Friend Question: Chase Ink Business Preferred Or Chase Ink Business Cash

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A friend of mine sent me a text the other day asking which Chase business credit card he should apply for. He was sitting in front of a Chase banker at the time and the banker was advising him to apply for the Chase Ink Cash card but Andy wanted to know what I thought.

Chase Ink Business Cards – The Bonuses & Earnings

Chase Ink Business Preferred

a close-up of a credit card

  • $95 annual fee
  • 80,000 Bonus Points after $5,000 spend in the first 3 months after opening the card
  • 3 Points/Dollar on the first $150,000 spent in the following categories (combined):
    • Travel
    • Shipping
    • Internet, cable & phone services
    • Advertising on social media and search engine optimisation
  • 1 Point/Dollar on all other purchases (no limit on spending)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Cell phone protection – up to $600 per claim against covered theft or damage

Chase Ink Business Cash

a close-up of a credit card

Note: While this card earns cashback, if you hold a one of the Chase Sapphire cards the points can be converted to Ultimate Rewards Points.

  • No annual fee
  • $500 Bonus Cashback (or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points) after $3,000 spend in the first 3 months after opening the card
  • 5% Cashback (5 Points/Dollar) on the first $25,000 spent in the following categories (combined):
    • Office supply store purchases
    • Internet, cable & phone services
  • 2% Cashback (2 Points/Dollar)on the first $25,000 spent in the following categories (combined):
    • Gas stations
    • Dining
  • 1% Cashback (1 Point/Dollar) on all other purchases (no limit on spending)

Thoughts

Here’s how the cards compare.

Cost

The Chase Ink Preferred costs $95/year while the Chase Ink Cash is free

Winner Chase Ink Cash

Sign-up Bonus

I value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a conservative 1.5 cents each which makes the 80,000 bonus available on the Chase Ink Preferred card worth $1,200.

Even if you have no idea how to best use Chase Ultimate Rewards points they can still be redeemed when making travel bookings (flights, hotels, car etc…) on the Ultimate Rewards website at a value of 1.25 cents each. That makes the minimum value of the bonus $1,000.

Even though you only need to spend $3,000 to get the $500/50,000 point Chase Ink Cash bonus (as opposed to the $5,000 needed to get the Chase Ink Preferred bonus) I believe the Preferred card’s bonus is better.

Winner Chase Ink Preferred

Earnings

This is probably the hardest category in which to choose a winner as it really depends on what other credit cards someone holds and where the spend on this card is likely to be directed.

It will also depend on whether or not someone holds a Chase Sapphire card (and can therefore choose to convert cashback to points) or if cashback is all they can earn with the Ink Cash card.

If the choice is between earning points or cashback (i.e you don’t have a Sapphire card) I would always elect to earn points because points can offer outsize value.

If you can earn points with either of the Chase Ink cards then things get a bit more tricky:

  • If you already hold credit cards that offer strong bonuses for spend on travel (e.g. Chase Sapphire Reserve) then this will reduce the value the Chase Ink Preferred card offers you.
  • If you’re not likely to maximise the points bonus available for spending at office supply stores and as you already have a Chase Sapphire credit card which will earn at least 2 points/dollar on dining spend then the Chase Ink Cash card looks a lot less worthwhile.
  • If you don’t have a credit card that earns a bonus for spend on Gas then the Ink Cash card looks tempting…but if you have the Citi Premier card (3 points/dollar on Gas) do you really care?
  • If you spend a considerable amount on advertising on social media and search engine optimisation then the Chase Ink Preferred is a no-brainer but, if you don’t, this spending category isn’t really a selling point.

See what I mean? Each person’s personal circumstances can make a big difference to which card offers the better day-to-day earnings.

Winner – It depends!

Other Benefits

Both cards offer primary collision damage waiver for rentals of most types of car in most countries (so do both Chase Sapphire cards).

The Chase Ink Business Preferred card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and offers a valuable cellphone protection benefit. The Chase Ink Business Cash card can’t compete with either of those.

Winner – Chase Ink Preferred

Which Card Did I Recommend For Andy…..And Why?

Once I confirmed that Andy was being offered the 80,000 bonus by his Chase banker I recommended the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card.

Here’s why:

  • 80,000 points is a very good bonus to earn in a currency as versatile as Chase Ultimate Rewards and I have no idea how long that offer will hang around for. This played a very major role in my recommendation.
  • Andy will have no trouble hitting the $5,000 sign-up bonus target
  • $95 is not an insignificant amount to pay for an annual fee but it’s a legitimate business expense (tax deductible) and you get fantastic cellphone protection with the card which will help offset the fee too.
  • Andy holds the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card so he could earn points (rather than cashback) through the Chase Ink Cash card but I’m not convinced he’s ready to make the most out of the office supply store bonuses just yet – I need to coach him on that one! đŸ™‚
  • The Gas earnings offered by the Chase Ink Cash card would have been useful to Andy but, given the fact I’ve also recommend he gets the Citi Premier card and the better bonus and benefits offered by the Chase Ink Preferred, the bonus on Gas spending isn’t powerful enough to swing the decision.

The 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Points bonus was key to my recommendation as the points offer so much value even if Andy doesn’t have the time to work out how Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used to their full.

I should point out that the Chase Ink Business Cash card was only offering a $300/30,000 point bonus when Andy asked for my advice….but I don’t think the increased $500/50,000 bonus that’s currently available on the Cash card would have changed my mind.

Bottom Line

At this point in time the Chase Ink Business Preferred card is the right card for Andy as I know that he’ll get great value out of the sign-up bonus (at least $1,000).

Given time I fully intend to show him how to make the most of the office supply store bonus category the Ink Cash card offers and then, when he can make the most of that, the Ink Cash card will be one I suggest he gets.

It can be very hard to give individuals advice on which credit/charge cards to get if you don’t have a good hold on what other cards they hold and what their spending patterns are like….and that’s especially true with these two Ink Business cards.

What’s right for Andy may not be right for you so make sure you think though what benefits these (and other) Business Cards offer you before deciding on which one(s) to apply for.