Chase Ink Business Cash℠ vs. Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Chase Business Card Comparisons

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If you’re a business owner, you know the importance of keeping accurate records and separating your business expenses from your personal expenses.

One primary method of accomplishing this is to use a business credit card (we prefer Chase or Amex) for those associated business expenses.

In addition to separating expenses, a rewards-earning business credit card can deliver benefits like business management tools/services, rewards earned on business spending categories, and other features you won’t find on personal credit cards.

Arguably, 2 of the best business credit cards available are the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

While either card would serve as a welcome addition to your business expense protocol, one is probably better suited to your business than the other.

As we take a closer look at these popular business credit cards in this article, we’ll also cover:

  • Why you need a business credit card
  • What to look for and who can apply
  • The importance of bonus spending categories
  • Which card wins when it comes to travel
  • Redemption possibilities
  • Other travel and purchase protections

Let’s find out which card best fits your business operation, or if the combination of both cards can add value to your business bottom line.

Why You Need a Business Credit Card

Even if you’ve been managing just fine putting your business expenses on your personal credit card, you’ll inevitably run into complications.

Here are just a few of the reasons you need a business credit card:

  • Keep Personal and Business Expenses Separate – One of the primary reasons for using a business credit card is to separate your business expenses from your personal expenses. Doing so makes tax time easier and allows you to easily find documentation in the case of an audit.
  • Record-Keeping Tools – Some business credit cards provide record-keeping tools that can sync with Quickbooks or other financial management software.
  • Higher Credit Limits – Business credit cards can offer higher credit limits than personal cards.
  • Free Employee Credit Cards – It’s easier to keep track of expenses when your employees make purchases with their business credit cards.
  • Rewards for Business Purchase Categories – Business credit cards may have bonus spending categories such as office supplies, shipping, and advertising that you won’t find on personal credit cards.

Bottom Line: While there are plenty of reasons to get a business credit card, the most important one is to separate your personal and business expenses. You’ll definitely save time and frustration at tax time, and in case of an IRS audit!

Even your small side gig may qualify for a business credit card. Image courtesy of chase.com.

Who Can Apply for a Business Credit Card?

You may be surprised to learn what qualifies as a business when it comes to applying for a business credit card.

The IRS, for example, defines a business like this: “Generally, an activity qualifies as a business if it is carried on with the reasonable expectation of earning a profit.”

Even if your side hustle is small, you may still qualify for a business credit card — because your personal credit will play a significant role in whether you get approved for a business credit card.

Registering your business as a DBA (doing business as) or LLC (limited liability company) prior to applying for a business credit card can add credibility and improve your chances of approval.

The rules differ by state as to what is required to register or license your business (if necessary), but once you have these in place you can open a business checking account too, adding even more credibility.

For more information on how to apply for a small business credit card and additional business credit card recommendations, our in-depth guides can help.

Hot Tip: The U.S. Small Business Administration offers several tips for registering your business name and determining if a state or even federal license is required.

What to Look for in a Business Credit Card

Ask Yourself These Questions

  • In which categories does your business spend the most? Selecting a business credit card that rewards your biggest spending categories is important, but you’ll also need to consider if the card has limits on the rewards you can earn in each category.
  • Does your business involve travel? Are you running a business from your home, or are you a frequent flyer who could use some premium travel benefits? Perhaps you’re a road warrior who spends a lot on gas purchases — either way, make sure to get a card with the right benefits.
  • Do you prefer travel rewards or want to earn cash-back? Travel rewards can be used for both personal travel or business travel, but you may want to invest cash-back into your business instead.
  • Can you redeem the credit card rewards for benefits you can use? You can always use the cash earned on cash-back credit cards to offset your business expenses…but would travel rewards be worth more to your business bottom line?
  • Are you comfortable paying an annual fee? You may prefer a business credit card with no annual fee, but the premium benefits of a travel rewards credit card with a higher annual fee could save you money that you’re currently spending on travel perks.

As you keep these answers in your mind, let’s take a look at the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card to see how each one meets your priorities.

 

Office Depot Storefront
With your Ink Business Cash Card, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $25,000 in purchases each year from office supply stores like this Office Depot. If you maximize the value you get when redeeming those points, they can be worth even more.
Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Comparing Bonus Spending Categories

One of the most prominent factors in selecting a business credit card is aligning the rewards earned with your actual business expenses.

