If you have a for-profit venture — even if it doesn’t account for a meaningful portion of your total income — you should think about using the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card as your primary credit card. It earns points fast, and its sign-up bonus is best-in-class.
If you prefer travel rewards over cash back, this card is a must. You can transfer points to useful travel partners like Southwest, United Airlines, Hyatt, and more. You’ll be surprised at how far the card can take you toward your next vacation.
Intro APR, Purchases
Intro APR, Balance Transfers
21.24% - 26.24% Variable
- Intro offer: Earn Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase TravelSM
- Point transfers: Convert credit card rewards points to points with other valuable airline and hotel partners
- Insurance: Rental car insurance (when renting for business purposes), as well as cell phone protection
- Earn rates: 3 points per $1 spent on common business expenses; 1 point per $1 on everything else
- Other perks: No foreign transaction fees
This Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card comes with the best Chase credit card sign-up bonus available. You’ll earn Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase TravelSM
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are arguably the most valuable travel rewards currency in existence (I’ll show you how to use them in a second), so any chance to scoop up a bounty of this size is a no-brainer.
That said, the high spending requirement might be a tough ask for some smaller businesses unless you know you have big expenses coming up. You can also elect to prepay for big-ticket items like insurance and rent in order to make the minimum spend requirement.
Apart from the excellent bonus, you’ll also receive 3 points per dollar (on up to $150,000 in combined purchases annually, then 1 point per dollar) for the following:
- Shipping purchases
- Advertising purchases on social media sites and search engines
- Internet, cable, and phone services
You’ll earn 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases you make.
There are loads of ways you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points — but they don’t all offer the same redemption value for your points.
The last redemption route you should consider is cashing out your points for a value of 1 cent each. That makes this 100,000-point bonus worth $1,000 in cash. Certainly not bad, but you can do a whole lot better.
Alternatively, you can book travel through the Chase Travel portal and receive a value of 1.25 cents per point. That makes the card’s 100,000-point bonus worth $1,250. But you can do even better than that.
With the Ink Business Preferred, you can transfer your points to a handful of extremely valuable airline and hotel partners, such as Hyatt, United Airlines, British Airways, and more. This is where the real value lives.
For example, I recently transferred 85,000 points to British Airways and booked a lie-flat business class seat to the Maldives on Qatar Airways. This one-way flight retails for $6,000! That amounts to a redemption value of 7 cents per point — instead of just 1.25 cents per point through the Chase Travel Portal.
As another example, you can transfer 80,000 Chase points to Hyatt for a weekend stay at a five-star hotel like the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, which routinely sells for $1,000+ per night. Using your points in this way means you should get a value around 2.5 cents per point. That’s still twice as high as if you had used your points to book the same stay through the Chase Travel Portal at a rate of 1.25 cents each.
The Ink Business Preferred comes with some extremely helpful types of insurance. Highlights include:
Rental car insurance — If you waive the car rental’s CDW (collision damage waiver) and pay for the rental with this card, it’ll cover you for theft or damage to the car. You don’t even have to tell your personal auto insurance about the incident. This can save you a good $15+ per day over ponying up for the rental agency’s in-house rental insurance. Just note that you must be renting the car for “business purposes.”
Trip delay insurance — If your flight is delayed by 12 hours or more — or if you’re delayed overnight — your card will cover up to $500 in reasonable expenses, such as food, lodging, toiletries, etc. To get this benefit, you must pay for your flight with the card.
Cell phone insurance — When you pay your monthly phone bill with this card, you’ll get up to $1,000 per claim for theft or damage. If you pay your employees’ phone bills, they’re covered too. You can make up to three claims per year, but you’ll have to pay a $100 deductible.
The card also comes with extended warranty protection, purchase protection, and trip cancellation and interruption insurance — but they’re pretty bog-standard and not features that differentiate the Ink Business Preferred from other cards.
Fees and Interest Rates
This card has a $95 annual fee. That’s well worth it if you’ll use the card’s main benefits regularly. And considering you can get 100,000 bonus points for opening the card and meeting its minimum spend requirement, it’s definitely worth a test-drive.
Even if you find that it doesn’t jive with your lifestyle, you can simply cancel it a year after you open it. If you were to cash out your welcome offer points at 1 cent each, you’d still be $905 in the black after accounting for the first year’s annual fee.
Some credit cards have an extremely annoying fee that charges you whenever you use your card abroad. You may even be charged if you use your card inside the US if the online merchant you’re buying from is international and doesn’t offer USD payments.
It’s called a foreign transaction fee, and it’s generally between 2% and 3% of a purchase made in foreign currency. The Ink Business Preferred waives that ridiculous fee, so it’s a great card to bring along if you’re overseas.
Another card feature (which you’ll hopefully never use) is the travel and emergency assistance. If you’ve got an emergency during your travels, a benefits administrator will help you work it out — though you’ll have to pay for any actual services. You’ll also receive a roadside dispatch service if you ever need a jumpstart, a changed tire, a tow, etc. You’ll still have to pay, but it’s a good feature to have if you’re desperate.
Pros & Cons
- Incredibly generous sign-up bonus — You’ll earn Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase TravelSM
- Easy-to-use rewards — You can redeem your points for cash or transfer them to airline and hotel partners, and more. Chase points are guaranteed to be useful, no matter your travel goals.
