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A few days ago Chase launched a new sign-up bonus on the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, which is by far the biggest sign-up bonus that has ever been offered on the card. The Ink Business Cash has a sign-up bonus of $500 cash back (which can potentially be converted into 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 within three months. This is a massive sign-up bonus for a no annual fee card.
Yesterday I wrote a post sharing seven reasons (other than the sign-up bonus) that you should consider applying for the card. One question I’ve been asked a few times since then is whether it makes more sense to apply for the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. Let’s take a closer look at that question.
The basics of the Chase Ink Cash & Chase Ink Preferred
Here are the basics of the Ink Business Cash:
- Sign-up bonus: $500 cash back (which can potentially be converted into 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 within three months
- Annual fee: $0
- Return on spend: 5x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per account anniversary year at office supply stores, and on internet, cable, and phone services, as well as 2x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per account anniversary year at restaurants and gas stations
Meanwhile for the Ink Business Preferred:
- Sign-up bonus: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
- Annual fee: $95
- Return on spend: 3x points on the first $150,000 of combined purchases per account anniversary year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
One important point of clarification is that on the surface the Ink Business Cash is a cash back card, while the Ink Business Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards points. However, if you have the Ink Cash in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and/or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, then you can also convert those points into Ultimate Rewards points.
Which card should you apply for?
In absolute terms the Ink Business Preferred has a significantly bigger sign-up bonus. Actually, I’d argue it has the single best sign-up bonus of any credit card at the moment. However, that sign-up bonus has also been around for over a year, so it seems like it’s not going anywhere anytime soon .
Meanwhile the sign-up bonus on the Ink Business Cash is by far the best it has ever been, though it’s still 30,000 points lower than on the Ink Preferred. So there are two ways to look at it:
- In absolute terms, the Ink Preferred has a better sign-up bonus
- In relative terms, the Ink Cash has a more compelling sign-up bonus, since it’s limited time and we’ve never seen such a big sign-up bonus on the card (the previous bonus was $300/30,000 points)
If you’ll only ever be able to apply for one of the two cards, I’d go for the Ink Preferred. If you’re able to apply for one card now and one card later (whether that’s in a month or a year), personally I’d apply for the Ink Cash now and Ink Preferred later. There’s no guarantee the Ink Preferred sign-up bonus will stay at its current level forever, though I generally feel confident that it will have a bigger sign-up bonus than the Ink Cash long term.
The two cards are complements and not substitutes
Many people view this as an option between one or the other, which is perhaps the case if you’re near the 5/24 limit, and won’t be under it again for a long time. However, long term I think there’s potentially tons of value in having both cards. That goes way beyond the sign-up bonuses as well. The Ink Cash has no annual fee and offers 5x points in completely different categories than the Ink Preferred, so you could have both cards and maximize value that way.
While the Ink Business Preferred continues to have the best sign-up bonus of any credit card, there is something to be said for prioritizing applications for credit cards that currently have a “best ever” bonus that’s limited time. Getting a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points on a no annual fee card that offers a lucrative return on spend, like the Ink Business Cash, is compelling.
If I were considering applying for one card or the other, right now I’d choose the Ink Cash. At least that’s the case if I knew that I could eventually apply for and be approved for the Ink Preferred. If you know you’ll only ever be able to get one card and not the other (even long term), then I’d probably select the Ink Preferred.
What do you guys think — is it more worthwhile to apply for the Ink Cash with the 50K bonus, or Ink Preferred with the 80K bonus?