A majority of businesses 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 Unlimited® Credit Card, which is in my opinion the single most compelling business credit card for everyday, non-bonused spending, without any caps on how many rewards you can earn. But there’s a trick to maximizing the rewards.
Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card Basics For January 2021
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card is the third card in Chase’s excellent “Ink” business card lineup. There are so many things that make this card great, from the purchase protection to the rewards it offers. But unlike some other cards, you’ll need to know what you’re doing to get the most value out of this card.
Chase Ink Unlimited Welcome Offer: $750 Or 75,000 Points
$750 cash back is an excellent bonus, though as I’ll explain below, you can potentially turn that $750 cash back into 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which I value at $1,275. Now that’s a massive bonus.
The bonus on the Ink Business Unlimited was recently improved, and this is the best publicly available bonus we’ve ever seen on the card. To see a bonus like this on a no annual fee card is almost unheard of.
Redeem 75,000 points for some amazing travel experiences
Chase Ink Business Card Eligibility
Chase has three business credit cards in their “Ink” lineup — the Ink Preferred, Ink Cash, and Ink Unlimited — 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
Chase has something that’s known as the 5/24 rule. With this, you typically won’t be approved for the 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. Here’s how to check your 5/24 status, and here are general rules on applying for Chase business cards.
The Chase Ink Unlimited Has No Annual Fee
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited has no annual fee, which is fantastic. This is a card that you can keep long term, and it won’t cost you anything.
Chase Ink Unlimited Offers 1.5% Cash Back On All Purchases
The Ink Business Unlimited is marketed as offering unlimited 1.5% cash back. The catch is that this isn’t actually that good, since there are other cards that earn 2% cash back.
But there’s a trick that allows you to convert the 1.5% cash back into 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent. I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so suddenly you’re going from a return of 1.5% to a return of 2.55%, by my valuation.
Get more value from your credit card rewards with Ultimate Rewards
3% Foreign Transaction Fees
While the Chase Ink Unlimited is a fantastic 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.
Ink Unlimited 0% Intro APR
The Ink Business Unlimited 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 is 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
While this isn’t something I personally value, I know that it’s something a lot of businesses do appreciate, especially in these tough times.
The Secret To Maximizing The Ink Unlimited
Up until now, I’ve been pretty vague about the points earning on the Ink Business Unlimited. As mentioned above, the card earns 1.5% cash back, which isn’t exceptional. Fortunately there is a trick to earning much bigger rewards with this card.
Turning Cash Back Into Ultimate Rewards Points
While the Ink Business Unlimited 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 Chase arrives at the valuation of the card offering 1.5% cash back.
This is where there’s a trick that can hugely increase the value of your Chase Ink Unlimited points. If you have the Ink Business Unlimited 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 Unlimited in conjunction with one of those cards, suddenly your points will get you a minimum of the following:
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards a travel purchase or towards everyday expenses with the Pay Yourself Back feature
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase or towards everyday expenses with the Pay Yourself Back feature
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 include 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.
Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for business class flights
Ink Business Unlimited Card Benefits
For a no annual fee card, the Ink Business Unlimited offers an incredible sign-up bonus and generous rewards structure, though there are also some perks that are potentially quite valuable.
Ink Business Car Rental Coverage
The Ink Business Unlimited 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
Getting car rental coverage on a no annual fee card is exceptional
Ink Business Extended Warranty Protection
With the Ink Business Unlimited 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 Unlimited Right For You?
If you have a small business, the Ink Business Unlimited is absolutely worth applying for given the incredible bonus, and it’s worth keeping for everyday spending, assuming you use it in conjunction with Ultimate Rewards.
I wanted to look a bit more closely at the best overall strategy to take with the Chase Ink Business Unlimited — what are the best complements, what are the best substitutes, etc.
Complement The Ink Unlimited With Other Ink Cards
In many ways the best complements to the Ink Business Unlimited is the two other Chase Ink cards — the Ink Business Preferred and Ink Business Cash:
- You can earn the bonuses on all three cards, and all three cards have an incredible bonuses
- The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (review) also has no annual fee, and offers 5x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines, and 2x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on restaurants and gas stations
- 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
Maximize rewards by getting all three Chase Ink products
Comparison: Amex Blue Business Plus Vs. Ink Business Unlimited
Perhaps the best alternative to the Ink Unlimited is The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which has no annual fee and offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually.
I’d say that’s the best card out there for everyday, non-bonused business spending, though the catch is that you’re capped ay earning 2x points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year. That’s very restrictive for many companies.
Best Cash Back Card Alternative To Ink Unlimited
The card offers 2% cash back on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year, which is a solid cash back return.
Ink Business Unlimited Summary
The Ink Business Unlimited is the single best rewards credit card for everyday, non-bonused spending, without any sort of caps. While the Blue Business Plus offers 2x points, that’s capped at $50,000 per year.
So the Ink Unlimited is a phenomenal card to consider for the 1.5x points, especially in conjunction with a card earning Ultimate Rewards points.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Blue Business Cash Card (Rates & Fees).