How I earned over 150,000 points just by putting my regular freelancer expenses on a small-business credit card

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The author, Jackie Lam, uses her Ink Business Preferred card to earn rewards on her freelancing expenses.

I opened the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card for my small business as a freelance writer.
Between the welcome bonus, referral offers, and everyday spending, I’ve earned over 150,000 points.
I’ll use those rewards toward the purchase of a new laptop or for business travel expenses.
Read Insider’s guide to the best small-business credit cards.

Having been a full-time freelance writer for nearly six years, one of my regrets is that I didn’t open a small-business credit card sooner. After I opened the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, I soon realized how for several years, paying cash or with a debit card for common small-business expenses was like leaving money on the table.

Fast forward to nearly three years since opening my Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, I’ve earned over 150,000 points mainly by using it to pay recurring bills and business-related expenses. Besides generating extra points, I get benefits like cell phone protection, extended warranty, and purchase protection on purchases I make with my card.

Here’s how I earned my points:

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

I earned the welcome bonus by using my card to pay estimated taxes

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

When I opened my card in early 2019, there was a generous welcome bonus of 80,000 points if you spent $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has an even larger welcome bonus now, but the minimum spending requirement is higher too. New cardholders can earn Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

Read more: Chase Ink Business Preferred card review: A great credit card for small-business owners, with a sign-up bonus worth at least $1,250 in travel

As I don’t typically put that much on my card, I decided to wait until the beginning of the year when my estimated quarterly taxes as a freelancer were due. I owed about $5,000 and decided to use my credit card to pay my taxes. That way I could rake in those extra points in one fell swoop, and not make unnecessary purchases.

While there was a fee to pay my taxes with a credit card, I figured the welcome bonus points would offset the fee.

I earned 20,000 points by referring fellow freelancers

This card also had a referral program: For every person I referred who got approved for the card, I scooped up 20,000 bonus points. A fellow freelance writer friend inquired about the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card in particular, as she knew I had one and was a fan.

Read more: You can earn up to 75,000 bonus points a year on your credit card, just by convincing your friends to sign up

After sending her my referral link, she opened her account, and I scored additional points, bringing my total to 100,000 points.

I took advantage of earning 3x points in bonus categories

While the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers 1 point per dollar spent on most purchases, there are a handful of categories that offer 3 points per dollar, on up to $150,000 in combined spending per year (then 1x): shipping purchases, advertising purchases on social media sites and search engines, internet, cable, and phone services, and travel.

Read more: The best travel rewards credit cards

This year alone, nearly half of the points I accrued were from spending in these bonus categories.

I plan on using my rewards to purchase a big-ticket item or on future travel

While I’m not entirely sure how I’ll go about using the points I’ve earned on my card thus far, it most likely will be on a new laptop or perhaps for a freelance writers’ retreat that might be happening next spring.

The points balance I have right now is worth about $1,600 in cash back or toward an online purchase through the Apple Store. If I decide to use my rewards for business-related travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal or through Pay Yourself Back, they’d be worth over $1,900 because you get 25% more value when you redeem this way.

Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Another possibility is to redeem some of the points toward gift cards, which I can use as holiday gifts for clients and freelancers I’ve hired. Currently, there are over 125 different merchants in the Chase portal that offer gift cards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth, on average, 1.8 cents apiece based on Insider’s points and miles valuations – because you can often get outsized value by transferring points to airline and hotel partners to book award travel.

I also enjoy added benefits

Besides earning rewards points, I enjoy perks from the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, particularly while traveling, including no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and car rental insurance.

When I make large purchases for my business with the card, I get benefits like purchase protection and extended warranty. There’s also cell phone protection, which might come in handy as I purchased a new cell phone earlier this year.

Read more: Chase credit cards offer purchase protection if a new item is damaged or stolen – here’s how to file a claim

While there is a Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card annual fee for the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, I’ve personally found that the perks and points earned are worth the cost of the card.

Further, as I’m using my card for recurring bills, and large-ticket items I plan for in advance, I pay my card in full each month. That way I won’t be racking up a balance just to earn points. I’ve found that when used wisely and with a bit of planning, having a small-business credit card can help me earn points that translate to cash that I can put back into my business.

Related Content Module: More Credit Card CoverageRelated Product Module: Small Business Credit Cards

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