The Chase Ink line of business credit cards features some of the most lucrative points-earning small business credit cards on the market.
But each of the three cards—the Ink Business Unlimited® Card, Ink Business Cash® Card, and Ink Business Preferred® —each earns a different number of points and have varying benefits.
On the points-earning side, each of these cards has different bonus earning categories. This means that each card is right for a different type of business—for example, if you spend a lot of money at office supply stores, you’ll want a Chase Ink business card that earns bonus miles on office supply purchases.
If you’re shopping for a new Chase Ink business card, you may find it tough to decide which credit card is right for your wallet and spending habits. After all, it can be tough to sift through the websites for each credit card to compare and contrast the bonus earning categories.
Here’s a walk-through of the bonus categories for each card. At the end of each section, you’ll see what type of business each Ink card is right for, helping you make an informed decision for your company.
You’ll also take a look at each card’s varying benefits and annual fees in their respective section. This will give you a well-rounded look at each card, ensuring you have all the information needed to determine which card is right for your business and your wallet.
Chase Ink Sign-Up Bonuses
Of the 3 Chase business cards, the Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash are the lower end cards, with the Ink Preferred having more premium features.
Each of these cards has a varying sign-up bonus too. A sign-up bonus is the amount of Ultimate Rewards points that you’ll earn after spending a set amount of money on your new Ink card within a certain amount of time after opening the credit card.
These sign-up bonuses can be super lucrative and often exceed 50,000 Ultimate Rewards per card. Since you can earn the sign-up bonuses for each card, you may choose to open multiple Chase Ink cards to take advantage of both the welcome bonuses and various increased earning rates that vary from card-to-card.
Here’s a look at the sign-up bonuses for each of the Chase Ink cards:
Chase Ink Bonus Categories, Features, And Fees
While welcome bonuses are great, you shouldn’t choose a new Ink card solely based on its sign-up bonus. After all, depending on how much your business spends, picking the right card with the right bonus categories can have a huge impact on how many points you’ll earn.
Here’s a look at each of the card’s bonus points earning categories, annual fees, and other benefits.
The Ink Business Unlimited card is the business equivalent of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card. It keeps things easy by offering 1.5% cash-back on all business purchase. While it may earn cash-back out of the box, you can turn this cash-back into Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to an Ink Preferred or a personal Chase Sapphire card.
Ink Business Unlimited Bonus Categories
The Ink Business Unlimited card is a pretty barebones when it comes to earning points. As mentioned earlier, it earns 1.5% cash-back per dollar spent on all purchases. That cash-back can be converted to 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points. It has no other bonus categories, but the 1.5% earning ratio makes it super valuable for purchases that aren’t covered by another Ink card’s bonus categories.
For example, construction equipment isn’t covered by the Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Preferred’s various bonus categories. So, making a $10,000 equipment purchase on an Ink Business Unlimited would earn a massive 5,000 more points ($50 cash-back) than if the purchase was charged t0 an Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Preferred.
Features and Annual Fee
Likewise, the Ink Business Unlimited is pretty barebones when it comes to features. It’s a Visa Signature card, so you get basic features like secondary rental car insurance, purchase protection, fraud protection, and even extended warranty protection.
Thankfully though, the Ink Business Unlimited has no annual fee. So, as long as you pay your balance monthly, you’ll pay $0 when using your Ink Business Unlimited and can keep the card indefinitely.
However, as discussed earlier, you cannot transfer points earned with the Ink Business Unlimited to one of Chase’s various transfer partners without combining points with a premium Ultimate Rewards card.
Who Is the Ink Business Unlimited Best For?
The Ink Business Unlimited is best for businesses that have lots of spend that doesn’t qualify for bonus points. This includes things like construction equipment rentals, purchases from home improvement stores, and furniture. With this in mind, the card can be extremely useful for those in construction or new businesses that are in the process of building out a new office.
Savvy business owners may elect to open both an Ink Business Unlimited and an Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Preferred. In doing this, the business owner can put all bonus spend on one of those two cards, and all non-bonus spend on the Ink Business Unlimited, giving you even more points.
