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Is the Chase Ink Business Preferred Worth Its Annual Fee?

Nov. 26, 2019
Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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This article is being updated.

Finding the right credit card can be a challenge, and it might be even more difficult if you’re trying to pick the right card for your business. You have to answer questions like, “Why do I need a new card?” or “What benefits are important to me?”

Whether you’re a small-business owner or a freelancer, business expenses add up, and there are cards available that offer rewarding benefits and points-earning potential on everyday purchases targeted toward businesses. The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is one of these cards. But with a $95 annual fee, is it worth the cost?

It’s worth it if:

1. You have typical small-business expenses

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card was designed to be used for typical business expenses. You’ll earn 3 Ultimate Rewards® points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on combined travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services and social media/search engine advertising each account anniversary year.

If any of those are regular categories you spend money on for your small business, check your budget and find out how much you’re spending. The ability to earn 3 points per $1 can add up quickly, and Ultimate Rewards® points can be redeemed for travel with nearly any hotel or airline or for cash back.

» Learn more: Who can apply for a small-business credit card?

2. You travel

If you travel for your business, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is a solid option. Maybe you don’t have any of the other expenses above, but the ability to earn 3 Ultimate Rewards® points per $1 on up to $150,000 in annual spending on travel can be extremely rewarding.

If you have to rent a car for business purchases, you can also save money by declining the car rental company’s additional insurance and using protection through your credit card instead. You’ll also benefit from trip cancellation and interruption coverage and roadside dispatch. When you redeem your Ultimate Rewards® points for travel through the Chase travel portal, they’re worth 1.25 cents each, and you can also take advantage of 1:1 transfers to Chase’s partner hotels and airlines like Hyatt and United for even more flexibility.

If you travel but you’re not set on this card, these are some of the other great travel credit cards currently available.

3. You’re providing a credit card to employees

Do you have a manager or trusted employee who’s making work purchases? You can easily add an employee card to your account at no additional cost. That’s another card building up points for your account. You can adjust individual spending limits for each employee card, providing more leeway for more senior or more trusted employees. Just remember, this is still your account and you’re responsible for all of the charges made by the cards.

» Learn more: Should I get small-business credit cards for my employees?

4. You have big purchases coming up

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has one of the most valuable sign-up bonuses of any business credit card: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

As a small business with expenses, that might be an easy spending goal to reach — but if your monthly expenses are low, this could the time to upgrade something big for your business and earn some additional points.

It’s not worth it if:

1. You don’t want to deal with points

Chase has several cards under the Ink label, and the other Ink business cards are good options too. While you can convert your Ultimate Rewards® points to cash, if you’re primarily interested in cash back for purchases, you might want to consider the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card or the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card — neither of which has an annual fee.

Even if you’re interested in points, think about what you want to exchange those points for. Chase Ultimate Rewards® points can be used toward purchases at Amazon.com, redeemed for travel credit, or used to acquire gift cards, but the best way to get value out of the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is to make use of Chase Ultimate Rewards® transfer partners or the 25% bonus your points are worth when redeemed through Chase Travel. If you’re not using these benefits, it may not be worth paying the $95 annual fee.

2. You frequently entertain clients

If a major part of your business is schmoozing clients, this may not be the card for you. There are no bonuses for spending on food, drinks or entertainment. Other cards do provide bonus points in those areas, so look into those options if dining and entertainment are major expenses for your business.

3. You have minimal expenses

Some small businesses or freelancers can run lean. If your costs are low, it sounds like you’re doing something right. But the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card comes with a $95 annual fee. If you aren’t spending much on shipping, internet or travel, then the 3 points per $1 spent bonus won’t do much for you.

With few expenses, it’ll take longer to earn back the $95 fee in points, and that could mean you’re paying for something you aren’t using. Instead, consider a card like the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card that earns 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases and doesn’t have an annual fee.

» Learn more: 8 best no-annual-fee credit cards of 2019

The bottom line

For some businesses, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card will pay for itself in no time at all. But if you aren’t spending on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone or search engine/social media advertising (or if you don’t want to deal with redeeming points), this card may not be for you.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Who can apply for a small business credit card?
NerdWallet’s best small business credit cards

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