Chase Business Card Bonus Categories: How to Maximize Your Rewards

Chase business cards offer business owners plenty of benefits, but what’s the best way to earn rewards with them? Here’s the answer.
Last updated Nov 4, 2020 | By Ben Walker
Chase Business Card Bonus Categories: How to Maximize Your Rewards

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Chase credit cards often provide excellent rewards and benefits, and their business cards are no exception. If you have one, two, or all three of the Chase Ink business cards, you know how valuable they can be for small business owners. With their earning potential on common business expenses, it’s easy to rack up valuable rewards in no time.

But is there a best practice for earning the most points possible with your Chase business cards?

In this guide, we’ll break down each card’s strengths and weaknesses and go over how to best maximize your spending with Chase Ink cards. This will help you use the Chase business card rewards categories to your advantage and earn the maximum amount of bonus points in the process.

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Understanding the Chase Ink rewards categories

Chase offers multiple types of business cards, with some of their most popular options being the three Chase Ink cards:

  • Chase Ink Business Preferred: Earn 5X points on Lyft rides; 3X points on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines; and 1X points per $1 on everything else.
  • Chase Ink Business Cash: Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable, or phone services (up to $25,000 combined annually); 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $25,000 combined annually); and 1% cash back on everything else.
  • Chase Ink Business Unlimited: Earn 1.5% cash back on all spending.

When you compare credit cards between the top issuers, Chase Ink cards are among the best business credit cards available. Their lucrative earning potential and helpful perks can provide plenty of value for any small business owner. So let’s now dive into the details of each Chase Ink card and what their benefits and drawbacks are.

Chase Ink Business Preferred

The Chase Ink Business Preferred is a travel rewards credit card. It has a $95 annual fee, but makes up for it with a generous 100,000 points sign-up bonus after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months after account opening.

With this card, the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn are worth 25% more toward travel redemptions through the Chase travel portal. Your points can also be transferred to Chase transfer partners for increased flexibility. All cardholders receive trip cancellation and interruption insurance, roadside dispatch services, and an auto rental collision damage waiver.

Chase Ink Preferred bonus categories include Lyft rides and first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines. This covers a wide range of common business purchases and travel purchases, so it should be easy to quickly earn rewards while spending for your business.

Keep in mind, the Chase Ink Preferred offers only an average 1X rewards rate on all other eligible purchases, so it’s not the best card to use on non-bonus categories.

Hot Sign-up Bonus

Benefits

  • 100,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X points on travel and common business spending categories
  • Flexible redemption options
  • Additional employee cards at no extra cost

Chase Ink Business Cash

The Chase Ink Business Cash has a $0 annual fee and provides $750 cash back after spending $7,500 in the first 3 months of account opening. Cardholders automatically receive an auto rental collision damage waiver, travel and emergency assistance services, and roadside dispatch services.

For its bonus categories, the Chase Ink Business Cash is a cashback card that earns best on purchases at office supply stores and internet, cable, or phone services (up to $25,000 combined annually) and then gas stations and restaurants (up to $25,000 combined annually). Stick to the bonus categories with this card because it earns only 1% cash back on everything else.

Up to 5% Cash Back

Benefits

  • New Offer: $750 cash back sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months
  • Up to 5% cash back

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

The Chase Ink Business Unlimited is also a cashback card. It has a $0 annual fee and offers a $750 sign-up bonus after you meet the spending requirement of $7,500 in the first 3 months. Automatic travel benefits include an auto rental collision damage waiver, travel and emergency assistance services, and roadside dispatch services.

Unlike other Chase Ink business cards, the Chase Ink Unlimited has no bonus categories. Instead, it earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all spending. This type of straightforward earning rate takes the stress out of credit card rewards because you don’t have bonus categories to keep track of. Instead, use your card for any business expense and you’ll earn 1.5% cash back.

If you only use this card, though, you’ll miss out on the increased rewards you could gain from the other Chase Ink rewards categories.

Unlimited Cash Back

Benefits

  • New Offer: $750 cash back sign-up offer
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all spending
  • 0% APR for 12 months on purchases
  • No annual fee

How to maximize spending with the Chase business cards

The best way to maximize spending with the Chase business cards is by using all three Chase Ink cards together. Because it’s possible to have the three Chase Ink business cards at the same time, it makes sense to use each one to make business purchases in their specific bonus point categories.

