TPG reader question: Which 100k bonus is better — the Chase Ink Preferred or Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business?

Nov 30, 2020

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Editor’s note: This article is part of a column to answer your credit card questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at tips@thepointsguy.com. 

In recent months, issuers have come back stronger than ever with increased sign-up bonuses and welcome offer to attract potential new card applicants.

Big bonuses of 100,000 points or more are not uncommon these days. In fact, there are at least 10 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.

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?

- From Michele, TPG reader

The offers

Michele is deciding between two mid-tier travel business cards that have 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 airline and three hotel partners. The card has a $95 annual fee.

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Then, there is the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card which also has a 100,000-point welcome offer for cardholders who spend $5,000 in purchases on their new card in the first three months. As a part of the elevated bonus, you can also earn up to $150 in statement credits within your first six months for all eligible purchases on U.S. advertising in select media. Offer ends 1/13/2021. The card has a $125 annual fee (see rates and fees).

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

On top of that, all new cardholders will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum elite status for one year (Feb. 1, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022). TPG values this status at a whopping $2,655 for those who earn it through stays. Typically, 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. Th

A closer look at Michele’s needs

Since Michele noted that they’ll easily reach the spending requirements for either card, the substantially higher minimum spending requirement to hit 100,000 points on the Ink Business Preferred ($15,000 vs. $5,000) 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, but with the card, you can also transfer to Virgin Atlantic (or to dozens of other airline partners). However, the ratio is much less favorable compared to Chase at a 3:1 ratio (with a 5,000-point bonus for every 60,000 points transferred). That means 100,000 Bonvoy points is 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 point)
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 welcome offer? 100,000 Bonvoy points (assuming all 100,000 points transferred) 100,000 Bonvoy points
Elite status with card None Marriott Bonvoy Platinum (1 year), then automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver
Value of elite status N/.A $2,645 for Bonvoy Platinum

 

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 on Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel at a 1.25 cent-per-point rate. And in a time of travel uncertainty, flexibility is more important than ever.

However, if Michele plans to stay at many Marriott properties in 2021, a huge perk is the automatic Bonvoy Platinum status for one year — valued at $2,645. You’ll also 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?

Bottom line

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 with two vastly different programs, they clearly are not equal.

Chase points are more valuable — and more 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.

Featured photo of the JW Marriott Maldives by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy. 

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $2,000

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 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.

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed 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
Regular APR
15.99%-20.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Good, Excellent

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.