The Ink Business Preferred vs. Ink Business Unlimited Card [Detailed]

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Business credit cards serve the purpose of keeping personal and business expenses separated, tracking business spending trends, and making it easier to compile information at tax time. They are an even smarter choice if you can earn rewards on every purchase your business makes — rewards you can use to offset business travel expenses or even fund that annual family vacation.

Deciding which business credit card is a potential match for your business may present a more difficult decision.

Today we’re going to look at 2 very popular rewards earning Chase business credit cards, either of which could be a potential fit for your business operation. The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card each have their own strengths, but chances are, 1 card may be a better choice for your particular situation.

We’ll need to look closely at how each card earns rewards and whether earning categories match up with your business spending profile. We’ll also have to zero in on redemption values and then assess the benefits each card provides.

In the end, the overall package needs to make sense for your business — and that’s what we’ll attempt to uncover today.

Let’s look at all the attributes (and any downsides) of the Ink Business Preferred card and the Ink Business Unlimited card.

Welcome Bonuses

The Value of a Welcome Bonus

The ability to earn a welcome bonus in the initial 3 months after card approval can result in significant value. Both the cards we’re comparing today offer welcome bonuses after meeting initial spending requirements.

Welcome bonuses can change, but let’s take a look at what you can generally expect with each card.

Ink Business Preferred Card

Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Ink Business Preferred card can be redeemed for 1.25 cents per point on the Chase travel portal. While welcome bonuses can vary, a welcome bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points equates to a value of $1,000 when redeemed for travel.

It is possible to receive even greater value when transferring points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners.

Ink Business Unlimited Card

One clarification to note is that the Ink Business Unlimited card is a cash-back card, but rewards are initially earned as Ultimate Rewards points that can later be exchanged for cash-back.

Ultimate Rewards points received when qualifying for the Ink Business Unlimited card’s welcome offer can be redeemed for 1 cent per point for cash-back or for travel via the Chase travel portal.

Points are also transferable to premium Chase credit cards where you can redeem points for greater value (up to 1.5 cents per point) and additionally utilize hotel and airline partners.

United New Polaris
Redeeming Ultimate Rewards points earned on Ink Business credit cards can allow you to travel in style. Image Credit: United

Earning and Redeeming Ultimate Rewards Points

Comparing Earning Potential

Both of these Chase credit cards earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points on every purchase you make.

Here’s how the Ink Business Preferred card and the Ink Business Unlimited card stack up against each other when we focus on earnings.

ExpenseInk Business Preferred CardInk Business Unlimited Card
Travel3 points per dollar spent1.5% cash-back
Dining2 points per dollar spent1.5% cash-back
Office supply stores1 point per dollar spent1.5% cash-back
Internet service, cable, phone3 points per dollar spent1.5% cash-back
Advertising purchases with social media/search engines3 points per dollar spent1.5% cash-back
Shipping3 points per dollar spent1.5% cash-back
All other purchases1 point per dollar spent1.5% cash-back

The Ink Business Preferred Card comes out ahead if your business spending is high in the specific bonus categories. There is, however, a $150,000 limit on total annual purchases in the 3 points per dollar bonus category.

For this reason, if you have significant spending exceeding $150,000 each card anniversary year or spending in categories that do not earn 3x on the Ink Business Preferred card, the Ink Business Unlimited card may be a better choice as the card does not limit earnings.

For example, if your business spending centers on buying equipment, office supplies, or other non-bonus categories, the unlimited 1.5% cash-back on the Ink Business Unlimited card could result in overall higher earnings.

Bottom Line: If your business spends a lot (but not significantly exceeding $150,000 in a card anniversary year) on travel, dining, internet/cable/phone service, shipping, and advertising on social media, the Ink Business Preferred card is the better choice for maximizing rewards earning. 

Comparing Redemption Options

One unique feature of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is the ability to transfer points between accounts. This includes business credit card accounts as well as personal credit card accounts.

