|"One of the best small business credit cards. Especially a good value for companies without major travel expenses."|
- Ink Plus® Business Credit Card Review
- Analysis of the Features & Rewards for the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
- Comparisons for the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
The Ink Plus® Business Credit Card is one of our top picks for best business credit cards because it has a nice overall rewards rate (especially for office supplies and telecommunication services) and useful suite of services for business owners. Chase sweetens the card's appeal with a signing bonus of 60,000 points. Read more about how the Ink Plus Business credit card’s features and benefits work and compare in our review below.
The Ink Plus® Business Credit Card is a great business credit card for entrepreneurs who are just starting out, spend a lot at office supply stores or phone and internet services, and want to reward themselves with travel. With the Ink Plus, there are a few categories that you can earn 5x the points on: office supply stores, internet services, and telephone / cell phone charges. This makes it excellent for a starter entrepreneur – you can get 5x the points on setting up your business when buying new office furniture down to the pens and safety pins. If you’re a freelancer or an independent contractor, the expenses you pay to do business over the internet should qualify for the Plus's bonus points. Graphic design or advertising businesses as well can benefit from the extra points by printing and publishing material at an office supply store.
The signing bonus, one of the largest out there for business cards, doesn't hurt either - it's worth anywhere approximately $750 when used towards travel rewards. Put another way, this bonus can cover at least seven years of the annual fee. In general, to make up for the $95 you’ll have to spend at least $9,500 each year in the long run to earn enough points to pay it off in cash.
Bottom line: the higher the percentage of office supply and telecommunication expenses, and the more you redeem your points for Ultimate Rewards travel, the more worthwhile the card is for business owners. To maximize earning rewards at 5%, you'll have to use the card just for the bonus categories. By redeeming the points you've earned towards travel through their Ultimate Rewards tool, you squeeze 25% more value compared to just getting cash back. Combining these two bumps the maximum rewards rate up to 6.25%. In any event, travel is certainly a nice way to reward oneself after investing so much into growing a business!
|Ink Plus® Business Credit Card Features|
|APR on Purchase||15.49% - 19.49% Variable|
|Rewards||Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.|
|Earn 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year.|
|1 point per $1 on all other purchases|
|Bonus||Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.|
|Additional Benefits||1:1 point transfer to partner travel programs|
|20% off travel when points are redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards|
Earning Points & Redeeming Rewards with the Ink Plus®
Chase offers several categories for bonus points, and an incentive for entrepreneurs to redeem their points for travel. Below, we'll address several questions and show how the rewards rate on this card can change based on spending and redeeming.
How do you earn points with the Ink Plus?
What determines the 5x bonus is how the merchant is categorized, and not what you purchase. National big-box retailers like Staples and Office Max generally are coded as office supply stores. Smaller and independent multi-purpose stores that sell office supplies can be categorized differently, however, so just check with a test purchase first. On the other hand, this means that buying snacks and cleaning supplies at an office supply store get 5x the points! As for utility charges, the ongoing service component generally earns 5x the points, but the hardware and equipment (such as a new cell phone) typically falls into the 1x category. The Ink Plus's gas station, and hotel bonuses are nice too, but generally par for the course with business credit cards. All other net purchases not covered get one point per dollar.
There is a cap on the bonus categories of $50,000 in combined purchases. Everything you earn under the 5x points category goes towards a single cap of $50k, while all gas station and nights booked directly with your hotel go towards a separate but still single cap of $50k.
How can you redeem points for rewards on the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card?
You can redeem points for pure cash back, gift cards, or various awards and travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Converting points to cash or a gift card is worth 0.01 cents per point, while exchanging points for Ultimate Rewards travel is worth 0.0125 cents per point. 100,000 points on the Ink Plus can be worth either $1,000 in cash back, or $1,250 towards Ultimate Rewards travel. You also have the option of transferring points on a 1:1 basis for valuable miles at frequent travel program partners such as British Airways, United MileagePlus, and Marriott Rewards.
How can you maximize the rewards rate for the Ink Plus Business Credit Card?
The rewards rate on this card depends on how much you spend on office supplies and telecommunication services relative to your other expenses and how you redeem the points.
