Full Review of Chase Ink Business Unlimited
Strong introductory offers
Versatile rewards program
No bonus rewards categories
Middling flat rewards rate
Chase card service to businesses has been below par
- Strong Introductory Offers: The Chase Ink Business Unlimited provides both a hefty cash welcome and a generous introductory period on purchases. You can earn a $500 cash bonus by spending $3,000 within the first three months; that’s more than twice as much as the bonuses with many other business credit cards that lack an annual fee. Indeed, the only other major business card that provides a comparable—in fact, identical—offer is the sister card to this one, the Chase Ink Business Cash. The introductory 0% APR promotion allows you an entire year in which to carry new purchases on the card without paying interest charges. When the 12 months are up, you’ll pay a variable APR of 13.24% to 19.24% on the remaining balance, depending on your creditworthiness. That’s a lower range of rates than most cards charge.
- Versatile Rewards Program: Even though it usefully applies to all purchases you make, this card’s flat rate of 1.5% in cash back is nothing special. But the card provides flexibility in how those rewards are used that can potentially earn you a higher return. While this is technically a cash-back credit card, you’re actually earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points on your spending. If you also carry one of the bank’s travel-focused credit cards—specifically, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred—you could transfer your Ultimate Rewards points from this card and the other one. That option could allow you to boost the value of your earnings by redeeming points from the card that best meets your needs. You could, for example, redeem points earned with the Chase Ink Business Unlimited on your travel card, and so take advantage of redemption options that provide more value for travel than might simple cash back.
- No Bonus Rewards Categories: For all its simplicity, a single flat rate, as this card has, deprives you of earning up to three times as much with bonus rewards that exceed the flat rate for certain purchases. For example, the Ink Business Cash offers 5% cash back on the first $25,000 a year spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year and 2% back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants. If you happen to spend a lot in those categories, you could get considerably more value with that card than with the Ink Business Unlimited.
- Middling Flat Rewards Rate: The Ink Business Unlimited’s flat 1.5% cash back beats the standard 1% benchmark for most rewards credit cards. But it falls a little behind the most generous flat rates for cards with no annual fee. For example, consider the Blue Business Cash Card from American Express, as its 2% cash back on the first $50,000 spent each year could more than compensate in the long run for the lack of an upfront bonus.
- Chase Card Service to Businesses Has Been Below Par: Businesses don’t necessarily interact with their credit card issuer very often. But when that’s necessary, it’s often a matter of some urgency and even stress, and you want a satisfying experience. Unfortunately, that’s less likely to be the case for businesses who deal with Chase than with most other card issuers scored in the J.D. Power Small-Business Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study. In its 2019 survey, Chase ranks in the lowest group, in a virtual tie with U.S. Bank as the least-satisfying issuer of business credit cards among nine that are scored. Chase’s score of 833 out of 1,000 was 14 points below the national average.
This Card is Best For
Prefers uncomplicated rewards with single rate for all spending
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited is best for businesses who want a no-fee credit card with a solid, though hardly exceptional, flat rewards rate and the flexibility to carry new purchases for up to a year without interest charges.
The card is also worth considering if you already have a Chase Sapphire card or the Ink Business Preferred. As a pair, this card and one of those allows the opportunity to pool points earned on both cards and then redeem them on the one that offers the best value for any particular purchase. That trick might result in an increased value for the points, along with the ability to transfer them, on a 1:1 basis, to other travel rewards programs.
Chase Ink Business Unlimited Bonus
The card offers a $500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months from account opening. While that’s impressive as cash incentives go with a no-fee card, you can earn more if you’re prepared to pay a fee, spend more, and receive a bonus in points to be used for travel. For example, a sibling to this card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred, offers 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $15,000 in the first three months, a bonus that's worth $1,250 in travel booked through Chase. This sibling card charges a $95 annual fee.
Rewards Earning Details
The card offers a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, which can be a great fit if you prioritize simplicity over the additional work often required to maximize rewards. There’s no cap on the amount you can earn at that rate.
You can also earn rewards by referring the card to other business owners. If they use your link and are approved to receive the card, you’ll receive $150 cash back, up to $750 per year.
Rewards Redemption Details
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited allows you to get a lot more than just cash back with your points. Redemption options include:
- Get a cash deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account
- Request a statement credit on your account
- Book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- Buy gift cards
- Purchase Apple products
- Shop online at Amazon.com
If you use your points on Amazon.com, they’re worth 0.8 cents each. Otherwise, you’ll get 1 cent per point. There’s no minimum redemption amount for cash back, but other options may impose one.
