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The Ink Business Cash Credit Card vs. The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

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Being a solopreneur or owning a small business can be stressful enough; adding financial worries to the equation can make things even more difficult. Having access to tools like a good business credit card can help support business goals like alleviating cash crunches and earning rewards on essential business spending. If your card can help secure protections for things like travel, cellphones and other purchases—even better.

As an issuer, Chase has a great selection of business cards offering many perks and benefits that support small business owners. Today, we’re going to compare two of its popular business credit cards: the Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

Essentially, the Ink Business Cash card works for businesses with moderate annual spending and an opportunity to earn rewards without paying an annual fee. The Ink Business Preferred works for businesses that might spend (and redeem) more rewards for travel purchases with high spend in select business categories.

However, there are a few finer details to pay attention to in this analysis, so we’ll take a look at the important card features to help you choose the one that works best for your business needs.

Main Details

Ink Business Cash Credit Card Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Welcome bonus $750 bonus cash back when you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
Rewards rate
  • 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • 2 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • 1 percent back on all other purchases
  • 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year (then 1X points)
  • Plus 1X points on all other purchases
Intro APR offer 0 percent intro APR for 12 months; 14.74 percent to 20.74 percent variable thereafter N/A
Annual fee $0 $95

Ink Business Cash Card vs. Ink Business Preferred highlights

Welcome bonus winner: Ink Business Preferred

You’ll get 100,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points when you spend $15,000 on your Ink Business Preferred in the first three months from account opening. The good news is that you’ve got plenty of redemption options that can make the bonus very valuable. In fact, if you redeem the welcome bonus for travel through the Ultimate Rewards site, your points could be worth up to $1,250, since you get a value of 1.25 cents per point when redeeming points this way.

The Ink Business Cash Card does offer a $750 welcome bonus that requires you to spend $7,500 within the first three months of opening your account. In terms of dollar amount, it’s lower, but if you are not sure you can make the $15,000 spending requirement for the Ink Business Preferred, then this welcome bonus would be more attainable for you.

Rewards rate winner: Ink Business Preferred

You will earn 5 percent back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services for the Ink Business Cash Card, then 2 percent back on restaurant and gas station spending. Other spending will earn 1 percent cash back. For the 5 percent and 2 percent categories, your cash back is capped at $25,000 in each category, which limits how much cash back you can actually earn each year.

Even with the lower rewards rate than the Business Cash card, we think you’ll come out better with more bonus categories and a high annual limit on your spending in these categories. For this reason, we’re choosing the Business Preferred as the rewards rate winner.

The Ink Business Preferred offers 3X on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Once you’ve reached that $150,000 limit, then you’ll earn 1X points on these categories and on all other spending.

For reference, here’s what you’ll earn 3X on with the Ink Business Preferred:

  • Travel
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media and search engines

Annual fee winner: Ink Business Cash Card

The Ink Business Cash card is a no-annual fee card. However, the nominal $95 annual fee for the Ink Business Preferred will give you access to additional benefits and perks that could more than justify the fee. Still, if savings is the goal, then the Ink Business Cash card would be your choice here.

Foreign transaction fee winner: Ink Business Preferred

The Ink Business Cash card has a 3 percent foreign transaction fee. The Ink Business Preferred has no fee for foreign transactions, making it a better business travel companion than the Ink Business Cash card.

Which card earns the most?

Ink Business Cash Card vs. Ink Business Preferred spending example

For the Ink Business Cash card, there are two earning tiers at 5 percent and 2 percent back— each capped at $25,000 per year (when your account anniversary comes). If, at minimum, you reach these limits, you could earn $1,250 back for the 5 percent back category then $500 back for restaurant and gas spending. Adding your $750 welcome bonus nets $2,500 in cash back the first year and $1,750 back in the years following.

With this card, there’s no annual fee to subtract, so your cash back is pretty much all profit. As long as you pay your balance off each month, you’ll skip out on interest fees and further the value of this card even more.

For the Ink Business Preferred, the rewards rate for the bonus categories is a tad lower, but the annual spending limit is much higher. If you spend at least $150,000 combined on the travel and select business categories, this means you could earn at least 450,000 Ultimate Rewards points per year.

Although you could redeem these points for $4,500 in cash, you could get $5,625 worth of travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Add the 100,000 welcome bonus, and your rewards could be worth $5,500, or $6,875 in travel, for the first year of card ownership.

If you take out the $95 annual fee, you still net between $5,405 and $6,780 in rewards value on this card. After the first year, you’d still make out with $4,405 ($4,500 minus the $95 annual fee) or $5,530 ($5,625 minus the $95 annual fee).

