What Purchases Count as Travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ink Business Preferred Cards?

woman suitcase globe map searching highway

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So, you just received your shiny new credit card, and you can’t wait to use it to start earning points. You see that your card offers bonus points for “travel” purchases. That’s great, but how do you know exactly what counts as “travel?”

Does this scenario sound familiar? Most readers have likely questioned whether or not a purchase will count towards a specific category at some point. Even the most seasoned points and miles enthusiasts can question a purchase every now and then.

The bad news is that each type of credit card can be a little different — what counts as travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card may not count as travel on the Citi Prestige® Card. The good news is that we’ve already sorted all of it out, so you can easily determine if a purchase will earn bonus points or not.

In this post, we’re focusing on what counts as a travel purchase on 2 of the most popular cards available: the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

These 2 cards are favorites among points enthusiasts, partly because of their ability to earn lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards points through their generous bonus categories.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what purchases count as travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, let’s take a quick peek at some of the benefits offered this popular card.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

The next card we’re discussing in this post is the Ink Business Preferred card, one of the best all-around business credit cards out there. Here are the highlights:

What Counts as Travel on Chase Credit Cards

According to Chase, the following purchases DO count as a travel:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Timeshares
  • Car rental agencies
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies
  • Discount travel sites
  • Campgrounds
  • Passenger trains
  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Limousines
  • Ferries
  • Toll bridges and highways
  • Parking lots and garages

Here are some additional charges that count as travel, based on experience and crowdsourced data:

  • Southwest Airlines EarlyBird Check-In fees
  • Uber and Lyft rides (excluding Uber Eats)
  • Online travel agencies like Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz, etc.
  • Payments to travel vendors (like a hotel) paid through PayPal via a credit card
  • Any items purchased on a cruise ship that are charged to your room (including big-ticket items like artwork purchased during the onboard auctions)

What Doesn’t Count as Travel

According to Chase, the following types of purchases do NOT count as travel:

  • Real estate agents
  • Educational merchants arranging travel
  • Inflight goods and services
  • Onboard cruise line goods and services
  • Sightseeing activities
  • Excursions
  • Tourist attractions
  • Boat rentals
  • Merchants within hotels and airports
  • Merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling
  • Gift cards (unless the merchant is set up to count as travel)
  • Points and miles (unless the merchant is set up to count as travel)

You’ll notice that gas stations, while essential for travel, don’t code as travel. Another tricky one is Uber Eats. It used to count as a travel purchase, but now it counts as dining.

How Rewards Categories are Determined

Every card network (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.) assigns codes to each merchant within the network. Merchant codes are assigned according to the merchant’s primary category of goods and services. Chase then groups several merchant codes together to make a rewards category like dining or travel. This is what determines what will or won’t count in a specific rewards category.

How to Determine If Your Purchase Will Count as Travel

There are a few ways to determine if your upcoming purchase will code as travel.

  1. The most surefire way to determine a purchase’s category isn’t always easy when it comes to the travel category. If you can, run a small charge through your card to see how it codes before you make a large purchase. Or you can scroll back through your past purchases to get a good idea of how common merchants code. You’ll be able to see each purchase’s rewards category in your online statement.

    Chase Travel Rewards Category detail
    Image Credit: Chase
  2. The second way to double-check a merchant code is by using this tool offered by Visa. You can look up a specific business, but you need to have an address. While this tool is a bit finicky, it can be helpful if you are really unsure of a specific purchase’s category.

Hot Tip: Curious about other rewards categories? Check out the Rewards Category FAQ offered by Chase. Although this doesn’t list specific vendors, you should be able to get a good idea of how your purchase will code.

How to Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

You’ll be earning a lot of Chase Ultimate Rewards points with your Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred card since the travel category is so broad.

Now that you’ve got all those points, you need to know how to use them. There are 2 main ways to turn your points into flights and hotel stays.

  1. Redeem your points in the Chase Travel Portal for flights, hotels, and more. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Ink Business Preferred card, you’ll get 1.25 cents per point in value when you use them in the Chase Travel Portal.
  2. To get even more value out of your points you can transfer them to one of Chase’s hotel and airline partners. Your Chase Ultimate Rewards points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio to lots of different airline and hotel partners. You can then use those points to book great flights and hotel rooms.

Bottom Line: For more information about getting the most out of your points, check out these great ways to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for max value.

Final Thoughts

Having a broad rewards category on your credit card is a great way to earn lots of points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Ink Business Preferred card both count a wide range of businesses in the travel category. Everything from flights and hotels to rental cars and parking will earn bonus points on these 2 cards.

With so many different types of purchases that will count as travel, you’ll be racking up big-time points in no time at all!


Frequently asked questions

What does Chase count as travel?

According to Chase, the following categories count as travel: airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds, passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.

Do tours count as travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?

No, unfortunately sightseeing tours and tourist attractions do not count as a travel expense on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Does gas count as travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

No, gas station purchases do not count as travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Ink Business Preferred card. In fact, none of the Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards count gas as a travel expense.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. Erin Wisneski September 10, 2020

    I can’t find a date to this post, but gas does count as travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card now.

    Reply

    • Hi Erin. I think you might be referring to the temporary promotion for July, August, and September where purchases at gas stations earn 3x Ultimate Rewards Points. This is set to expire September 30, 2020.

      Reply

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