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

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor and News Editor

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Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...
& Kellie Jez
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Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

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Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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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.

POPULAR FIRST CARD
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
60,000 points
$1,200
$95
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros

  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining purchases, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel worldwide
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 6 months of complimentary Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024), plus up to $15 in statement credits each quarter through July 2024
  • Excellent travel and car rental insurance
  • 10% annual bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs like United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

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:

NEW OFFER
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Ink Business Preferred card is hard to beat, with a huge welcome bonus offer and 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 in so many business categories.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred card is hard to beat, with a huge welcome bonus offer and 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 in so many business categories.
Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel
100,000 points
$2,000
$95
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a powerhouse for earning lots of points from your business purchases, especially for business owners that spend regularly on ads.

Plus the card offers flexible redemption options, including access to Chase airline and hotel transfer partners where you can achieve outsized value.

Business owners will also love the protections the card provides like excellent cell phone insurance, rental car insurance, purchase protection, and more.

Pros

  • 3x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on up to $150,000 in combined purchases on internet, cable and phone services, shipping expenses, travel, and ads purchased with search engines or social media sites
  • Cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Rental car insurance
  • Extended warranty coverage

Cons

  • No elite travel benefits like airport lounge access
  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel℠
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Round-the-clock monitoring for unusual credit card purchases
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Travel℠
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Member FDIC

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:

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 the Chase transfer 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 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.

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About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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