Full Review of Chase Ink Business Preferred
Potentially huge bonus
Flexible rewards program
High rewards on select business expenses
Low base rewards rate
Not a lot of business-related benefits
Chase card service to businesses has been below par
- Potentially Huge Bonus: You'll earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months from account opening. That's worth $800 if you pay with points on Amazon.com, $1,000 in cash back or gift cards, or at least $1,250 in travel booked through Chase or through Chase travel partners.
- Flexible Rewards Program: While using points to book travel will give you the most value, the card also allows you to redeem them for cash back, gift cards, Apple products, and Amazon.com purchases. You can also transfer rewards to one of 13 airline and hotel loyalty programs, which allows you even more opportunities to maximize your rewards.
- High Rewards Rate on Select Business Expenses: You'll earn 3 points per dollar on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. If the nature of your business requires you to spend a lot in one or more of these areas, and your vendors accept card payments, you could pile up points quickly and lucratively. According to Investopedia's valuation Chase Ink Preferred’s points are worth one cent apiece when redeemed for cash back, and can potentially be worth much more (up to 2.22 cents each according to our valuation) when redeemed for hotels through Ultimate Rewards. The rate is limited to the first $150,000 spent in all categories combined in each account year.
- Low Base Rewards Rate: All non-bonus spending earns just 1 point per dollar. That’s still worth 1.25 cents per point when redeemed for travel booked through Chase, or potentially even more with transfer partners. But if you don’t spend a lot in the card's bonus categories, most of your spending will earn that lower rate. By comparison, the Capital One Spark Miles, for example, offers 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, and so might be a better fit for some business owners.
- Not a Lot of Business-Related Benefits: You'll get free employee cards and the chance to build your business credit, but those features are pretty standard for business credit cards. You won’t get much beyond that in terms of other extras to help with your business, such as the expense-management tools offered with some other business cards.
- Chase Card Service to Businesses Has Been Below Par: Businesses don't necessarily interact with their credit card issuer very often. But when that’s necessary, it's often a matter of some urgency and even stress, and you want a satisfying experience. Unfortunately, that’s less likely to be the case for businesses who deal with Chase than with most other card issuers scored in the J.D. Power Small-Business Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study. In its 2019 survey, Chase ranks in the lowest group, in a virtual tie with U.S. Bank as the least-satisfying issuer of business credit cards among nine that are scored. Chase’s score of 833 out of 1,000 was 14 points below the national average.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
The Chase Ink Business Preferred is best suited to small businesses whose major expenses include the card's bonus categories. Which is to say to enterprises that spend a lot on travel, run a lot of ad campaigns on social media sites and search engines, or have a large shipping operation.
That's due not only to the excellent rewards rate for spending in those categories, but to several travel perks the card offers. It will reimburse your business for up to $5,000 in non-refundable expenses if a business trip is canceled due to sickness, severe weather, or other covered situation. And it provides primary coverage for car rentals made to the card. That's a better arrangement than the more-prevalent secondary coverage, which demands that you file with your own car insurance and then covers only what that policy will not. The card also suits those who travel abroad for business, since it charges no foreign-transaction fee.
An additional consideration is the card's coverage for cell phones. If you have one or more smartphones you bill to the company, the ability to receive up to $600 if any are stolen or damaged could provide peace of mind if not actual savings.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Bonus
New cardholders will earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in the first three months. With the 25% bonus on travel redemptions through Ultimate Rewards, that incentive is worth at least $1,250. That's far more than the size of bonus awarded by many other business credit cards, and represents a 20% return on the required bonus spending amount.
Rewards Earning Details
The card offers 3 points per dollar on up to $150,000 spent each account anniversary year in the following categories:
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable, and phone services
- Advertising purchases at social media sites and search engines
If a lot of your expenses fall in one of the card's bonus categories, those rewards are alluring. With the 25% travel redemption bonus, bonus spending delivers a 3.75% rewards rate.
All other purchases, however, will net you just 1 point per dollar. Those rewards provide a 1.25% rate when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal.
Rewards Redemption Details
The many ways to redeem points earned through the Chase Ink Business Preferred range widely in the value they represent. Here’s a list of your options, along with the value you from each:
- Shop with points on Amazon.com: 0.8 cents per point
- Apple Ultimate Rewards store: 1 cent per point
- Cash back as a statement credit or direct deposit: 1 cent per point
- Gift cards: 1 cent per point
- Book travel through Chase: 1.25 cents per point
While using points for cash back gives you less value than redeeming them for travel, it’s important to point out that most travel credit cards give you less than 1 cent per point with that option. So if you really need cash for your business, this is actually a competitive rate.
