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It’s been an exciting year for Chase customers, with some great new cards popping up every few months. Recent additions include the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the updated Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card and, of course, the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve. And in late 2016, the issuer introduced another new option: the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, which replaces the Ink Plus Business Card as a pick for small-business owners.
In today’s post, I want to look at the cardholder benefits offered by the Ink Business Preferred Card and compare the card to the Ink Plus, which is no longer open for applications, and the still-available Ink Business Cash Credit Card.
Sign-up bonus: $300 cash back when you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening.
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on up to $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV 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 purchases.
Rewards can be redeemed for 1 cent apiece as cash back, gift cards, travel reservations and merchandise. You can also transfer them to another credit card account you have, or one held by your spouse or domestic partner. For example, you could transfer rewards to a Chase Ink Plus Business Card, Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve account to redeem them as Ultimate Rewards points, which could then be transferred to 11 travel partners.
Benefits: Despite being Chase’s entry-level business card with no annual fee, the Ink Cash offers a respectable number of travel insurance and purchase protection benefits. These include:
- Primary rental car insurance: This is worldwide coverage that is primary. This means that it will cover you first, before filing a claim with your personal insurance.
- Purchase protection: Your purchases are covered against damage and theft for 120 days, for up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per calendar year.
- Extended warranty: One additional year added to warranties of three years or less.
- Lost luggage: Coverage up to $3,000 per person, with a separate limit of $500 per person for jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders and other electronic equipment.
- Travel accident insurance: Up to $500,000 in coverage per insured person.
- Roadside dispatch: This service will dispatch assistance, but you’ll be responsible for paying for any services received.
Ink Plus Business Card (no longer offered to new applicants)
Annual fee: $95
Rewards: This card has long been a favorite of award travel enthusiasts, as it offers 5x points at office supply stores and on telecommunications services. You can earn the 5x points on up to $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year. The card also offers 2x points on up to $50,000 spent each calendar year on combined purchases at gas stations and hotels, and 1x on all other purchases.
And just as with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, these points can be directly transferred to airline and hotel partners, or are worth 1.25 cents toward reservations made through the Chase travel portal.
Benefits: This card comes with largely the same benefits as the Ink Cash, with a few valuable additions:
- Trip cancellation and interruption coverage: This coverage can reimburse you for up to $5,000 per person if you have to cancel or interrupt your trip for a covered reason such as accidental injury or severe weather. In fact, Chase will even reimburse award trips, but only at 0.01 cents per point used. Certainly, this is below the value of most points or miles, according to TPG’s latest valuations, but it’s certainly better than nothing. More likely is that you would be able to claim any award redeposit and other fees lost due to a cancellation.
- Trip delay: This coverage includes up to $500 per person for lodging and meals should your travel be delayed by at least 12 hours or if you have to make an overnight stay.
- Baggage delay: If your baggage is delayed by at least 6 hours, you can claim up to $100 per person, per day, up to a maximum of $500 per person.
Sign-up bonus: 80,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.
Annual fee: $95
Rewards: Earn 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.
Benefits: This card offers all of the same travel insurance and purchase protections as the Ink Plus, along with one other important perk not found on any other Chase business card:
- Cellular telephone protection: This coverage is unique to this Chase card and offers up to $600 per claim with a $100 deductible and a limit of three claims per 12-month period. Coverage is only valid when you pay your service bill with the card.
Where Does the Ink Business Preferred Fit In?
In the past, there was little reason to have both the Ink Cash and the Ink Plus, since the Ink Plus offered nearly all of the rewards and benefits of the Ink Cash, and some added perks like trip cancellation insurance. But with the introduction of the Ink Business Preferred and the unavailability of the Ink Plus to new applicants, business credit card users have different choices to make.
The Ink Business Cash is now the only Chase business card available to new applicants that offers 5x points at office supply stores and on telecommunications services, albeit with a limit of $25,000 in eligible spending per cardmember year. Meanwhile, the new Ink Business Preferred card offers rewards and benefits that complement both the Ink Cash and the Ink Plus. These include the ability to earn 3x points on travel and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines — and Chase has a broad definition of travel purchases.
|Ink Cash||Ink Plus||Ink Business Preferred|
|Sign-Up Bonus||$300 back after you spend $3,000 in the first three months||N/A||80,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months|
|Bonus Categories||5%/5x on the first $25k in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year; 2%/2x on the first $25k spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year; 1%/1x on everything else||5x points on up to $50k spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year; 2x points on up to $50k in combined purchases at gas stations and on hotel accommodations each account anniversary year; 1x points on everything else||3x points on the first $150k spent in combined purchases on travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each calendar year|
|Auto Rental Insurance||Primary||Primary||Primary|
|Purchase Protection||Up to 120 days, $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account||Up to 120 days, $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account||Up to 120 days, $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account|
|Extended Warranty||1 additional year||1 additional year||1 additional year|
|Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance||N/A||Up to $5,000 per covered trip||Up to $5,000 per covered trip|
|Price Protection||N/A||Up to 90 days, $500 per item and $2,500 per year||Up t0 days, $500 per item and $2,500 per year|
|Return Protection||N/A||Up to 90 days, $500 per item and $1,000 per year||Up to 90 days, $500 per item and $1,000 per year|
|Lost Luggage Reimbursement||$3,000 per person||$3,000 per person||$3,000 per person|
|Trip Delay||None||Minimum 12-hour delay or overnight stay, $500 max per ticket||Minimum 12-hour delay or overnight stay, $500 max per ticket|
|Baggage Delay||Minimum 6-hour delay, $100 max per day for 3 days||Minimum 6-hour delay, $100 max per day for 5 days||Minimum 6-hour delay, $100 max per day for 5 days|
|Travel Accident Insurance||Up to $500,000||Up to $500,000||Up to $500,000|
|Cellular Telephone Protection||N/A||N/A||Up to $600 per claim, $100 deductible|
Additionally, the Ink Preferred offers one new, valuable benefit: cellular telephone protection policy, which can replace the costly policies you might be purchasing from your mobile phone service provider (some Wells Fargo cards have a similar benefit). Competing add-on plans offered by service providers and third parties typically cost $75 – $150 per year.
If you were paying $1,200 a year for mobile phone service, you’d be sacrificing 2,400 points by earning just 3x with an Ink Business Preferred Card, versus 5x points with an Ink Cash or Ink Plus. Using TPG’s 2.1-cent valuation of Ultimate Rewards points, you would miss out on about $50 worth of rewards when you use the Ink Preferred in order to receive cellular telephone coverage potentially worth 2-3 times as much — a fair tradeoff in many award travelers’ books.
If you don’t have an Ink Plus Business Card and you make significant purchases in the office supply and telecommunications categories, you should strongly consider applying for the Ink Cash Business Card. However, if you already hold an Ink Cash or Ink Plus card, the Ink Preferred is still worth considering for three reasons:
- The ability to earn 3x on travel and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
- The cellular phone protection benefit, which could easily be worth the $95 annual fee.
- The 80,000-point sign-up bonus, worth $1,680 based on TPG’s valuations.
With the launch of the Ink Business Preferred Card, Chase has revamped its line of business credit cards — and the updates are largely positive. It’s unfortunate that the Ink Plus is no longer open to new applicants, but business credit card users can now enjoy two complementary products: the Ink Cash and the Ink Business Preferred.
Which purchases do you charge to a Chase Ink card?
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. That’s a potentially huge earner for small-business owners, making this card a nice option if you're looking for a business credit card.
- 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 in select 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