The more you shift the balance of your purchases towards office supplies and telecommunications charges (which get 5x points), the higher your overall rewards rate approaches a 5% return back. Chase also grants Ink Plus cardmembers the opportunity to earn 25% extra by redeeming points for travel on the Ultimate Rewards website, which multiplies your rewards by 1.25x. This table illustrates how Ink Plus rewards change based on how $40,000 gets spent and redeemed on an ongoing basis. The rewards rate you earn on an ongoing basis (not factoring in the annual fee) ranges from 1% (no bonus category spending and no travel redemption) to 6.25% (all bonus category spending and only travel redemption).
|$40,000 in Annual Spending||Points Accrued||Cash Value / Rewards %||Travel* Value / Rewards %|
|$40,000 on inventory and all other||40,000||$400 / 1.00%||$500 / 1.25%|
|$10,000 on office supplies, $30,000 on inventory and all other||80,000||$800 / 2.00%||1,000 / 2.50%|
|$20,000 on office supplies, $15,000 on travel (hotels), $5,000 on all other||135,000||1,350 / 3.38%||1,687 / 4.22%|
|$30,000 on office supplies, $5,000 on travel (hotels), $5,000 on all other||165,000||1,650 / 4.13%||2,063 / 5.16%|
|$40,000 on office supplies and telecommunications services||200,000||2,000 / 5.00%||2,500 / 6.25%|
* Redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
There’s some confusion over whether the Ultimate Rewards incentive is 20% or 25%. It's really the same benefit but two different ways of looking at it. 10,000 points is worth $100 in cash, or $125 in Ultimate Rewards travel. Redeeming for $125 in Ultimate Rewards travel is 25% more value than redeeming for $100 in cash ([$125 - $100] / $100). Without this travel redemption bonus, it would have taken 12,500 points to redeem for $125. The 10,000 points (with the travel perk) is a 20% discount to the 12,500 points that would have been required ([12,500 – 10,000] / 12,500).
Signing Bonus for the Ink Plus
Chase is currently offering 60,000 bonus points, or $750 when redeemed through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Center for travel. To get the bonus points, you'll have to charge at least $5,000 to your new credit card within the first three months from account opening. While there is a small grace period to account for the card’s processing, business owners should confirm when their three-month countdown ends.
Bonus Eligibility for Existing Chase Cardholders
And great news, Chase's credit card representatives confirmed that existing personal and business cardmembers may still be eligible for this bonus if they're applying for their very first Ink Plus business credit card.
Some of the more thankless but necessary responsibilities of being a small business owner are the administrative side of operating a business: keeping track of expenses and receipts, and monitoring employee spending. There are no fees for employee credit cards with the Ink Plus, and Chase makes it easy to manage each employee’s spending limits.
Chase has also developed an Android and iPhone app that helps out Ink Plus business owners. Perhaps what’s most helpful to business owners is the instant alerts the primary cardholder gets when an employee swipes a purchase on the card – great for peace of mind and keeping on top of expenses. Spending limits can be set individually and on the go, so that you can authorize an assistant manager to have more purchasing power, or rein in another employee's spending. Another feature that’s convenient is the ability to take a photo of a receipt, and tag and file it with a specific charge for easier record keeping. You can also export transactions easily to various bookkeeping software, such as Quicken, or Intuit for profitability analysis or tax season.
While the Ink Plus is one of our favorite business cards, there are other cards that might be more suited to your business's spending and growth needs.
This card is worthwhile when businesses charge a higher amount to their credit cards and redeem for travel. The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is a no annual fee cash back card, with lower caps on its special bonus categories, that makes more sense for smaller businesses. The bonus categories and points are the same, but the maximums on the special categories are different: the Ink Plus category cap is twice that of the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. Furthermore, the fee for the Plus unlocks a 25% bonus in redemption towards travel, which the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card does not get. The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, however, has a nice 0% introductory APR that's more sympathetic to businesses whose cash flows are more irregular, such as a start-up.
|Ink Plus® Business Credit Card||Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card|
|Bonus Category Maximums||$50,000||$25,000|
|Travel Redemption Bonus||+25%||None|
|Intro APR||None||0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months|
|Ongoing APR||15.49% to 19.49% (variable)||14.49% - 20.49% (variable)|
Ink Plus® Business Credit Card vs. Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
The Ink Plus® Business Credit Card highlights bonus points for select purchases, and has a redemption bonus for travel, while the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business just gives 2% cash straight back on all purchases.
How much do your credit card purchases swing towards buying at office big-box stores or paying for wireless and telephone bills? If those are a large proportion of your annual bill, then the Ink Plus® is generally a more rewarding card. On the other hand, if you use your business credit card more to pay for your business’s inventory, or employee meals, then the 2% rewards you’ll get from the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business ( $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that) is better. 2% over your small business’s total credit card spending will likely be higher than 5x the points earned on a small percentage of your bill.
Comments and Questions
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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.