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
- 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
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:
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards a travel purchase
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase
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:
|Aer Lingus Aer Club||IHG Rewards Club|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||Marriott Rewards|
|British Airways Executive Club||Ritz-Carlton Rewards|
|Iberia Plus||World Of Hyatt|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
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.