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How to maximize your rewards earning with the Ink Business Preferred

Oct. 14, 2021
8 min read
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The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers the largest sign-up bonus of any credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, often by a large margin. That makes it one of the most enticing travel credit cards on the market.

New cardholders can earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. That's worth $2,000 in travel, per TPG valuations (and a lot more if you know how to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for maximize value).

The card also offers outstanding everyday earning rates thanks to a multitude of bonus categories. Let's look at the best times to swipe your Ink Business Preferred to save the most money and earn the most points.

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Overview of the Ink Business Preferred

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Geared toward small businesses, here are the key benefits of the Ink Business Preferred:

  • Earning rates: Earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases of travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. Earn 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
  • Cellphone protection: When you charge your monthly cellphone bill to the Ink Business Preferred, you and eligible employees on the plan receive up to $1,000 per claim for damage or theft of cellphones (up to three claims per 12-month period and with a $100 deductible per claim).
  • Purchase protection: Eligible items that are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase are covered up to $10,000 per claim (up to $50,000 per account).
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance: Trips cut short for covered reasons such as illness or severe weather are eligible for up to $5,000 of coverage per person for prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses (limit $10,000 per trip).
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Trips delayed by a covered hazard for 12+ hours or requiring an overnight stay are eligible for up to $500 in reimbursement per ticket toward reasonable expenses.
  • Baggage delay insurance: If your bags are delayed six or more hours, you're entitled to up to $100 per day for five days (until your bag arrives).
  • Primary car rental coverage: Pay for your business rental car entirely with the Ink Business Preferred card and you'll be covered for theft and damage (in most countries), up to the actual cash value of your rental car.
  • Extended warranty protection: The card will add one extra year to purchases with a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less.

You may find a few of these benefits to be worth paying the $95 annual fee each year. But let's take a closer look at the card's earning rates to see how you can quickly replenish your points balance on an ongoing basis after you've spent that impressive 100,000-point bonus.

Strategies for maximizing the Ink Business Preferred

The Ink Business Preferred can be rewarding to high-spending small business owners. Unless you own the kind of company that spends a lot on shipping and advertising on social media/search engines, however, you may find yourself better served with a personal card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, in terms of pure return rates on spending. For example, the Sapphire Preferred earns 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online groceries.

Nevertheless, there are three main types of purchases for which the Ink Business Preferred is a fantastic option.

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Use your Ink Business Preferred to pay for flights

You'll earn 3 points per dollar when purchasing airfare (a 6% return, per TPG valuations). Considering the comprehensive travel insurance that comes with the Ink Business Preferred, there aren't many better cards to use when reserving flights.

Aside from the strong earning rate, If your trip is delayed by 12 hours or more, or if your flight delay/cancellation results in you staying overnight, you're eligible for up to $500 in reimbursement per ticket for reasonable expenses. That includes things like a hotel stay, meals, transportation etc.

Plus, you'll receive baggage delay insurance, wherein Chase will reimburse you for "reasonable expenses" when your bags are delayed by more than six hours. You'll receive a $100 allotment per day (for up to five days) for things like toiletries, clothing, chargers for your electronics, etc.

Use your Ink Business Preferred to pay for rental cars

The Ink Business Preferred earns 3 points per dollar on rental cars -- another effective 6% return.

Depending on the nature of your small business (or lifestyle in general), this expense probably doesn't comprise a meaningful amount of your spending. But it's still one of the best cards for reserving a rental car because of the primary coverage you'll receive when reserving for business purposes. When you waive the rental agency's in-house CDW, the Ink Business Preferred will cover you for theft and damage up to the cash value of the rental car.

The insurance offered by the rental agency can cost $15+ per day, so being covered for free is a big deal.

Use your Ink Business Preferred to pay your phone bill

You'll earn 3 points per dollar on cable and phone services, which includes your monthly phone bill. Again, this expense alone won't earn you enough points for a luxurious vacation, but remember that you'll also receive cellphone protection.

By paying your bill with the Ink Business Preferred, you'll get up to $1,000 in coverage against damage or theft. This also applies to any eligible members on the same plan. There is a $100 deductible per claim, and you can only submit three claims per 12-month period. Still, that can be more than enough coverage to safeguard you against common mishaps.

When not to use the Ink Business Preferred

Don't use your Ink Business Preferred for unbonused spending

The card earns 1 point per dollar on all expenses that don’t fall into a bonus category. That’s not very noteworthy considering there are other Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning cards that earn significantly more for those purchases.

Even the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited earns a minimum of 1.5% (1.5 points per dollar) on purchases -- a 50% increase over the Ink Business Preferred. And as long as you've still got the Ink Business Preferred -- or the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, for that matter -- you can transfer those rewards to the program's valuable airline and hotel partners.

Other Chase cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Flex, have several bonus categories that the Ink Business Preferred doesn't. For instance, the Chase Freedom Flex earns:

For its part, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns:

  • 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal
  • 5 points per dollar on Lyft (through March 2022)
  • 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online groceries (excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 2 points per dollar on all travel not booked through the Chase Travel Portal
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

Depending on what your major spending categories typically are, one of those might be a better choice than the Ink Business Preferred. Still the business card offers solid rates of return on a broad array of expenses -- you just have to bear that $150,000 annual cap in mind.

Don't use your Ink Business Preferred for personal car rentals

In case you didn't catch the disclaimer above, Chase will only cover your car rental with the Ink Business Preferred if you're renting for business purposes. You may get away with it, but if Chase presses you about the nature of your rental, be prepared to provide proof that you were in fact on business.

Bottom line

The Ink Business Preferred is a fantastic card for spending on:

  • Airfare
  • Rental cars for work trips
  • Phone bills

That's because it earns 3 points per dollar on these purchases -- and it provides some of the best credit card travel protections for these expenses.

The card's bonus categories are very business-focused, which is understandable. But if most of your spending happens outside these categories, be sure to read our guide to the Chase Trifecta to learn how to become a serious Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning machine.

Featured image by (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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