Comparing The Freedom Unlimited & Ink Unlimited

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In my opinion Chase’s best personal and business cards for non-bonused spend are the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card, respectively. Actually, I’d argue these are the two best cards for everyday spend without any sort of a cap on how many points you can earn.

There are a lot of overlapping benefits between the two cards, so in this post I wanted to look at the similarities and differences between the cards, for anyone who is trying to decide which makes more sense.

Similarities between the Freedom Unlimited & Ink Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Ink Business Unlimited have a lot in common:

  • No annual fee
  • 1.5x points on all purchases, with no cap to how many points you can earn

So the earnings structures and fees of the two cards are identical, but that’s where the similarities end.

Differences between the Freedom Unlimited & Ink Unlimited

The most basic difference between the Freedom Unlimited and Ink Unlimited is that the former is a personal card while the latter is a business card.

According to the cardmember agreements, it’s permissible to put business spend on a personal card (you can always do that and have your company reimburse you), but you can’t put personal spend on a business card.

But beyond that there are some pretty significant advantages to the Ink Unlimited over the Freedom Unlimited:

  • The Ink Unlimited is offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months, while the Freedom Unlimited is offering a welcome bonus of 15,000 points after spending $500 within three months, so the bonus on the Ink Unlimited is much better
  • The Ink Unlimited offers primary CDW coverage on car rentals when renting for business purposes, while the Freedom Unlimited doesn’t offer car rental coverage

Maximizing value with both “Unlimited” Cards

On the surface, both the Freedom Unlimited and Ink Unlimited are cash back cards, and points can be redeemed for a penny each. It doesn’t matter whether you want to redeem for a statement credit, travel purchase, or gift card, you’ll get a penny of value per point.

However, you can get significantly more value out of the points if you have them in conjunction with a card earning “premium” Ultimate Rewards points:

That’s because points can be pooled across cards (see the ultimate guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards for details on how that works). 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 is my preferred redemption), which include the following:

AirlinesHotels
Aer Lingus Aer ClubIHG Rewards Club
Air France/KLM Flying BlueMarriott Rewards
British Airways Executive ClubRitz-Carlton Rewards
Iberia PlusWorld Of Hyatt
JetBlue TrueBlue
Singapore KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Ink Business Unlimited are both exceptional cards. Assuming you have these cards in conjunction with one earning Ultimate Rewards points, I value the return on these cards as ~2.55% (since I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each).

The business version of the card does have some additional perks and a much better welcome bonus, but otherwise there’s a lot of overlap between the cards.

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Comments

  1. Unrelated, but how do banks (chase, amex, etc) know what is business or personal spend. Just curious since I’ve been putting non-bonused personal spend on my Blue Business Plus for a while now (side note to Amex: please release a personal version of the BBP), and I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Will they terminate the card or stuff like that?

  2. Got the Ink Unlimited yesterday and noticed on the Disclaimer these notes and was wondering the same how does Chase determine whats personnel vs, business spend as Dining, Travel, Utilities can equally be used as Personnel or Business

    Additionally can someone verify that Chase does not allow transferring of your Personnel to Business Cards unlike Amex, Barclay, Etc. who do allow it ?

  3. One other key difference. You can use the Ink Unlimited for plastiq, while you can’t use the Freedom Unlimited. With redemptions made by transferring Ink Unlimited points to the CSR, the return justifies the plastiq 2.5% fee.

  4. @ Bee — You can transfer from your personal to Amex cards, and vice versa. In practice they don’t have any easy way of determining whether spend is personal or business.

  5. @ Lucky – U may of miss understood my Q’s

    Received Ink Unl. yesterday with only 10k and asked Chase to trf 25k from one of my Personnel Chase cards and they responded that its not possible, and inquiring if this is an accurate statement by CS

  6. @Lucky. Be advised that while you are correct about transferring points between accounts of UR members in the same household, I have had an extended set of difficulties in doing so online. I call a CSR and eventually they (after elevating to a supervisor) get it done. This has been a problem since last June. I even elevated this to their IT department, but w/o resolution. I’m still stuck to having to call in to get the transfers done. A real hassle, but still worth it.

  7. When it comes to additional cards for authorized users, the Freedom Unlimited (and all personal Chase credit cards in my experience) share the exact same credit card number, expiration date, and CVV code, even if the name on the card is different then. This makes it super challenging to see which card — yours, or an AU — was used to make a purchase, or even which card was used for a fraudulent purchase. With the Ink cards for businesses, it’s been my experience that additional cards (ostensibly for employees) all receive different card numbers — which has the added benefit that when you close one AU/employee card, it doesn’t mean you are forced to close your own card (or get a new card number). Have others found this the case as well?

  8. @Bob – no im using my Freedom unlimited for Plastiq. I then transfer to my CSR. Use Plastiq for maintenance payments for coop here in nyc

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