A great all-around business card: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card review
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
Ink Business Preferred Card overview
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is an excellent all-around business credit card, offering a sizable sign-up bonus and the ability to earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points on a variety of business expenses. Those rewards can then be transferred to 13 airline partners and hotel partners or redeemed directly for travel at a rate of 1.25 cents per point through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is a TPG favorite. Although there are many business credit cards, the Ink Business Preferred has a unique set of perks that make it attractive for business owners looking to maximize their earning potential and unlock valuable rewards through the Ultimate Rewards program. Moreover, it currently comes with one of the highest sign-up bonuses we’ve seen from Chase or any business credit card — 100,000 bonus points after $15,000 worth of spend in the first three months after card opening.
Who is this card for?
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is clearly geared toward small-business owners and the varied operating expenses they encounter. It’s possible to apply (and get approved) for a card such as the Ink Business Preferred without a formal business, but the earning rates and added perks I’ll cover below are most appealing to those with an actual business.
Because this card is subject to Chase’s infamous 5/24 rule, it’s a great option for business owners who are just getting started in the rewards card hobby. However, anyone who has opened five or more credit cards across all banks over the last two years will almost certainly be denied. So, you’ll need to be under 5/24 at the time you apply to have a shot at approval. As a result, this card (or any Chase product) should be among the first ones for which you apply. Fortunately, the card will not contribute to your 5/24 score.
The Ink Business Preferred is also great for those who regularly run into problems with their cellphone, as it provides cellphone protection when you pay your monthly bill with the card.
A sign-up bonus worth $2,000
If you’re approved for the card, you’ll be eligible to earn a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months from account opening. The bonus points alone are worth a whopping $2,000, based on TPG’s most recent valuations, mainly because the points can be transferred to various travel partners including British Airways, United Airlines, Iberia, Hyatt, Marriott and IHG.
To hit the spending requirement, you’ll also earn anywhere from 15,000-45,000 points, which means this bonus could be worth up to $2,900 in value.
At $15,000, the spending minimum is significantly higher than most other cards with a sub-$100 ($95) annual fee. You’ll need to spend an average of $5,000 per month in the first three months to ensure you earn the sign-up bonus. For many small businesses, this level of spending may be a non-issue. Additionally, small businesses with multiple employees can request unlimited free employee cards to help meet the spending requirement.
However, freelancers or those who want a business credit card to earn rewards on expenses related to a side gig may not be able to realistically hit the bonus. And you don’t want to violate TPG’s sixth commandment for credit cards: Thou shalt not miss out on a sign-up bonus.
The earning rates and redemption options alone make this an intriguing card, but you’ll get several added perks that make it even more valuable. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Cellphone protection: As mentioned above, if you’re prone to damaging your cellphone, the Ink Business Preferred could be a great card to have, especially since the company has raised the amount you can claim. When you charge your monthly cellphone bill to the card, you and eligible employees on the plan can now receive up to $1,000 per claim for damage or theft of cellphones. You’re limited to three claims in a 12-month period and must pay a $100 deductible per claim. Nevertheless, this higher claim rate makes this an even more terrific benefit that is rare among credit cards.
- Purchase protection: In addition to cellphone protection, you’re covered for other purchases. If an eligible item is damaged or stolen within the first 120 days after purchase, you’re covered up to $10,000 per claim ($50,000 per account). I’ve fortunately never had to use this type of perk, but it can be a lifesaver if something goes wrong with that new purchase.
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance: If you must cancel or cut a trip short because of a covered issue (such as illness or severe weather), you’re eligible for up to $5,000 of coverage per person for prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses, which provides great peace of mind when unexpected problems arise. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per trip.
- Trip delay reimbursement: If a covered trip is delayed by a covered hazard for 12 or more hours — or long enough to require an overnight stay — you’ll be eligible for reimbursement, up to $500 per ticket in reasonable expenses. This can really save you in situations such as poor weather, where the airline generally won’t provide any compensation. Note that you only need to charge part of your common-carrier fare to the card to use this benefit, so you’ll be covered on award tickets if you put the taxes and fees on the card.
- Primary car rental coverage: Renting a car can be a risky (and expensive) proposition, but if you use the Ink Business Preferred card for the entire rental cost and are traveling for business purposes, you’re covered for theft and damage in the U.S. and most countries around the world. Bear in mind that this doesn’t offer any liability coverage, but you are covered up to the actual cash value of the vehicle you’re renting.
- Extended warranty protection: Purchases with a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less will get coverage for an extra year. This can be extremely helpful when an item stops working shortly after the scheduled end of its warranty.
As cards continue to scale back on benefits such as travel insurance and extended warranties, the fact that Chase continues to offer these perks is a huge advantage. The Ink Business Preferred also offers an array of business tools, including account insights, bookkeeping integration and account alerts. The most valuable benefit of this card is still probably cellphone protection. Not many cards offer this perk and considering the Ink Business Preferred also offers 3 points per dollar on phone services, this is a win-win.
The Ink Business Preferred doesn’t offer much in the way of travel credits, lounge access or other luxury benefits that competitors have, such as The Business Platinum Card® from American Express with its $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). However, for only a $95 annual fee, this card offers a lot of value to cardholders.
When it comes to earning points, the Ink Business Preferred offers a variety of bonus categories that can be quite lucrative to small-business owners. You’ll earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in the following categories:
- Shipping purchases.
