Ink Business Cash Card vs. Ink Business Preferred Card [Detailed Comparison]

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 Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and the 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.

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 — Business credit cards typically 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!

Who Can Apply for a Business Credit Card?

Business planning calculations
Even your small side gig may qualify for a business credit card. Image Credit: Chase

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 benefits such as airport lounge membership.

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

The Value of a Welcome Bonus

When applying for a card that offers a welcome bonus, you have a unique 1-time opportunity to jumpstart your earnings. Both of our featured cards offer the option to earn a generous welcome bonus after meeting required spending limits within the first 3 months after card approval.

While the Ink Business Cash card is a cash-back card, it initially earns rewards in the form of Ultimate Rewards points, just as the Ink Business Preferred card. The value of Ultimate Rewards points when redeemed for cash on either card is 1 cent, a data point for comparing the base value of the welcome bonus on either card.

However, the Ink Business Preferred card will receive an additional 25% in value when redeeming its points for travel via the Chase travel portal and potentially more value when transferring to airline and hotel partners.

The Ink Business Preferred card is a clear winner when it comes to the value of its welcome bonus. While the card does charge an annual fee, (the Ink Business Cash card does not), there is plenty of added value at redemption time to offset that $95 fee.

Bottom Line: If your business includes travel, you could more than offset the annual fee of the Ink Business Preferred card with the 25% increased value of your Ultimate Rewards points redeemed on the Chase travel portal and the added value of transferring points to travel partners. 

Earning Potential

man at office supply stationary store
With your Ink Business Cash card, you can earn 5% cash-back on up to $25,000 in purchases each year at office supply stores. Image Credit: JackF via Adobe Stock

One of the most prominent factors in selecting a business credit card is aligning the rewards earning 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.

Let’s look at how our featured cards reward some common business purchases:

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

Remember that these cards have limits on bonus category spending:

  • Ink Business Cash card
    • Earn 5% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases across 5% categories
    • Earn 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases across 2% categories
  • Ink Business Preferred card
    • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent across 3x categories

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 total rewards earning. 

Best for Start-up 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 Ink Business Cash card that gives 5% cash-back in these categories.

If your new business spends heavily on online advertising, travel, and shipping, the Ink Business Preferred card may be a better fit. See the benefits of the Ink Business Preferred card in our separate post.

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 Ink Business Cash 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 Ink Business Preferred 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. 

Best Card if Your Business Involves Travel

Hotel lobby at Christmas
If your business involves travel, the Ink Business Preferred card may serve you well. Image Credit: Christine Krzyszton

The Ink Business Preferred card is clearly the winner when it comes to earning rewards on travel purchases. With 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent in this category, the card delivers a lot of value for businesses with travel expenses.

Chase defines the “travel” category broadly, and it covers purchases made with a wide variety of merchants, including:

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

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

The Ink Business Cash card earns just 1% cash-back on travel purchases and charges a 3% transaction fee on foreign purchases.

When it comes time to redeem your rewards, the Ink Business Preferred card is also the winner, giving you 25% more value for your Ultimate Rewards points and the option to transfer points to hotel and airline partners for even greater potential value.

Is It Better To Earn Cash-Back or Points?

While cash-back is the most liquid reward you can earn, it doesn’t always deliver 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 the Ink Business Cash card and the Ink Business Preferred card both earn Ultimate Rewards points that can be converted to cash-back.

Additionally, you can redeem points earned on either card for travel, although the Ink Business Preferred card provides greater value when doing so.

Chase Business Credit CardValue When Redeemed for Cash-BackValue When Redeemed via Chase Travel Portal
Ink Business Cash card1.0 cent per point1.0 cent per point
Ink Business Preferred card1.0 cent per point1.25 cents per point

Hot Tip: You can increase the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Ink Business Cash card by transferring points to premium Chase cards such as the Ink Business Preferred card or the Chase Sapphire® Reserve. The points can then be redeemed for travel for up to 50% more in value (Chase Sapphire Reserve card) via the Chase travel portal. Transferring your Ultimate Rewards points also allows you to then transfer points to airline/hotel travel partners for potential additional travel value

Redemption Options

Both business credit cards we are comparing offer free employee cards that can help you earn rewards faster and manage your business expenses.

At redemption time, each card provides the same redemption options for cash-back but the Ink Business Preferred card delivers more options and greater value when redeeming for travel.

Redemption Option Ink Business Cash Card Ink Business Preferred Card
Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for cash-backYesYes
Redeem Ultimate Rewards points at Amazon, for various gift cards, and for travelYesYes, 25% additional value when redeemed for travel via the Chase travel portal
Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to travel partnersNoYes

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 Ink Business Preferred card, plus have the flexibility of transferring points to hotel and airline partners for even greater potential value. 

