Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card review: $500 cash bonus and no annual fee
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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 $500 cash bonus you can earn after you spend $3,000 in 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.
Chase isn’t messing around with the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card, a small business card that closely mirrors the popular Chase Freedom Unlimited®, but with a much stronger bonus. It comes with one of the best bonuses you’ll get with a no-annual-fee card and its simple rewards structure is more valuable than it looks.
Although there are other cards that earn 1.5% 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 an Ultimate Rewards card because you can transfer Chase points between accounts. The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited 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 Ink Business Unlimited is similar to the Chase Freedom Unlimited except that the two cards have different introductory offers. The Ink Business Unlimited has a big bonus you earn after meeting a minimum spending requirement; the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns you $200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months.
The Business Unlimited is tailored to small-business owners. Not everyone is eligible, but 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?
This card offers average to below-average returns for cardholders who don’t pair it with another Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card. The Business Unlimited shouldn’t be your first choice if you don’t currently have a full-fledged Ultimate Rewards personal or business card, such as the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. The card is incredibly valuable when partnered with any of these cards. Like nearly all of Chase’s cards, the Ink Business Unlimited is restricted by the 5/24 rule so you’ll want to double check that you’re eligible before you apply.
The 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 the best business bonus categories for your business, whether it’s for travel, dining, office supplies or online advertising.
The Business Unlimited has no annual fee and has a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) offer, so it is well suited for startups or other businesses with irregular cash flow. The 0% introductory APR is good for 12 months from account opening on purchases. After that, you’ll pay a 13.24% – 19.24% variable APR.
Related reading: Your guide to applying for small-business credit cards
Sign-up bonus: $500 cash back
The sign-up bonus on the Ink Business Unlimited is $500, which you earn after spending $3,000 in the first three months of opening your account — but it can actually be worth much more than $500.
The $500 cash back is earned in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points (50,000 points), which can be redeemed at a rate of 1 cent each as cash back, gift cards or travel booked through the Chase travel center.
You can more than double your return if you pair the Ink Business Unlimited with a card that earns transferrable Ultimate Rewards points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. According to TPG’s current valuations, 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth $1,000. 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 business cards with higher annual fees. The card benefits on the Ink Business Unlimited 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. 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 cash value of the vehicle 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 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 could be forgoing rewards of up to 5x points that other cards such as The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offer (on flights booked via Amex Travel). 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 (1% thereafter).
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 — at least if you redeem for cash. That honor goes to a card such as the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, which pays 2% cash back on all purchases. In the end, the Business Unlimited can be more valuable than Spark Cash because of the ability to transfer points to an Ultimate Rewards card.
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 (which would reduce your card balance, but not your minimum monthly payment on your account) 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 another Chase Ultimate Rewards card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred. The other card must be registered to the owner of the company, you or a member of your household to qualify for a transfer.
Once you move points to an account that earns Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer them to one of 10 airline and three hotel 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 cards that earn Ultimate Rewards).
Depending on which partner you choose, you could get even more value for your redemptions than the 2 cents at which TPG values Ultimate Rewards points. For example, you could transfer 86,000 points to Singapore Airlines to book a first-class flight from New York-JFK to Frankfurt that regularly costs $5,000+, getting you nearly 6 cents per point.
What cards compete with the Ink Business Unlimited?
Because Business Unlimited pays a flat 1.5% on all spending, it’s best to pair it with a card that has good bonus categories. 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 cash bonus after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. The annual fee is $95, waived the first year.
- Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business: Earn 5x miles on hotels and car rentals when booked through Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on all other 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 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 (1x points thereafter). Pay no annual fee (see rates and fees).
The information for the Capital One Spark Miles, Capital One Spark Cash, 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. Because 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, but the Blue Business Plus Amex card currently doesn’t have a welcome bonus offer.
FAQ about the Chase Ink Business Unlimited
Q: Does Chase pull credit reports from when you apply for a business credit card?
A: As with most card issuers, Chase may do a hard pull on your personal credit when you apply. But the issuer does not report subsequent credit activity to consumer bureaus unless you are delinquent. It does report payment history to business credit bureaus.
Q: Does the Ink Business Unlimited fall under Chase’s 5/24 rule?
A: Yes. If you’ve opened five or more credit card accounts anywhere — that’s including non-Chase accounts — in the past two years, you’ll probably be declined regardless of how creditworthy you are. You’ll need to have opened four or fewer cards in the last two years to qualify.
You could also be declined based on your credit score, income or debt levels, to name a few. For this and other Chase small business cards, you may also be asked to provide documentation to prove you have a legitimate business or sole proprietorship.
Q: Will this card count toward my 5/24 score?
A: No. If you are approved for a Chase business card, it will not add to your 5/24 standing. In fact, small business cards from many issuers will not count toward 5/24, with the exception of those issued by Capital One, Discover and TD Bank.
Q: How much are points worth?
A: If you hold the Ink Business Unlimited on its own, your points will be worth a fixed one cent each and can only be redeemed for cash back, statement credits or gift cards. However, if you also hold a paid Ultimate Rewards earning card in your wallet (including the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve) you can move your points from the Ink Unlimited to those cards and transfer them to airline and hotel partners or redeem them for travel through the Chase portal with a bonus. TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each, so this strategy could double your return quite easily.
The Business Unlimited fills in the gaps 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 the Business Unlimited fills that gap. You can really maximize your business credit card rewards by pairing the new 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.
One advantage to opening Chase business credit cards is that they won’t add to your Chase 5/24 count, even though they are affected by 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.
Additional reporting by Mike Cetera.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.