There are lots of businesses that leave a lot of rewards on the table by not using the right credit card. In this post I wanted to take an in-depth look at the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card — this is a credit that I personally have, and that I love.
Of Chase’s excellent collection of three Ink business cards — the Cash, Preferred, and Unlimited — this is the card with the biggest bonus categories, and which can potentially earn you huge amounts of Ultimate Rewards points. Much like with the Ink Unlimited, there’s a trick to maximizing the rewards you earn on this card, though.
The “Cash” part of the card’s name can be deceiving, since in most cases you’ll get the most value out of the card by not earning cash.
Let’s take a closer look at the welcome bonus, annual fee, return on spend, and perks, of this awesome card:
Chase Ink Business Cash Card
The Chase Ink Business Cash Card is one of Chase’s three excellent Ink cards for small businesses. There are so many things that make this card great, from the fact it has no annual fee, to its huge sign-up bonus, to the valuable purchase protection it offers.
While some credit cards are straightforward, the Ink Cash requires you to know what you’re doing. But if you do know what you’re doing, this card will prove hugely useful.
Sign-Up Bonus Offer
With the Ink Business Cash earn a sign-up bonus of $500 bonus cash back after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening.
$500 cash back is an excellent bonus. It potentially gets much better than that, as you can turn the $500 cash back into 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which I value at $850.
Chase Ink Business Card Eligibility
Chase has three business credit cards in their “Ink” lineup and you’re eligible to have all three cards, and even are eligible to earn the bonus on all of them. For example, I have all three of the cards.
Chase 5/24 Rule
With Chase’s 5/24 rule you typically won’t be approved for a Chase card if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months. So if you do apply for this card, make sure you’re under that limit.
No Annual Fee
The Ink Business Cash has no annual fee. This is a card that you can keep long term and it won’t cost you anything.
Up To 5% Cash Back On Purchases
What really sets the Ink Cash apart is the incredible points earning rates that the card offers. The card offers 2-5% cash back in select bonus categories:
- The card offers 5% cash back on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines
- The card offers 2% cash back on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on restaurants and gas stations
- All other purchases earn 1% cash back
Those are potentially some really awesome bonus categories — there are plenty of businesses that spend a lot on things like internet, cable TV, mobile phones, office supplies, etc.
As I’ll explain below, you can potentially get a lot more value out of the card than what might be suggested by the cash back (though up to 5% cash back is already really good).
Cardmember Year Definition
There’s an annual cap on those bonus categories of $25,000 of combined purchases in the 5% and 2% categories.
For those of you not familiar with the cardmember year term, this is different than a calendar year. That means the cap resets on your account anniversary, which is 12 months from when you opened your card.
0% Intro APR
The Ink Business Cash offers 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months. You’ll want to try to pay that off within that time period, though, because after that the variable APR can be quite high.
While this isn’t something I personally value, I know that it’s something a lot of businesses do appreciate, especially while growing.
3% Foreign Transaction Fees
While this is a top notch card for purchases within the US, the card does have 3% foreign transaction fees, so I don’t recommend using this card outside the US. If you’re looking for a similar card with no foreign transaction fees, consider the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
Maximizing The Ink Business Cash
Up until now I’ve been pretty vague about the points earning on the Ink Business Cash Card. As mentioned above, the card earns 1-5% cash back, depending on the category you’re spending in. The 5% cash back is excellent, while the 1% cash back isn’t. There is a trick to earning much bigger rewards across the board with this card, though.
Turning Cash Back Into Ultimate Rewards points
While the Ink Business Cash is a cash back card, in reality, the card earns points. You earn 1-5x points per dollar spent, and then ordinarily each point can be redeemed for one cent cash back. That’s how they arrive at the valuation of 1-5% cash back with the card.
This is where there’s a trick that can hugely increase the value of your Ink Cash points. If you have the Ink Business Cash in conjunction with another card that earns “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, then you can do significantly better. These cards include the following:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review)
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (review)
If you have the Ink Cash in conjunction with one of those cards, suddenly your points are much more valuable. At a minimum:
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards a travel purchase
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase
That increases the value of your points by 25-50% right there, and you can potentially get even more value out of your points by transferring them to one of the Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel partners, which includes the following:
|Aer Lingus Aer Club||IHG Rewards Club|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||Marriott Bonvoy|
|British Airways Executive Club||World Of Hyatt|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
Transferring points between cards is easy and can be done online. You can learn more about that process in this post.
Ink Business Cash Card Benefits
For a no annual fee card, the Ink Business Cash offers an incredible sign-up bonus and generous rewards structure, though there are also some perks that are potentially quite valuable.
Car Rental Coverage
The Ink Business Cash offers an excellent primary auto rental CDW (collision damage waiver) benefit:
- This is valid when renting globally for business reasons, and is valid outside the US when renting for business reasons
- Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card
Extended Warranty Protection
With this, you can extend the time period of U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.
Is The Ink Business Cash Right For You?
The Ink Cash is one of the most rewarding business credit cards out there. The key is that I wouldn’t recommend using this as your primary business credit card. Rather use this as a complement to your overall card portfolio.
The 5x points categories are really spectacular, so use those as much as possible. In conjunction with Ultimate Rewards I value the 5x points at a return of 8.5%.
Complement This With Other Ink Cards
In many ways the best complements to the Ink Business Cash is the two other Chase Ink cards — the Ink Business Preferred and Ink Business Unlimited:
- You can earn the bonuses on all three cards
- The Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card (review) also has no annual fee, and offers 1.5x points on all purchases
- The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (review) has a $95 annual fee, and offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent each cardmember year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
One smart strategy could be to use the Ink Cash for the 2-5x points bonus categories, and then use the Ink Unlimited for the 1.5x points on non-bonused spending.
Best Cash Back Card Alternative
If your goal is to earn cash back with your business spending, then there might be a better option than the Ink Cash. Consider the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, which earns 2% cash back on all purchases and has a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year.
Ink Business Cash Summary
The Ink Business Cash offers some of the best bonus categories of any business credit card. If you spend a lot in the categories in which this card offers 5x points, then I’d highly recommend this card.
If you’re looking for a card that’s really well rounded for your everyday business spending, consider the Ink Business Unlimited, which offers 1.5x points on all purchases. Lastly, the Ink Business Preferred is probably the single most well-rounded business credit card, in my opinion.