Chase Business Cards: Ink Preferred vs. Ink Cash vs. Ink Unlimited

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Chase's Ink business cards are some of the most sought after rewards cards for business owners. They offer an excellent return on spending, and top purchase and travel protection benefits. Plus, these cards provide business owners with the opportunity to earn a ton of Ultimate Rewards points via the high-value welcome offers.

In this post, we line the three Ink cards up for a side-by-side comparison to help you determine which card best suits your business spending. Or whether you could benefit from holding two (or more) of these top small business cards.

Ink Business Card Signup Bonus and Annual Fees

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Features a $500 cash back signup bonus, and you earn 5% cash back on a select range of business expenses on the first $25,000 spent each year.
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The best business card to earn Ultimate Rewards on non-bonus purchases, you receive a $500 cash back bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn 1.5% back on all business expenses.
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business

The Ink Cash and Ink Unlimited are marketed as cashback cards. However, they technically earn Ultimate Rewards points. When used as standalone products, you can redeem these points for 1¢ per point as a statement credit. Alternatively, cardholders can redeem points for travel through the Chase Travel Portal.

But, if you also hold the Ink Preferred, Sapphire Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve, you can combine points earned across all your Ultimate Rewards earning cards. That unlocks new potential for these points. You can redeem them for a higher fixed-value through the Chase Travel Portal. Or, you can transfer points to travel partners to achieve even higher returns.

That means—if you hold an Ultimate Rewards' earning card that charges an annual fee—you can think of the $500 signup bonus on the Ink Cash and Ink Unlimited as 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. That's is an exceptional bonus for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. However, you'll need to have one of these premium Ultimate Rewards earning cards to extract more than $500 value from the bonus.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer New Offer! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The most valuable Ultimate Rewards signup bonus on offer and our top pick for small business rewards cards. Business owners earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 450,000 points per year on a wide range of 3X bonus categories.
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
  • 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

The 100,000-point signup bonus available to new Ink Preferred cardholders is worth $1,000 if redeemed as cashback. If you use these points to redeem through the Chase Travel Portal at 1.25¢ per point, that value is boosted to $1,250.

However, the value of this sign-up bonus is potentially much higher if transferred to travel partners. How much more exactly? Well, that depends on how you use the points.

If you transfer points to IHG Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy or use the miles for some economy flight awards, you might struggle to get over 1¢ per point. When transferred to Southwest Rapid Rewards or JetBlue TrueBlue, you can generally get a fixed 1.3-1.5¢ per point. But, the redemption rate can soar when you use points for business and first flights, award sweet spots, or last-minute redemptions.

For example, we recently showed you how to get over 10¢ per mile from United MileagePlus miles. While that's an extreme example, it's reasonable to get 2-4¢ per mile from good redemptions. If you were able to maximize your points like this, the signup bonus on the Ink Preferred would net you thousands of dollars in value.

Even taking into account the $95 annual fee, the signup bonus on the Ink Preferred provides a lot more value than the no annual fee Ink cards.

Earning Potential and Bonus Categories

An area where the Ink cards are all ultra-competitive is the return you get on your business expenses. They feature practical bonus categories where small business owners are likely to spend a fair portion of their operating budget.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.

Maxing out the 5% category on the Ink Cash would return $1,250 cashback to your pocket every year, or 125,000 Ultimate Rewards. The best return when redeeming Ultimate Rewards for a fixed-value is with Sapphire Reserve cardholders, who receive 1.5¢ per point through the Chase Travel Portal.

If you transfer the 5X points earned on the Ink Cash to your Sapphire Reserve account and redeem them for 1.5¢ per point, you can achieve a minimum return of 7.5% on your spend in these categories.

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business

The Ink Unlimited, on the other hand, is the workhorse of the Ink family of cards. Cardholders earn 1.5% on all spending, laying a solid base earning rate for non-bonus purchases. This is the card to swipe when there are no bonus categories on your other Ink cards.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn.

The Ink Preferred takes things to a whole different level—which is what you’d expect from a card charging an annual fee. If you max out the $150K spending threshold, you stand to collect 450,000 Ultimate Rewards per year. When transferred to partners, that's enough for multiple trips in first or business class or a score of nights in luxury hotels.

The Ink Preferred also holds an advantage when redeeming points. You'll receive a 25% bonus when using your points to book travel through the Chase Travel Portal. That means you can get at least 1.25¢ per point, and potentially much higher returns if the points are transferred to partners.

It's also worth noting that you can combine points earned on Ink business cards with Ultimate Rewards earned with Chase’s suite of consumer-focused rewards cards.

Feature Perks and Benefits

A number of the travel perks matchup between these cards, with all three featuring:

Plus, all three cards provide Primary Rental CDW insurance when renting for business purposes and secondary coverage when renting outside of work. In addition to these common benefits, the Ink Preferred offers comprehensive Trip Delay Reimbursement and Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance. Plus, the card charges no foreign transaction fees.

Additionally, the Ink Preferred provides one of the best cell phone protection plans we’ve come across. Cardholders are covered for up to $600 per claimable event with a $100 deductible. All you have to do is charge your monthly bill to the card.

Application Restrictions

The Ink cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 policy. If you’ve opened 5 or more new personal credit cards in the past 24 months, Chase won’t approve your application. The good news is the Ink cards won’t count towards your 5/24 status, as they are business cards. Unlike Chase's Sapphire cards, there are no rules preventing you from obtaining all three Ink cards.

Folks applying for Chase cards will also want to be mindful of the 90-day policy. This policy only allows you to get 1 business and 1 personal card in any ninety-day period.

Don’t think you’ll qualify for a business card? You may be surprised that almost anyone can qualify for a business credit card!

Final Thoughts

If you pass Chase’s strict application criteria, it's worth considering applying for one or more of these Ink cards. These are high-value cards that can provide a huge return on your business spending.

The signup bonuses on these cards offer outlandish value. The bonus categories are well structured and conducive to quickly racking up a significant balance of points. Plus—with two of the cards charging no annual fee—you'll only have to pay a $95 annual fee for the Ink Preferred to hold all three cards.

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Comments

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    Very Interesting! Knowing how to combine rewards is always helpful.

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    IMHO Chase cards are still the best in combination for travel points

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    I think it is very unlikely Chase would approve a small business for all three cards. Thus, I think the Ink Preferred is the one to get given its benefits and the ability to transfer UR points to travel partners.

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      Robert, Chase might not approve all three cards if applied for in close succession, but they definitely allow qualified applicants – who space out their applications – to own all three cards simultaneously.

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    Say you want to apply for a Chase credit card and you have “locked” your credit reporting with the big three credit bureaus, do you have unlock all three or does Chase just use just one, specific bureau?

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    When applying for the Chase Ink Preferred card I suggest going into a Chase branch office and speaking to a business banker. They can sometimes get an application approved if your over the 5/24 rules.