Capital One, Chase, MilesTalk University

How to Choose the Right Chase Ink Business Cards for You

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On the personal side of the Chase cards, we talk a lot about the “Chase Trifecta.” I break it down in one of my MilesTalk University posts (Link: Start with these two cards if you are new to miles and points). The premise is that you can have two or three of the Chase Sapphire and Freedom cards and combine all your points into your Reserve’s balance for maximum impact – earning up to 5 points per dollar in certain categories and then combining to spend inside of your Reserve account for a minimum 1.5 points per dollar in value (spend 10,000 points for $150 in airfare or hotel) meaning you can get up to 7.5% cash back.

But what about maximizing your return with the suite of Chase Business cards? This post will tell you which of the three Chase Business cards that earn their Ultimate Rewards currencies are best for you and how to combine them.

The cards:

Card highlights:

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

  • 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you $5,000 spend in the first 3 months.
  • $95 annual fee
  • 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. Limit applies each account anniversary year.
  • Primary rental car insurance. (Rental must be for business purposes.)
  • Cell phone insurance (up to $600 after $100 deductible) when you pay your monthly phone bill with the card. This makes it the best card to pay a cell phone bill with!
  • Points can be spend on travel at a value of 1.25 cents per point OR transferred to airline and hotel programs

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

  • Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months with no annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back (in the form of points) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at office supply stores and on Internet, cable, and phone services.
  • Earn 2% cash back (in the form of points) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at gas stations and in restaurants.

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months with no annual fee
  • Earn a simple 1.5% cash back (in the form of Ultimate Rewards points) on everything. No bonus categories, no math – just 1.5 points per dollar spent.

As you can see, we have three Ultimate Rewards points-earning cards with different earn rates in different categories. Let’s put aside the fact that if you got all three cards over time (keep in mind you can only get two Chase cards within 30 days and all three of these cards are subject to 5/24) you could earn 180,000 bonus points, worth from $1,800 – $2,700 or more, just from signup bonuses – for now.

Depending on what you or your business spend the most on, you will optimize your earnings by carrying two (or all three) of these cards.

Strategy

It’s simple when you think about it.

The Ink Cash will give you 5x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at office supply stores and on Internet, cable, and phone services.  So if you spend heavily on any of those categories, you probably want the Ink Cash. And then all of those expenses (except cell phone bills if you also have the Ink Preferred since that card offers free cell phone insurance) would go on this card. We’d also use the Ink Cash for gas and dining for 2x (up to $50,000).

Then, we look to see if we spend a significant amount on travel, shipping, and ads on social sites and search engines (Google/Bing/Facebook/Instagram, etc) since we earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. If we do, we definitely want the Ink Business Preferred and we will put all of those charges on the Ink Preferred.

Lastly, the Ink Unlimited is perfect for any charges not in any bonus categories. You can still combine these points into your personal Chase Sapphire Reserve account where you are earning a minimum return of 2.25% (Math = 1.5 points per dollar spent and then redeem at a value of 1.5 cents per dollar). If you don’t have a Reserve, then you could combine these into your Chase Ink Preferred card account where you could spend at a rate of 1.25 cents per point or transfer to airlines or hotel partners.

Four major notes:

1) If you don’t have a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred card to transfer points to, you will need the Chase Ink Business Preferred in order to spend your points in the Chase Travel portal at 1.25 cents per point in value OR to transfer to airline and hotel partners. You cannot do so if you only have a Chase Ink Cash or Chase Ink Unlimited. You need at least one Chase card with an annual fee in order to have that option.

2) All three cards have great bonus offers of 50,000 to 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

3) You may be best served by having the Chase Ink Business Preferred card and the Chase Ink Business Cash cards and skipping the Unlimited in favor of a card that earns a flat 2% cash back – like the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business (Learn more about this card). The Spark comes with a $500 signup bonus and earns a flat 2% in cash on everything.  

You see, if you want to put in the effort that many of us do, you *can* beat that 2% staying 100% within the Chase family, but it does take effort and you may want to simply earn your 2%, 3% and 5% in the Chase bonus categories and then for non-bonuses spend just stick it on a 2% cash back card. There would be absolutely no shame in earning a nice combo of points and cash – and never ever earning less than 2%.

4) There are other options as well! This post isn’t intended to tell you that all business spend should go on 1-3 Chase cards. By no means! You may want to spend on any number of Business Credit Cards. But if you are a fan of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program already – perhaps because you already have a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred card for personal use – then this is an “optimal Chase strategy.”

Does this help? Or make it even more complicated for you? 

Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

New to all of this? My new “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.