The Ink Business Unlimited doesn’t allow points transfers directly to Chase travel partners, but you can gain that benefit by taking two steps. The first is to also carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred. If you then transfer the points you earn with the Ink Business Unlimited with the other card, you can then move your points at a 1:1 ratio to any of the following programs:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Hotel Travel Partners
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Using your rewards this way does get more complicated. But it can also ensure you get much more than the maximum 1 cent per point that the Ink Business Unlimited offers.
For example, United MileagePlus miles are worth 2.16 cents, and World of Hyatt points 2.22 cents each, based on Investopedia’s research. And depending on how you use your rewards with these and other partners, you could potentially get even more value.
Note, however, that you may be on the hook for a transfer fee in some cases, and transfer times can range from one to seven business days, which can be frustrating if you need to book now.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
After you apply for the card, be sure to meet the $3,000 spending requirement in the first three months to earn the card's $500 bonus. Also, keep in mind that the bonus period starts when you open the account, not when you receive the card.
Because the card has a flat rewards rate, you won’t make more by buying in some categories rather than others. Unless you own other cards that have such bonus categories, then, plan to use the Ink Business Unlimited as much as possible to maximize its rewards. And avoid interest charges by planning to pay off purchases bought during the introductory 0% APR promotion before that deal expires.
Especially if you plan to redeem rewards for travel, consider complementing this card by also opening the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred, if you don't already carry one of those cards. All three cards have an annual fee, but the additional value you gain by pooling your points and using those for travel rewards with one of those Preferred cards can make the fee burden worth bearing. You’ll also gain other benefits that the Ink Business Unlimited doesn’t provide.
For example, if you can use your bonus on the Ink Business Unlimited to get $500 in cash back, or you can transfer it to the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred and get $625 in travel through Chase or potentially even more with one of the bank’s travel partners. Both of those cards charge a $95 annual fee, but in this scenario the additional rewards value would more than justify that cost.
Chase Ink Business Unlimited's Outstanding Benefits
- Primary rental-car insurance: If you need to file a claim from a rental for business reasons, the card’s coverage kicks in immediately. With most cards, rental car insurance coverage is secondary, which means that you have to pay the damage before the rental company collects from your personal insurer. Note, however, that coverage is secondary if you’re renting for personal purposes.
- Roadside dispatch
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty protection
- Travel and emergency assistance services
- Free employee cards
The United Club Business Card is issued by Chase, which scored an 833 in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Study. This score is below the industry average of 849 for credit-card satisfaction in serving businesses, and is only slightly above that of U.S. Bank, which received the lowest score among the nine issuers ranked for service to businesses.
Anytime you need help with your card, you can call 800-999-6977 to speak to a customer service specialist. You can also access your card via the Chase mobile app.
The bank provides free access to your VantageScore credit score through its Credit Journey program, but anyone can register—you don't need to be a cardholder. Also, it’s important to note that many major card issuers offer complimentary access to your FICO score, which is more widely used by lenders than VantageScore.
Chase will report your account activity to the business credit bureaus, which can help you establish a business credit history. The bank won't report anything other than the initial hard inquiry when you apply to the consumer credit bureaus, unless your account is more than 60 days delinquent. Some other banks, including Capital One and Discover, report all of your account activity on your business credit cards to the consumer credit bureaus, which can affect your personal credit score.
The card issuer provides 24/7 customer service over the phone, which is standard for the credit card industry. You can also choose to send a secure message through your online account (you can read secure messages from the mobile app but not compose new ones).
Like many other national card issuers, Chase gives you the option to lock and unlock your card from your mobile app. This feature can help you prevent fraud if your card is lost or stolen.
The card also has contactless capability, which means that you can tap your card to pay with a contactless-enabled reader instead of swiping or inserting it. The tap-and-pay method provides the same level of security as your card’s chip, but the process goes more quickly. While a handful of other major card issuers offer contactless credit cards, it’s not yet standard for the industry.
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited offers remarkable welcome offers for a card with no annual fee, including a generous 0% APR period for 12 months from the date of account opening. The decent flat rate of 1.5% cash back on purchases makes this a solid everyday card for businesses that prefer simple and predictable card rewards.
Consider, though, pairing the card with one of the Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Sapphire Reserve. While the Sapphire cards aren’t business credit cards, you can still transfer points between business and personal credit cards or use points earned on a business card for personal use. Making one or both of these moves affords you maximum flexibility to redeem points on the card that works best for any particular purchase.