For this reason, it’s important to look at the type of expenses your business incurs on a regular basis and which card matches up best with those categories.

Business Spending CategoryRewards Earned on Ink Business Cash℠
Rewards Earned on Ink Business Preferred℠
Travel1% cash-back3 points/$1 spent
Restaurants2% cash-back1 points/$1 spent
Office supplies5% cash-back1 point/$1 spent
Internet service/cable/phone5% cash-back3 points/$1 spent
Gas stations2% cash-back1 point/$1 spent
Advertising on social media/search engines1% cash-back3 points/$1 spent
Shipping1% cash-back3 points/$1 spent

Best for Startup Businesses

New businesses that spend a lot on startup expenses such as phone systems, internet service, and office supplies would fare well with a business credit card like the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card that gives 5% cash-back in these categories.

If your new business spends heavily for online advertising, travel, and on shipping, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card may be a better fit.

Another characteristic of startup business operations is the need for capital to make major purchases. The 0% introductory APR on purchases (and balance transfers) for 12 months after card approval on the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card could help spread the repayment of major startup expenses over time.

After 12 months, a variable APR will apply (currently 14.99% – 20.99%).

The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card does not offer a 0% APR for either purchases or balance transfers.

Best for Everyday Business Purchases

The best business credit card for your everyday business purchases will once again depend on the mix of your largest expenses.

For example, you may have needed to set up a brick and mortar operation before you hit the road selling your product. Now that the office is up and running, your biggest everyday business expenses may be gas and dining on your regional road trips.

In this case, the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card appears to be the best business card for your operation, with 2% cash-back at gas stations and restaurants.

You’ll still have ongoing office supply and internet/cable/phone expenses, which will continue to earn 5% cash-back as well.

If your ongoing everyday business expenses are heavier in advertising, phone/internet/cable, shipping, and travel, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card will be better suited to receiving maximum rewards.

Bottom Line: A primary consideration for selecting the best business credit card for your operation will be whether the card delivers the highest rewards for your biggest expenses. 

Limits on Bonus Category Purchases

One limitation of the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is that the 5% and 2% categories each have $25,000 limits per account year — meaning you would earn 1% cash-back on purchases that exceed those limits.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has a $150,000 limit on 3% categories for each card account anniversary year.

Bottom Line: Anticipating your annual bonus category expenses and selecting a card that rewards all of that spending without reaching the specified limits is critical to maximizing the rewards you’ll earn. 

Does Your Business Involve Travel?

The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is clearly the winner when it comes to earning rewards on travel purchases. With 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent in this category, it excels for a business with travel expenses.

Chase defines the “travel” category broadly, and it covers purchases made with many vendors, including:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Timeshares
  • Campgrounds
  • Car rental agencies
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies
  • Discount online travel sites
  • Passenger trains
  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Limousines
  • Ferries
  • Toll bridge
  • Highway tolls
  • Parking lots/garages

If you purchase travel in any of these categories on a regular basis for your business, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card earning 3 points/$1 could deliver the best reward structure for those expenses.

The Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card earns just 1% cash-back on travel purchases.

When it comes time to redeem your rewards, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is also the winner, giving you 25% more value for your Ultimate Rewards points and the option to transfer points to hotel/airline partners.

If your business involves travel, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card may serve you well. Image courtesy of Christine Krzyszton.

Is It Better to Earn Cash-Back or Points?

While cash-back is the most liquid reward you can earn, it’s not always the best redemption value. Fortunately, with these Chase business credit cards you don’t have to decide which type of rewards you prefer to earn.

That’s because both cards have cash-back options, and both cards earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points!

Chase Business Credit CardValue When Redeemed for Cash BackValue When Redeemed for Travel
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • 1.25 cents per point

The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card both earn Ultimate Rewards Points that can be converted to cash-back.

The redemption difference between these cards is basically the value for which you can redeem the Ultimate Rewards points on the Chase Travel portal.

Hot Tip: You can increase the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card by transferring them to the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. The points can then be redeemed for travel at the rate of 1.25 (instead of 1.0). Transferring your Ultimate Rewards Points also allows you to then transfer points to airline/hotel travel partners for potential additional travel value

The Annual Fee: Another Expense, or Value Delivered?

The Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card does not charge an annual fee, while the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has an annual fee of $95 that is waived the first year.

