Amex Blue Business Plus Vs. Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card

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Update: This offer for The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


I’d argue that the two best business credit cards for everyday spend are The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express and Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card.

These cards both have no annual fee and both offer excellent returns for non-bonused spend, so in this post I wanted to do a comparison of the two cards, to help anyone who may be deciding between these two cards which might be a better fit.

Let’s compare the annual fees, welcome bonuses, eligibility, return on spend, and perks.

Comparing annual fees

Both the Blue Business Plus Card and Ink Business Unlimited Card have no annual fees.

Winner: This is an area where both cards tie.

Comparing welcome bonuses

The Blue Business Plus Card offers a welcome bonus of up to 10,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months. I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me the welcome bonus is worth $170.

Meanwhile the Ink Business Unlimited Card is offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months. In conjunction with a card earning Ultimate Rewards points, the points earned on this card can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, which I value at 1.7 cents each. So to me the welcome bonus is worth up to $850, which I consider to be the best welcome bonus on any no annual fee card.

Winner: The Ink Business Unlimited wins by a long shot in this regard.

Comparing eligibility

The welcome bonus on the Blue Business Plus Card is “once in a lifetime.” The good news is that applying for the card doesn’t count towards the 5/24 restriction. Furthermore, anecdotally I find that American Express business cards are among the easiest to be approved for.

Meanwhile the Ink Business Unlimited Card is subjected to the 5/24 rule and anecdotally Chase business cards are among the more difficult ones to be approved for.

Winner: The Blue Business Plus is significantly easier to be approved for, in my experience.

Comparing return on spend

This is an area where both cards shine.

The Blue Business Plus Card offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year. After that the card earns one point per dollar spent. I consider this to be the single most rewarding card for the first $50,000 of spend annually, since I value the return at 3.4%. The catch of course is that you’re capped at earning those double points on the first $50,000 spent, and after that the card just becomes average.

Meanwhile the Ink Business Unlimited Card offers 1.5x points per dollar spent with no limits. If you just have the Ink Unlimited then points can be redeemed for one cent each. However, if you have the card in conjunction with a card earning Ultimate Rewards points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Reserve®, and Ink Business Preferred, then points can be redeemed for 1.25-1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase, and can be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners.

For example, if you have it in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® then you can redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of any travel purchase, meaning you’re looking at a 2.25% return. You can do even better with some of Chase’s travel transfer partners.

Winner: It really depends. Assuming you value points similarly to how I do, then the Blue Business Plus is better if you spend $50,000 or less per year in non-bonused categories. However, if you spend a lot more, then the Ink Unlimited is probably a better option. Or since these are no annual fee cards you can get the best of both worlds, and you can put $50,000 annually on the Blue Business Plus, and put remaining spend on the Ink Business Unlimited.

Comparing perks

These are both no annual fee cards that are incredibly rewarding for spend, so there aren’t that many perks beyond that.

I’d note that the Blue Business Plus Card gives you access to Amex Offers as well as Amex’s “Do More Business” program, which can save you money and earn you bonus points for all kinds of purchases. In many cases this program saves me hundreds of dollars per year on some cards.

Meanwhile the Ink Business Unlimited Card offers primary collision damage waiver coverage for car rentals, which is pretty rare for a no annual fee card.

Bottom line

Both the Blue Business Plus Card and Ink Business Unlimited Card are incredible business cards. I have the Blue Business Plus and plan on picking up the Ink Business Unlimited within the next couple of months, once I’m eligible.

The way I view it, the Blue Business Plus is pretty easy to get approved for and is the single best card (personal or business) for the first $50,000 spent every calendar year. The card also directly earns Membership Rewards points, so you don’t need to have it in conjunction with another card to maximize points.

Then the Ink Business Unlimited is the best business card for everyday spend, assuming you have it in conjunction with one of the cards earning Ultimate Rewards points. However, the card has an incredible welcome bonus that’s much better than that of the Blue Business Plus, so if you can get it, there’s huge potential here.

