonus categories.
But if bonus categories sound complicated, the third Ink card — the Ink Business Unlimited — has a much more straightforward earning structure. With this card, your business earns a simple 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. There are no bonus categories to keep track of, and you’ll still get a solid return on all your everyday purchases.
Earning points versus cash back
You’re probably asking yourself why the Ink Business Preferred card earns points, while the Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited are advertised as cash back cards. In actuality, all three cards earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but your redemption options are quite different.
The Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash cards technically earn Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point. So, for instance, if you make a $100 purchase on the Ink Business Unlimited card, you’ll receive 150 points, which you can then redeem for $1.50 in the form of a statement credit or a deposit to your bank account. That $1.50 is 1.5% of $100, which equates to the 1.5% cash back advertised by the card.
There are a few other ways to redeem points on these two cards for gift cards or travel, but you’ll still only get a maximum of 1 cent per point in value. However, if you also have another premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card, the options get much more interesting.
Chase allows you to freely transfer your points between cards, so if you also have one of the three Ultimate Rewards cards that charge an annual fee, you can move your points from the Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Unlimited to one of those cards and open the door to valuable travel redemptions.
One of those three premium Ultimate Rewards cards is the Ink Business Preferred itself. Points earned on the Ink Business Preferred — or transferred to the card from either or both of the other two Ink cards — can be redeemed for travel through Chase’s travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. That means you’re getting at least 25% more per point in redemption value with the Ink Business Preferred.
Or, once you have points on one of the Ultimate Rewards cards with an annual fee, you can even transfer your points to one of Chase’s 13 airline and hotel loyalty programs. It takes some time and effort to understand these separate programs, but you can end up getting outsized value for your points. That’s why The Points Guy values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece.
Best of all, you can combine your points across all your Chase Ultimate Rewards business and personal credit cards. So even if you only have the Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Unlimited, if you also have a personal premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you’ll have the flexibility to move your points around and not be pigeonholed into just earning cash back.
Benefits of the Chase Ink credit cards
Beyond earning rewards, all three Ink cards also have strong additional benefits, with the no-annual-fee Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash mimicking each other, and the Ink Business Preferred featuring some additional perks for its $95 annual fee.
Let’s start with the benefits that are shared among the three cards. Each Ink card comes with extended warranty protection, so when you use your card to make a purchase, you’ll extend the US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or fewer.
All three Ink cards also feature purchase protection. This means purchases made with the card are also covered for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
When renting a car for business purposes, all three Ink cards come with primary car rental insurance, which covers you against theft and collision damage in both the United States and abroad. Just charge the full rental to your Ink card and decline the rental company’s collision insurance. This can save your business a significant amount on car rental insurance, and gives you peace of mind in case something does go wrong with your rental car on a business trip.
There’s also actually one benefit that comes on the Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash cards, but not the Ink Business Preferred. The two no-annual-fee cards offer a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months you have the card, which can be useful if your business needs to temporarily carry some debt. But be aware that the APR jumps to a variable 13.24% to 19.24% once the introductory period ends, so be sure you can pay off the entire debt in a timely manner.
The Ink Business Preferred card offers a few additional benefits that the other two Ink cards don’t have, which makes sense since it’s the only card of the three that charges an annual fee.
On the travel side, this card offers trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, which is designed to reimburse you if your trip is canceled or cut short by a covered situation. You can use this protection in the event of sickness or severe weather, among other reasons, though unfortunately travel issues due to the pandemic itself are not covered by this protection.
For a nonrefundable trip, this is a huge perk to have, as in the event of a problem, you can be reimbursed for expenses such as airfare, hotels, tours and more. This Ink Preferred benefit covers up to $5,000 in claims per person and $10,000 per trip.
The Ink Business Preferred also offers cell phone protection. This means if you pay your cell phone bill with your card, you’ll not only earn 3 points per dollar since it’s a phone service, but you and any employees on your phone bill will be covered in the case of phone theft or damage. You can file up to three claims in a 12-month period and can be reimbursed up to $600 per claim with a $100 deductible.
Finally, the Ink Business Preferred is the only Ink card of the three that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Along with its other travel protections, this makes it a significantly better card to use when booking a trip, and especially when traveling overseas.
What if you don’t have a business?
You may not think you have a small business, but mom-and-pop shops, small startups and even side jobs are often eligible for business credit cards. In fact, selling products through eBay, being a ride-share driver or buying and selling real estate are all activities that might categorize you as a business.
If you fall into this bucket, you can legitimately apply for any of these three Ink business credit cards using your social security number instead of an Employer Identification Number. However, due to the economic situation during the pandemic, Chase hasn’t been as open to issuing credit cards to sole proprietor businesses as it has been in the past. That doesn’t mean you can’t get one of these cards, but be prepared to provide a lot of additional business information in order to qualify.
And even if you’re just getting started in your new side hustle, it’s still fine to apply — just be honest about your business and personal income on the application.
Which Chase Ink credit card should you get?
With three different Chase Ink business credit cards that all earn Ultimate Rewards points, you still might be pondering which one to get. We’ve broken out a number of different scenarios to help you determine the best card for your business.
If you want to earn points for travel…
The Ink Business Preferred card is the only one of the bunch that will allow you to directly redeem your points toward travel at the highest rate. However, you can combine points from either of the other two Ink cards with the Ink Business Preferred (or personal Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred) to also open up options for high-value travel redemptions.
If you have a lot of business expenses…
For a business that puts a lot of regular purchases on a credit card, the Ink Business Preferred offers a higher threshold when it comes to earning points in the bonus categories. You’ll earn extra points on up to $150,000 per card holder year in those categories with the Ink Business Preferred, while the Ink Business Cash is capped at $25,000 for each set of its own bonus categories.
On the flip side, if your business doesn’t spend anywhere near that much each year, the Ink Business Cash earns up to 5% cash back in many popular business categories, where the Ink Business Preferred only offers a maximum of 3 points per dollar.
If you want simplicity…
Business owners who just want a card that earns a solid return on everyday purchases should choose the Ink Business Unlimited. With 1.5% cash back on everything you buy, you won’t have to worry about bonus categories, and you’ll earn rewards that can potentially be combined with other Chase credit cards down the line.
If you have a large purchase or expenses you want to spread out over time…
For businesses who want to finance one or more purchases, both the Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash card come with an introductory APR on purchases. Keep in mind, though, that this offer lasts only for the first 12 months you have the card, so make sure you’re able to pay off your debt before that one-year mark so you don’t get hit with a ton of interest.
If you plan on using your card internationally…
The Ink Business Preferred is the winner here. Along with all its travel protections, it doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, while the other two Ink cards have a 3% fee on foreign transactions — an expense no business owner wants to incur.
In the end, business credit cards can help keep your business expenses separate from your personal ones, but they can also earn rewards for your business purchases and even access benefits that will ultimately save you money. So if you’ve been considering a business credit card, take a look at these Chase Ink credit card offers and see if one of them is right for you.