Travel Benefits and Protections

Both of our featured cards come with several useful travel benefits and protections.

Benefit Ink Business Cash Card Ink Business Preferred Card
Primary Car Rental CoverageYesYes
Travel and Emergency Assistance ServicesYesYes
Roadside DispatchYesYes
Trip DelayN/AYes
Baggage DelayYesYes
Lost Luggage CoverageYesYes
Trip Cancellation and InterruptionN/AYes
Travel Accident InsuranceYesYes
Cell Phone ProtectionN/AYes
Foreign Transaction Fees3%None

Bottom Line: The Ink Business Preferred card has additional travel benefits when compared to the Ink Business Cash card, including valuable cell phone coverage that can provide up to $600 per claim for damage or theft. The card also does not charge foreign transaction fees. 

Purchase Benefits/Protections

Shopping benefits and protections for each of the compared cards are the same. Both of our featured cards offer purchase protection and extended warranty coverage.

Hot Tip: For additional in-depth benefits info on the Ink Business Cash card, check out our article specific to its most valuable benefits

Final Thoughts

If your small business has annual expenses in bonus categories that do not exceed the limits of the no-annual-fee Ink Business Cash 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 Ink Business Preferred card may be a better fit — especially if you spend more than $25,000 in any of the bonus categories.

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

Also, the Ink Business Cash Card earns just 1% cash-back on travel purchases compared to the Ink Business Preferred card’s 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the travel category.

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 and airline partners (with the Ink Business Preferred card) to receive even more value for your Ultimate Rewards points.

Finally, before applying for any Chase card, check out the details of Chase’s 5/24 rule, which can affect your chances of being approved for new Chase credit cards.


Frequently asked questions

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 offered on the card 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 the minimum required spending to earn any welcome 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 Ink Business Cash card and Ink Business Preferred card both earn Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash-back.

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 within a specific timeframe, however, plus special conditions that apply to business credit cards.

Prior to applying for any Chase card, personal or business, you’ll want to learn more about how the Chase 5/24 rule works and how it applies to your situation.

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, a wide variety of gift cards, cash-back, transfer to travel partners (Ink Business Preferred Credit card), or to use your Ultimate Rewards points to shop on Amazon.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

Travel prices are about to surge from pent-up demand.

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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.

9 comments

  1. Brooke Babcock September 23, 2018

    I already have the Chase Ink Plus Business Card and earned the signup bonus in 2015.

    May I also get the signup bonus on the Chase Ink Preferred Business card?

    Thanks for your really useful information!
    Brooke

    Reply

  2. I just applied and was approved on Nov 13, but my application must have been right before they upgraded the offer to 75k points on $7500 spend. I contacted them through secure messaging and am hoping I can have the upgraded offer as my card was approved when it started. Any advice? Also, I checked with them about spreading out my credit amongst the three biz cards, we shall see. I am trying to manage my credit utilization, but have also heard that this doesn’t impact personal credit *(though my hard pull did hit my personal account; maybe because of sole proprietorship?)

    Reply

    • Hi Peter. There are reported successes when asking for a recent elevated offer you missed (myself included). It may also be possible to spread credit limits. Secure messaging should work but if you do not hear back, a phone call would certainly be appropriate. Good luck.

      Reply

  3. I heard back! It looks like I got both things granted. I asked to spread out credit and he asked me to reply that is what I wanted, so I confirmed. I also was told that once I hit the min spend, that it would update with the correct bonus! How about that?!

    Reply

  4. Now the question is, when can I go for the Freedom Flex? I already have the CSR and the suite of biz cards. I was thinking to drop the application 30 days after my application for the biz Ink Cash. Timeline: I applied 3 NOV and was approved 13 NOV. I think 4 DEC would be a good time to drop that Freedom Flex app? I need that PayPal Q4 5x category for a large purchase coming up by end of the year!

    Of course, to complicate things, I think I found a house, and I put in an offer. Now I will have to time the credit pulls with a mortgage credit check! Sheesh.

    Exciting times…

    Any advice?

    Reply

    • Congrats on finding a house. Applying for a mortgage when trying to secure credit cards can be tricky and generally not recommended. Additionally, when you are approved for a mortgage you may have to agree that you will not take on any additional credit, or the approval may need to be reevaluated (happened to me). However, Dec 4 is not that far off so you may have time to secure the additional card without issue. Your mortgage professional will be able to help you further. Congrats again and good luck with getting your new home.

      Reply

      • Thank you so much! Yeah, I am crossing my fingers that the preapproval goes through quickly as I just finished the offer. Now to hold my breath through that and get to my 30 day moment on 4 DEC as I really want that Freedom Flex! LOL. But the sign up on the Chase Ink Business Cash is really good too and it’s a 10x haul ($7500 spend and 75000 points?! Wow.)

        Reply

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