Here, we can see that you stand to earn way more with the Ink Business Preferred, even when you factor in the annual fee. The caveat is that your business must 1) do quite a bit of spending on an annual basis 2) spend on the bonus categories to earn the 3X rewards.

Depending on your business, this could be an easy task. For instance, an online business could easily hit those limits for shipping and social media advertising alone. If your business is dependent on travel and you cover employees for business trips, you could also reach the $150,000 pretty quickly as well. If your business model requires spending in the 3X categories, you could rack up rewards quickly and easily with the Business Preferred card.

Why should you get the Ink Business Cash Card?

You’d get this card if you have moderate spending each year ($50,000 or less on the designated bonus categories) and don’t need substantial discounts or cash back for your travel spend.

Additional benefits

This card features a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months. After this term is over, you’ll pay 14.74 percent to 20.74 percent variable APR. This could be useful for a large purchase you need to pay for over time.

You’ll also enjoy purchase protection for up to 120 days against damage or theft (up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account) and a 12-month extended warranty when you make an eligible purchase with your card. The extended warranty only applies to qualifying warranties of up to three years.

The travel protection comes in handy for car rentals. This primary car rental coverage means your rental vehicle is covered up to the cash value of the vehicle in case of theft or collision in qualifying locations.

Finally, if you have employees, they can access your account as authorized users with their own cards. You’ll get employee cards at no additional cost and have the ability to set spending limits for them.

Redemption options

You can receive rewards as cash or redeem them as gift cards, travel rewards or pay with points for select products or services. You can also combine points with another Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards to redeem your rewards for Chase’s transfer partners. (Note, the Ink Business Cash doesn’t allow you to transfer to partners on its own.)

Recommended credit score

You’ll need good to excellent (670 to 850) credit to qualify for this card.

Why should you get the Ink Business Preferred?

The Ink Business Preferred card is for businesses that spend more in the 3X categories. The rewards potential is maximized if you can reach the $150,000 annual limit and redeem rewards for travel.

It’s also good to know that you can use this card to earn rewards with business spending and redeem them for personal travel. It’s perfectly legal, and one way business owners get the most value from this card.

Additional benefits

Like the Ink Business Cash Card, you’ll get free employee cards with the ability to set spending limits for them. The Ink Business Preferred also offers several travel and purchase protections:

  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance: Prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares and hotels, can be reimbursed up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip in the event of covered situations like sickness and weather.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: Pay for your auto rental vehicle with your card, then decline the rental agency’s insurance. From here, you’ll get primary coverage up to the cost of the vehicle in the event of theft or collision.
  • Extended warranty protection: Eligible purchases with U.S. manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less will be protected for an additional year.
  • Purchase protection: New purchases are covered for 120 days against damage or theft for up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Cellphone protection: Cardholders or the employees listed on the monthly cellphone bill paid by your card can enjoy up to $600 per claim (three claims per 12 months with a $100 deductible) in cellphone protection against covered theft or damage.

Redemption options

The great thing about Ink Business Preferred card is that you have several options to redeem your points, including at a higher rate for travel booked through the Ulitmate Rewards portal. Here are additional redemption options:

  • Cash back, in the form of a statement credit or a direct deposit (eligible for most U.S. checking and savings accounts)
  • Gift cards and vouchers to over 150 participating merchants
  • Merchandise via Shop Through Chase and the Apple Ultimate Rewards Store
  • Shopping with points at eligible websites’ checkout screens, including Amazon and PayPal

Recommended credit score

You’ll need good to excellent (670 to 850) credit to qualify for this card.

The bottom line

Both of these cards offer business owners the opportunity to earn rewards on their business spending. One has a lower spending limit for rewards and no annual fee (the Ink Business Cash Card) while the other, the Ink Business Preferred, has a higher spending limit, better redemption value for points for travel and an annual fee. The one you choose will depend on the stage your business is in. If you are smaller and don’t hit $150,000 in annual spending with no need for discount travel, then you can start off with the Ink Business Cash card.

If you spend near or over the $150,000 annual limit in the bonus categories and value the travel redemption options this card offers, the Ink Business Preferred might be the way to go. Because these cards are in the same card family, by the same issuer, you also have the option to upgrade or downgrade your card, or even pair them strategically for better earning and redeeming opportunities as needed. If you feel like you haven’t made the best choice or your needs change, there’s still flexibility to course-correct as needed.

Written by
Aja McClanahan
Personal Finance Writer
Aja McClanahan is an author, blogger and speaker on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Aja is the author of "How a Mother Should Talk About Money with Her Daughter."
Edited by
Senior Editor, Credit Card Product News
Reviewed by
Associate Editor
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Part of  Introduction to the Chase Ink Business Cash Card