Then you can leverage Chase’s excellent benefit of being able to combine Chase points together. If you have all three cards, you can combine the points in your Chase Ink Business Preferred account where all those points would be worth 25% more toward travel redemptions. This would make it a lot easier and quicker to earn enough points for your next trip.

As an example, here’s how much you could earn on annual business expenses if you were only using the Chase Ink Business Unlimited. This card pays you a 1.5% cashback rewards rate and therefore each reward is worth 1 cent.

Card used Expense category Amount purchased Points earned Points value
Chase Ink Unlimited Travel $5,000 7,500 $75
Advertising $2,000 3,000 $30
Internet, cable, and phone $3,000 4,500 $45
Office supply stores $3,000 4,500 $45
Gas $1,000 1,500 $15
Miscellaneous $1,000 1,500 $15
Total $15,000 22,500 $225

Getting $225 bonus cash back isn’t a bad return on $15,000 of business expenses, but you could do a lot better if you use all three Chase Ink cards at once instead of just one. Here’s what happens when you strategically spend with all three rewards credit cards on the exact same expenses:

Card used Expense category Amount purchased Points earned Points value Travel redemption value on Chase Ink Preferred
Chase Ink Preferred Travel $5,000 15,000 $150 $187.50
Chase Ink Preferred Advertising $2,000 6,000 $60 $75
Chase Ink Cash Internet, cable, and phone $3,000 15,000 $150 $187.50
Chase Ink Cash Office supply stores $3,000 15,000 $150 $187.50
Chase Ink Cash Gas $1,000 2,000 $20 $25
Chase Ink Unlimited Miscellaneous $1,000 1,500 $15 $18.75
Total $15,000 54,500 $545 $681.25

In the second example, you end up with a cashback bonus of $545 from spending $15,000. But if you transfer all your points to the Chase Ink Preferred card and redeem them for travel, you’d get $681.25 in redemption value.

This is a difference of $320 or $456.25 from the $225 total you earned from just using the Chase Ink Unlimited. By using the Chase Ink card that would earn the most points in each category, you have the potential to earn a lot more back.

How to redeem for cash back or Ultimate Rewards

Both the Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Unlimited earn cashback rewards, whereas the Chase Ink Preferred earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points. However, Chase is flexible with its redemption options, so your cash back doesn’t have to be used for statement credits or direct deposits. Instead, you can redeem your cash back for travel through the Chase travel portal or you can simply transfer your rewards to another Chase card that earns points instead of cash back.

If you have multiple Chase cards, you can combine their rewards together in your online account. It only takes a few seconds to do and offers a few benefits:

  • Quicker redemptions: You don’t have to wait for your rewards to build on one card when you can combine rewards from all your cards. The more points you have pooled together, the quicker you can redeem them for what you want.
  • Increased redemption value: Points are worth 25% more toward travel redemptions with the Chase Ink Preferred. So if you transfer points from the Chase Ink Cash or Chase Ink Unlimited to the Chase Ink Preferred, their value instantly increases.
  • Transfer partners: The Chase Ink Preferred also provides the option to transfer your points to travel partners like JetBlue, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt. This offers a lot of flexibility for your points and some potentially great value if you find a good deal on airfare or a hotel stay.

Let’s say you have $50 worth of cash back, equal to 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points, on your Chase Ink Business Cash. You’d rather use your rewards for a hotel stay, so you transfer your points to your Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card. Now those points are worth $62.50 through the Chase travel portal. However, you can also transfer them to a hotel partner like the World of Hyatt loyalty program and get potentially even more value out of them.

For example, a one-night award stay at the Hyatt Regency Sofia in Sofia, Bulgaria, starts at 5,000 points. So you could transfer 5,000 points from your Chase Ink Preferred card to your World of Hyatt account and book an award night at the Hyatt Regency Sofia for $62.50.

Chase Business Card Bonus Categories

The cash price equivalent for the same room and dates would be $278. That’s a difference of $215.50 ($278 - $62.50 = $215.50) between paying in cash and paying by transferring your Ultimate Rewards to your World of Hyatt account.

