Small business owners seeking a well-rounded business credit card should consider the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card by Chase. The card belongs to the travel rewards group, but accumulated points can be redeemed for a number of products and services. Chase offers credit card options to all types of businesses, from start-ups building credit to large, established businesses seeking some sizable bonuses tied to their spending. Unless you’re averse to an annual fee, the card compares favorably to just about any other card in its class. Annual percentage rates (APRs) for excellent credit run somewhat high compared to other issuers, but if you don’t plan to carry a balance, that fact is immaterial.
The Essentials of the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
- APR: 17.49% – 22.49% Variable
- Annual fee: $95
- Primary feature: 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- Introductory bonus offer: 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
What’s Interesting about the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Most credit cards offer purchase protections and extended warranties, but the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has a perk that businesses may find quite relevant in the mobile era. If you pay your cell phone bill with your card, up to $600 per unit in coverage for damage or theft is automatically extended. The device must appear on your invoice to qualify, and claims are limited to 3 per year, with a $100 deductible applied per occurrence.
You might be reluctant to tack on travel insurance to your hotel and airfare charges but with this card, there’s no need to worry. You’ll receive trip delay and cancellation insurance automatically when you book these travel accommodations with the Ink Business Preferred℠ card. Should your travel plans get derailed, you could receive up to $5,000 for hotel rooms or plane tickets that you’ve already paid for. However, the cancellation must result from a covered circumstance. For instance, simply changing your mind won’t trigger the benefits. For flight delays greater than 12 hours, you could receive up to $500 for transportation, food, and lodging.
Things to Consider
It’s possible that your business won’t spend that much overall or hit the right categories to get the biggest bonus rewards from the Ink Business Preferred℠ card. If you tend to use the card sparingly and outside of the travel, shipping, phone and Internet service categories, it might benefit you to search for a card with no annual fee. At 1 point per $1 spent for purchases outside of the bonus categories, you’d need to shell out at least $10,000 annually on the card to recover the fee. Also, at that spending pace, you may not reach the $5,000 level it takes to earn the one-time 80,000-point welcome bonus in the first 3 months of ownership. So, if you plan to use the Ink Business Preferred℠ card occasionally or for emergencies, you’d be better off finding a card with no annual fee or no bonus categories.
How to Get the Most from this Card
With this card, you’ll definitely want to qualify for one of the most attractive welcome bonuses in the industry. Once you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening, you’ll receive an 80,000-point bonus worth $800. Redeeming those points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program will earn you an even greater dollar value since points are worth 25% more on that platform. So, if you go that route, you’ll have $1,000 to help offset the cost of airfare or hotels booked through Chase.
After the welcome bonus is secured, you’ll want to make sure that you direct your spending towards the select categories to take advantage of receiving 3 points per $1 spent with travel, shipping, Internet, phone and cable providers. These categories combined cap off at $150,000 annually, and all purchases thereafter earn 1 point per $1 spent. Thus, you might consider a second card with higher cash-back or bonus-point awards to cover purchases should you exceed the spending limit.
If business travel takes you across U.S. borders, not only will you be earning points at the highest level, but you’ll also avoid foreign-transaction fees. Physical damage coverage to rented vehicles will be extended when using the card to reserve and pay, but you’ll want to be cautious because this benefit may not apply in every country outside of the United States.
Other Card Options that Might Interest You
The welcome bonus may not be as enticing as the Ink Business Preferred℠ card, but the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business has a 2-mile-per-$1 reward from dollar one. You don’t have to worry about juggling cards and hitting certain categories to earn the maximum reward, and the miles are unlimited. So, if you’re a really big spender with a predictable cash flow, using the card for $350,000 in purchases would net you 700,000 miles or $7,000 to redeem in travel rewards. The same amount spent with the Ink Business Preferred℠ card would yield the equivalent of $6,500.
The American Express® Business Gold Card gives users 4X for every $1 on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month, but you’ll pay a $295 annual fee to access that privilege. Nonetheless, if you hit the $150,000 cap in the combined categories, which can include purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants, you’ll pick up an extra 600,000 points.
The Final Word
It’s really difficult to find a better deal than the one presented by the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. With its generous welcome bonus and 3x rewards on common categories, finding a card on par with this Chase option is tough, particularly when you consider the annual fee of only $95. However, large companies that spend heavily may find cards without category-based restrictions and a straightforward reward rate could provide better value once certain spending levels are reached.