Co-branded credit cards typically all offer the same thing – extra miles/points when using the card for the specific brand and a lower amount for other kinds of spending. Chase cards, in particular, did not really offer much of an incentive to use some cards for anything beyond airline/hotel spending.
Marriott And United Business Cards Add Bonus Spending Categories
That has changed now as the United and Marriott business cards have added bonus spending categories. They are now in line with the Chase Ink cards for what constitutes a bonus, but the payout is much smaller than the Ink cards. Here are the new spending/bonus terms:
United Business Card
Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores and 2 miles for each $1 spent on tickets purchased from United
Marriott Business Card
2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, car rental agencies and on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, PLUS at office supply stores and for Internet, cable and phone service purchases
While the Marriott card had offered some extra points for bonus categories (like the Hyatt card), now they have also added the popular office supply stores, and telecommunication categories to their spending bonuses.
Admittedly, for anyone who holds a Chase Ink card, these additions are not going to really change their card usage. That is because the Chase Ink cards have 5x point earnings on those category classes instead of 2x. Not only that, but the points earned with the Ink cards are transferrable to United, Marriott, and many other travel providers. So, if you have a Chase Ink card, keep using that for your office supply stores, telecommunications, and even gas purchases (the Chase Ink cards also pay out 2X points on gas purchases and hotel purchases). Here is what the comparisons look like:[table “” not found /]
Of course, the United card continues to earn 2X miles on United airline tickets and the Marriott card continues to earn 5X points for Marriott hotel transactions.
Should You Use The Marriott Or United Business Cards For These Categories?
When it comes down to it, you are going to be better off using your Chase Ink card for all of the above purchases, especially if you plan on transferring to United or Marriott (since they transfer at 1:1). The one instance where you may not want to is if you are trying to go for the $25,000 of spending in a calendar year on the United Business card. If you hit that threshold, you will receive a bonus of 10,000 miles, essentially giving you a 40% bonus on your spending. If you need to use it for spending in the above categories to hit that threshold, then keep going. Otherwise, stick with your Chase Ink card(s) (assuming you have one).
While most of us will not change their spending habits because of this change, it is nice to see Chase fattening up the bonus categories on co-branded cards. This is nice especially for the consumer that has just a couple/few cards that they choose to use.