CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through The Points Guy affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective.
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has it all — solid bonus categories, a low annual fee and a ton of benefits. But now it also has an increased sign-up bonus that’s the highest we’ve ever seen publicly available on the card.
Right now, you can earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months after you open the card. That’s a significant amount of money to spend in three months, but for many businesses, it’s not uncommon to have that much in regular monthly expenses.
Most business credit cards that feature such a strong welcome offer and benefits also come with an annual fee in the hundreds of dollars. But not this one. Let’s take a look at eight main benefits of the Ink Business Preferred and see how they can help your business come out way ahead.
Given what’s going on in the world right now, you’re probably not thinking too much about booking travel at the moment. But eventually airlines will return their planes to the skies, and when they do, the Ultimate Rewards points you’ll have earned with the Ink Business Preferred are some of the most valuable travel points around.
First, you can redeem the points via Chase’s travel portal at a flat-rate of 1.25 cents per point for flights, hotels, car rentals and other travel bookings. That makes the increased 100,000-point sign-up bonus worth at least $1,250, which is excellent for a credit card bonus.
But people who can keep their travel plans flexible and don’t mind doing some research can also transfer their points to a partner airline or hotel to score business or first-class seats and end up redeeming their points for even more value.
With the Ink Business Preferred, you can transfer your points to 13 airline and hotel programs, all at a 1-to-1 ratio.
My personal preference is transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, British Airways, Iberia and United — those partners are usually where I get the best value. But the entire partner list includes many great options.
In fact, based on the point valuations of CNN Underscored’s partner The Points Guy, Ultimate Rewards are worth 2 cents per point, thanks to Ink’s transfer partners. That means the 100,000-point sign-up bonus could be worth as much as $2,000 in free travel.
The Ink Business Preferred card offers 3 points for every dollar you spend on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year for some very popular business categories, including:
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Advertising purchases made through social media sites or search engines.
All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent, but if you spend a lot in those bonus categories, it adds up to a good haul of Ultimate Rewards points. It’s also a great card to use on all your travel purchases and your monthly cell phone bill, thanks to its trip insurance and cell phone protections (more on those below).
Compared to CNN Underscored’s benchmark credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card, you’ll get an equivalent return on everyday business purchases even in categories without bonus points using the Ink Business Preferred card. That’s because you’ll earn 1 point per dollar on non-bonus categories, and the points are worth 2 cents apiece, for a net return of 2%. Similarly, the Citi Double Cash earns 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay it off.
Now, if you personally value Ultimate Rewards points at a lower rate than 2 cents each, you might find better value by using a different credit card on your everyday business purchases. The real value, however, comes in the Ink’s bonus categories. Based on its points being worth 2 cents each, the Ink Business Preferred nets you a terrific 6% return on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services and advertising purchases made through social media sites or search engines.
The Ink Business Preferred comes with a unique cell phone protection benefit. This perk covers your cell phone against damage or theft and includes not only yourself, but everyone listed on your monthly bill as well.
To be eligible for this benefit, you need to pay your entire cell phone bill with your Ink Business Preferred card. You’re then covered starting with your second billing cycle. You can submit up to three claims every 12 months, up to $600 per incident with a $100 deductible per claim.
This cell phone coverage comes in extremely handy in my household. With two young kids, I’m the owner of a broken phone more often than I’d like to admit. Knowing that the Ink Business Preferred will reduce my out-of-pocket expenses for a repair or replacement is invaluable.
For all three of my recent cell phone “incidents,” I’ve taken my phone straight to the Apple Store, paid for a new phone and immediately submitted the claim online to Chase’s insurance provider. Then, within a few weeks, I received a reimbursement check. The claim form process can be a little confusing, but after you do it once, it gets easier.
In just one year, I received over $600 in reimbursement checks, which made the $95 annual fee on this card well worth it. It’s also significantly less expensive than purchasing the AppleCare plan for each phone, as there are five lines on my cell phone plan.
One popular but underutilized benefit among many credit cards is purchase protection. With this perk, you’re covered against damage or theft of any new purchases made with the card within a set time period.
This comes in particularly handy with high-end electronics. For example, if you just purchased a brand new computer but it falls off your desk and breaks, you’re covered — as long as you use a card that offers this benefit.