The transfer option is important because redemption values and transfer opportunities vary by card. Having the ability to transfer points between both business cards and personal cards allows you to maximize both earnings and redemptions.

Let’s look at the 2 business credit cards we’re focusing on today, plus 2 popular Chase personal credit cards to compare the difference in redemption values between Chase cards.

Chase Credit CardValue of Ultimate Rewards Points Redeemed as Cash-BackValue of Ultimate Rewards Points Redeemed for TravelAbility to Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Airline/Hotel Partners
Ink Business Preferred Card1 cent per point1.25 cents per pointYes
Ink Business Unlimited Card1 cent per point1 cent per pointNo
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card1 cent per point1.25 cents per pointYes
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card1 cent per point1.5 cents per pointYes

Additional redemption options include redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for gift cards, Amazon purchases, merchandise, and Chase experiences.

Bottom Line: Receive more value for your Ultimate Rewards points (up to 1.5 cents per point) by redeeming your points on the Chase travel portal with premium Chase cards such as the Ink Business Preferred card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. These premium Chase credit cards also offer the opportunity to transfer points to airline and hotel partners for even greater value.

Coffee Business Unsplash
The right combination of business credit cards ensures every purchase your business makes gets rewarded. Image Credit: @jrod via Unsplash

How the Cards Can Work Harmoniously Together

Fortunately, you don’t have to decide which card might be perfect for your business as Chase allows you to have more than 1 business card. With that said, Chase does have rules that limit whether you can be approved for their cards.

Securing both the Ink Business Preferred card and the Ink Business Unlimited card could ensure that every purchase you make will earn elevated rewards.

For example, using the Ink Business Unlimited card for office supplies and other purchases that earn just 1 point per dollar on the Ink Business Preferred card will allow you to earn 1.5% versus 1 point per dollar.

At redemption time, you can transfer any points earned on the Ink Business Unlimited card to the Ink Business Preferred card and redeem for a value of 1.25 cents per point on the Chase travel portal versus 1 cent per point. The Ink Business Preferred also allows you to transfer points for potentially greater to airline and hotel partners.

Bottom Line: Pairing the Ink Business Preferred card and Ink Business Unlimited card could result in maximizing both earning and redemption options. Since the Ink Business Unlimited card has no annual fee, you could receive this added value for no additional cost. 

Acqualina Resort Miami
Receive hotel VIP benefits with your Ink Business credit cards. Image Credit: The Luxury Hotel Collection

Hotel and Rental Car Program Benefits

Hotel Program Benefits

The Ink Business Preferred card and the Ink Business Unlimited card are Visa Signature cards, and as such, they offer several luxury hotel benefits.

Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection

Both of our featured cards offer VIP benefits at over 900 properties worldwide in The Luxury Hotel Collection.

You’ll receive the following on-site benefits:

  • Best available rate guarantee
  • Room upgrades at check-in when available
  • Complimentary daily breakfast for 2
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • $25 food/beverage credit
  • Late checkout on request when available
  • VIP guest status

Cardholders will also have access to special limited-time property benefits including third/fourth hotel night free offers, additional food/beverage credits, and other on-site property amenities.

OYO Hotels

When you reserve and pay for your OYO Hotel room with your Ink Business card, you can receive a discount of up to 30%. OYO and Visa have partnered to give Visa cardholders discounts at properties in over 800 cities. Use code VISAOYOHOTEL at checkout.

Rental Car Program Benefits

Both Ink Business credit cards offer car rental program discounts.

  • Up to 15% off Silvercar rentals
  • UP to 25% off base rates with Hertz or Avis
  • 5% off Dollar or Thrifty car rentals
  • 10% off Sixt car and truck rentals

This list is not a comprehensive list of Visa Signature benefits, just a sampling of some of the key hotel and car rental benefits.

Bottom Line: You’ll receive VIP hotel benefits and car rental discounts with both the Ink Business Preferred card and the Ink Business Unlimited card via the Visa Signature network. 

