6 reasons to get the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
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Last year, Chase rounded out its business card line by introducing the no-annual-fee Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. The card is the perfect compliment to the fee-free Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the higher-end Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
Place all three of these cards in your wallet, and you’ll have most of your bases covered when it comes to maximizing Ultimate Rewards points earning on your business purchases:
- Use the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card for non-bonus spending. It pays a fixed rate on all purchases, which could earn you a return of up to 3% based on the most recent TPG valuations.
- Use the Ink Business Cash for office-related expenses. You’ll earn 5% back on the first $25,000 you spend in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
- Use the Ink Business Preferred for travel and advertising purchases. It earns 3x points on the first $150,000 you spend in combined purchases on travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. (And remember, Chase has a pretty liberal definition of what qualifies as a travel-related purchase.)
Even if you already have one or both of the earlier Ink credit cards — or you have other business rewards cards with bonus categories — here’s why you might want to take a look at the new Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card.
6 reasons to get the card
1. Solid welcome bonus
There are a lot of good reasons to get a business card, one of the biggest being the hefty welcome bonuses that come with them. And because they’re completely separate from your personal finances, you can double-dip on welcome bonuses. So what is the welcome bonus on the Business Unlimited card? Well, the Business Unlimited is a cash-back card, and its welcome bonus is offered as cash back. However, along with other cash-back cards in the Chase portfolio — including the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Ink Business Cash — you have the opportunity to convert the cash back into Ultimate Rewards points and pair them with a card in the Chase Unlimited Rewards family, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Doing this will get you the best value out of the welcome bonus and the rewards you’ll earn on everyday spending.
With the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card, you get a $500 bonus after you spend $3,000 on the card within the first three months after account opening. That cash back becomes 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points you can transfer to another card. Based on TPG’s valuations, those points are valued at $1,000. You can potentially achieve an even greater return when you transfer your points (at a 1:1 ratio) to partners like Southwest, Emirates and IHG. While this isn’t the most lucrative welcome bonus for a business card, it’s pretty solid considering the card comes with no annual fee, which brings me straight to the next reason.
2. No annual fee
The already attractive welcome bonus looks even better when you consider that the Business Unlimited charges no annual fee. You’d think that any card that offers more than $1,000 in first-year value would have an annual fee. This one doesn’t, and it mirrors a welcome offer by the other no-fee card in the Ink lineup, Ink Business Cash.
You may be reluctant to add yet another card that charges an annual fee to your wallet, especially if you’re already carrying a bunch of them. Business Unlimited solves that problem.
3. 1.5% Back on All Purchases
This card also answers the question: How do I get more value out of my non-bonus purchases? Business Unlimited offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases. You might be tempted to compare that return to another card that offers a flat-rate reward on everyday spending, like the Capital One Spark Cash for Business, which pays 2% cash back on all spending. Don’t.
Because you can transfer Business Unlimited rewards to a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards, the value is potentially greater than 1.5% cash back. TPG currently values Unlimited Rewards points at 2 cents each, meaning you could see a return of 3% for every dollar spent.
Use this card on non-bonus spending — such as for hardware store items to fix up your office or for filing your taxes — to maximize your rewards.
4. 0% introductory APR
You really shouldn’t be focused on earning points and miles if you can’t pay off your credit card on time and in full every month (it’s one of TPG’s 10 commandments). But things happen. The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card offers a nice cushion that can be useful for new business owners or if you need to finance a large purchase.
You’ll receive an introductory 0% APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. After that you’ll pay a 14.99% – 20.99% variable APR. So buy those laptops now, but make sure to pay them off by this time next year.
5. Primary (business) rental car coverage
The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card includes a number of benefits you might find on other credit cards, including purchase protection and extended warranties. But it also offers primary rental car coverage — a benefit many credit cards don’t extend. Many credit cards offer what’s called secondary coverage, which only applies after taking into consideration what your own personal car insurance covers. Primary coverage takes your personal coverage out of the equation and protects you from deductibles or losses above a certain threshold. The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card allows you to 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, as long as you’re using the car for business purposes.
6. Employee cards at no additional cost
If you run a business that often requires employees to run errands or expense things, make life easier by getting them their own card. That way you’re not always chasing down the card when you need it and won’t have to deal with expense reports. While most premium cards require an additional fee when you add an authorized user, the Business Unlimited does not. However, you should be aware that you are still responsible for paying all charges accrued on the account whether you made them personally or not. (If there was an unauthorized charge made on any card then Chase has you covered. All you have to do is call them immediately with the issue.)
Who’s this card for?
As the name implies, the Business Unlimited card is for business owners. However, qualifying is a lot easier than you think. Some titles and activities that you may not have thought qualified you as a business owner are things like selling stuff on Amazon or eBay, freelance work or teaching sports or music. Just don’t lie on the application when you’re asked what kind of business you operate because you’ll need to certify that the card will be used for “business purposes” only and that you’ll notify Chase if you “leave the employment of the Company.”
A business credit card is a great way to begin separating your business expenses from your personal ones. What’s great about having separate finances is that your business expenses are generally tax deductible, which is always a plus.
You’ve opened the card — now what?
If you open the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card, earn the sign-up offer and use the card exclusively for the first year, where does that leave you? Obviously, the answer depends on your spending patterns. This is complicated by the fact that this is a business credit card. There are a huge variety of business models out there, some with limited credit card spending opportunities and others that can easily spend six figures on a card in a year. As a result, I had to make some assumptions about your particular business profile:
- You spend a total of $50,000 across the year.
- You currently have a “premium” Ultimate Rewards card like the Sapphire Reserve, the Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Business Preferred.
As always, your spending habits may differ substantially from these assumptions, so feel free to adjust them to more accurately reflect your earning potential with the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card.
Here’s a quick table that shows how these spending patterns in the first year of card membership translate to Ultimate Rewards points:
As you can see, this sample small business owner would take home 125,000 Ultimate Rewards points in a single year. That’s quite a haul.
Of course, earning points is one thing, but knowing how to redeem them for maximum value is a completely different story. Fortunately, the Ultimate Rewards program has a variety of valuable redemptions, most of which involve transferring to the program’s partners.
Here’s a sample of what you can get from one year of using the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card:
1. $1,250 in cash back
The first option is actually the least exciting, but can be very appealing to a small business owner. As noted above, the points you earn on the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card are technically restricted to cash-back awards, though you can combine them with points earned on cards like the Ink Business Preferred or Sapphire Reserve to essentially “convert” them into fully transferable Ultimate Rewards points. This allows you to utilize the full power of the program’s transfer partners for terrific redemptions, including the ones to follow.
However, if you’re running a small business, you may not want to sift through those complexities. You also may not carry a card like the ones noted above. If you’d rather just pump cash back into your business, you’ll have $1,250 to do just that after a year of using the card. With $50,000 in spending, that equates to an overall return of 2.5%. Not too shabby.
Of course, you can get even more value from the card by converting the earnings to Ultimate Rewards points and going after some of the following redemption options.
2. Up to five round-trip tickets to Hawaii
If you’re looking to book trips to the Aloha state, the Ultimate Rewards program has two terrific options. The most lucrative is specific to West Coast residents. If you transfer your points to British Airways, you’re able to take advantage of the carrier’s distance-based award chart. It just so happens that the Hawaiian islands are all less than 3,000 miles from most major West Coast airports. Since British Airways partners with both American and Alaska, you’re able to book round-trip coach tickets for just 25,000 Avios from Los Angeles (LAX), Phoenix (PHX), Seattle (SEA), Portland (PDX), San Diego (SAN) and Oakland (OAK), to name just a few. Just note that Alaska awards using Avios must be booked over the phone, and you may have to call for American flights as well, due a website issue.
For cardholders in other parts of the country, there are two other great transfer options for getting to Hawaii: Korean’s SkyPass and Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue program. Since these carriers all belong to the SkyTeam alliance, you can book Delta award tickets through each program. Korean has the better award rate at 25,000 miles for round-trip economy tickets (compared to 30,000 for Flying Blue), though bear in mind that Korean’s award booking process isn’t easy. For both programs, these rates are valid on flights from any US airport, giving you four or even five round-trip award flights to Hawaii.
For more details, check out my post on planning a trip to Hawaii using Ultimate Rewards points.
3. Up to 25 nights in Hyatt properties
Another great redemption option through the Ultimate Rewards program is to transfer your points to the World of Hyatt loyalty program. That program has very reasonable redemption rates that start at just 5,000 points per night for a Category 1 property, though even top-tier locations such as the Park Hyatt Zurich would only set you back just 30,000 points for a free night. Here’s a breakdown of how many nights you could get across the program’s property spectrum with a year’s worth of points from the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card:
- Category 1 (5,000 points/night): 25 nights
- Category 2 (8,000 points/night): 15 nights
- Category 3 (12,000 points/night): 10 nights
- Category 4 (15,000 points/night): 8 nights
- Category 5 (20,000 points/night): 6 nights
- Category 6 (25,000 points/night): 5 nights
- Category 7 (30,000 points/night): 4 nights
I’m particularly intrigued by the option to book a five-night stay at a Category 6 property such as the Park Hyatt Maldives. A quick search of dates for this fall shows some rates at $1,000 per night, giving you more than $5,000 of value. Remember, too, that this doesn’t even consider the program’s Cash + Points option, so if you’re willing to spend some additional money out of pocket for your stays, you can extend the value of these earnings even further.
4. Round-trip first-class award ticket to Japan on ANA
Another potentially lucrative option would involve transferring your points to Virgin Atlantic. The carrier partners with ANA and charges just 120,000 miles for a round-trip first class ticket to Japan from the eastern and central US as well as Europe (it’s 110,000 miles from Canada and the West Coast). This is a terrific value, as United would charge 220,000 miles for the exact same itinerary. You’d enjoy some terrific amenities and could even wind up on the carrier’s Star Wars-themed plane. Just bear in mind that you can’t book one-way flights through the Flying Club program, so you’ll need to find dates with round-trip award availability.
I have been a longtime fan of the Ultimate Rewards program, and I currently carry what I humbly believe is the perfect quartet of Chase cards to maximize my earnings. The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card is just the newest option for earning these valuable points, and by opening and using the card exclusively for just a single year, you’ll unlock a wide variety of valuable rewards. Even though the card is targeted for small business owners, you may be able to get approved as a sole proprietorship by using your Social Security number. However, as noted above, the card should be subject to Chase’s notorious 5/24 rule.
Keep in mind too that the above calculation may be a bit too conservative:
- The calculation assumes a certain level of spending. If plan to put more than $50,000 on the card in the first year, then your earnings will be even higher.
- The calculation assumes that you don’t make any purchases through an online shopping portal. The Ultimate Rewards shopping portal allows you to earn bonus points with close to 300 online retailers, which is a nice way to boost your earnings even more.
- The calculation assumes that you only open one card. There are many others that will earn you bonus Ultimate Rewards points in certain categories, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Freedom. These cards (and others like them) can be used right alongside the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card to boost your balances even higher.
Regardless of these last few items, hopefully you’re able to see just how rewarding a single new credit card can be in the first year of card membership.
Earn $500 after $3,000 spent within the first three months. That's equivalent to 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you have another rewards earning card like the Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Similar to the Freedom Unlimited, this card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and has no annual fee - a no-brainer for small business owners!
- Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- No Annual Fee