Where do you stand — do you prefer the Blue Business Plus or Ink Business Unlimited?

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Comments

  1. Hey Lucky, I have the Business Unlimited and I do want the Blue Business Plus card, but I’m concerned about the once in a lifetime bonus deal.

    Since I don’t have any Amex products, I went on the card match tool and they they offered me 100k bonus for opening the Amex Plat card. I’m going to get MBA next year to further my career and business, would it make sense getting the Amex Plat at this point since my travel will be significantly reduced over next year for 2 years or is it ok to get the Blue Business card and don’t have to worry about not getting the 100k sign-up bonus with the Amex Plat in the next 2 years (if I get the Blue Business card first)? I have the Chase suite of products by the way so I’m covered on those. Thanks!

  2. @ Mark — With Amex the welcome bonuses are “once in a lifetime” per card, meaning you can get the bonus on the Blue Business Plus now, and the bonus on the Amex Platinum Card in the future. So I think it’s safe for you to get the Blue Business Plus now. 🙂

  3. Another (albeit minor) factor in favor of the Ink card is that it is a Visa and is accepted at more places than Amex. I still run into cases where online payment processors don’t accept Amex.

  4. After KE left chase, UR is lackluster to me. UR is good for economy class redemption, but not much more than that. MR is better to me.

  5. I agree with mangoMan. I do a lot of travel to Russia and Eastern Europe, where Amex acceptance is practically nonexistent. You can’t really get 2x points if you can’t swipe your card. That’s why I’ve been looking for a non-Amex backup that’ll give me at least 2x back on non-bonused spend.

  6. @Anastasia – agreed. Since you and Lucky both spend a lot of time overseas, I would really appreciate both your thoughts on best no-foreign transaction fee cards (non-cash-back) for intl use in different categories: plane; car rental; ground transportation; tours; restaurants; kiosks. Thank you for both for your input & (hopefully) future post!

  7. @Mark. I disagree with Lucky’s recommendation on your 100K Platinum offer. I have read folks have waited for years to get the 100K offer and still can’t; some have suggested that if you have an existing relationship with AMEX, the 100K offer is few and far between. I recommend you pick up the 100K immediately if you can.

    Understandable that you won’t be traveling much due to schooling (MBA) and won’t be able to utilize the perks/benefits. You can cancel after the first year and get the card later when your travel picks up. If you can meet all credits ($200 airline credit, $200 uber and $100 Saks), your effective annual fee will be $50 first year; you might even be able to double-dip the airline credit before canceling. At $50 for 100K MR is beyond awesome.

    @Anastasia @Pam. This isn’t a business card but is a Visa: Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card. If you bank with BofA/MerrillLynch and meet the requirements for their Preferred Rewards program, you can go upwards to 3.5x points Travel/Dining Earnings and 2.625x points for everything else.

  8. @Pam, I think it depends on what other cards you have and what your preferred hotel chains are. I would guess that Lucky would recommend the Chase Freedom Unlimited card for 1.5x on non-bonused spend. Another card that comes to mind is a Citi card – Preferred or Prestige. Those give 2x or 3x points on dining, travel, and entertainment – that would include planes, car rentals, ground transportation, tours, and restaurants. Of course, you’d have to find UR points and/or Citi points valuable for that.

    Alternatively, some hotel credit cards reward spend in some of the categories you mention – again, depends on your chain affiliation, if any.

    Curious to see what Lucky will say, though.

  9. For forgot to mention, there is no foreign transaction fee on Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card.

  10. Hey Lucky: The Chase Business Unlimited does NOT have primary rental car insurance. The rental car insurance is only primary for business rentals. Personal car rentals are secondary. This is NOT the same as Chase Sapphire Reserve and Preferred where the car insurance is primary for all types of rentals. Please correct your post.

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