- Internet, cable and phone services.
- Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
This $150,000 threshold is based on your account anniversary year, so it will reset each year when you renew your card. Since TPG’s most recent valuations peg the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, you’ll get a fantastic return of 6% on purchases in these categories. And if you max out these categories by spending the full $150,000, you’ll take home a total of 450,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which TPG values at $9,000.
Once you’ve surpassed that mark, the purchases you make in the aforementioned categories will drop down to match the earning rate of all other purchases: 1 point per dollar spent. Though that’s not too exciting, you’re still looking at a 2% return, which isn’t bad for a card with a $95 annual fee.
Earning a big haul of points is one thing; redeeming them for maximum value is an entirely different story. Like most cards that earn transferrable points, you’re getting the most value when you redeem for travel. The points you earn through the bonus and everyday spending could help you amass enough points for a stellar redemption once travel concerns have subsided.
When you are ready to use your points, the Ultimate Rewards program is filled with valuable redemption options, thanks to its transfer partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub.
- Air Canada Aeroplan.
- British Airways Executive Club.
- Emirates Skywards.
- Flying Blue (Air France-KLM).
- Iberia Plus.
- JetBlue TrueBlue.
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards.
- United MileagePlus.
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
- IHG Rewards Club.
- Marriott Bonvoy.
- World of Hyatt.
In addition, most of these transfers post instantly, ensuring that you aren’t stuck waiting for the points or miles to arrive and miss out on the redemption you wanted.
I’m particularly partial to a few of the programs. World of Hyatt is one of my favorites, as I’ve transferred Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and then redeemed them at fantastic hotels such as the Park Hyatt Zurich.
I’m also a big fan of the British Airways Executive Club, thanks to the program’s distance-based award chart. I’ve redeemed Avios on short-haul American Airlines flights and (in some cases) received 5+ cents per point of value — although devaluations have made this type of redemption less lucrative.
Regardless of which partner you choose, the power of the Ultimate Rewards program (and really any transferable point currency) is the flexibility it allows. You aren’t locked into a single airline or hotel rewards program, and you can wait until you’re ready to book to transfer points. In some cases, you can even pit programs against one another. Why transfer 45,000 Ultimate Rewards points (or more) to United Airlines for a round-trip flight from the U.S. to Hawaii when the same flight would be just 35,000 miles booked through Singapore KrisFlyer?
Of course, you also have the option of redeeming these points at a fixed rate of 1.25 cents apiece for travel purchases like flights, hotels and rental cars that you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Or, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you could transfer your points to that card and redeem them at a fixed rate of 1.5 cents apiece toward travel.
Even though these options are less than TPG’s 2-cent valuation of Ultimate Rewards points, they’re also simple and don’t require much effort. Remember that when you redeem Ultimate Rewards points directly for airfare, you will earn full miles and elite credit, just as you would on a regular paid ticket.
Take advantage of the full Chase Ink lineup
One of the most attractive features of the entire Chase lineup is your ability to pair cards and pool points. Chase currently has three Chase Ink cards: the Ink Business Preferred, Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited.
|Card||Sign-up bonus||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|Ink Business Preferred||100,000 points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months.||3 points per dollar spent on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary.||$95|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||$750 cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.||5% (or 5 points per dollar) at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services on the first $25,000 spent in combined bonus categories each account anniversary and earn 2% (or 2 points per dollar) at gas stations and restaurants on the first $25,000 spent in combined bonus categories each account anniversary.||$0|
|Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card||$750 cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.||Unlimited 1.5% (or 1.5 points per dollar) on all purchases||$0|
There is minimal overlap between each card’s bonus categories, which means having all three in your wallet covers many bases when it comes to business spending. Use the Ink Business Preferred for travel, shipping, digital advertising and cellphone bills. Use the Ink Business Cash for office supplies, computer hardware (which you can often find at office-supply stores), internet and cable services, gas and restaurant spending. Then use the Ink Business Unlimited on everything that you don’t currently earn bonus rewards on.
Because the Ink Business Preferred is an Ultimate Rewards credit card, you can pool your points across cards to increase their value. For example, the $750 bonus offered by the Ink Business Cash can be converted to 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you have the Ink Business Preferred (or the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve for personal spending). Those 75,000 points are worth $1,500, according to TPG valuations of Chase points.
Related: Comparing Ink Business credit cards
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is easily one of the best credit cards for small businesses and freelancers. The sign-up bonus is among the highest we’ve seen from Chase and if you have significant spending across the four bonus categories (travel, shipping, advertising and telecommunication providers), you’ll earn tons of extra Ultimate Rewards points. Finally, you and your employees will enjoy various travel and shopping protections and will also have primary coverage when renting a car for business purposes — plus that generous cellphone protection of $1,000 for up to three claims.
That being said, the card’s main competitor, the American Express® Business Gold Card, has some solid benefits as well. So keep that in mind if you’re a small-business owner looking for a new card. Remember that the Ink Business Preferred is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so if you’ve opened five or more cards over the last two years, your application will likely be rejected. However, if you’re just getting started, I’d highly recommend starting with this card, especially if you can pair it with other cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Freedom Unlimited to complete TPG’s powerful Chase trifecta or quartet.
Application link: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card available for up to 100,000 bonus points.
Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson.
Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.
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