The Chase Ink Unlimited (CIU) is a great card for businesses with varied spend and cash flow. It’s especially great for businesses and entrepreneurs who don’t spend within the bonus categories of the other Ink cards. Business owners and entrepreneurs who want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points at a flat rate will love this card too.
Bonus categories are great because you can earn more points faster within the categories. Who doesn’t love that? But some purchases don’t fall into a category and thus only earn one point on most cards. The CIU is one of a few business transferrable points earning card that solves this problem.
The CIU is a simple card. It earns 1.5x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points (or 1.5% cash back) per dollar on all purchases. As its name suggests, the Ink Unlimited has no spending caps or limits on its elevated earning rate. That makes it a great complement to other UR earning cards such as the Chase Ink Business Preferred. It’s also the business counterpart of the Chase Freedom Unlimited
The CIU’s potential can be maximized if you have multiple UR-earning cards. If you have a Chase Ink Business Preferred or either Sapphire card, you can transfer the points from your CIU account to one of those accounts. This feature is the most powerful that Chase has to offer as it’s vital for many earning strategies.
The Chase Ink Unlimited has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 UR points (or $500 cash back). You will earn the points after spending just $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Earning points is fantastic, but points earned are useless if you cannot redeem them for anything of value. Chase has multiple options for points redemption:
Cash Back & Gift Cards
If you have the CIU by itself, cash back is one of just two redemption options. Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for cash back.
The other option is to redeem for gift cards at 1 CPP. Sometimes, Chase discounts some of their gift card options, enabling cardholders to redeem for more than 1 CPP. This is the best-case scenario if you have the CIU by itself.
If either of these options sounds better than points, the Chase Ink Unlimited is not for you. At 1.5%, this card does not have the highest flat earning rate amongst cash back cards.
Transfer partners are by far Chase’s most valuable redemption option. But they are only available if you also have the Chase Ink Business Preferred or either Sapphire card. Chase has just 13 travel partners (compared to American Express’ 21 and Citi’s 15).
- World of Hyatt
- Aer Lingus
- Air France / KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Rules & Regulations
The Chase Ink Unlimited is subject to the 5/24 Rule. This rule was enacted by Chase to prevent “churners” from scoring their sign-up bonuses too many times.
The 5/24 rule states that you will not be approved for any UR-earning card if you were approved for five or more new accounts in the last 24-months. Some Chase co-branded cards also fall under this rule as well.
Try these alternatives if the CIU is not for you:
This card is the bonus category version of the CIU. It has no annual fee and earns in different categories.
The Ink Cash earns 5x UR points at Office Supply Stores as well as for internet, TV, and phone services. This card also earns 2x points at Gas Stations (including Costco) and at Restaurants. Each bonus category has a $25,000 annual spend limit.
The Ink Cash could be a complement to the Ink Business Unlimited. The former has the bonus categories while the latter has a flat rate.
The Ink Cash has the same sign-up bonus as the CIU. Both cards have can earn you 50,000 UR points (or $500) each. Either bonus can be earned after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Together, you can earn 100,000 points for $6,000 (and that’s not including the Ink Business Preferred bonus)!
You’re probably thinking “What is the sign-up bonus for this card?” Fortunately, the Ink Business Preferred offers a bonus of 80,000 UR points. But you must spend $5,000 in the first 3 months to get the points.
This mid-tier business card from Chase earns 3x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points on the following categories:
- General Travel
- Social Media and Search Engine Advertising Purchases
- Internet Services
- Cable & TV Services
- Phone Services
There is a limit of $150,000 per year across all categories, which is 6 times that of the Ink Business Cash. This can be beneficial if your business spends more money within the categories. Thus, the Ink Business Cash would not be a great card if this is the case.
The Ink Business Preferred also offers more travel benefits than the CIU. This card is the better card if you like to travel or your business requires it.
This business card from American Express is very similar to the CIU. Both cards have no annual fee and earn their respective points at flat rates.
The Blue Business Plus earns 2x Membership Rewards (MR) points for all purchases. However, the 2x rate is limited to the first $50,000 per year. Such is not the case for the Chase card, hence its name.
This card does not have a sign-up bonus. But it is the better card if you like American Express’ partners more than Chase’s. It’s also a great card if you have a more expensive Amex charge card. This is because the Blue Business Plus acts as a free way to keep your MR points balance.
The Chase Ink Unlimited is fantastic for businesses and entrepreneurs with varied expenditures. It’s also a great complement to either Ink card. If you are looking for just one card or for cash back, CIU is not the best option. But, it’s awesome as part of a wallet with multiple Chase cards.
I use the Chase Freedom Unlimited as my “workhorse card”. The CIU would have the same role in my wallet if I didn’t already have the Freedom Unlimited. The only reason to have both cards is to separate business and personal expenses. Both cards have the same earnings structure and similar benefits. They also have the potential to raise your UR points balance quickly.