Ink Business Unlimited review: Sign-up bonus worth up to $1,500 in travel
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|The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card is one of the best business cards with no annual fee because it earns 1.5% back on every purchase. The card also currently has a $750 cash bonus you can earn after you spend $7,500 within the first three months of opening your account.||Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐|
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card is a small business card that closely mirrors the popular Chase Freedom Unlimited, but with a much higher intro bonus. There is no annual fee, and its simple rewards structure is more valuable than it looks at first glance.
Although there are other cards that earn 1.5% cash back (or more), with the Ink Business Unlimited card, you earn cash back in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Those Chase points can become significantly more valuable if you pair your Ink Business Unlimited card with another Ultimate Rewards card because you can then combine Chase points from your accounts and then transfer them to the Ultimate Rewards program’s various airline and hotel partners.
The Ink Business Unlimited is tailored to small-business owners. While not everyone is eligible for a business credit card, it may be easier to be approved than you think because freelancing and other sole-proprietor enterprises can count as a business in the eyes of Chase and many other issuers.
Who is this card for?
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
Like nearly all Chase cards, applications for the Ink Business Unlimited are restricted by the 5/24 rule, so you’ll want to double-check that you’re eligible before you apply. That said, since it’s a business credit card, it should not count toward your 5/24 limit after you’ve been approved.
The Ink Business Unlimited has no bonus categories. Rather it earns a flat rate of return on all purchases, so this card is a good match for anyone who doesn’t want to expend mental energy juggling spending categories. If you don’t mind that sort of thing, it’s still a great product to fill in the gaps on non-bonus spending. Match it with a card that offers the best bonus categories for your business, whether it’s for travel, dining, office supplies or online advertising.
The card has no annual fee and offers a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases for 12 months from account opening. After that, you’ll pay a 13.24% – 19.24% variable APR. It’s a good choice if you’ve got a big purchase coming up that you’ll need to pay off over time.
Sign-up bonus: $750 cash back
The sign-up bonus on the Ink Business Unlimited is $750, which you earn after spending $7,500 in the first three months of opening your account. But it can actually be worth much more than $750.
The $750 cash back is earned in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points (75,000 points), which you can redeem at a rate of 1 cent each as cash back, gift cards or travel booked through the Chase travel center.
However, you can more than double your return (potentially) if you pair the Ink Business Unlimited with a card that earns transferrable Ultimate Rewards points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. According to TPG valuations, 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth $1,500. That’s quite a haul on a card that charges no annual fee.
Main benefits and perks
You get what you pay for when it comes to benefits, so it’s no surprise that the Ink Business Unlimited doesn’t offer as many perks as other cards with higher annual fees. Its benefits are identical to those offered by Ink Business Cash Credit Card, but they’re not quite as good as the perks offered on the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. Most notably, you will not get cell phone protection or trip cancellation/interruption insurance. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s included:
- Purchase protection: Covers 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 a car for business purposes using Ink Business Unlimited, you can decline the rental car company’s collision insurance and be covered by the card up to the vehicle’s cash value in the case of theft or collision damage. This is valid on most rentals in the U.S. and abroad, and coverage is primary, which means it applies before your own car insurance policy.
- Extended warranty: Extends the time period of a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.
- Employee cards at no additional cost: 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.
How to earn rewards
The Ink Business Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases using a straightforward 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 could be forgoing rewards of up to 5x points that other cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer (when booked through the Chase Travel Portal). The same goes for paying for office supplies or internet service. The Ink Business Cash earns 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 (1% thereafter). It also earns 2% back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account year.
Be careful about evaluating this card only on 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 — if you redeem for cash, anyway.
How to redeem rewards
There are a few key ways to redeem your rewards: cash back, gift cards, travel or goods and services offered through Chase’s rewards program. If you redeem for cash, you can receive your money as a statement credit or through an electronic deposit into an eligible U.S. 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 a full-fledged Ultimate Rewards personal or business card, such as:
The other card must be registered to the owner of the company, you or a member of your household to qualify for a transfer.
The Ink Business Unlimited can represent an incredible value proposition when partnered with any of these other cards. Once you move points to an account that earns Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer them to valuable airline and hotel partners or book travel directly through the Chase portal and receive a flat value for your points (1.5 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve; 1.25 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred).
Depending on which transfer partner you choose, you could get well over 2 cents per point in value. For example, you could transfer 86,000 points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer to book a one-way first-class flight from New York-JFK to Frankfurt that regularly costs $5,000+, getting you nearly six cents per point.
What cards compete with the Ink Business Unlimited?
The Ink Business Unlimited’s competitors are cards that offer a similar return on all spending. Business credit cards that offer fixed-rate rewards:
- Capital One Spark Miles for Business: Earn 2x miles on all purchases. Earn a sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. The intro annual fee is $0, then $95 after.
- Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business: Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Earn a sign-up bonus of $500 once you spend $4,500 on purchases within three months from account opening. This card has no annual fee.
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Earn 2x Amex Membership Rewards on all business purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year (1x points thereafter). This card has no annual fee (see rates and fees) and is currently offering an intro bonus of 15,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.
The information for the Capital One Spark Cash Select has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Blue Business Plus is the only credit card in this bunch that can potentially be more valuable than the Ink Business Unlimited. Because American Express Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece, according to TPG valuations, you’ll earn 4 cents’ worth of points per dollar spent on purchases that qualify for 2x points.
The Ink Business Unlimited is a valuable option for everyday spending if you pair it with the right card. The Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card don’t offer a solid return on everyday, non-bonus spending, so this card fills that gap. You can really maximize your business credit card rewards by pairing the Ink Business Unlimited with one of the other Ink cards and a personal Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Watch out for the restrictions of the Chase 5/24 rule, though.
One advantage to opening Chase business credit cards is that they won’t add to your Chase 5/24 count once open, even though applications for them are subject to the rule. So if you qualify for business credit cards, it’s a smart strategy to apply for a Chase business card before you apply for personal credit cards from Chase or other banks, which will count toward that 5/24 limit.
Official application link: Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
Additional reporting by Mike Cetera and Joseph Hostetler.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.
Featured image by John Gribben / The Points Guy.
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