Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card vs. Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
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- Despite its $95 annual fee, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers greater earning potential thanks to its higher welcome bonus, key bonus categories and 25 percent points boost on travel booked through Chase
- The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card offers a more attainable welcome bonus, flat cash back on all purchases and no annual fee, all of which may appeal to a business owner looking for a flexible, easy-to-use business card
Whether you lead a world-renowned company or a side hustle you started last weekend, chances are there’s a Chase business credit card that can benefit you. Below, we’ll compare the perks of two of those cards: the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, which could be more suitable for businesses that are just getting off the ground or have smaller budgets, and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, which offers higher rewards in some key categories and requires heavier spending to earn its more valuable welcome bonus.
|Cards||Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card||Ink Business Preferred Credit Card|
|Welcome bonus||Earn $750 after spending $6,000 within 3 months of account opening||Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within 3 months of account opening|
|Rewards rate||1.5% cash back on all purchases||3X points on travel and select business categories (on up to $150,000 per year, then 1X points); 1X points on all other purchases|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then a variable APR of 17.99% to 23.99%||N/A|
Ink Business Unlimited vs. Ink Business Preferred highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Ink Business Preferred
The Ink Business Preferred offers 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months. Plus, points are worth 1.25 cents apiece if you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which means your welcome bonus could be worth $1,250.
On the other hand, the Ink Business Unlimited offers a welcome bonus of $750 if you spend $6,000 within the first three months. That’s an easier bonus offer to achieve, but it’s worth less than the Ink Business Preferred’s welcome bonus. If you want the chance to earn a more valuable welcome bonus, you should pick the Ink Business Preferred.
Rewards rate winner: Ink Business Preferred
The Ink Business Preferred provides 3X points on some major business spending categories, including travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media and search engines. This rate applies on up to $150,000 in spending every year, after which you’ll earn 1X points.
In comparison, the Ink Business Unlimited provides 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. That may be attractive if you want a simple rewards structure or if your spending doesn’t align with the Ink Business Preferred’s bonus categories. But if you often hit the road to see customers, or if you reach your target audience through online ads, you may get a better return with the Ink Business Preferred.
Annual fee winner: Ink Business Unlimited
The Ink Business Unlimited has no annual fee, while the Ink Business Preferred’s annual fee will set you back $95 each year.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Ink Business Preferred
The Ink Business Preferred doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, whereas the Ink Business Unlimited charges a 3 percent fee on all foreign transactions. That means the Ink Business Preferred would be a good choice for international business trips.
Which card earns the most?
Despite having an annual fee, the Ink Business Preferred offers a more valuable welcome bonus and rewards structure. If you can take advantage of enough 3X points categories, you can probably garner higher rewards with the Ink Business Preferred.
Suppose a business owner charges a total of $5,000 in expenses each month in the following categories:
- $1,000 on travel
- $1,000 on search engine advertising
- $700 on shipping purchases
- $300 on phone and internet services
- $2,000 on miscellaneous spending
If this person uses the Ink Business Preferred, their $5,000 in monthly spending would add up to $15,000 after three months, and they’ll earn the welcome bonus of 100,000 points. Next, $3,000 of their monthly spending is in the card’s 3X points categories (travel, search engine advertising, shipping, phone service and internet service). That’s $36,000 in bonus category spending for the year, which is below the $150,000 annual spending cap. That results in 108,000 points for the year. They also spend $24,000 in miscellaneous spending for the year, which earns the 1X rate and translates into 24,000 points.
In total, this cardholder earns 232,000 points in their first year. If they redeem those points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, that’s worth $2,900. Of course, they’ll have to account for the $95 annual fee. But after subtracting that cost, they’re still left with $2,805 in rewards.
The numbers look pretty different if the person uses the Ink Business Unlimited. With $5,000 in monthly spending, they’ll earn the $750 welcome bonus pretty quickly (after spending $6,000 within the first three months). And the $60,000 in annual spending earns 1.5 percent back, or $900 in cash back. Plus, there’s no annual fee to take care of. So they’ll earn $1,650 from the card in their first year, well below what they would earn with the Ink Business Preferred.
The scales tip in favor of the Ink Business Preferred in this example because the cardholder is charging $5,000 each month, hitting the threshold to earn the welcome bonus and spending a lot in the card’s bonus categories. If a business owner isn’t going to spend $15,000 within three months of account opening or if they don’t make many purchases in the Ink Business Preferred’s bonus categories, the Ink Business Unlimited would probably be more beneficial.
Why should you get the Ink Business Unlimited?