Chase Business Card Bonus Categories

So if you want to put in a little more effort to get a lot more value, be sure to transfer your Chase rewards to a card like the Chase Ink Preferred to open up your redemption options, and also be sure to investigate opportunities to transfer those points again to the various Chase hospitality partners.

Other things to consider

As you look to maximize your earnings with your Chase Ink cards, be sure to keep a few things in mind:

  • Weigh the benefits. Consider the value each Chase Ink card brings to the table, both in earning potential and the perks provided. For instance, the Chase Ink Cash offers the best earning rate on phone services, but the Chase Ink Preferred provides cell phone protection. So which card should you use to pay your phone bill? Having your phone covered in case of damage or theft may offer a lot more value than the extra points you could earn from one card over another.
  • Each card offers value. Just because the Ink Business Preferred card has a $95 annual fee, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better in every situation than the Ink cards that don’t charge an annual fee. The Chase Ink Cash card actually offers a higher earning rate on certain categories than the Chase Ink Preferred. Also, the Chase Ink Unlimited is the best Chase Ink card of the bunch when it comes to purchases that don’t fall into any bonus category.
  • Calculate the cost. It should be easy to see whether the $95 annual fee on the Chase Ink Preferred is worth it for you to pay each year. Take a look at your earnings on your Chase Ink cards and see whether you’ve earned enough to offset the annual cost. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed at a rate of 1 cent per point, so you’d need to earn at least 9,500 points for $95 in cash back. For travel redemptions on the Chase Ink Preferred, you’d need to earn just 7,600 points to get $95 in value because points are worth 25% more.
  • Compare the introductory APRs: The Ink Unlimited receives a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months and the Ink Cash receives 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months. These intro APR rates can be helpful for business owners who need to make essential purchases but want to avoid paying interest on them for a while.
  • Consider other Chase credit card offers. You may not need all three Chase Ink business cards if you already have other Chase credit cards. For example, the Chase Sapphire cards can also help you get great redemption value from your points. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you get a 50% bonus on travel redemptions, whereas the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a 25% bonus. If you also have a Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited for their earning potential, you may need only one or two Chase Ink cards to earn the most points in certain spending categories.

FAQs

Which Chase Ink card is the best for a small business?

The best Chase Ink card for a small business depends on the typical expenses involved with the business. Each Chase Ink card offers different earning rates on different categories, so you’d need to choose the one that best suits your spending habits and financial situation.

However, most business owners would be better off getting all three Chase Ink cards, including the Chase Ink Business Preferred, Chase Ink Business Cash, and Chase Ink Unlimited. This would give you the widest range of bonus categories to help you maximize your earnings on business expenses.

How often can you get a Chase Ink bonus?

Chase doesn’t have an official policy on how often you can get a Chase Ink sign-up bonus. You may be able to get Chase Ink welcome bonuses multiple times if you have multiple businesses and apply for the same card again for a different business.

How many Chase Ink cards can I have?

Chase doesn’t likely have a hard limit on how many Chase business cards you can have. You can have all three of the Chase Ink cards, including the Ink Business Preferred, Ink Business Cash, and Ink Business Unlimited. You can also have multiples of the same Chase Ink cards.

Just be aware Chase has rules and guidelines in place that may restrict you from qualifying for more business cards with them. This includes the Chase 5/24 rule and Chase 1/30 rule, as well as their assessment of your credit score.

Chase will also restrict your new card applications if you already have too much credit with them. You may be able to request that Chase reallocate part of a credit line from an existing card to a new card, though.


Bottom line

Chase Ink cards are some of the best credit cards for small business owners looking to earn lucrative rewards on business purchases they’re already making. Because these cards offer high-quality earning potential on everyday business expenses, it’s easy to start racking up rewards, especially when you have more than one card from this credit card issuer.

The most valuable points-earning strategy with Chase Ink cards is to use all three at once. The annual cost for all three cards is low and you’ll have a lot more options when it comes to maximizing your earnings on different types of purchases.

Hot Sign-up Bonus

Benefits

  • 100,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X points on travel and common business spending categories
  • Flexible redemption options
  • Additional employee cards at no extra cost