But if you can save up your points for a trip—which can be for business or pleasure—take advantage of the Chase travel booking platform to get more value.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards platform gives you the chance to book travel with several different airlines and hotels, but if you want more flexibility, consider transferring your points to one of the following partners at a 1:1 ratio:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Hotel Travel Partners
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Depending on where you move your points, you could potentially get a little to a lot more value out of them in a partner program. For example, Investopedia calculates that, on average, United MileagePlus miles are worth 1.57 cents and World of Hyatt points 1.48 cents. And certain redemptions with these or other partners could yield above-average value.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Getting the most from the Chase Ink Business Preferred begins with ensuring you spend at least $15,000 with the card during the first three months, and so qualify to receive its 100,000-point incentive. So generous is that bonus that it’s worth reaching, even if you need to charge expenses that earn only the base rewards rate in order to reach it. During and after that period, be particularly attentive to charging all purchases in bonus categories to the card; these include travel expenses and spending on telecom services, shipping, and online advertising. If you can reach the annual $150,000 spending cap on bonus spending, you'd earn 450,000 points every year on those purchases—which would be worth a whopping $5,625 when used for travel through Chase.
In the absence of other cards that offer better returns, you should also charge all other expenses, even though they earn only the 1 point-per-dollar base rewards rate.
As for redeeming points, doing so to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards is the simplest option that offers above-average returns of 1.25 cents per point. That rate beats cash back, gift cards and the other options for redeeming directly through Chase. You can use the booking platform to compare prices with different airlines, hotel, car rental companies, cruise lines and more. You can even redeem points for travel experiences at your destination.
But if you want to squeeze as much travel value out of your points as possible, and can tolerate additional complexity and work, transferring your points to one of Chase’s travel partners can reap even greater rewards. For example, after transferring points to an airline partner, we found a business-class ticket from Los Angeles to Phuket, Thailand, for 290,000 miles and $1,737 in taxes and fees. In cash, the same ticket would have cost a whopping $11,374. By transferring your rewards and booking an award ticket, you'd have earned 3.32 cents per point—which is almost triple the value of any other redemption option.
But do your homework before settling on this option. Your research should include the terms of such transfers, since a transfer fee may be charged. Also, while most transfers are completed by the next business day, some require up to a week.
Another way to earn rewards is to refer other business owners to apply for the card. You'll get 20,000 bonus points for each business you refer that gets approved, up to 100,000 points per year.
Chase Ink Business Preferred's Outstanding Benefits
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: If you have a trip that’s canceled due to sickness, severe weather or another covered situation, you can get reimbursed for up to $5,000 in prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses.
- Primary rental-car insurance: If you need to file a claim from a rental for business reasons, the card’s coverage kicks in immediately. With most cards, rental car insurance coverage is secondary, which means that you have to pay the damage before the rental company collects from your personal insurer. Note, however, that coverage is secondary if you’re renting for personal purposes.
- Cell-phone protection: If you use the card to pay your monthly cell phone bill, you’ll get up to $600 per claim in cell phone protection against damage and theft for you and any employees listed on the bill. You can file up to three claims per 12-month period.
- Roadside dispatch
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty protection
- Free employee cards
- Integrate with bookkeeping software
The United Club Business card is issued by Chase, which scored an 833 in J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Study. This score is below the industry average of 849 for credit-card satisfaction in serving businesses, and is only slightly above that of U.S. Bank, which received the lowest score among the nine issuers ranked for service to businesses.
Anytime you need help with your card, you can call 800-999-6977 to speak to a customer service specialist. You can also access your card via the Chase mobile app.
The bank provides free access to your VantageScore credit score through its Credit Journey program, but anyone can register—you don't need to be a cardholder. Also, it's important to note that many major card issuers offer complimentary access to your FICO score, which is more widely used by lenders than VantageScore.
Chase will report your account activity to the business credit bureaus, which can help you establish a business credit history. The bank won’t report anything other than the initial hard inquiry when you apply to the consumer credit bureaus, unless your account is more than 60 days delinquent. Some other banks, including Capital One and Discover, report all of your account activity on your business credit cards to the consumer credit bureaus, which can affect your personal credit score.
The card issuer provides 24/7 customer service over the phone, which is standard for the credit card industry. You can also choose to send a secure message through your online account (you can read secure messages from the mobile app but not compose new ones).
As a Chase cardholder, you can lock and unlock your card through the bank's mobile app, which can come in handy if your card is lost or stolen. While other card issuers offer this feature, it's not standard.
The card is also contactless-enabled. This means that instead of swiping or inserting your card to pay, you can tap it to a contactless credit card reader. The tap-and-pay feature is faster than using the card's chip but provides the same level of security. It's not available form all national card issuers.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred is a solid choice for business owners who spend a lot in certain categories, especially if they're savvy at redeeming rewards. Few cards beat this one for the value of its bonus. Additionally, it boasts some standout benefits, including protection for cell phones whose service is charged to the card and primary rental-car insurance, rather than the less valuable secondary insurance that’s the norm for credit cards.
If your business doesn’t spend much in the card's bonus categories, though, you may not be able to get enough value to justify the $95 annual fee. As with any card, take some time to shop around and compare various options before you apply. As you do that homework, you might also want to keep in mind Chase's mediocre (at best) record when it comes to customer satisfaction with business credit cards.