- Excellent travel coverages — With trip delay insurance and rental car insurance (when renting for business purposes), this is a great card to use when booking travel.
- Cellphone insurance — Not many cards offer phone coverage just for paying your card’s monthly bill.
- Intimidating minimum spending requirement — To unlock this card’s bonus, you’ll have to spend $15,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Bonus categories — While the card has the potential to earn lots of bonus points, the spending categories that qualify for its highest rate aren’t universally relevant for all small businesses.
- $95 annual fee — This fee is standard for the benefits that come with the card, but it still bites when it’s due every year. Plus, it’s not waived the first year, so you can’t try the card out for free before you decide if it’s worth paying for.
Ink Business Preferred® Card Compared
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
|Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
|American Express Business Gold Card
|Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase TravelSM
|$750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
|70,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after $10,000 in purchases in the first three months
|3 points per $1 spent on shipping; internet, cable, and phone bills; online social media advertising; and travel. 1 point per $1 for everything else.
|5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services; 2% back at restaurants and gas stations; 1% back on all other eligible purchases
|4 points per $1 for the top two bonus categories you spend most on each month (on up to $150k spending per year). 1 point per $1 on all other eligible purchases
|Rental car insurance (when renting for business purposes), cellphone insurance, no foreign transaction fees
|Rental car insurance (when renting for business purposes)
|25% rebate on points when redeeming for business class or first class flights booked through the Amex Travel Portal
*The American Express Business Gold Card annual fee is increasing to $375 on Feb. 1, 2024.
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is one of the hands-down most powerful no annual fee credit cards around. The fact that it earns 5% back on up to $25,000 in select purchases categories each year is nothing to sneeze at — especially if you shop at office supply stores with regularity. You can also earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.. That’s nearly unprecedented for a no annual fee credit card.
But there’s one super important thing this card can’t do: Transfer its rewards to travel partners. The card does technically earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but you can only redeem them for the following:
- Cash back (1 cent per point)
- Gift cards (1 cent per point)
- Apple purchases (1 cent per point)
- Travel through the Chase Travel Portal (1 cent per point)
- Purchases with Amazon and Paypal (0.8 cents per point)
- Donations to charity via Chase Pay Yourself Back (1.25 cents per point)
In other words, the card’s $750 intro offer is technically 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. But you can’t convert them into airline miles or hotel points unless you also have one of the following cards:
If you’ve got one of these cards, the Ink Business Cash is an excellent complement. After all, it has no annual fee, so there’s no harm in keeping it around.
American Express Business Gold Card
The American Express Business Gold Card has one of the best return rates for small business-related expenses. And it’s also got one of the most lucrative welcome bonuses: 70,000 Amex points after meeting minimum spending requirements.
This card earns Amex Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to airline and hotel programs similarly to Chase points. However, you’ll have many different travel partners to choose from. Amex points are generally most useful for booking fancy lie-flat business class or first class international flights, though they can occasionally be useful for hotel stays, too.
This card comes with a $295 annual fee — significantly higher than the other cards on this list and increasing on Feb 1, 2024 to $375! It may be difficult to earn back enough in points to make up for such a high annual fee unless your business has significant and consistent spending, and you focus the bulk of those business expenses on the card.
Who Should Apply for the Ink Business Preferred® Card?
If you’ve got a for-profit venture and you have a good credit score, you qualify for the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card — and you should consider applying for it.
That doesn’t mean you need your own multi-million dollar LLC. If you’re a sole proprietor who does freelance writing, tutoring, Uber driving, etc., you can qualify for this card. And even if its bonus categories don’t perfectly match your spending habits (not many of us spend meaningfully on social media advertising, after all), the card’s ongoing benefits make it a keeper.
Plus, getting the 100,000-point welcome offer is a major coup (provided you meet its high spending requirement). Remember, this bonus is worth at least $1,000 in cash. Who would turn down $1,000?
How to Apply for the Ink Business Preferred® Card
Head to the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card application page, click the green ‘Apply Now’ button, and enter your personal and small business details. If you’re a sole proprietor, just use your Social Security number as your Employee Identification Number (EIN).
When the application asks you for your business income, don’t lie. Again, it’s not an automatic rejection if you’re not currently generating income from your business. One reason many people open a small business card is to simply keep personal and business expenses apart — and if you’re building a business, it’s just as good a time as any to open the Ink Business Preferred.
How to Get Approved for the Ink Business Preferred® Card?
I recommend checking to make sure that you have a credit score of at least 700 before applying for the Ink Business Preferred. That’ll give you the best chance of being approved.
You’ll need an actual business to be approved, otherwise you will not qualify. Chase may ask for proof of your business. If you’ve yet to possess documentation, you may call Chase to explain the situation.
What if I Don’t Have a Business?
If you truly don’t have a business, this card isn’t intended for you. However, you may have a small business in your life without even knowing it. Even if it’s a side-gig or peripheral activity — if you’re making money from it, you’ve got a business.
Do you sell things on eBay? Do you dog sit? Are you a DoorDash delivery driver? Then you might be eligible for the Ink Business Preferred.
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card may be the single best small business card for young entrepreneurs — or for anyone, for that matter. If you spend a lot in its bonus categories, the card is a shoo-in for the top spot in your wallet. If not, the card’s ongoing benefits make its $95 annual fee worth paying for a moderate traveler.