Chase Business Credit CardAnnual FeeBenefits that Can Offset an Annual Fee
  • $0
  • $500 sign-up bonus
  • Up to 5% cash-back on select business expenses
  • $0 first year, $95 annually after that
  • 80,000-point sign-up bonus worth $1,000 in travel
  • Up to 3 points/dollar spent on select business expenses
  • Redeem points for travel for 25% more in value

It is easy to justify the $95 annual fee on the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card if you’ll be redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel.

For example, if you have business spending of $20,000 per year in 3-point bonus categories, you’ll earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points worth 1 cent each when redeemed for cash.

When redeemed for travel on the Chase travel portal, you will receive an additional 25% ($150) in value, which will more than offset the $95 annual fee.

Bottom Line: If your business includes travel, you should more than offset the $95 annual fee of the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card with the 25% increased value of your Ultimate Rewards redeemed on the Chase Travel portal. 

Additional Value-Added Benefits

Both business credit cards we’re comparing offer free employee cards, which can help you manage your business expenses and build rewards faster.

As we compare the additional cardholder benefits of the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, we’ll find that the overall benefit packages are similar (with a couple of critical exceptions).

Redemption Options

Redemption OptionChase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardChase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
  • Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for cash-back
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Redeem Ultimate Rewards points at Amazon, various gift cards, and for travel
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • 25% additional value when redeemed for travel via the Chase Travel portal
  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners
  • No
  • Yes

Bottom Line: When it comes to redemption options, you’ll receive 25% additional value when redeeming Ultimate Rewards points via the Chase Travel portal with the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, plus have the flexibility of transferring points to hotel/airline partners. 

Travel Benefits

BenefitChase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardChase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Roadside Dispatch
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • N/A
  • Yes
  • Baggage Delay
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Lost Luggage Coverage
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • N/A
  • Yes
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • $600 Cellular Phone Protection ($100 deductible)
  • N/A
  • Yes
  • 3%
  • None

Bottom Line: The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has additional travel benefits when compared to the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, including cell phone coverage. It also does not charge foreign transaction fees. 

Purchase Benefits/Protections

Shopping benefits and protections for each of the compared cards are the same.

BenefitChase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardChase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
  • Purchase Protection
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Extended Warranty
  • Yes
  • Yes

Final Thoughts

If your small business has annual expenses in bonus categories that do not exceed the limits of the no-annual-fee Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, it would be a worthy choice — especially if your business doesn’t have a lot of travel expenses.

However, if your business includes purchasing a lot of travel, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card would be a better fit — especially if you spend more than $25,000 in any of the bonus categories.

Additionally, the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card charges foreign transaction fees. So if your business makes international purchases or includes international travel, you would want to consider the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Also, the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card earns only 1% cash-back on travel purchases.

Since the business bonus spending categories on these cards differ, the combination of having both cards may be an appropriate option for earning maximum rewards.

Having both business credit cards opens up the possibility of transferring points to hotel/airline partners (with the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card) and receiving even more value for your Ultimate Rewards points.

Finally, be aware that both cards fall under Chase’s 5/24 rule, meaning that if you have opened 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer in the past 24 months, you likely won’t be approved for either of these cards.


*Featured image credit: Shutterstock.com

FAQ

Which business credit card is best?

The best business credit card is the one that matches your business spending categories and gives you the highest rewards for those purchases. Additionally, redemption options will deliver benefits you or your business can actually use.

The best business credit card will also match your preference for paying or not paying an annual fee, and have an achievable level of minimum required spending to earn any sign-up bonus offered.

Which is better: points or cash-back?

Fortunately, with this pair of business credit cards we’re comparing, you don’t have to decide. The Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card both have cash-back options and earn Ultimate Rewards points.

Can I have more than 1 business credit card?

Yes, you can have more than 1 business credit card, and it might make sense to do so.

Chase does have limitations on how many credit cards you can qualify for, as the issuer applies an unwritten rule to new applications. If you have more than 5 credit cards total from any issuer in the past 24 months, you may not be approved for a Chase credit card.

Special conditions apply to business credit cards, so you’ll want to learn more about how 5/24 works prior to applying for a credit card with Chase.

How do I turn Ultimate Rewards into cash-back?

When you log in to your Chase credit card account, you will see your Ultimate Rewards points balance. You just need to click on the balance to be taken to the Ultimate Rewards site where you can redeem your points.

You will be given the option to redeem for travel, 184 brands of gift cards, cash-back, transfer to travel partners (Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card), or to use your Ultimate Rewards points to shop on Amazon.

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