With the Ink Business Preferred, purchases are covered for 120 days after the purchase is made, up to $10,000 per claim, with a maximum of $50,000 per year. That’s a very generous policy and is a valid reason to use a card that offers this benefit. You’re even covered if only a portion of your purchase was put on your Ink card.
Using a credit card that comes with baked-in trip insurance is always recommended. As long as you pay for your trip with the Ink Business Preferred, you’re protected in case your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness (your own, not a worldwide flu outbreak), severe weather or other covered situations. If this does happen to you, you’re covered up to $5,000 per trip for prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses.
Fortunately I’ve only had to use this benefit once, but that one time was worth every penny. My daughter was too sick to travel, but thanks to this coverage, we were reimbursed for our nonrefundable flights on American Airlines. In that case, we actually used our Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which comes with the exact same benefit as the Ink card, and getting reimbursed was a seamless process for the most part.
This is by far my favorite perk that comes with not only the Ink Business Preferred, but many other Chase credit cards (although not all of them). With this benefit, if your flight is delayed by 12 or more hours or requires an overnight stay, you can be reimbursed for up to $500 in reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for each family member booked on the reservation. Reasonable expenses include lodging, meals, transportation and other necessary charges.
This benefit is the sole reason that I use a qualifying Chase credit card to book all my flights — it has truly made flight delays and cancellations more bearable. Just this past summer, my flight from Lisbon to Boston was canceled and we ended up stuck in Lisbon for an extra 36 hours. This required another night in a hotel, extra taxis, unexpected food expenses and clean clothes for my two children.
In total, our out-of-pocket expenses rang up at around $700, but we were fully reimbursed thanks to the trip delay protection that came with our Chase card.
One thing to know is that you’re covered even if you only pay for a portion of your flight with your Ink card. This means if you’re using airline miles to book an award ticket, as long as you pay for the taxes and fees on that award with your Ink card, you’re still eligible for the full trip delay protection benefit.
Most credit cards that come with car rental insurance provide secondary policies. This means if you have an accident with a rental car, you have to file a claim with your personal auto insurance company first before coverage from your credit card kicks in, which could drive up your future insurance premiums.
But the Ink Business Preferred comes with primary car rental insurance as long as you’re renting the car for business purposes. It also means you can decline the collision insurance option with the car rental agency, saving your business a decent amount of money. You just need to pay for the rental with the card — simply being an Ink cardholder and using a different credit card for your rental won’t cover you.
Chase has an application restriction known colloquially as the “5/24 rule,” which means if you’ve been approved for five or more credit cards across all banks (not just with Chase) within the past 24 months, Chase will automatically deny you for another card.
However, typically only personal credit cards are included in your 5/24 count (although Chase does count business cards from a few issuers such as Capital One and Discover). Since the Ink Business Preferred is a business credit card, applying and being approved for this card will not count against Chase’s 5/24 rule. This is helpful if you’ve applied for a lot of credit cards recently and are looking to apply for more in the future.
Keep in mind that although Chase business credit cards won’t add to your 5/24 number, you still have to be under 5/24 when applying for the Ink card or you won’t qualify. With this in mind, the best strategy is to apply for any business credit cards first before applying for personal cards.
Business credit cards are not solely for large corporations. Mom and pop shops, small startups and even side jobs are often eligible for business credit cards as well. You might not even realize you already have a business, when in fact you do. Selling products through eBay, being a ride-share driver or buying and selling real estate all may be activities that categorize you as a sole proprietor.
If you fall into this bucket, you can legitimately apply for the Ink Business Preferred card — or most other business cards — using your Social Security number instead of an Employer Identification Number. Even if you’re just getting started in your new side hustle, you can apply as well — just be honest about your business and personal income on the application.
The Ink Business Preferred is one of my favorite business credit cards, and one that I often recommend to others. The cell phone protection benefit alone makes this card a strong contender — not having to worry about the cost if my phone is damaged, along with earning 3x points on my cell phone bill, is huge. The travel insurance and trip delay protection also mean that this card carries a lot of value for my business.
Getting an increased 100,000-point bonus is a fantastic cherry-on-top, but frankly, the perks of the Ink card are what have kept me as a cardholder year after year. So if your business is looking for a card with a strong sign-up offer, a relatively low annual fee and money-saving benefits, the Ink Business Preferred is an ideal card to have in your purse or wallet.
Learn more about the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as its best credit cards of 2020.
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.
Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.