Cell Phone
The Ink Business Preferred card comes with benefits you can use such as valuable cell phone protection. Image by Jason Leung via Unsplash

Additional Benefits

Travel Benefits and Protections Offered on Both Cards

Both the Ink Business Preferred card and the Ink Business Unlimited card offer these valuable travel benefits and protections:

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver — Reserve and pay for your rental car with your card, decline the rental agency’s CDW insurance, and receive primary rental car coverage for damage, theft, loss of use, and associated towing. Coverage is extended for business and personal use worldwide and business use within your country of residence.
  • Baggage Insurance — Receive up to $3,000 if your baggage is lost, damaged, or stolen. Coverage is in excess of any carrier provided coverage.
  • Baggage Delay — If your baggage is delayed 6 hours or more, you could receive up to $100/day for up to 3 days.
  • Travel Accident Insurance — Receive up to $500,000 should a covered serious injury or death occur when traveling on a common carrier.
  • Roadside Dispatch — 24/7 assistance for summoning emergency fuel, towing, tire change, or other covered roadside emergencies. The cardholder is responsible for the actual cost of services.
  • Visa Signature Concierge Services — 24/7 assistance before and during your travels.

Additional Travel Benefits and Protections on the Ink Business Preferred Card

  • Trip Interruption and Cancellation — Receive coverage before and during a covered trip for the cardholder and immediate family members. Covered events that cause cancellation or interruption may qualify for a benefit of up to $10,000 per incident, $20,000 total for all covered persons.

Shopping Benefits and Protections

Both the Ink Business Preferred card and the Ink Business Unlimited card come with purchase protection and extended warranty coverage.

  • Purchase Protection — Purchase protection provides for replacement, repair, or reimbursement for a qualifying item purchased with your card for 120 days of coverage from the purchase date. Coverage is included for up to $10,000 per item, $50,000 per account.
  • Extended Warranty — Purchase a qualifying item with your card or Ultimate Rewards points and the manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less will be extended by 1 year. Coverage limits are $10,000 per item, $50,000 per account.

Additional Shopping Benefits and Protections on the Ink Business Preferred Card

The Ink Business Preferred card offers valuable cell phone coverage and does not charge foreign transaction fees.

  • Cell Phone Protection — Receive coverage of $600 for cell phones damaged, stolen, or “involuntary and accidental parting” when service is paid for using your Ink Business Preferred card. Only phones listed on your bill will receive coverage. There is a $100 deductible per claim and a limit of 3 claims per year. Ink Business Unlimited card does not provide cell phone coverage.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees — Take your Ink Business Preferred card with you when you travel as it does not add foreign transaction fees. The Ink Business Unlimited card charges a 3% transaction fee on foreign purchases.

Please note that this is not an all-encompassing list of benefits, just key benefits for comparison purposes. We have also abbreviated coverage descriptions. For a complete list of benefits and to access the terms and conditions for each coverage, you’ll want to review the Guide to Benefits that comes with each card.

Bottom Line: Benefits such as cell phone protection, trip interruption/cancellation, and no foreign transaction fees make the Ink Business Preferred card a step above the Ink Business Unlimited card in the benefits and protections category. 

The Introductory 0% APR Period Benefit

Introductory 0% APR periods can save you money when managed well. Credit cards offer these no-interest periods as incentives to make purchases or balance transfers to the card, generally in the initial 12-21 months after card approval.

During this period, no interest is charged on purchases and/or balance transfers depending on the terms of the offer.

The Ink Business Unlimited comes with a 0% APR period on purchases only (does not apply to balance transfers) for the first 12 months after card approval. After that, a 14.99%–20.99% variable APR will apply.

This 0% APR period can save your business money by allowing you to make major purchases for your business and repay your balance over time without incurring interest charges.

The Ink Business Preferred card does not currently offer any special introductory 0% APR period offer.

Annual Fees and Adding Additional Users

Annual Fees

With a low annual fee, plenty of earning power, and several flexible redemption options, the Ink Business Preferred card can be a solid core credit card choice for any business.

