Chase Ink Cash: Is It Better Than The Ink Preferred?

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When you’re just getting into to miles and points, one of the first things you check when looking at a new card is the welcome bonus. I mean, who wouldn’t? If you’re going to give a new card a try, a little (or big) incentive can go a long way.

When deciding on a business card that can help earn Ultimate Rewards points, we can either get the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. The latter is has been extremely popular thanks to a welcome that has been sitting at 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points for quite some time.

Let’s be honest, I would have jumped at the opportunity to get it if weren’t for the pesky Chase 5/24 rule. That being said, I have often wondered whether the Chase Ink Cash might be a better card for those who already have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

When we consider the earning ability of the Ink Cash, I think many of you will find it provides a better return on our spend. Personally, I’ve held the Chase Ink Plus card for over two years now. It’s no longer available for application, but it’s very similar to the Ink Cash.

Don’t get me wrong, the Ink Preferred will be amazing for some business owners but I want to take a look at why the Ink Cash might be a better alternative for many small businesses.

Let’s start with a quick review of what each card offers.

Chase Ink Cash

  • Welcome bonus: $500 cash back
  • Minimum spend requirement: $3,000 in 3 months
  • 5% bonus categories: office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phone and landline up to $25,000 spent per cardmember year
  • 2% bonus categories: restaurants and gas stations up to $25,000 spent per cardmember year
  • Annual fee: $0

Chase Ink Preferred

  • Welcome bonus: 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points
  • Minimum spend requirement: $5,000 in 3 months
  • 3X bonus categories: travel, internet, cable, mobile phone and landline, digital ads and shipping up to $150,000 per cardmember year
  • Annual fee: $95 (not waived the first year)
  • Points transfer to airline and hotel partners
  • Points worth 1.25 cents each in the Ultimate Rewards travel portal

The argument for the Chase Ink Cash

Sure, the welcome bonus for the Ink Cash isn’t as high as the Ink Preferred but stick with me. The Ink Cash has bonus categories that could be very valuable to you. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better bonus on any card than the 5X bonus category.

5x bonus categories are the best in the industry

Electronics office supply

Just about everyone has internet, TV and mobile phone expenses these days. Heck, I’m glued to my phone and laptop on a daily basis. Both cards can earn you bonus points for paying these expenses, but the 5X earned by the Ink Cash is clearly superior to the 3X of the Ink Preferred.

The 5X you earn at office supply stores is clearly a winner for those with brick and mortar offices. The list of items you can get at Staples or Office Depot is too long to list, but you can pretty much get everything you need such as office furniture, ink cartridges, tablets, laptops, paper, pens, and more.

It would be a tragedy to leave so many points on the table! Take it from me. Before I got into miles and points, I worked on political campaigns. I bought out a Staples AND an Office Depot of all their folding chairs and tables when setting up a campaign office.

Picked. Them. Clean.

That doesn’t even count the massive amount of supplies I bought throughout the campaign. I could have earned thousands upon thousands of Ultimate Rewards points without breaking a sweat.

I’m over it. Really, I am. 🙂

Turn everyday purchases into 5x categories

Okay, back to the good stuff. For the more creative out there, there’s another great way to utilize the office supply store bonus category.

You can turn the spend you do at other stores into 5X categories just by buying gift cards to stores such as GAP, Whole Foods and Home Depot.

If you use Amazon regularly, earning 5X on Amazon gift cards could be a huge boost to your points-earning ability. I actually know a couple business owners who purchase tons of stuff from Amazon and do this to earn more points on these purchases.

Earn 5X Ultimate Rewards on Southwest and Delta flights

Delta A330

Here’s a favorite of mine, buy Southwest and Delta gift cards when you need to get a cash ticket. If you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, you probably use them for cash tickets as they provide trip delay insurance and other travel protections.

Well, all you have to do is put a tiny bit of the airfare purchase on either card to be protected. This means you can use Southwest or Delta gift cards to pay for the rest to earn 5X instead of 3X with the Sapphire Reserve or 2X with the Sapphire Preferred. It’s the best of both worlds!

The only Ultimate Rewards card with a gas station bonus

Finally, the Ink Cash earns 2X on all gas station purchases. It’s the only card in the Ultimate Rewards family with gas stations as a bonus category — the Ink Plus does too but, as mentioned above, it’s no longer available.

Turn your cash back into flexible points

Park Hyatt Sydney
If you transfer 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, you can book a night at the Park Hyatt Sydney.

Now, you probably noticed the welcome bonus and bonus categories are cash back. This is only the case if you don’t have a card that earns Ultimate Rewards and has an annual fee — Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred.

For those who don’t have one of these cards and are just starting to explore the options, the Ink Cash is an easy way to dip a toe in the pool. You can simply utilize great cash back bonus categories or get a card to pair with it so that you can transfer the points to partners.

If you combine the points you earn from the Ink Cash under one of the premium cards mentioned above, your points instantly become flexible points that can be transferred to partners.

