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Chase has unveiled the business twin to the consumer Chase Freedom Unlimited card. It’s called Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card, and it mirrors its sibling with its simple rewards structure, its lack of an annual fee and its redemption options, including the opportunity to transfer points to one of the Ultimate Rewards cards in Chase’s lineup.
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card offers a more lucrative welcome bonus than Freedom Unlimited, and the two cards also differ on the introductory APR offers, first year earnings and perks. The biggest difference, of course, is that Business Unlimited is tailored for small business owners, so not everyone is eligible, though it may be easier to get approved than you think, given that freelancing and other sole proprietor-type work counts in the eyes of many issuers.
Who is This Card For?
This card offers average to below-average returns for cardholders who don’t pair it with both another business rewards credit card and a card in the Ultimate Rewards lineup. You should probably avoid Business Unlimited if you don’t currently own a business credit card and a full-fledged Ulimate Rewards-earning personal card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. But the card is incredibly valuable when paired.
Business Unlimited has no bonus categories, so this card is a good match for anyone looking to fill in the gaps on non-bonus spending. Match it with a card that offers bonus categories on the types of spending your business does most, whether it’s on travel and dining or office supplies and online advertising.
Since Business Unlimited charges no annual fee and has a 0% introductory APR offer, it could be well suited for start-ups or other businesses with irregular cash flow. The 0% intro APR is good for 12 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. After that you’ll pay a 15.49% to 21.49% variable APR, so all balances should be paid off before the intro period expires.
In March, Chase hiked the welcome bonus on the Ink Business Cash Credit Card to $500 back after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card debuts with that same bonus, but it can actually be worth much more than $500.
If you spend $3,000 in the first three months after account opening, you’ll earn $500 cash back — unless you convert that cash to Ultimate Rewards points. Then it gets a whole lot better.
You can turn the bonus into 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points — and more than double your return — if you pair the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card with a card that earns UR points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. According to TPG’s current valuations, 50,000 UR points are worth $1,000. That’s quite the haul on a card that charges no annual fee.
The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card offers 1.5% cash back per dollar spent on all purchases. It’s an uncomplicated rewards structure that requires no thinking about rotating or bonus categories. This represents both the beauty of this card, and its potential downside.
For example, if you buy airfare with this card, you’ll be forgoing rewards of up to 5x points that other cards like the Platinum Card® from American Express offer. Same goes for paying for office supplies or internet service. The Ink Business Cash pays 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, cellular phone and landline services each account anniversary year (then 1% thereafter).
In short, avoid using this card on purchases that you could earn better returns on using another credit card.
Be careful, though, comparing this card only by its cash-back value. The unlimited cash-back offered by this card won’t give you the highest return among cash-back business credit cards — at least if you redeem for cash. That honor goes to a card like Capital One Spark Cash for Business, which pays 2% cash back on all purchases. In the end, though, the Business Unlimited can be more valuable than Spark Cash because of the ability to transfer points to an Ultimate Rewards card.
There are a few main ways to redeem your rewards: As cash back, for gift cards, or for travel and goods and services offered through Chase’s rewards program. If you redeem for cash, you can receive your money in the form of an account statement credit (which would reduce your card balance, but not your minimum monthly payment) or through an electronic deposit into an eligible US checking or savings account. Points redeemed for cash, gift cards or travel are worth 1 cent apiece.
You can boost your redemption rate to an effective return of 3% (based on TPG’s valuations) on all spending if you move your points to another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. The other card must be registered to the owner of the company, you or a member of your household to qualify.
Once you move points over to a UR-earning account, you can transfer them to one of 12 travel partners or book travel directly through the Chase portal and receive up to 1.5 cents per point in value (with the Chase Sapphire Reserve; 1.25 cents per point with all other UR-earning cards).
Depending on which partner you transfer your points to, you could get even more value for your redemptions than the 2 cents at which TPG values UR points. For example, you could transfer 80,000 points to Korean Air to book a first-class flight that goes for nearly $5,000, getting you more than 6 cents per point.
The card benefits on the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card are identical to those offered by Ink Business Cash, but they’re not quite as good as the perks offered on the Ink Business Preferred. Most notably, you will not get cell phone protection nor trip cancellation/interruption insurance. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s included:
Purchase protection: Covers your new purchases for up to 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Auto rental collision damage waiver: When you rent car for business purposes using Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card, you can decline the rental car company’s collision insurance and be covered by the card up to the cash value of the vehicle in the case of theft or collision damage. This is valid on most rentals in the US and abroad, and coverage is primary, which means it applies before your own car insurance policy.
Extended warranty: Extends the time period of a US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.
Employee cards at no additional cost: Note that if employees are allowed to use the account, they will be authorized users and will have equal charging privileges unless you establish individual spending limits.
What Cards Compete With the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card?
Since Business Unlimited pays a flat 1.5% on all spending, it’s complementary to cards that offer bonus categories. But its competitors are cards that also offer the same return on all spending. Business credit cards that offer a fixed-rate reward include:
Capital One Spark Cash for Business — Earn 2% cash back on all purchases. Earn a sign-up bonus of $500 once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The annual fee is $95, waived the first year.
Capital One Spark Miles for Business — Earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. Earn a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within three months from account opening. The annual fee is $95, waived the first year.
Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business — Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Earn a sign-up bonus of $200 once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening. Pay no annual fee.
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express — Earn 2x Membership Rewards on all business purchases up to $50,000 annually (then 1x points thereafter). Pay no annual fee. (See Rates & Fees)
The Blue Business Plus is the only credit card in this bunch that can potentially be more valuable. Since American Express Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece, according to TPG valuations, you’ll earn points worth 4 cents per dollar spent on purchases that qualify for 2x points. That edges out Business Unlimited’s 3% return.
The Business Unlimited is a perfect addition to the Ink franchise, filling in the rewards gaps the Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card don’t cover by offering a solid return on everyday, non-bonus spending. You can really maximize your business credit card rewards by pairing the new Unlimited with one of the other Ink cards and a personal UR card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Just be mindful of Chase’s 5/24 rule, under which this card presumably falls.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.
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