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2016 was been a very busy year for Chase — the issuer launched Chase Freedom Unlimited in March, the game-changing Chase Sapphire Reserve Card back in August, and they unveiled another brand new product in October, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
This card offers a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. (That’s the same minimum spending requirement as you’ll find with the Ink Plus, but with an opportunity to earn 20,000 extra points.)
The Ink Business Preferred offers 3x points (a 6.3% return, based on my latest valuations) on the first $150,000 spent on the following combined categories:
- Travel – from airfare and hotels to taxis and trains
- Shipping purchases
- Advertising purchases made with search engines and social media sites (i.e., Google AdWords or Facebook)
- Internet/cable/phone services
This is great news for me, since as I’ve written about before, I already get 3x points on the first $100,000 spent on advertising with my Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express, but I only get 3x on one category and 2x on the other four vs. 3x on all the Ink Business Preferred categories. The Ink Business Preferred card also gets you 1x points on all other purchases. Note that you’ll earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on eligible purchases for the first $150,000 spent across all of the above categories — so you won’t be able to get a 6.3% return on the first $150k spent on travel and also earn bonus points on online advertising, for example. The $150k cap will reset every account anniversary year.
Another interesting benefit of the Ink Business Preferred card is its cell phone protection. When you pay your cell phone bill with this card (including the fees for any employees listed on the bill), you’ll get up to $600 in protection against any covered damage or theft, for you and any other lines listed on your bill, up to three claims per year. According to Chase, this will be subject to a $100 deductible. And, since phone services are listed as an eligible bonus category, you’ll be earning 3x points in the process. These are great reasons to put all of your cell phone expenses on the card.
Finally, the card will include a range of travel and purchase protections, such as trip cancellation/delay coverage, primary auto rental collision damage waiver insurance, extended warranty and more.
Is It Worth It?
Let’s start with the 3x bonus categories. As with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar on all travel purchases, but unlike with that premium travel rewards card, you’ll also earn 3x points on three additional business-related purchase types: shipping, social media and search engine advertising and internet/cable/phone services. One of my favorite things about the Reserve card is the ability to get such a strong return on travel purchases, so it’s great that the Ink Business Preferred offers this too — even though you’re capped at $150,000 for the 3x bonus, and that cap is for combined spending across all bonus categories.
One of my major business expenses is online advertising via Facebook and Google, so I’m definitely intrigued by this aspect of the 3x bonus category. My go-to card for this spending is The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN — I select advertising as my 3x category to get a 5.7% return on the first $100,000 I spend per year — but the Ink Business Preferred could be an even better option for those purchases. The ability to earn 3x on shipping purchases also seems a smart addition. While my business doesn’t have many shipping expenses, I know many businesses that do. This could be a great way to increase your earning power.
The Ink Business Preferred does have some overlap with the Ink Plus Business Card when it comes to bonus categories; both cards offer a bonus for spending on internet, cable and phone services. However, the Ink Plus gets you 5x points on purchases in this category (for the first $50,000 spent each account anniversary year, also including purchases at office supply stores and on cable TV spending), which equals a higher return of 10.5%. Still, if you already have the Ink Plus, it could be worth putting all of your internet/cable/phone, etc. spending on that card until you max out the $50,000 5x cap, and you could focus on putting business-related travel expenses, shipping, and social media and search engine advertising on the Ink Business Preferred to get the 3x points.
While this new card’s sign-up bonus isn’t quite as high as the original 100k offer we saw for Sapphire Reserve, 80,000 points is still nothing to sneeze at; that’s worth $1,680 in my book! Since you’ll be earning Ultimate Rewards points with this card, you can transfer rewards to 11 great travel partners, including British Airways, Hyatt and United. You can also redeem points for 1.25 cents apiece through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal — not as good as the rate of 1.5 cents per point you’ll get with the Reserve, but it’s still a nice option to have if you want to book a flight with points and still earn redeemable and elite miles for the trip.
Again, as mentioned earlier another feature worth emphasizing is the Ink Business Preferred Card’s cell phone protection. This is a relatively rare benefit, although similar coverage is available on a handful of Wells Fargo consumer credit cards, including the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Card. While the Wells Fargo cards’ version of this perk has a lower deductible ($25 vs. $100 for preferred), it only covers up to two claims per year vs. three on Ink Business Preferred. And, with the Ink Business Preferred, you can earn 3x points on your phone bill as well.
The Ink Business Preferred is a strong addition to Chase’s lineup. I especially like that the card offers 3x on social media and search engine advertising — even though your 3x earnings are capped at $150,000 in combined eligible purchases per account anniversary year, this card could be a good choice for you if your small business spends within these categories.
Personally, I’m very excited about this new business card — I’m rarely able to take advantage of the Plus card’s 5x bonus on office supply purchases and 2x on hotels and gas is a big yawn, since I get similar or better returns with other cards. 3x points on travel, internet, cable, shipping and advertising (my #1 spend category) is much more relevant. I’ll definitely be able to hit the $150k cap, netting me 300,000 extra points per account anniversary year (beyond the 1x base) — those extra points alone will get me $6,300 in value, all from a single $95 annual fee credit card.
The 80,000-point sign-up bonus is another huge positive, since those rewards will get you far either through the Chase travel portal or with the program’s transfer partners, and the cell phone protection adds some additional value. Plus, at $95 a year, this card might be worth considering if you don’t want to pay $450 for the Reserve and you want to keep your business expenses separate from your personal spending. If you spend a considerable amount on purchases eligible for 3x points, this new card is a no-brainer.
What do you think about this new card?
The Points Guy Appraisal:
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card launched in October 2016 and it quickly became one of the most popular business credit cards on the market. It has a strong sign up bonus, triple point categories and unique perks. This card earns a respectable 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending on travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
- 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