Which No Annual Fee Chase Ink Card Is Best?

Which No Annual Fee Chase Ink Card Is Best?

In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

Link: Apply now for the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card or Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Chase’s portfolio of Ink business credit cards is among the best business cards you’ll find. In particular, there are two great no annual fee options which are incredibly lucrative — the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (review) and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (review).

These cards complement the $95 annual fee Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review), which I’d consider to be one of the most well-rounded business cards.

In this post I wanted to compare the two no annual fee cards in the portfolio, and discuss which is the better option, if you’re trying to decide between them. This is an especially good time to consider picking up one of these cards, given the best-ever bonuses.

Similarities between the Ink Cash & Ink Unlimited

The Ink Business Cash Card and Ink Business Unlimited Card have a lot in common, including:

Redeem Chase points for travel experiences

Differences between the Ink Cash & Ink Unlimited

The major difference between the Ink Business Cash Card and Ink Business Unlimited Card are the rewards structures. While the cards earn the same kinds of points, the rewards structures differ.

The Ink Business Unlimited Card offers a flat 1.5x points on all purchases, making it one of the best cards for everyday spending.

Meanwhile the Ink Business Cash Card has some bonus categories, which certain cardmembers might find to be valuable, as the card 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
  • 2x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on restaurants and gas stations
  • 1x points on all other purchases

As you can see, which card is better depends heavily on which types of purchases you spend the most on. If you spend a lot in categories that don’t otherwise earn bonus points, then earning 1.5x points per dollar spent is an excellent return.

If you spend a lot in categories that would otherwise qualify for one of the 2x or 5x points categories, then the Ink Cash is a fantastic choice.

To crunch the numbers a bit further, I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each (which I’ll explain in more detail below), so that means the return on these cards is potentially as follows:

  • The Ink Business Unlimited offers ~2.55% of value on all spending
  • The Ink Business Cash offers ~8.5% of value in the 5x points categories, 3.4% of value in the 2x points categories, and 1.7% of value on all other spending

Based on how much you value these points and how much you spend on the card per year, you can hopefully decide which makes the most sense for your business.

Earn 2x points on dining with the Ink Cash

The no annual fee Chase Ink card I’d choose

The beauty of Chase Ink cards is that you can apply for each of the Chase Ink cards, and even earn the bonuses on each card. So you don’t have to decide between them, because many people (including me) have three of them.

Personally I’d pick up both of the cards, so that you can earn the welcome bonuses and take advantage of their unique advantages when it comes to spending. These are great no annual fee complements. Why earn just 2-5x points on bonus categories, or 1.5x points on everyday spending, when you can have both?

But if I could choose just one card, which would I choose? I’d probably lean toward the Ink Business Cash Card. That’s because the bonus points categories offered by the card are unique, and can’t be found on any other cards. Earning 5x points in select categories is potentially incredibly valuable.

Furthermore, I’d say that while the Ink Business Unlimited offers an excellent return, it also has more substitutes among business cards that have a great return on everyday spending:

As you can see, there are several great cards offering a solid return on spending.

Redeem Chase points for hotel stays

Maximizing no annual fee Ink Card points

Up until this point, I’ve referred to the rewards earned on these cards just as “points,” and that’s because there’s a trick to maximizing their value. Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Unlimited points can typically be redeemed for one cent each.

This is where there’s a trick that can greatly increase the value of your Chase Ink Cash or Chase Ink Unlimited points. If you have either card in conjunction with another card that earns “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, then you can do significantly better. These cards include the following:

If you have the Chase Ink Cash or Chase Ink Unlimited in conjunction with one of those cards, suddenly your points are much more valuable. At a minimum, you can redeem points at the following rates through the Chase Travel Portal:

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, and where I get the valuation of 1.7 cents per point). This includes the following partners:

Airline Partners
Hotel Partners
Aer Lingus AerClub
IHG One Rewards
Air Canada Aeroplan
Marriott Bonvoy
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
World of Hyatt
British Airways Executive Club
Emirates Skywards
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Southwest Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners

Transferring points between cards is easy and can be done online.

Bottom line

Personally I think there’s huge value in having all three Chase Ink cards — the Ink Business UnlimitedInk Business Cash, and Ink Business Preferred. You can get all of them, and they beautifully complement one another.

However, if you only want to pick up one of the two no annual fee cards, I do think the Ink Cash offers bonus categories that are unique. I still think the Ink Unlimited is an excellent option for everyday spending, and I’d recommend getting it. However, there are a few other cards out there that offer a similar return on spending, so the card isn’t as unique.

Which of the Chase Ink cards do you think is most valuable?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).

Conversations (0)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

There are currently no responses to this story.
Be the first to respond.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
5,163,247 Miles Traveled

32,614,600 Words Written

35,045 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT