While we pretty much all agree that transferable rewards are the best kind to earn, most of us who regularly earn and use points and miles have some strong opinions about which rewards program is the best.
Personally, I am staunchly Team Chase Ultimate Rewards. I enjoy the ability to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to 14 airline and hotel partners for maximum value.
To maximize my Ultimate Rewards points earning potential while keeping my annual fees low, I use four cards: the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Chase Freedom Flex and the Ink Business Cash Credit Card. Only the Preferred has an annual fee, so I can take advantage of a wide range of bonus categories and pay just one $95 annual fee across the four cards.
Here’s why the Ink Business Cash is a key part of my strategy.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points
On its own, the Ink Business Cash is a cash-back card, but if you have a card that earns transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points — the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card — you can combine your points and transfer all your rewards to any of Chase’s hotel and airline partners.
Personally, I love to stretch my points by booking Southwest Airlines flights during the carrier’s seasonal sales and staying at Category 1 Hyatt properties. The option to transfer my Ultimate Rewards to both of these programs, as well as Chase’s 12 other hotel and airline partners, makes Chase points the most valuable points currency to me.
Complementary bonus categories
I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn 3 points per dollar spent on dining and streaming, as well as 2 points per dollar spent on travel purchases. Then, I use my Freedom Flex for 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories (5% on up to the first $1,500 each quarter; activation required) and my Freedom Unlimited to earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on purchases that don’t earn bonus points on my other cards (up to $20,000 spent in a year).
The Ink Business Cash bonus categories fit perfectly with these other cards. It earns 5 points per dollar on the first $25,000 spent each year at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services, as well as 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations and restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
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Cable, phone and internet services
Of course, I put all the bills I can on a credit card to earn rewards on that spending. Before I got the Ink Business Cash, I used my Freedom Unlimited and only earned 1.5 points per dollar spent on my pricey cable, phone and internet bills.
Now, I put these bills on my Ink Business Cash and earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar. Even if you spend just $250 per month on these expenses, you’ll earn 15,000 points per year, worth $150 in cash or $300 in travel, according to TPG valuations.
Office supply stores
At first glance, earning 5 points per dollar spent at office supply stores doesn’t seem lucrative. Before getting my Ink Business Cash, I happily ordered my highlighters and office furniture from Amazon and earned 1.5 points per dollar with my trusty Freedom Unlimited, rarely feeling a need to go to a specific store.
When I started looking for ways to take advantage of the office supply store bonus category, though, I realized it’s a gold mine. Not only do I now earn 5 points per dollar on my highlighters, but I also get home and travel essentials from my local office supply store when I can to earn 5 points per dollar on things like paper towels, coffee and travel-size toothpaste. When upgrading my technology or furniture, earning 5 points per dollar on those expensive purchases is fantastic, too.
But the hidden gem of office supply stores is their vast array of gift card options. I can earn 5 points per dollar spent when I buy gift cards to give as gifts but also for myself to use at places where I know I’ll spend money anyway. By taking an extra step and getting gift cards to my favorite stores and restaurants, I earn 5 points per dollar spent on these purchases as well.
If you max out the 5% categories on the Ink Business Cash, the 12,500 points you’ll earn each year are worth $1,250 in cash or $2,500 in travel, according to TPG valuations.
Gas stations and restaurants
Since multiple Chase cards earn 3 points per dollar spent on dining, you’ll want to use one of them instead of the Ink Business Cash when you dine out, as it only earns 2 points per dollar spent on restaurant purchases.
When the Freedom Flex has gas stations as one of its 5% quarterly bonus categories, you’ll want to use it when you fill up at the pump. For the rest of the year, the Ink Business Cash is the only card that earns bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points on gas station purchases. With it, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar, a higher return than the 1.5 points you’d earn with the Freedom Unlimited.
No annual fee
Yet another great thing about the Ink Business Cash is that it doesn’t have an annual fee to worry about justifying. Since I also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and can transfer all the rewards I earn with this card to World of Hyatt and Southwest Rapid Rewards, keeping this card in my wallet is a no-brainer.
Even if I focused on cash-back rewards, earning 5% cash back at office supply stores and on cable, phone and internet services and 2% back at restaurants and gas stations is an impressive earning structure for a card with no annual fee.
Business card eligibility
Since the Ink Business Cash is a business card, you may assume you aren’t eligible if you aren’t a business owner in the traditional sense. However, many people are surprised to learn that their additional income streams qualify them for business cards.
If you provide goods or services in exchange for money through activities such as selling online, serving as a notary public, farming, blogging or consulting, you’ll likely be eligible for a business credit card.
Related: How to get a business credit card
The Ink Business Cash offers incredible value, especially for a card without an annual fee. If you want to maximize your cash-back or Chase Ultimate Rewards earning potential, you’ll love this card as much as I do.
For more details, check out our full review of the Ink Business Cash.
Apply here: Ink Business Cash Credit Card