The Ink Business Unlimited card, in contrast, has no annual fee but has no bonus earning categories and comes with a flat earning level of 1.5% on every purchase. It also lacks some of the additional benefits and protections found on the Ink Business Preferred card such as cell phone coverage and trip interruption/cancellation protection.

Adding Additional Users

There is no charge to add employees or other authorized users to either the Ink Business Preferred or the Ink Business Unlimited card.

Purchases made by authorized users on either card earn rewards that are deposited into the primary cardholder’s Ultimate Rewards account.

Authorized users can also take advantage of card benefits such as cell phone protection on the Ink Business Preferred and the primary car rental coverage that comes with both cards.

You can access current pricing, annual fees, welcome bonuses, and earning rates for the Ink Business Preferred card here, and the Ink Business Unlimited card here.

Final Thoughts

In most cases, the Ink Business Preferred card will come out ahead for the average business on earnings and for redemption value. However, supplementing the card with the Ink Business Unlimited could ensure that you’ll maximize earnings on both bonus and non-bonus categories.

Since the Ink Business Unlimited has no annual fee, it can offer this added value without any added expense. The card also comes with a 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months after card approval which could serve as a useful interest-free benefit for making needed business purchases.

You’ll, of course, want to review Chase’s 5/24 rule to determine your strategy if you’re applying for 2 Chase business credit cards.

Regardless of which Chase Ink Business card you select, if it aligns with your business spending and redemption preferences and offers usable benefits, the end result will be value-added to your business bottom line.


Frequently asked questions

Which is better, the Ink Business Preferred card or the Ink Business Unlimited card?

If your business spends a lot on travel, shipping, dining, advertising with social media or search engines, and internet, cable, and phone services, it’s difficult to match the 3x and 2x earning power of the Ink Business Preferred card. There is, however, a $150,000 limit per card anniversary year on these purchases.

If your business spends significant in other categories, however, you may fare better with the Ink Business Unlimited card that earns a flat 1.5% on all purchases with no limits.

When we look at redeeming points, the Ink Business Preferred card yields at least 1.25 cents per point when redeeming for travel and potentially more when transferring points to airline/hotel partners. The Ink Business Unlimited card receives just 1 cent per point in value for redemptions.

How do Ultimate Rewards points work?

Ultimate Rewards points are earned on purchases made with your Chase business credit card. All purchases receive at least 1 point per dollar spent on the card but some cards have bonus earning categories that earn multiple points per dollar spent.

At redemption time, the value you receive for your points can vary as well. Premium Chase credit cards may receive more value per point when redeemed for travel via the Chase travel portal. These premium cards also partner with airline and hotel programs which can allow you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to these programs. The resulting airline miles or hotel rewards program points can then be redeemed for potentially even more value.

Ultimate Rewards points do not expire as long as you have an active Ultimate Rewards earning credit card. Before closing a Ultimate Rewards earning credit card, however, you’ll want to transfer your points to a remaining active card or they will expire.

Is the Ink Business Preferred card hard to get?

Yes, it can be. You must have a business to qualify for an Ink Business credit card, although a small business, even a business activity such as coaching baseball on the weekend or selling on eBay, may qualify.

You will also need excellent credit to qualify for an Ink Business credit card and be at least 18 years of age. A very good to excellent credit score is generally considered one that is 740 or above.

How does the Ink Business Preferred card cell phone coverage work?

The cell phone protection that comes with the Ink Business Preferred card covers phones when the number is listed and service is paid for on the card’s monthly statement.

The coverage maximum is $600 per incident and there is a $100 deductible. There is a limit of 3 claims per calendar year.

Coverage is provided for damaged or stolen phones.

You can pay for employee, family, or friend’s phones on your monthly statement and receive coverage.

You do not need to register for the coverage. If service is paid for with your card, coverage is automatic.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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2 comments

  1. There is an error. Dining is not 3x on the CIP.

    Reply

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