Ink Business Cash Credit Card vs. Ink Business Preferred 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 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.

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!

Business planning calculations
Even your small side gig may qualify for a business credit card. Image courtesy of

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 Ink Business Cash Card and the Ink Business Preferred 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 Card
Rewards Earned on Ink Business Preferred Card
Travel1% cash-back3 points/$1 spent
Restaurants2% cash-back1 point/$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

Remember that these cards have limits on bonus 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

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 Ink Business Cash Card that gives 5% cash-back in these categories.

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

Limits on Bonus Category Purchases

One limitation of the Ink Business Cash 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 Ink Business Preferred 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 Ink Business Preferred 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 Ink Business Preferred Card earning 3 points/$1 could deliver the best reward structure for those expenses.

The Ink Business Cash Card earns just 1% cash-back on travel 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/airline partners.

Hotel lobby at Christmas
If your business involves travel, the Ink Business Preferred 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
  • Ink Business Cash Card
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • Ink Business Preferred Card
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • 1.25 cents per point

The Ink Business Cash Card and the Ink Business Preferred 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 Ink Business Cash Card by transferring them to the Ink Business Preferred 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 Ink Business Cash Card does not charge an annual fee, while the Ink Business Preferred Card does has an annual fee.

Credit CardKey Benefits & Info
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • $2,000
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 25% more value when redeeming points through Ultimate Rewards® travel
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $95

Must Reads: For more info on the Ink Business Preferred, see our guides on its benefits, 7 things to do as a new cardholder, and our full review. This is our favorite Chase business credit card.

It is easy to justify the annual fee on the Ink Business Preferred 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 annual fee of the Ink Business Preferred 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 are 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 Ink Business Cash Card and the Ink Business Preferred Card, we’ll find that the overall benefit packages are similar (with a couple of critical exceptions).

Redemption Options

Redemption Option Ink Business Cash Card Ink Business Preferred 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 Ink Business Preferred Card, plus have the flexibility of transferring points to hotel/airline partners. 

Travel Benefits

Benefit Ink Business Cash Card Ink Business Preferred Card
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • N/A
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Lost Luggage Coverage
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • N/A
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • N/A
  • Yes
  • 3%
  • None

Bottom Line: The Ink Business Preferred Card has additional travel benefits when compared to the Ink Business Cash 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.

Benefit Ink Business Cash Card Ink Business Preferred Card
  • Purchase Protection
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Extended Warranty
  • Yes
  • Yes

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 would 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 Credit Card.

Also, the Ink Business Cash 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.

Have both business credit cards opens up the possibility of transferring points to hotel/airline partners (with the Ink Business Preferred Card) and receive 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.

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 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 Ink Business Cash card and 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 (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.


  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!


  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?)


    • 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.


  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?!


  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?


    • 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.


      • 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.)


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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