AirlinesHotels
Aer Lingus Aer ClubIHG Rewards Club
Air France/KLM Flying BlueMarriott Rewards
British Airways Executive ClubRitz-Carlton Rewards
Iberia PlusWorld Of Hyatt
JetBlue TrueBlue
Singapore KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

I recognize that the Ink Preferred’s 3X on travel and digital ads could be lucrative for some of you. Additionally, the $150,000 spend limit on the 3X categories is much higher than the $25,000 limit on the Ink Cash’s 5X categories. If you have tons of mobile phone and internet expenses, that might be important to you.

However, for many people, I would be willing to guess that the Ink Cash will earn more points over time.

How my Ink card helps me earn Ultimate Rewards

As I mentioned earlier, I have the Ink Plus Card which is very similar to the Ink Cash. It earns 5X at office supply stores and on internet and mobile phone purchases as well as 2X at gas stations.

I regularly take advantage of opportunities to earn 5X through office supply store purchases and, obviously, my mobile phone and internet bills are put on the card. I even reach for the card on when my car needs gas so I can earn 2X.

While the Ink Preferred does earn 3X on travel, I’m more than happy to use my Sapphire Reserve when booking flights or hotels, and getting an Uber, Lyft or taxi to earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points.

For the sake of giving you a complete picture, I also use the Chase Freedom Card to take advantage of the rotating 5X quarterly bonus categories and the Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn 1.5X on non-bonus category spend.

Some have called this combo of Chase cards the quadfecta and it has certainly helped me keep a stash of Ultimate Rewards points ready to go.

Bottom line

Look, I totally understand if people want the simplicity of having a 3X travel bonus category and the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners with the Ink Preferred.

If you’re someone with plenty of digital ad spend, then go ahead and ride the Ink Preferred to tons of Ultimate Rewards points. A friend of mine does this and I’m extremely jealous of him, given my $0 in digital ad spend.

However, I think many people are in a similar position as I am. We don’t spend money on ads, we have a Sapphire Reserve (or Sapphire Preferred) so we can transfer points to partners and we can pretty easily take advantage of 5X opportunities.

For those like me, I’d give the Ink Cash a hard look before jumping to the Ink Preferred just because it has a higher welcome bonus.

One final note. If you are like a couple friends of mine who can and do utilize the bonus categories of both the Ink Cash and Ink Preferred… you win. You can use both cards to earn all the points.

Which one of these do you think will help you earn the most Ultimate Rewards points possible?

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Comments

  1. @Spencer

    Am I missing something in your article? The benefits of the Cash card are 5% and 2% cashback. How do you get to the 5X and 2X earnings for the Ink Cash, which is mentioned in the article.

  2. The first link in the piece reference the “Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card” actually takes one to the Chase Sapphire Reserve page (………go/csr-50k-s/).

  3. Intermediate mileage user question: One user has Ink Cash and is an authorized user on my CSP. Can this person transfer points from the Ink Cash to my CSP rewards bank?

  4. Also one huge point, and I hope I am wrong, is that the Ink Cash has foreign transaction fees. This is crazy for a business card…

  5. might want to rethink that title – should either be is it the better card, or is it better than… Proofreading, and you dont undermine your credibility.

  6. My preference is actually as many regular freedom and Ink Cash cards as I can get with sapphire reserve

  7. “Finally, the Ink Cash earns 2X on all gas station purchases. It’s the only card in the Ultimate Rewards family with gas stations as a bonus category”

    Not true.

    Both the Ink Preferred (3x Travel) and Sapphire Reserve (3x Travel) will get you 3x at Gas Stations.

  8. Moho, Are you sure? Per the Chase site (CSR)

    3X Points on travel and dining worldwide

    Earn 3X Points on travel and dining at restaurants- from airfare and hotels to fine dining and cafés.

    Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

    ================================================
    mojo says:
    April 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    “Finally, the Ink Cash earns 2X on all gas station purchases. It’s the only card in the Ultimate Rewards family with gas stations as a bonus category”

    Not true.

    Both the Ink Preferred (3x Travel) and Sapphire Reserve (3x Travel) will get you 3x at Gas Stations.

  9. Mehdi has it right. The best play for many people will be:

    – get Ink Preferred for the bonus
    – product change to Ink Cash after a reasonable period

    Switching avoids the second year $95 fee and gets a no-AF card and the improved 5x point bonuses.

    I did it, no problem, on the phone after about 6 months. I don’t know why it couldn’t be done sooner.

  10. @DeltaCharlie: “Am I missing something in your article? The benefits of the Cash card are 5% and 2% cashback. How do you get to the 5X and 2X earnings for the Ink Cash, which is mentioned in the article.”

    Because the cash can be converted to UR points if you have another card that earns UR points.

  11. @Lucky One issue is if you receive the original bonus in cash you might have to pay taxes on it, as it may be reportable by the bank to the IRS , even if you then convert it to points. If you are initially given points that is not usually reportable. Has this been an issue?

  12. Has anyone had trouble getting approved for this card? My dad has a small vending business and was able to get the Ink preferred earlier. He would like to get this card so he can turn the cash back into an additional 50,000 points, but chase is asking for alot more documents to approve the card such as tax forms, articles of incorporation, etc. No business card he has had before has asked for these things. What gives?

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