TPG reader question: Which 100k bonus is better -- the Chase Ink Preferred or Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here - Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
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Credit card issuers have come back stronger than ever with increased sign-up bonuses and welcome offers to attract potential new card applicants.
Big bonuses of 100,000 points or more are not uncommon these days. In fact, there are nine cards on the market that currently have an offer of 100,000 points or more. Of course, it bears mentioning that not all points are created equally.
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When deciding which card is best, you should evaluate how you plan on using those points or miles and what your priorities are given the current travel landscape. At the end of the day, it's a personal decision -- but we're here to help. Let's dive into our latest reader credit card question and evaluate which of these two 100,000-point offers is best for Michele.
[pullquote source="- From Michele, TPG reader"]I'm deciding on a new business card and both the Chase Ink Preferred and Marriott Bonvoy Amex Business are offering a 100,000-point bonus. I want to use points towards Virgin Atlantic and Marriott. Which would be my best option?[/pullquote]
Michele is deciding between two mid-tier travel business cards with stellar offers -- with pros and cons for each. Here's a look.
First, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 on purchases 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. That valuation is courtesy of the ability to transfer points to Chase's array of 10 airlines and three hotel partners. The card has a $95 annual fee.
Then there is the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, with a $125 annual fee (see rates and fees). It also has a 100,000-point welcome offer for cardholders who spend $5,000 in eligible purchases on their new card in the first three months of account opening. As a part of the elevated bonus, you can also earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your card within the first six months of account opening. The card only includes base-level Marriott Silver elite status, with the chance to earn Bonvoy Gold when you spend $35,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
A closer look at Michele's needs
Since Michele noted that she would easily reach either card's spending requirements, the substantially higher minimum spending requirement to hit 100,000 points on the Ink Business Preferred ($15,000 vs. $5,000 on the Bonvoy Business) can be ignored.
However, if these are two cards you're considering, take note that $15,000 in spending may be difficult to hit within a short three-month period.
Using points for Marriott and Virgin Atlantic
However, the key point here is that Michele is looking to use their points with either Marriott and Virgin Atlantic.
Both cards actually have the ability to transfer points to either of these programs. The Ink Business Preferred transfers at a 1:1 ratio to both Virgin Atlantic and Marriott, which means 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points is equivalent to 100,000 Virgin points, 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or a blend somewhere in the middle.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business card obviously earns 100,000 Bonvoy points as its welcome offer. You can also transfer points to Virgin Atlantic (or to dozens of other airline partners). However, the ratio is much less favorable than Chase at a 3:1 ratio (with a 5,000-point bonus for every 60,000 points transferred). That means 100,000 Bonvoy points are actually equal to just 43,000 Virgin points (rounded down).
Here's a look at the breakdown for each of the 100,000-point bonuses.
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card|
|Sign-up bonus/welcome offer||100,000 points||100,000 points|
|What type of points?||Chase Ultimate Rewards points||Marriott Bonvoy points|
|How much are points worth? (based on TPG valuation)||$2,000||$800|
|Transfer ratio to Virgin Atlantic||1:1||3:1 (with 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points redeemed)|
|How many Virgin Points with the sign-up bonus?||100,000 Virgin Points (assuming all 100,000 points transferred)||43,000 points (assuming all 100,000 points transferred)|
|Transfer ratio to Marriott||1:1||N/A|
|How many Marriott Bonvoy points with the welcome offer?||100,000 Bonvoy points (assuming all 100,000 points transferred)||100,000 Bonvoy points|
|Elite status with the card||None||Marriott Bonvoy Silver|
As you can see, the TPG valuation of 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points is significantly lower than 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points. That's because of the outsized value you can earn from transferring to lucrative travel partners with Chase.
With Marriott Bonvoy, you can redeem directly for hotels (typically the best value) or transfer to dozens of airline partners (usually a not-so-great value).
There is no question that Ultimate Rewards points offer more flexibility than Marriott points. Besides airline and transfer partners, you can use those points toward a statement credit on select purchases or through Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel at a 1.25 cent-per-point rate. And in a time of ongoing travel uncertainty, flexibility is more important than ever.
However, if Michele plans to stay at many Marriott properties in 2021, she'll get 15 elite night credits annually (which can be stacked with a Marriott Bonvoy consumer card) and a free-night award annually (with the opportunity to earn another night through spending).
The Ink Business Preferred doesn't offer any such elite benefits.
Related: Why do Chase and TPG list different values for Ultimate Rewards points?
When looking at sign-up or welcome bonuses, it's important to go beyond the sheer number of points. Any 100,000 points are a lot, no matter how you slice it, but they clearly are not equal across two vastly different programs.
Chase points are more valuable and flexible, but with the Marriott Bonvoy Business offering Platinum status for a year and other specific elite benefits, there are other non-points perks to consider as well. Personally, I'd go with the Ink Business Preferred for the flexibility, but either option can make a lot of sense depending on your specific needs.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex card, click here.