The Ink Business Cash card is a little different than the Ink Business Unlimited. This card has 2 sets of bonus categories—1 earning 2% cash-back and the other earning 5% cash-back.
Like the Ink Business Unlimited, you’ll need to move your points to another card before you can transfer to travel partners. However, even if you redeem for cash-back, the right business can make a huge profit with the included bonus categories.
Ink Business Cash Bonus Categories
The Ink Business Cash has 2 sets of bonus categories: 1 category that earns 2% and the other category that earns 5% (up to $25,000 in annual spend) cash-back on purchases.
The 2% categories include purchases from:
- Gas stations — all purchases at standard gas stations are covered by this category, so you even if you buy food or pay for car services at a gas station, it should earn 2% cash-back.
- Restaurants — Chase notes that this includes everything from fast food to fine dining counts as restaurant spend.
These 2% categories are uncapped, meaning that you there’s no limit in how much 2% cash-back you can earn on your gas station and restaurant purchases.
The 5% categories aren’t so lucky. The Ink Business Cash has 2 different 5% cash-back categories, and you can earn this 5% cash-back up to $25,000 in annual purchases. After that, you’ll revert back to 1% cash-back.
These 5% categories are:
- Office supplies stores — this includes stores like Staples, OfficeMax, and others. Many of these sell electronics, coffee, and other office essentials, so make sure you’re maximizing this category for more than just printer paper and ink.
- Internet, cable, and phone services — according to Chase, this category includes things like your internet, cable, satellite television, radio, cellular, wireless data, and landline phone bill. Unfortunately, Chase makes it very clear that equipment purchases are not included in this bonus category, and in turn, will not earn bonus points.
As you’d expect, all other purchases earn a standard 1% cash-back on all purchases.
Features and Annual Fee
The Ink Business Cash card has the same features as the Ink Business Unlimited card. It also has no annual fee, but like we mentioned earlier, it can’t transfer points to transfer partners on its own.
Who Is the Ink Business Cash Best For?
The Ink Business Cash card is a great card for businesses that spend lots of money in any of the bonus categories. Earning 2% cash-back at restaurants and gas stations is great for travel-heavy companies with lots of staff on the road.
Further, 5% cash-back at office supply stores and telecom services makes the Ink Business Cash an amazing pick for office managers—most won’t have trouble maxing out the $25,000 annual limit, giving you a cool $1,250 cash-back (or 125,000 Ultimate Rewards points).
But even if you don’t have a physical office, 5% cash-back at office supply stores can be super valuable.
Just think about what you can buy at modern office supply stores. Staples sells everything from gift cards to laptops to basic office furniture. This means that even freelancers and sole proprietors can make the most of their business spend when making business purchases at these stores.
Hot Tip: Earn even more Ultimate Rewards points (or cash-back) on business purchases when shopping through the Chase Shopping Portal. Points earned through this portal stack on top of the bonus points you already earn with your Chase Ink business credit card.
Last up we have the Ink Business Preferred card. This card is the highest-end of the Chase Ink family, and has benefits and higher limits on spend bonuses. The card has an annual fee, but it’s largely offset by its included benefits, large welcome bonus, and bonus categories.
Ink Business Preferred Bonus Categories
The Ink Business Preferred card earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on 4 different spend categories. Unlike the Ink Business Cash, the card has a $150,000 cap on 3x points earning combined across all 4 of these categories. This means that you can earn up to 450,000 Ultimate Rewards points per year if you max out this spend limit.
The Ink Business Preferred’s bonus categories include:
- Travel — This category includes airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages. Note that the card does not, however, earn 3x points on the following travel purchases: real estate agents, educational merchants arranging travel, inflight goods and services, on-board cruise line goods and services, sightseeing activities, excursions, tourist attractions, merchants within hotels and airports, and merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling.
- Shipping Purchases — This category includes things like mailing packages, courier services, mailbox services, and express mail. However, Chase notes that the 3x points will not qualify if the place you ship from codes as an office supply store or another type of merchant. For example, if you mail a FedEx package from Staples, you’ll only earn 1 point per dollar as the merchant will code as an office supply store.
- Internet, Cable and Phone Services — This is the same as the Ink Business Cash card. You’ll earn 3x points per dollar on your internet, cable, satellite television, radio, cellular, wireless data, and landline phone bills, but not equipment purchases.
- Advertising Purchases with Social Media Sites and Search Engines — This category can be a huge moneymaker for anyone that owns a digital company. You’ll earn bonus points on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and search engine (Google Adwords, Bing, etc) ads, but not on other social media purchases.
All other purchases earn 1x points per dollar when charged to an Ink Business Preferred card.
Features and Annual Fee
Unlike the Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash cards, the Ink Business Preferred card has a $95 annual fee. Thankfully though, the card includes a few features that help offset this annual fee.
For one, the card can transfer points to Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners. Using these travel partners, you can use points to book flights and hotel rooms from a number of different airlines and hotel chains and their respective partners.
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from your Ink Business Preferred to the following partners:
Chase Airline Partners
|Chase Airline Transfer Partner||Min Transfer||Transfer Ratio|
(Chase > Airline)
|Aer Lingus AerClub||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue||1,000||1:1||1 hour|
|British Airways Executive Club||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Emirates Skywards||1,000||1:1||Almost instant|
|Iberia Plus||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1,000||1:1||1-2 days|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|United Airlines MileagePlus||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
Chase Hotel Partners
You can also use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the Chase Travel Portal. This portal lets you redeem your points at 1.25 cents per points towards any paid flight or hotel room. So if you have 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points, you can use them for $1,000 worth of travel through the travel portal. Plus, if you book a flight, you’ll earn airline miles as you’ll be booked on a standard paid ticket.
Further, the Ink Business Preferred card has similar purchase protection and extended warranty benefits as the Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash. However, the card also includes $1,000 in complimentary cell phone insurance for you and your authorized users. This covers damaged and stolen cell phones and is limited to 3 claims per year. Note that you’ll pay a $100 deductible and you must charge your phone bill to your Ink Business Preferred to be eligible.
Who Is the Ink Business Preferred Best For?
The Ink Business Preferred is great for businesses with lots of web advertising, shipping, and travel spend. As many web entrepreneurs know, internet ads can get expensive, so being able to earn 3 points per dollar spent can be a huge benefit. Likewise, if your employees travel frequently, having the ability to earn 3 points per dollar spent on their travel will be a huge upside.
You can also pair the Ink Business Preferred with another Chase Ink card. You can combine cash-back earned with other Ink cards with this card, turning cash-back into Ultimate Rewards points. Then, you can transfer those points to one of Chase’s many transfer partners for added value and flexibility.
Who Can Apply for an Ink Credit Card?
Thankfully, you don’t need to own a large company or even have an EIN to apply for one of these cards. All you need is to have some type of business and a social security number.
Like discussed earlier, this includes everyone from freelancers to sole proprietors to brick-and-mortar shop owners. Just note that if you’re applying as a sole proprietor and don’t have an EIN, you’ll have to input your social security number in the the “tax identification number” field of the application.
Also note that you can input your home address, personal phone number, and full name in the business application. Oh, and don’t worry: if you’re starting a new company, you can input $0 as your revenue.
Chase will pull your personal credit when applying, even if you have an EIN attached to the application. They will not, however, perform a hard pull on employees that are added to your Chase Ink card as authorized users.
In this article, you learned the ins-and-outs of the Chase Ink credit card family and you can now see why these cards are some of the best Visa business cards available. Now, you can make an informed decision on what card works best for your business spend.
As a general rule, stick with the Ink Unlimited unless your business can take advantage of the bonus categories offered by the Ink Cash or Ink Preferred.
Also remember that unless you have an Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card you cannot transfer your points to one of Chase’s many transfer partners.
However, you can combine points earned with an Ink Business Unlimited or Ink Business Cash with an Ink Preferred or Sapphire card, and then transfer points to Chase’s transfer partners.
And as always, let us know if you have any questions in the comments!