Cardholders love the Ink Business Unlimited for its simplicity and flat-rate rewards structure. The Ink Business Unlimited also doesn’t charge an annual fee, which means you won’t have to earn enough in rewards to justify paying for card membership. This could also be a plus if you already use other business cards with annual fees and you don’t want your next card to add any more to your upfront expenses.
The Ink Business Unlimited could also be a great choice if you’re a small-business owner who isn’t going to spend $15,000 within the first three months to qualify for the Ink Business Preferred’s 100,000-point welcome bonus. Just be sure you can still spend $6,000 within three months to earn the Ink Business Unlimited’s $750 welcome bonus.
Plus, this card comes with a 0 percent intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months (followed by a variable APR of 17.99 percent to 23.99 percent), which could benefit you if you need to invest in new equipment or supplies and want some extra time to pay for them without paying interest.
The Ink Business Unlimited offers many benefits that can be helpful to you as you grow your business. For instance, the Ink Business Unlimited provides purchase protection in case of damage or theft for up to 120 days after buying a product. Coverage goes up to $10,000 for each claim and $50,000 for the account. The card also grants one year of extended warranty coverage on eligible manufacturers’ warranties of three years or less.
The card offers several travel benefits, too. If you pay for a rental car with your card and decline the rental company’s collision insurance, you’ll get an auto rental collision damage waiver that covers up to the vehicle’s cash value. You’ll also have access to travel and emergency assistance services that can connect you with legal help or medical providers when you’re on the go. And you can call the pay-per-use roadside dispatch service if you’re ever stranded with a flat tire or other car problems.
On the business management front, two features stand out. First, additional cards for employees are free, which might be convenient if you want to add multiple team members to the account. Second, Chase offers record-keeping tools and the option to link your account to bookkeeping software to help you stay organized.
The Ink Business Unlimited’s rewards technically come in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You can turn your points into cash by requesting a statement credit or direct deposit, or you can redeem them for gift cards. You can also redeem points for travel through Chase’s portal. Alternatively, you can use your points to pay for purchases with some retailers, but your points may be worth less than their face value if you go this route.
Recommended credit score
You’ll likely need a good to excellent credit score to be approved for this card, which typically means a FICO score of 670 or higher.
Why should you get the Ink Business Preferred?
A major reason to love the Ink Business Preferred is that it offers you the chance to earn a generous 100,000-point welcome offer (after spending $15,000 within three months), which is worth $1,250 if you redeem your points through the Chase travel portal. That could be a significant boost for a small business.
The opportunity to earn 3X points in key business categories means this card has strong earning potential, particularly if your business has a big online presence or if you regularly travel to meet clients or participate in trade shows. And the fact that your points are worth 25 percent more when you redeem them for travel through Chase makes the rewards especially valuable for any company that requires employees to travel.
The Ink Business Preferred offers numerous benefits. For instance, you and all employees listed on your cellphone bill will get cellphone protection against theft or damage if you use this card to pay your monthly bill. That coverage is good for up to $1,000 per claim (with a $100 deductible per claim) and capped at three claims per 12-month period.
Plus, you’ll get trip cancellation and interruption insurance, which will reimburse you for up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable expenses. You’ll also get an auto rental collision damage waiver if you rent a car, pay with your card and decline the rental company’s collision insurance. This will protect you against theft and crashes and will cover you up to the cash value of the vehicle. You’ll also get pay-per-use roadside dispatch if you need a tow or run out of gas.
As for business perks, you can get additional cards for employees without being charged a fee. You’ll also get 120 days of purchase protection that will reimburse you for damage or theft (up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account) and one year of extended warranty coverage on eligible warranties of three years or less.
You can redeem points for cash through a statement credit or direct deposit, or you redeem them for gift cards. However, your points will go further if you redeem them for travel through Chase’s portal (since your points will be worth 25 percent more) or transfer them to one of Chase’s airline and hotel partners. You can also pay with points when you shop at participating retailers, but you may face a lower redemption rate.
Recommended credit score
To qualify for this card, you’ll generally need good to excellent credit, or a FICO score of 670 to 850.
The bottom line
Both the Ink Business Unlimited and the Ink Business Preferred are great cards for small-business owners. But the Ink Business Preferred’s earning potential is greater, thanks to its higher welcome bonus, 3X points categories and the option to redeem points for travel or transfer them to travel partners. The $95 annual fee is reasonable given how much this card can earn, too.
On the other hand, the Ink Business Unlimited’s main advantage is its flexibility. There’s no annual fee, and it offers a more accessible welcome bonus and flat-rate cash back, which may appeal to those who don’t want to feel constrained by a tiered rewards system.
Still, the two cards’ strengths could complement each other well, and for some people, it might make sense to get both. Alternatively, you could pair either of these cards with a top business credit card from a different issuer to enjoy a wider range of bonus categories or additional perks.